Opal Cliffs New Blufftop House with Seawall


May 1, 2023

The Coastal Commission denied a County of Santa Cruz permit for the demolition of a home at Opal Cliffs Drive and construction of a new 8,200 square foot house reliant on a shoreline armoring structure. The LCP requires that new blufftop development demonstrate site stability and structural integrity over a 100-year period by establishing a 100-year erosion setback from the blufftop edge, without consideration of shoreline armoring. Addressing the unpermitted sea cave fill at this location was not included in the application. Approving a new home in this location would perpetuate the existing shoreline armoring which is currently contributing to an impassable section of coast on popular Opal Cliff beaches on all but the lowest of tides.

Why You Should Care

By denying this permit, the Commission upheld key Coastal Act and County LCP policies designed to protect coastal resources, including the beach and surfing waves, while also considering the long-term impacts of climate change and rising seas. It demonstrates a commitment to coastal resilience, sustainability, and the well-being of both the natural environment and the community.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

The Commission unanimously denied the permit due to its straightforward lack of consistency with the LCP and Coastal Act.

Organizations Opposed

Surfrider Foundation

Decision Type


Staff Recommendation


Coastal Act Policy