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2 Mirada Half Moon Bay +The Coastal Commission reviewed an application by 2 Mirada Ownership Group and Casa Mira Homeowner’s Association to construct an approximately 250-ft. long tied-back concrete seawall, fronting both residential development and a portion of the California Coastal Trail in Half Moon Bay. A rock revetment was originally built in this location under an emergency permit a few years ago in response to erosion. This new application would have removed the rock and constructed a more low-profile vertical seawall protecting an apartment building constructed before the Coastal Act was enacted in 1977 – and is therefore entitled to a seawall – as well as a portion of the California Coastal Trail. The staff report justifies armoring the Coastal Trail by calling it a coastal-dependent use. Surfrider argued that the Coastal Trail is not a coastal-dependent use, but can be relocated and is therefore not entitled to shoreline armoring, and that using the Coastal Trail as justification would set a terrible precedent for the rest of the state. Commissioners agreed and approved the seawall only for protection of the apartment building at 2 Mirada, not for the Coastal Trail.  +
2018 Sea Level Rise Science Update +The Coastal Commission continues its legacy of leadership on coastal sea level rise adaptation. At the November hearing, the Commission approved incorporating the Ocean Protection Council’s Rising Seas science report and 2018 Sea Level Rise Guidance to help facilitate local governments’ ability to make planning and permitting decisions with the best available science, including the latest sea level rise models and projections. The Surfrider Foundation, along with Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club California, the Environmental Center of San Diego and the California Coastal Protection Network, supported the update and also suggested additional guidance including proactive consideration of managed retreat and increasing the adaptive capacity for coastal habitats. While those specific updates were not ultimately included, the Science Update is an advancement in planning for sea level rise.  +
22nd District Agricultural Association (Del Mar Fairgrounds) +The Del Mar Fairgrounds applied for year-round parking lot on a wetland site where they admitted to previously illegally filling and grading.  +

A

AB 1129 – Coastal Access and Preservation Act +This bill would amend PRC 30235 to define “existing structure” as structures built prior to January 1, 1977, and to specify that shoreline protection devices must be approved consistent with the Coastal Act policies protecting public access, shoreline ecology, natural landforms and other impacts on coastal resources. The bill would specify that emergency permits issued for shoreline protective devices are intended to allow the minimum amount of temporary development necessary to address the emergency situation. The bill would also amend PRC 30821 to allow for the imposition of administrative penalties for unpermitted shoreline protective devices. Staff recommended support of the bill and the need for close analysis of seawalls, especially given the extremely pressing issue of sea level rise and the need to appropriately address its impacts while preserving public resources. Commissioners approved support of the bill on a vote of 11-1.  +
AB 2002 +AB 2002 was introduced by Assemblymembers Toni Atkins, Mark Stone and Marc Levine immediately after the Commission fired former Executive Director Charles Lester. The bill requires any agent that lobbies the Commission to register as a lobbyist with the Fair Political Practices Commission. Technical experts, like geologists and planners, would not come under the purview of this legislation. The bill also requires that in the seven days prior to a public hearing on a specific matter, a Commissioner must report any ex parte communication within 24 hours, and no ex parte communications may occur in the 24 hours immediately preceding a public hearing.  +
ATF Shoreline Armoring Goleta Beach +This is a request by Santa Barbara County to amend a permit granted with conditions to include after-the-fact authorization for installation and retention of 3 sections of geotextile cells filled with cobble and earth that are located downcoast of the approved rock revetment and are approx. 10-20 ft. wide, 9-12 ft. high, and total 415 linear ft. at back of beach and within central lawn area of Goleta Beach County Park, Santa Barbara County. In May 2015, the Commission approved the retention of a 1,200 ft. rock revetment at the west end of the beach park for a 20 year limited, conditional term in order to protect the park’s public recreational facilities and utilities during periods of erosion. However, storm damage during the 2015/2016 El Niño season significantly eroded the unprotected beach and lawn area in the central portion of the park located downcoast of the approved rock revetment, created sinkholes and crevasses within the lawn area, and threatened existing park facilities. In March 2016, the County applied for, and received, an Emergency CDP to backfill the sinkholes with cobble and compacted soil. However, in response to rapidly changing conditions in the field, the County installed the geotextile cells that are the subject of this permit amendment in three discrete sections or reaches along a 415 foot length of the park’s eroded lawn area. The amendment proposes to retain the unpermitted development. Staff recommended approval with conditions that require re-evaluate the plan after 20 years or if the revetment is exposed for 24 months in total from the date of permit issuance.  +
