On Thursday, the Coastal Commission enthusiastically approved the City of Morro Bay’s comprehensive local coastal program update. The update was several years in the making and was approved with complete concurrence between Commission and City staff. Surfrider Foundation supported the City’s coastal hazard policies. Many of the City’s policies, particularly on coastal access and hazards, should serve as a model for other jurisdictions moving forward. Several noteworthy policies included:
- Protection of oceanfront lands for public recreational use.
- Relocation of the wastewater treatment plant away from the immediate shoreline and development of a recreational and visitor serving use of the site.
- Open space policies specifically identify options to relocate portions of parks and open spaces susceptible to sea level rise impacts, and seek funding to implement the identified adaptation strategies.
- Public safety policies call for preservation of the shoreline as a natural living shoreline
- Define existing development as development constructed before the implementation of the California Coastal Act on January 1, 1977.
- Improve environmental justice by improving the accessibility of public spaces
Moving forward, Surfrider urged the City and Coastal Commission to build upon these policies by including the following specific implementation actions that will prohibit shoreline armoring of coastal trails and develop clear policies on temporary and emergency permitting. The Commission unanimously approved the LCP update.
Why You Should Care
LCPs are basic planning tools used by local governments to guide development in the coastal zone, in partnership with the Coastal Commission containing the rules and regulations for future development and protection of coastal resources. Planning for the future of our vulnerable coastal communities needs to happen as soon as possible. The hazards chapter is especially important for coastal communities, as we are already experiencing impacts of the climate crisis with increased wildfire risks, rising sea levels, and emergent groundwater. Our County can’t afford any more delays.
Negative Conservation Vote
Commissioner Brownsey commented that this LCP serves as a great model for the entire state, especially with regard to the sea level rise planning. She noted that we have to be realistic and take sea level rise planning seriously and pointed to the recent findings and information in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. The Commission unanimously approved the LCP update.
Land Use Plan Update