On Friday, the Commission narrowly approved construction of a new blufftop residence in Cayucos that would rely on an existing riprap seawall. The new home would replace an existing home and more than triple the size. Originally, the staff recommendation precluded repair and maintenance of the existing wall, ensuring it would erode away over time. At the last minute, staff posted an addendum that removed that requirement. The Coastal Act and the County's LCP both expressly prohibit armoring to protect new development as an important means to protect the coast from erosion and rising seas. Coastal Commission technical staff conclude that when factoring in sea level rise, the minimum bluff setback for the proposed development may be 35-40 feet, however, only a 25 foot setback is required. The Surfrider Foundation commented, urging the Commission to prohibit future seawall repair and maintenance and to increase the blufftop setback to 40 feet. Regardless, the Commission approved the development in a 5-4 vote.
Why You Should Care
The project sets a terrible precedent by allowing new development to rely on a seawall and fail to factor sea level rise into the setback calculation. To save the coast from rising seas and coastal hazards, each permitting and planning decision we make today is of vital importance and will impact the coast for decades to come.
Negative Conservation Vote
Commissioner Matt O’Malley expressed concern with the insufficient setback, stating, “I strongly prefer we follow a more conservative more protective standard to ensure the new development is not relying on shoreline armoring.” Chair Donne Brownsey pointed out that there may be unpermitted structures in the adjacent properties extending into the shoreline.
Coastal Development Permit
Approval with Conditions