Amending Clause to Interim Executive Director Appointment +As well vocalized by many public speakers at the March Coastal Commission hearing, deciding upon an interim Executive Director is not a position that the public desired. Virtually all in attendance reiterated what they asked of the Coastal Commission in February: Give us Dr. Lester. Unfortunately, that is not an option. According to optimistic Commissioners, the search for a new Executive Director is projected to take at least six months. In the meantime, as articulated by Commissioner Bochco, it is critical that Commission Staff feel supported and that there is stability provided to ensure that work carries on. As a result, Chair Steve Kinsey, Vice-Chair Bochco nominated Senior Deputy Director Jack Ainsworth to act as Interim Executive Director while the search is underway. This was strongly supported by Commissioner Carole Groom and many members of the public. However, Commissioner Roberto Uranga felt that having Mr. Ainsworth as interim director could have negative effects on the hiring process, “…having someone on an interim basis who would also be an applicant would be a hindrance… in encouraging people to apply.” He offered an amending motion that would require Mr. Ainsworth to step down from the position of acting Executive Director if he chose to apply in order to not discourage people from applying to the position.  +

B

Bannasch Living Trust sea cave-notch fill +The applicants in this case chose to rebuild their home in 1991 and place it within the 40 foot setback zone just 29 feet from the bluff edge. In exchange, they waived their right to a future seawall through a deed restriction but were allowed to maintain their sea cave notch fills. In this application, they requested permission to repair and '''expand''' the 5 existing sea caves with erodible concrete. The proposed “expansions” would cover 92 feet of previously unarmored bluff.  +
Batiquitos Lagoon Public Access Trail +The Commission heard an enforcement action to resolve long-standing violations of more than 30 years related to the failure to construct a public access trail at a residential community in Carlsbad known as the Rosalena community. The community is situated on a blufftop on the north side of Batiquitos Lagoon. The trail will overlook the Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve, part of the state’s network of marine protected areas. In addition to the trail, the Home Owners Association (HOA) will install benches, interpretive signage, delineate public parking spaces and will secure a public access easement over an adjacent property to increase the value of the Rosalena trail and link it with a larger network making it part of an interconnected network of trails. Staff proposed a consent administrative penalty in addition to the consent cease and desist order. Staff reported that the current HOA board owners have been very cooperative and that they purchased their properties after the buildings were originally constructed. With that in mind staff, recommended an administrative fine of $540,000, which will go to the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation to fund school programs and potential land acquisitions.  +
Bay City Partners LLC Development +This project is uniquely located along the San Gabriel River and adjacent to the ocean in Seal Beach. The application includes ‘subdivision and sale’ of 32 residential lots, a 6.4 acre park, a public easement over a bike bath, and access to parking for recreation.  +
Bay City Partner’s Appeal of Executive Director Determination +This vote was not based on the merits of the proposed project, but whether the project application is complete. Commission Staff deemed the application incomplete and the Applicant appealed Staff’s decision. While the Commission was not voting on the project itself, some Commissioners expressed concerns over the fact that the project requires a “land exchange” with State Lands Commission (SLC) and there is currently no official agreement in place. The land swap would involve SLC relinquishing public land and acquiring another parcel of land in a different location (near an old oil plant, with less biological and recreational value). The property in question is currently designated as “Visitor Serving/Commercial”, yet the Applicant asserts that “visitor serving use” is not financially viable, and requested the land designation be changed to residential. Over the past year, Commission Staff repeatedly requested additional information from the Applicant to no avail, including: (1) an approved land exchange from SLC concluding the public trust easement no longer exists where residential use is proposed; (2) “rate of return” analysis for the proposed residential project; and (3) a mitigation proposal for the loss of visitor-serving overnight accommodations.  +
