By Stefanie Sekich-Quinn | Published 2015/01/14
Safeguarding Beach Access for all Californians by Creating More Low Cost Overnight Facilities.
A key role of the Coastal Commission is to preserve and protect public access to the beach. However, beach access is limited, or lost, for millions of low to moderate incomes families—especially as “low cost” overnight accommodations are increasingly disappearing from the coast and being replaced with high-end hotels and resorts.Commission staff report.
Over the past few months Commissioners have been discussing how to meet demand for lower cost visitor accommodations. During their review of applications for coastal hotels, Commissioners are increasingly concerned with preserving the remaining areas where low cost accommodations exist along the California coast.
Commissioners have repeatedly noted:
Section 30213 requires “permitted development to protect, encourage and, where feasible, provide lower cost visit or and recreational facilities.” The Commission has collected over 19 million dollars of “in-lieu fee mitigation” for impacts to lower cost visitor serving facilities. The Commission staff identifies and allocates those funds to improve the development of lower cost visitor serving facilities along the California coast. Most of the in-lieu fees are limited to state parks facilities or youth hostel projects. While valuable, these facilities don’t meet the needs of all people (e.g. families, elderly etc), who may need or prefer other types of facilities.
New ideas and options are needed to improve state policies that protect and provide low cost visitor serving facilities. Coastal advocates believe the Commission should conduct the following activities as they seek to improve the situation.
The Commission will hold an addition workshop to follow up on the conversation that took place at the December hearing.