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IssueOutcomeDescription

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2

2 Mirada Half Moon Bay +Commissioner Donne Brownsey commented, “How can we deny seawalls to homeowners yet allow them for the Coastal Trail?” Several Commissioners agreed. Commissioner Erik Howell, however, expressed concern about not protecting the adjacent infrastructure such as a post-Coastal Act sewage line and condominium buildings. Ultimately, Commissioners agreed with Surfrider and voted 8-2 to only allow the portion of the seawall that protects 2 Mirada. The rest that fronts the Coastal Trail has to be removed.  +
2018 Sea Level Rise Science Update +Commissioner Donne Brownsey motioned for adoption and Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh seconded the motion. Commissioner Brownsey mentioned that she would like to work with staff to ensure members of the legislation, especially new elected officials, receive the report.  +
22nd District Agricultural Association (Del Mar Fairgrounds) +Approved by a vote of 7-3, with Schallenberger, Zimmer, and Groom as the only Commissioners voting to protect the wetlands. (See: “[[Media:Why-the-Coastal-Commission-was-Wrong-2.0.pdf|Why the Commission Was Wrong]]”)  +

A

AB 1129 – Coastal Access and Preservation Act +The California Coastal Protection Network (CCPN), , testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Nature Conservancy, the bill’ sponsor. CCPN also requested Coastal Commission support for the bill. Commissioner Brownsey expressed concern for calling out seawalls specifically as eligible for administrative penalties and leaving out other equally important subject matters. Enforcement staff responded that the bill’s language intends to clarifying existing law in order to make it easier to move forward. Commissioner Carole Groom made a motion to support the bill and was seconded by Commissioner Aaron Peskin. Commissioner Erik Howell spoke against the bill stating that he is concerned that this will discourage seawalls that may bring public benefits. Ultimately, commissioners voted to support the bill 11-1.  +
AB 2002 +Following discussion and a robust round of Q&A with Staff and Commissioners, Commissioners decided to take a vote to decide on whether or not to support the bill. With a vote of 8-3 the Commissioners gave their support to the bill.  +
ATF Shoreline Armoring Goleta Beach +The County violated its permit on several occasions in the first year. They used unpermitted heavy machinery for emergency construction, failed to remove debris and litter and groomed the beach during the grunion season. In addition, the rock revetment that was supposed to be buried under the sand was exposed, impeding safe pedestrian access to the beach and exacerbating beach erosion - all without any environmental review process or alternatives analysis. In a sense, all of the concerns with hard armoring of the coast came true in just one year of this structure’s existence. There was a general consensus that the public park meant to be protected by the armoring does deserve protection. It is a highly utilized park and important community resource. The grievance lies in the type of protection chosen and the lack of environmental and alternatives analysis that took place. Several Commissioners expressed concern about consistency when evaluating shoreline armoring development. Noting that now is the time to “walk the walk” with sea level rise planning to protect our public beaches. Other Commissioners did not seem to be concerned with early planning and remarked that we could deal with the shoreline armoring in twenty years or so - which goes against the policy approach established in the Coastal Commission’s Sea level Rise Policy Guidance document and the in prior precedent setting Commission permits including the direction of the Marin LCP Environmental Hazards update which was the subject of the day before. Ultimately, the Commission decided to approve the ATF development, agreeing that sufficient triggers existed in staff’s conditions to allow re-evaluation of the development should they continue to violate their permit.  +
Amending Clause to Interim Executive Director Appointment +Not wanting to exclude someone from applying to the position of Executive Director purely on the basis that they are in a position to support Commission Staff while acting as the Interim Director, Commissioners voted 6:5 against the amending motion. This means that Mr. Ainsworth will be able to both fill the position of interim Executive Director and apply for the position as well should he choose to do so.  +