Big Lagoon Park +This application was for a redesignation and rezoning of portions of a 13-acre parcel to allow for relocation of 14 cabins away from the parcel’s bluff. The modifications to the amendment include the point that there will be no resulting increase in development potential, and that the relocation shall not result in a later need for construction of shoreline protection devices having substantial impacts on the natural landform.  +
Black Hill Villas +A proposal to subdivide two parcels into 17 residential parcels and one common area, and to construct 17 single-family residences with two-car garages, two of which would be built to City of Morro Bay standards for affordable units. The proposed project includes demolition of two existing residences and two small associated structures, removal of some 43 onsite trees, and construction of a new paved road and a public pedestrian trail.  +
Broad Beach +The Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District applied for authorization of a 4,150 ft revetment, moving a portion of the revetment landward, an attempt at dune restoration using the revetment as the dune-base, and a beach nourishment program (bringing in 300,000 cubic yards of inland sand every 5 years and 75,000 cubic yards each year in between if needed). This is an improvement as it cuts the amount of sand that was initially proposed to be dumped on the beach from 600,000 cubic yards to 300,000 cubic yards, thus helping to protect Broad Beach’s Marine Protected Area. Additionally, the project includes requiring homeowners to move their septic systems to a combined waste treatment plant, which will hopefully prevent sewage from polluting the beach area. However, the approved project compromises public access. Coastal Commission Staff had recommended that if, in the future, the beach eroded within 10 feet of the revetment (on the seaward side), a pedestrian path on the landward side of the revetment should be automatically opened for the public to ensured continued access to the beach. This recommendation reflected a reasonable compromise that would have protected both private property and public beach access. However, the Broad Beach property owners refused to enter into a proper easement and the Commission ultimately backed down and approved a project that does not include a “back up” pathway. Public access in the future is only guaranteed if the Executive Director of the Commission determines that the beach has eroded 10 feet or more seaward side of the revetment in three out of “any five-year period.”  +
Brown After-the-Fact Permit +This project brought into discussion the interesting issue of a post-Coastal Act development requiring an after-the-fact permit for a seawall necessary to protect both the applicant’s home and a neighboring pre-Coastal Act development, plus the gravel that was placed on the mid and upper bluff, a new bluff top deck and a “deadman” retaining system on the bluff top. The deadman retaining system was temporarily authorized under an emergency permit due to a large landslide that occurred in 1996. In 1997, the applicant still had not applied for a regular CDP for the retaining system nor had he applied for a CDP for the new bluff top deck that had been built. The Commission sent a Notice of Violation detailing the ongoing violations, but it was largely ignored. In 1999, additional bluff construction activities were undertaken without Commission approval and a letter to halt construction and reminding the applicants of the need to complete a CDP application was delivered. The back-and-forth of notifications sent, incomplete applications submitted and numerous other letters sent or submitted by the Commission Staff regarding the lack of compliance would continue for years. A completed application for a CDP was finally submitted in October 2015. While seawalls and other forms of hard armoring are not something to be celebrated, because this one was required to protect a pre-Coastal Act development, the fact that armoring impacts on sand supply and public access were acknowledged and factored into the conditions of the permit reflects Commission staff’s good work. Originally, as a condition for the permit, the applicant was to pay a sand supply fee of $1,096. He would have also been required to pay a public access and recreation mitigation fee of $154,662 if Commissioners hadn’t opted to drop it due to claims of inequity with how past permits were issued to neighboring properties, ignoring the fact that the neighbors took permitting steps in a timely and cooperative manner. The sand supply mitigation fee was calculated to determine the volume of sand that would have reached the beach if not prohibited by the shoreline armoring over a 22-year period. The public access and mitigation fee would have been to mitigate for the adverse impacts to public access and recreation resulting from the project (due to loss of beach). The final motion held the applicant responsible for the sand supply fee, but not the public access and recreation mitigation fee. He was determined to be responsible for a fee of $5,833 (factored by the square impacts of the wall).  +

C

