Pacific Grove Sewage Infrastructure Upgrades


December 13, 2023

The City of Pacific Grove (City) granted a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to replace 964 linear feet of sewer pipeline and install 35 linear feet of new sewer pipeline, along with construction, reconstruction, and removal of several manholes. The appeal is focused on the Asilomar Dunes portion of the sewage upgrades, which have the potential to impact the coast. Surfrider Monterey rejects the staff’s notion that plan to replace nearly 1,000 feet of sewage line and add 35 feet of new line in a hazardous location is “very minor.” This project will be costly and intensive and represents a substantial investment into the status quo. The City’s permit, as conditioned, does not go far enough. It does not require future coastal hazard planning, waive the right to shoreline armoring, or adequately address traffic impacts from construction.

Why You Should Care

One of the Coastal Commission’s most important roles is to oversee proactive sea level rise planning and ensuring local governments adhere to their local coastal programs. It is in these moments where the Commission can fulfill that role. By failing to find Substantial Issue with this permit, the Commission is missing a significant opportunity to enforce those planning commitments. As a state, our sea level rise guidance calls for relocating vital infrastructure out of harm’s way. This permit should come with a commitment for sewage infrastructure relocation before sea level rise threatens it; otherwise, we are only kicking the can down the road for a potential sewage leak into one of the state’s most pristine, biodiverse, and important protected areas, which lies adjacent to the Pacific Grove Area of Special Biological Significance, California State Marine Reserves and State Marine Conservation Areas, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the California Coastal National Monument.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioners agreed with staff that no substantial issue was warranted.

Organizations Opposed

Anthony Ciana, Surfrider Foundation Monterey Chapter

Decision Type


Staff Recommendation

No Substantial Issue

Coastal Act Policy