The Coastal Commission found ‘substantial issue’ with a Santa Cruz County coastal development permit (CDP) for shoreline armoring and drainage infrastructure at the Black’s Point Beach portion of Twin Lakes State Beach fronting Geoffrey Drive. The development was first constructed under a County emergency permit and subsequently issued a CDP. The work includes bluff excavation, installing a concrete foundation on the lower bluff, an erosion control grid, drainage infrastructure and installing a chain link fence at the blufftop edge. The County did not approve the chain link fence in the follow-up CDP. The County’s CDP inadequately addresses the legality of the shoreline armoring and the impacts of the drainage infrastructure. The development is also located in the same bluff area that is currently under review for a prescriptive rights access easement based on historical use and there are open and active violations related to unpermitted development at this site including fending, signage, security guards remain unresolved. The Commission unanimously found ‘substantial issue’ with the County’s CDP. The issue will return for a ‘de novo’ hearing in the future.
Why You Should Care
The County’s permit fails to comply with Coastal Act requirements on shoreline armoring and may negatively impact water quality. This is yet another example of an emergency armoring permit being left in place with inadequate review and unmitigated impacts.
Negative Conservation Vote
The applicant’s lawyer offered ‘alternative facts’ to the staff report and argued that their development is only repair and maintenance - a common argument from those wishing to subvert Coastal Act requirements.
Substantial Issue Exists