CEMEX Cease and Desist +Since the early 1900s, sand mining companies have extracted sand from the Monterey coast. Although almost all were eventually shut down, one located in Marina has continued to take sand from the coast for several decades. This plant, owned by CEMEX, has also long been the subject of controversy in the community as it had become apparent that the Monterey coast was the fastest eroding coastline in California, likely due to the sand mining operations. In March, 2016, after years of urging by residents and the accumulation of scientific evidence, the Coastal Commission’s enforcement division informed CEMEX that a cease-and-desist order was imminent. As a result, settlement discussions between the sand mining corporation and Commission staff subsequently followed.. Meanwhile, on May 16, 2017, also in response to community activism, the State Lands Commission (SLC) wrote a letter to CEMEX, stating that the extraction of sand by the dredge pond required a lease that the company did not have and that the extraction of sand from the dredge pond without compensation to the state constituted expropriation of public property in violation of the California Constitution. The SLC further alleged that the sand extraction operation was a nuisance. Then, on June 6, 2017, the Marina City Council adopted a resolution finding that the dredge pond extraction operation constitutes a public nuisance. In the meantime, Commission enforcement staff continued negotiations with CEMEX and ultimately reached a consent order to resolve the alleged Coastal Act violations. The agreement requires that CEMEX stop sand mining on the property after three years; caps the amount of sand that can be mined during this time; requires CEMEX to remove dredges and other equipment from the property; abstains from causing any further changes in intensity of use; undertakes reclamation of the property and protects sensitive species on site; and ultimately transfers the property to an approved nonprofit or governmental entity for conservation at a reduced price, with a deed restriction to protect the access and the habitat at the site in perpetuity. Commissioner Mary Shallenberger motioned to approve the consent order pursuant to staff’s recommendation. She offered appreciation to enforcement staff and Cemex for the momentous decision. She added that the 3-year allowance is a reasonable time frame to allow CEMEX wind down operations and transition its staff. Commissioner Donne Brownsey seconded the motion. Commissioners unanimously approved staff’s recommendation and thus marked a momentous and historic decision in support of coastal protection.  +
Cabrillo Power I LLC Dredging Project +Cabrillo Power submitted an application for a permit to dredge 500,000 cubic yards of sand from the bottom of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and deposit the dredged sand on North, Middle, and South Beach in Carlsbad.  +
Camino Del Mar - Del Mar Seawall +The proposed seawall would remove unpermitted and emergency shoreline armoring and allow a new seawall to be constructed in its place to protect a home that was constructed in 1980, after the Coastal Act went into effect. In 1987, a shoreline protection device was built without a CDP. Based on a review of the California Records Project photographs, the device was modified in 1989 and 1997. None of these modifications were authorized through a CDP. Later, in 2015, 200 cubic yards of riprap was installed under an emergency permit in advanced of the 2016 El Niño storm season. The riprap permit was extended two years in a row and now the applicant is proposing a permanent seawall put in its place to protect post-Coastal Act development. The Surfrider Foundation spoke during the public comment portion of this item and commended staff for the conditions that tie the proposed permit to redevelopment of the adjacent home it is protecting as well as the mitigation fee, but noted that the Commission is nonetheless missing an important opportunity to use all of the tools available to help communities protect their coastal resources. The Commission could set an important precedent on interim seawall policy – to protect our coast between now and when LCPs are updated to include comprehensive sea level rise adaptation policies and planning. Unfortunately, the staff report praised the seawall’s ability to be made higher over time in response to sea level rise. Instead, any wave overtopping should indicate a need to rechannel energy into a longer-term solution. The Surfrider Foundation suggested that the Commission add special conditions in order to ensure protection of the Public Trust, including: Strengthen special condition #2, the definition of redevelopment, by including the word “any” before alterations. This will help clarify the cumulative nature of redevelopment. Redevelopment should not be the only safeguard for the public beach given sea level rise. Too often, we hear of homeowners upgrading the interior of their house without a CDP and thereby extending the life of their home and evading any cumulative review. When this happens, the property may be able to persist long after a typical development lifespan, typically 75 years. By then, it may be too late to save the beach from sea level rise. Instead, add language that also ties expiration of the permit to a sea level rise trigger such as beach width, or landward migration of the mean high tide line. Additionally, language could be added that also triggers expiration of the permit on a fixed, 20-year time limit. This will ensure that the Commission has the ability to review the proposed development’s impact on highly valuable public trust resources. Commissioners engaged in discussion on the diocese, expressing concern about this projects and its effects given sea level rise, coastal erosion and the impact on public resources. Chair Bochco mentioned concern that staff’s recommendation will prejudice the LCP update for sea level rise and coastal hazards that is currently under way. Ultimately, the Commission approved the CDP according staff’s recommendation in a 7-1 vote.  +
