COASTAL PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION
Coastal property groups in California are banning together to oppose AB 1129 and your help is needed to stop the bill. This bill will further erode or eliminate the ability to protect our homes and businesses from coastal erosion. Additionally it will fast track the California Coastal Commission’s ability to immediately impose large civil penalties against property owners without any due process.
The bill can be seen at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1129
Your help is needed by sending the letter below or a personalized version.
Coastal Property Owners Association of Santa Cruz County
Please be sure to enter your name, address, phone number, date, name and residency on the letter’s first line and the sender’s name at the end.
Christina Garcia at 916-319-2158
Mark Stone at 916-319-2129 &
Eric Anderson at 949-492-0884 (for delivery to the remaining eight committee members)
Or scan and email to Michael.Jarred@asm.ca.gov with the email cc to firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be faxed to the remaining committee members.
Via Facsimile (916-319-2158)
Honorable Cristina Garcia, Chair
Assembly Natural Resources Committee
1020 N Street, Room 164
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 1129 (Stone) ““ OPPOSE
Natural Resources Committee Hearing Date: April 17, 2017
Dear Chairwoman Garcia,
I _____________ live in the city of ____________in _______________ County. I write to respectfully oppose AB 1129 (Stone). This bill would inhibit landowners’ ability to protect their coastal property from inclement weather emergencies and erosion that can threaten their safety and protection. Currently, the Coastal Act promises that homeowners can protect their homes against destruction by the ocean. This bill would remove that promise.
This proposed bill would codify the destruction of beach and/or cliff front homes destroyed by the forces of nature. The Coastal Commission policy of abandonment and destruction, “managed retreat”, has long reaching local jurisdiction, economic and environmental impacts. None of these negative impacts have been analyzed or addressed.
Local jurisdictions will be required to amend local coastal plans, general plans, zoning ordinances, monitor the loss of housing, and in particular low and moderate income housing, amend housing plans, and expend significant amount of tax payer dollars to do accomplish those tasks. This bill has negative significant financial impacts on local jurisdictions.
The local and California economies will be severely, negatively impacted by the reduction in housing for all income levels, loss of customers for local businesses, loss of jobs for both local and Californians that support the housing, and loss of tax revenue with an increase in cost for the local jurisdictions and California.
Codifying these negative impacts by denying the right to protect housing will result in damage to the coastal environment by the disbursement of debris, the loss of beaches, injury and/or death to persons.
The proposed bill would deprive residents, businesses and local jurisdictions of their due process rights by permitting the Coastal Commission to, in effect, impose fines unilaterally. This is unconstitutional. The negative impacts will be felt the strongest by individual homeowners who do not have the economic ability to fight the Coastal Commission or to pay excessive fines.
In closing, the above does not address the numerous problems with this proposed bill. I have attached a bullet point summary of the significant issues with AB 1129 – please vote no on this bill.
CC: Assemblymember Mark Stone (Facsimile: 916-319-2129)
Assemblymembers, Natural Resources Committee
c/o Michael Jarred, Senior Consultant (Michael.Jarred@asm.ca.gov)
“¢ Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution provides that protecting property and obtaining safety are inalienable rights of all individuals.
“¢ AB 1129 is directed at the individual homeowner whose property may be threatened by the destruction from the ocean.
“¢ Destruction of homes will occur because destruction of homes is what is intended to be allowed by AB 1129.
“¢ AB 1129 imposes a capricious and nonsensical standard because it arbitrarily removes the right to protect homes built after January 1, 1977.
“¢ When an individual constructs a seawall with private dollars to protect a home, the seawall typically also protects the public infrastructure landward of the home, including the public street and the utilities running under or along that street.
“¢ On beaches backed by unstable bluffs, seawalls significantly enhance public safety on the beach below by eliminating the large bluff collapse danger zone (which typically extends 30 feet from the toe of the bluff).
“¢ In North San Diego County alone, 5 beachgoers have been killed from bluff collapses since 1995.
“¢ The major construction of seawalls, revetments and other armoring structures have been by government agencies (e.g., California Dept. of Transportation, Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, many locally owned and developed small craft harbors), public utilities (e.g., SDG&E, PG&E, SCEdison), railroads (e.g. Southern Pacific), and many cities and counties.
“¢ The major loss of sand for beaches has come from public and private development within the upland watershed, including transportation corridors, jetties, harbors, dams and flood protection projects built by the State and other public agencies. Yet the homeowner is now to be threatened with loss of their home because the government cut off the supply of natural sand to the beaches.
