Newport Beach Encroachments


July 1, 2019

The Commission acted on the City of Newport Beach’s request to amend both the Land Use Plan and Local Implementation Plan portion of the certified LCP to expand the allowable residential beach encroachments zone on the Balboa Peninsula from 1400 E. Oceanfront to Channel Road, a maximum of 15 feet oceanward of ocean-facing property lines. The city owns the right-of-way that extends 15 feet in front of the parcels where homeowners desire to continue encroaching, but this space is meant for public use. The city claims that it can offset its leasing of land to private homeowners by using fees for public benefit on the beach elsewhere. However, in addition to sending a message that private property should be allowed to expand into public space, it is nowhere near guaranteed that this loss of public beach space will be replaced equally elsewhere. Staff recommended denial of the proposed amendment and Commissioners unanimously agreed.

Why You Should Care

Although it’s wide now, the beach is projected to narrow significantly over the coming decades due to sea level rise. Every inch of beach space is becoming more and more precious, not only for human use and recreation, but also as a vital habitat for a great diversity of marine life including many endangered and threatened species.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Donne Bronswey stated she believes the LCPA is confoundly out of conformance with the Coastal Act and motioned to approve the staff recommendation of denial. Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh seconded the motion. Commissioner Linda Escalante called the encroachments “squatting by the rich” and noted that the privatization of public beaches is an environmental justice problem. Commissioners unanimously denied the LCPA.

Organizations Opposed

Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club, Mark and Sharon Fudge

Decision Type

LCP Amendment

Staff Recommendation


Coastal Act Policy