Carr Cabana Appeal +This was an appeal by Commissioners Zimmer and Bochco regarding the approval of a permit in the Hope Ranch area of Santa Barbara County. The property in question is a bluff-top estate with several pre-Coastal Act non-conforming structures including a cabana located in the middle of an eroding bluff . The prior owner had done extensive unpermitted work and was the subject of at least two open violations cases. The current owners, who were aware of the unpermitted work prior to purchase, applied to the County for a permit in 2009 for “as built’ construction. That application was withdrawn when the County recommended denial and the removal of the cabana. The owner then sought Landmark status for the cabana that was initially denied. A second attempt at Landmark status was approved in 2012. The owner then argued that the cabana’s Landmark status trumped all other policies in the LCP. The Planning Commission went against its staff’s recommendation of denial and ultimately approved the “as built” permit in March 2014. It is that local government decision that was appealed.  +
Cayucos Del Mar Hotel +The Cayucos Del Mar Hotel applicant, Frank DeCicco, proposed to subdivide 18 legal lots of record into three lots (two residential lots and one commercial lot) and to construct a 19-room, moderate cost, hotel (the “Cayucos Del Mar Hotel”) with associated underground hotel parking and landscaping. It would be located at the northeast corner of Ocean Boulevard and Old Creek Road, just inland of Highway 1, in the unincorporated community of Cayucos in San Luis Obispo County. The Commission previously heard an appeal of the San Luis Obispo’s permit for the project in 2009. Substantial issue was found. In 2015, the applicant submitted an amendment to slightly scale down the hotel project and eliminate the residential component. As such, Coastal Commission staff recommended approval of the project with conditions and determined that no additional low cost accommodation mitigation was necessary given that 4 of the rooms are considered lower cost. There was significant community opposition to the project due to objections of the project’s inconsistency with the County’s LUP policies including community character, parking concerns and visual impacts.  +
Cayucos Sanitary District Chevron Outfall Repurposing +The Cayucos Sanitary District (CSD) proposed to repurpose an existing Chevron Estero Marine Terminal offshore pipeline for use as a treated wastewater effluent outfall with discharge from a new tertiary Water Resource Recovery Facility that the CSD is constructing further inland. The proposed work is part of a larger project called the Cayucos Sustainable Water Project that ultimately seeks to achieve 100% reuse of the treated effluent produced by the CSWP. Surfrider opposed repurposing Chevron’s ocean outfall in Cayucos and instead urged Cayucos to find a way to recycle their water, find creative storage solutions or share an existing outfall with the City of Cambria. Surfrider was concerned the community may become dependent on this outfall, using it for other needs rather than planning for zero ocean outfall. Commissioner Mike Wilson addressed this concern by adding a special condition prohibiting any other uses for the outfall. Commissioners approved the project unanimously.  +
Cease and Desist Order OceanAire Apartments Pacifica +On Thursday, the Commission heard a cease and desist order involving the collapse and closure, since December 2016, of a public access stairway and trail system that provides public access down a steep coastal bluff in Pacifica. The violations also include unpermitted development activities including unauthorized grading, trenching, and the placement of large boulders, which occurred on the beach and coastal bluff. These actions have violated an existing public access easement required by a CDP for construction of adjacent residential properties. The Commission reached a settlement with the properties at issue using their administrative penalties authority under Section 30821, requiring the violators to pay $1,450,000 into the Commission’s Violation Remediation Account as well as to restore public access and remove unpermitted development - including the large boulders on the beach. The Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Protection Network both spoke in support of this order and the use of administrative penalties as measures to protect public access and restore the beach. As Susan Jordan of CCPN pointed out, this is a reminder that you have to be vigilant with coastal access. Coastal Commission staff worked with the property owners to come to an agreement and therefore the cease and desist orders were consent-based. Commissioners unanimously approved the orders.  +