“¢ In Southern California, public and allowed private development within the upland watershed has permanently cut off 96% of historical sediment flow to our beaches. This artificially induced sediment starved condition causes substantial ongoing beach erosion, threatening public infrastructure and private structures along the California coastline.
“¢ With or without seawalls, California’s beaches will continue to narrow without beach replenishment projects like the Army Corps projects slated for San Clemente, Encinitas and Solana Beach.
“¢ There are no “variety of alternatives to coastal armoring” that can protect many properties in danger from erosion.
“¢ Ninety percent (90%) of the shoreline is free from “armoring” and only a very tiny part of the shoreline has the potential need for armoring to protect homes on private property.
“¢ But for the existence of Public Resources Code 30235 requiring that protection be allowed to existing structures when endangered by erosion, the Coastal Commission would cause private homes to be destroyed by the forces of the ocean, rather than allow protection. AB 1129 will now authorize the Coastal Commission to deny protection to homeowners and require that the homeowners stand by while their homes are destroyed. This is called a policy of abandonment and destruction is euphemistically called “managed retreat”.
“¢ The Coastal Commission policy of “managed retreat” requires that oceanfront homes be allowed to be destroyed by the ocean without the homeowner being able to construct long used methods that would protect the home.
“¢ The homeowners only protection against loss of their home has been the Coastal Act’s promise that if threatened, the homeowner shall be allowed to protect their home. AB 1129 removes this promise.
“¢ The new requirement that to be allowed to be protected a structure must have been in existence on January 1, 1977 allows thousands of homes built since 1977 to now be unprotected. The majority of these homes were approved by the Coastal Commission or by a local government under a certified Local Coastal Program.
“¢ The elimination of seawalls will not magically improve or restore beaches. Without artificial sand replenishment projects, California’s beaches will continue to erode.
“¢ The new language that any protection available to pre 1977 homes be “consistent with the policies of this division, including policies pertaining to protection of public access, shoreline ecology, natural landforms, and other impacts on coastal resources” is vague and untethered to any specific standard. This vagueness is intended to allow the Coastal Commission to deny protection to pre 1977 homes on the grounds that such protection will have “other impacts on coastal resources”.
“¢ The amendments to Public Resources Code 30624(b) and (c) do not identify what “that” permit means and requiring “any permit issued by a local official” to go to the next meeting of the governing body makes a mockery of the authority to issue an emergency permit. By the time of the meeting, the emergency may have resulted in tragic loss to private property owners.
“¢ Subsection 30624(e)(1) is unnecessary as the Coastal Commission already limits the emergency permits which are issued.
“¢ Subsection 30624(e)(2) deprives each citizen of the right for a hearing on whether or not an alleged violation is knowing and intentional. The importance to the individual is incredible. Without proving that a violation is knowing and intentional, the present maximum fine is $30,000. If no proof is now required because “any violation . . . shall constitute a knowing and intentional violation”, the maximum fine is up to $15,000 for each day that the violation persists. As this legislation is directed at the individual homeowner, the fines can bankrupt an individual who did no more than try to protect their home.
“¢ The Coastal Commission has had the power to impose fines on interference with public access since 2015.
“¢ The Coastal hearing to impose a fine resembles no due process that any reasonable person would expect. There is no sworn testimony. There is no impartial adjudicator. The Coastal Staff prepares a report and recommends a fine. The property owner gets a few minutes in front of the Coastal Commission to object.
“¢ Since all new shoreline protection violations are by definition, “Knowing and intentional”, the Coastal Commission ability to impose a fine of 75% of the authorized fine in a court of law, a shoreline protection allowed by an emergency permit but is not removed when the Coastal Commission says so can threaten a single homeowner with a Coastal Commission imposed fine of $4,106,250 for just one year. No proof is required that any impact on public resources has occurred.
“¢ The Coastal Commission complaint that going to court to impose a fine is “too hard” should be rejected. The courts are the citizens’ protection from an overzealous government. Individual residents do not have the financial ability to take the Coastal Commission to court to fight a fine.
“¢ AB 1129 will subject the State and local governments to liabilities when damage to individual homes occurs because the Coastal Commission refuses to allow the homeowner to protect their own property.
“¢ The Coastal Commission was given the authority to impose fines in 2015. A report is due in 2019. New fine authority should not be extended until that report is filed.