B

Bannasch Living Trust sea cave-notch fill +The Commission voted 6-5 to approve the project with special conditions. One condition required the applicant test erodible concrete to prove it erodes before being utilized. While this is a positive step to ensuring the concrete erodes with the bluff, there are many scientific uncertainties about erodible concrete—and several studies assert that erodible concrete is a myth. Unfortunately, the Commission overlooked how the “expansion” of sea cave infill equates to new development instead of simply being “maintenance.” The Commission ignored Coastal Act 30610 that says: “Maintenance should not result in addition or enlargement of …” and overlooked the Land Use Plan that says “redevelopment greater than 50% is considered “new development.” The bluff in front of home is 214 feet, with 5 existing sea caves totaling 60 feet; an additional 92 feet is equivalent to a 153% increase in maintenance.  +
Batiquitos Lagoon Public Access Trail +Commissioners Erik Howell commented that, “the developers are the villains here - not the homeowners.” Howell also questioned staff on whether there is a practice of requiring performance bonds. Executive Director Jack Ainsworth responded that the Commission does require performance bonds where appropriate; however the permit for this development is more than 30 years old and none was required at that time. Commission staff also responded that they took the homeowners’ accountability into consideration when factoring the penalty. Commissioner Steve Padilla moved to approve the orders and administrative fine. The motion passed unanimously.  +
Bay City Partners LLC Development +After hours of public testimony, Commission deliberation, and new conditions being added to the CDP from the dais, the project was approved unanimously. Commission Zimmer, Pestor and Boccho attempted to make the project stronger by supporting amendments to protect lower-cost accommodations. However, in the end, the amendments only marginally enhanced lower-cost facilities at the project site. Four of the 32 units will be sold as ‘lower-cost’ overnight accommodations. The four sites are located are on the periphery of the subdivision— farthest from the river and ocean—minimizing direct public access to the beach and river.  +
Bay City Partner’s Appeal of Executive Director Determination +The debate centered on public trust land, and which agency should review the project first, either SLC or Coastal Commission. Since there is no formal land exchange agreement, many Commissioners were hesitant to call the Application complete until and unless SLC officially votes to remove the public trust easement from the land. A few Commissioners asserted that Staff’s request for information regarding “rate of return” was not necessary before the application was filed, and a mitigation plan could be provided during the project review. The vote was 5-5; thus the application will continue to be considered incomplete as long as there is no agreement with SLC to eliminate the easement.  +
Big Lagoon Park +Commissioners followed staff recommendations of denying the application as submitted but approved with modifications as mentioned above. The sentiment of approval and appreciation for the collaborative and forward thinking nature of the project was expressed.  +
Black Hill Villas +The Commission voted 7-3 to approve this project. Commissioners Groom, Howell and Shallenberger raised concerns about: traffic impacts, degradation of habitat for bird species, incremental loss of open space, and the need to build more lower cost housing. Commissioner Shallenberger had a poignant quote summarizing the impacts of new development. “While the project footprint will only consume a few acres, that is exactly how precious habitat is lost. It just takes 50 of these types of projects to eat up 100 acres of diminishing coastal habitat.”  +
Broad Beach +At the October 2015 Coastal Commission hearing, Commissioners approved a new project designed to address continued erosion risks to the Broad Beach development. The approved project is far better than originally proposed in key respects. First, it safeguards an adjacent Marine Protected Area by decreasing the amount of sand to be placed on the beach and sensitive habitat (cutting it from 600,000 cubic yards to 300,000 cubic yards). Second, homeowners also agreed to move its septic systems to a combined waste treatment plant, which should prevent sewage from polluting the shore. Unfortunately, the approved project does not include a “back up path” that will be triggered immediately if sand erodes and eliminates public access.  +
Brown After-the-Fact Permit +It was heartening to hear discussion around the loss of public access and resources due to private property owners trying to protect their assets. However, starting off with a line of inquiry from Chair Kinsey, “If the wall is constructed beyond the mean high tide line, what loss to public access really exists?” the initial proposed access mitigation fee was removed. Interim Executive Director Ainsworth clarified that the seawall impacts the existing lateral easement and the beach fronting the wall, meaning, it impacts the amount of beach the public can access. Staff documentation showed that during high tide, the water line goes all the way up to the wall itself. This means a loss of public access. Interestingly enough, while Commissioners seemed to accept that the wall would inhibit sand resupply to the beach, transferring this knowledge to understand that the beach would then thus diminish over time as a result was not conceivable and thus not grounds enough for the access and recreation mitigation fee proposed. In the end, claiming fairness of how past permits were issued to neighboring properties – while not taking the difference between the proactive neighbors and the latently reactive applicant, the public access and recreation mitigation fee was dropped from $154,662 to $5,833. These fees will be reassessed once the 22-year permit has expired.  +

