May 5, 2007 Membership Meeting

Our 2007 Annual Membership meeting was held at the Shrine of Saint Josephs in Santa Cruz, California.

John Laird, California Assemblymember of District 27 was our guest speaker. Mr. Laird is currently serving his third Assembly term. Previously he served on the Santa Cruz City Council from 1981 to 1990.

Assemblymember Laird indicated that a lot of legislation is in the works to address global warming. Related studies on rising sea levels and the impacts on storm water and controlling pollution are being drafted. It was also was pointed out that climate change could influence policy in regards to coastal armoring.

The Assemblymember is aware of the frustrations coastal property owners face in protecting their homes and businesses. Changing policy in Sacramento to address our concerns has been a difficult task as a result of the many special interest groups that support the status quo.

Assemblymember Laird offered his services to assist coastal property owners who are having difficulty protecting their homes and businesses. The contact at his Santa Cruz office is Alison. She can be reached at 831-423-1503.

The following concerns were presented to Mr. Laird:

A global solution for protecting homes along Opal Cliffs which would include removing concrete ruble and enlarging the public beach was rejected by the Coastal Commission. Coastal Staff had previously recommended this approach after appealing three bluff top protection projects in 2001.

Without a global solution for Opal Cliffs, Local Coastal Staff will again now consider individual projects to protect homes. Coastal Staff however will not recommend bluff top protection projects unless a bluff failure is scientifically projected to at least intersect or undermine a structure’s foundation within one to two storm cycles (years).

Some Coastal Commission permit approvals are now requiring an indemnification from the applicant to protect the Commission from third party’s legal cost and attorney fees.

A new ordinance amendment was passed by our County Supervisors which takes away that land from the bluff top to the ocean when determining the permissible size of a new home or your ability to rebuild after a natural disaster.

Other items:

It was pointed out that last year we were successful in having the Coastal Commission deny a local coastal program amendment that the County did not properly notice to coastal property owners. This amendment would have adversely impacted the preservation of bluff top retaining walls and redefined shoreline protection structure requirements.

All board members were re-elected to another term. They are Keith Adams, James Beckett, Richard Berg, Gene Bernald, Dave DeBoer, James Marshall, Bill Osberg and Susan Rose.