City of Dana Point LCP Amendment - Strands Beach +The City of Dana Point submitted an Local Coastal Plan (LCP) request to amend the Land Use Plan (LUP) to establish hours of operation for the Mid-Strand and Central Strand public beach accessways (5 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and to allow the issuance of a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the installation of retractable automated locking gates at the Mid-Strand and Central Strand public beach accessways to enforce the hours of operation. The LCP amendment also states that other accessways providing access to the beach, including the South Strand Switchback Trail, Strand Beach Park and the Strand Revetment Trail shall be open 24 hours per day. Staff’s recommendation rejects the installation of gates and suggests, as an alternative to gates at the subject accessways, that the City could install simple single-strand ropes, or similar device (e.g. single chain), that can be draped across the accessways and hooked in a “closed” position during hours of closure and that will hang or be hooked in an open position at the accessways during hours of operation. A rope, along with the informational signage the City has proposed, will provide a less confrontational means of informing beach goers of when the accessways are available and not available for use by the public.  +
City of San Diego Local Coastal Program Amendment Regarding Children’s Pool +The City of San Diego sought to revise public access and marine resource protection policies in its Land Use Plan (LUP) to allow a seasonal closure at Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla during the Harbor Seal pupping season (from December 15 to May 15 of every year). The amendment provides special protection of the Children’s Pool seal population during pupping season. During the five-month closure period, beach access would be prohibited. However the breakwater surrounding the beach area would remain open throughout the year.  +
City of San Diego Secondary Treatment Waiver +The City of San Diego submitted a consistency certification for the reissuance of its secondary treatment waiver for the municipal discharges from its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). The waiver reissuance would be needed to allow San Diego to continue to discharge effluent receiving less than full secondary treatment in terms of total suspended solids (TSS) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). If no waiver were granted, the City would be required under the Clean Water Act to implement upgrades meeting secondary treatment requirements, which would mean removal of 85% of both TSS and BOD. With a waiver, CWA Section 301(h) and (j) require, among other things, removal of 80% of TSS and 58% of BOD. Other coastal municipalities that had sought past waivers have now upgraded to secondary treatment. San Diego is pursuing a different approach: as an alternative to upgrading to secondary treatment, they propose to reduce wastewater flows to the plant, through water recycling, which then reduces flows (and pollutant loads) into the ocean. On December 9, 2014, the City of San Diego expanded and updated its commitments to water reuse, in a Cooperative Agreement with San Diego Coastkeeper, the San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, and the San Diego Audubon Society. This agreement commits San Diego to a compliance schedule for initially implementing at least 15 million gallons per day (MGD)of potable water reuse by end of 2023, at least 30 MGD by the end of 2027, and ultimately achieving at least 83 MGD of wastewater reuse by the end of 2035. The Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Order incorporates the City’s commitments to continue to pursue and implement its recycled water program, converting wastewater into potable water, under a program called “Pure Water San Diego.” The US EPA, San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and Coast Law Group all testified in favor of the waiver. A representative from the US EPA testified pointing out that the associated discharge empties into federal waters – thus prompting this agenda item. The EPA has the sole responsibility of acting on the waiver. They pointed out that the City has already met very stringent requirements that do not adversely effect the ocean environment. The performance of the facility has improved over the past 20 year and meets permitting authority requirements by a wide margin. The opposition, Steve Ray, claimed that the same amount of wastewater would be discharged in 2050 than there is today, even with Pure Water, due to rapid population growth that will result in more wastewater discharges and therefore the waiver should not be granted. During deliberation, Commissioner Shallenberger highlighted that Pure Water San Diego proves that “there is affordable technology that can truly answer water supply problems. We don’t need anything fancy or detrimental if we don’t want to” – apparently in reference to the benefits associated with wastewater recycling when compared to costly desalination and other similar infrastructure projects. The waiver concurrence was approved unanimously.  +
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