C

CEMEX Cease and Desist +The Agreement serves multiple purposes, including: 1) it provides interim operating conditions necessary to limit the scope of the operation and protect coastal resources while the unpermitted development is phased out; 2) it establishes a finite date for the sand extraction operations to cease, by December 31, 2020; 3) it establishes a maximum amount of sand that may be removed during the cessation period in any given year to 240,000 tons/year (approximately 177,000 cu yards/year); 4) it requires CEMEX to undertake restoration and reclamation activities to restore the habitat values of the Property; 5) it provides an additional three year period to wind down operations on the upland portion of the property and to begin reclamation and restoration activities, and provide for a period of time for transition of employees (no additional mining of sand will occur during this period); 6) it requires CEMEX to transfer the Property, at a reduced purchase price, to a non-profit or governmental entity approved by the Commission; 7) it requires as part of any sale, a deed restriction be put in place to protect the property and limit the potential uses of the property to conservation- related purposes, including but not limited to public access, conservation, low-impact passive recreation, and public education, which will improve public access and habitat on the site in the future; 8) it provides for CEMEX to withdraw its Vested Rights Claim and Statement of Defense and agree not to sue the Coastal Commission over the issuance or enforcement of this Agreement; and 9) it provides for monitoring reports and significant penalties for violations of the agreement.  +
Camino Del Mar - Del Mar Seawall +Commissioner Donne Brownsey asked the Commission staff to actively investigate the Commission’s process and policies on seawalls. Executive Director Jack Ainsworth mentioned that staff has defaulted to tieing expiration of a seawall permit to the redevelopment of the adjacent structure as a key condition for seawalls and they would like to maintain consistency. Chair Dayna Bochco mentioned she had a lot of trouble with this permit. She noted that this permit does not appear to apply with permit the 2015 Sea Level RIse Adaptation Guidance and it may prejudice Del Mar’s LCP update for sea level rise and climate change. Commissioner Marciela Morales (alternative for Commissioner Carole Groom) echoed the Chair’s concerns that we are not taking sea level rise serious enough today, saying it’s so enormous, we cannot continue business as usual and that it will provide a signal to what’s okay for the LCP update. Commissioner Luevano also echoed these concerns and added that coastal erosion is a big problem in Del Mar. Executive Director Ainsworth responded that climate change adaptation includes a suite of measures that goes beyond just planned retreat: replenishment, seawalls, etc. He also noted that there are some contexts where shoreline armoring is appropriate to protect homes and property. Commissioner Aaron Peskin mentioned that this is another emergency permit that is becoming permanent and that the staff report is not classifying this development as after-the-fact. Finally, Commissioner Steve Padilla motioned that the Commission approve staff’s recommendation and the motion passed 7-1.  +
Carr Cabana Appeal +The Commission voted unanimously to find Substantial Issue and assume jurisdiction over the permit. At a future de novo hearing, the Commission will consider all Coastal Act policies that apply to this permit. Several Commissioners expressed concern that the County’s Local Coastal Program was being circumvented because it contains policies that prohibit development on a bluff face except in narrow circumstances that were not applicable here. Other Commissioners felt that the County’s decision compromised the intent of the LCP, which clearly states that policies that are “most protective of coastal resources take precedence” and disagreed with the applicant’s argument that the development’s new historical Landmark status supersedes the LCP and the Coastal Act.  +
Cayucos Del Mar Hotel +During deliberation, Commissioners generally agreed that the project is not consistent with community character and that the applicant needs to work with staff and the community to significantly redesign and scale down the project. Commissioners denied the project with some reluctance, agreeing that low cost visitor serving use is a priority for this location. Commissioner Peskin motioned to deny the permit and Commissioner Aminzadeh seconded the motion. The project was denied 10-2.  +
