|Description|| The March Coastal Commission hearing resulted in only one vote chart item; however, several important issues were raised over the two-day meeting. The public comment period was well-utilized to raise awareness of nonagenda topics and impending items of interest.
The much-anticipated final phase of restoration at the Crystal Cove State Beach cottages was approved on Wednesday along with a robust lower cost visitor serving accommodations program that is expected to significantly improve public access in a historically inaccessible portion of the Orange County’s coast.
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|Crystal Cove State Beach Restoration|| The Crystal Cove Historic District is a beachfront community of 46 historic cottages (from 1930-40s) that at one time were leased as private residential vacation cottages. There is a long history of attempts to keep this area privatized. Through the collaborative efforts of the California Coastal Commission, State Parks and the Crystal Cove Alliance, this project would restore lower cost accommodations and public access to Crystal Cove.
The project proposal is primarily for the restoration of the last unrestored cottages remaining in the Historic District: the 17 cottages on North Beach.
While the project is not consistent with Coastal Act Section 30253(b) to avoid new development in hazardous locations and to not rely on protective devices that result in significant alteration of landforms such as bluffs, the Coastal Commission’s public access and recreation policies concurrently warrant approval of the proposed development.
The project uses Coastal Commission mitigation funds to establish new lower cost overnight accommodations. Cottage #20 is proposed as a dorm style cottage and would contain 11 beds, to be rented individually per bed. The proposal also includes establishment of an overnight educational program for approximately 200-300 under-served youth per year to have 2-night stays in Cottage #20 throughout the school year, using a portion of the mitigation funds held in an endowment for the program.
The Coastal Development Permit was approved unanimously.