Cayucos Sanitary District Chevron Outfall Repurposing +Commissioners shared concerns with Surfrider and explored options for moving the project forward. Commissioner Mike Wilson suggested the addition of a special condition that would prohibit any additional uses of the ocean outfall in the future in order to avoid delay of the ultimate goal of zero ocean outfalls in San Luis Obispo County. Commissioners agreed with this condition and the project passed unanimously.  +
Cease and Desist Order OceanAire Apartments Pacifica +Commissioners expressed their concern with the nature of the violation and the respondent’s initial failure to respond to Commission’s attempts to resolve the violation. Commissioner Carole Groom motioned to approve the cease and desist order and Commissioner Aaron Peskin seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.  +
City of Dana Point LCP Amendment - Strands Beach +In 2005, a residential development was constructed with 125 single family units. The city closed the Mid-Strand and Central Strand access ways in the evenings purportedly in order to protect their privacy and prevent potential criminal acts. The six-year battle has come down to this one issue for the Coastal Commission to decide: Gates, or no gates? Commissioners Robert Uranga, Mark Vargas and Steve Kinsey spoke in favor of the City’s application to use retractable gates in order to improve public safety. They pointed out that there are several other access points in this area that do not have gates and that the city accommodated requests to extend the hours of access to accomodate surfers and other beach goers. Commissioners Carole Groom, Effie Turnbull-Sanders, Eric Howell, Olga Diaz and Dayna Bocho all countered that the gates are an unnecessary obstacle to access that much of the population may see as a deterrent for access. Furthermore, gates often lead to enforcement issues. The Commission vote 8-4 to approve staff’s recommendation and require the City of Dana Point to remove the gates all together.  +
City of San Diego Local Coastal Program Amendment Regarding Children’s Pool +The Commission voted unanimously to approve the LCP amendment. A few Commissioners pointed out the breakwater built in 1931 created a new ecosystem that seals now rely on. Many Commissioners voiced support for the amendment because they claimed it was a good compromise of ‘shared use’ that allows for marine life protection, and still allows public access seven months of the year.  +
City of San Diego Secondary Treatment Waiver +Commissioner Cox moved to approve the concurrence with federal consistency, noting that the local business community, the City and the environmental community all supported the project. Commissioners unanimously approved this item.  +
Civil Penalty Administration - the Lents +Commissioners resoundingly took offense at the egregious violation at hand and agreed that staff’s recommendation of a $950,000 fine was insufficient. Deliberation focused on determining an appropriate fine. The Coastal Commission had administrative authority to fine the Lents up to $8.4 million based on the long amount of daily penalties that have accrued. Commissioner Bochco asked about methodology; staff explained that while there is a methodology to determine the maximum applicable fine codified in legislation, it is up to the Commission to review the circumstances and use their own discretion. Commissioners noted it was important to send a clear message to violators - 19 of 29 coastal easements in Malibu remain closed today - that the beach is not their private backyard, it belongs to the public. Commissioners also noted the importance of the location of this violation. The access point at issue sits in the middle of an approximate three-mile stretch of coastline across several Malibu beaches with no public access: the nearest currently open access is at Carbon Beach, 1.7 miles away. The easement is one of only three potentially developable beach access points in this longer stretch of coast. As such, this is a really important access point, especially for communities from the San Fernando Valley. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Cease and Desist order and administer a $4.1 million fine.  +
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