CCC to hold public hearing on 2/11/22 on the Santa Cruz County’s proposed Amendments to the LCP, Safety Elements, policies and regulations

The California Coastal Commission Central Coast Regional Office will hold a public hearing on 2/11/22 @ 9:30 a.m. via Virtual Hearing, on the majority of the LCP’s safety Element policies and corresponding procedures. Safety Element 6.4 (Land Use Plan) for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, has been omitted from the LCP amendments under consideration and will not be discussed at the 2/11/22. However, many of the corresponding policies and procedures in the Geological Hazards sections (Implementation Plan chapter 16.10) have been included in the 333 page Safety Element Update, Exhibits 1 – 4 for the 2/11/22 public hearing. CCC has recommended to Certify the Safety Elements Implementation Plan chapter 16.10, as modified. The CCC modifications appear to be minor with some impact on Coastal Property Owners (ocean front properties).

Coastal Encroachment Program, approved by the County may force property owners to remove fences, walkways, patios and landscaping which encroaches on public access to the beaches

Since the Live Oak Parking Program was abandoned in 2019, the Coastal Commission has required the County of Santa Cruz to develop a Coastal Encroachment Program, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors, to identify and address any existing or proposed encroachments to public right- of-way, roads and easements which provide access to the public beaches. As a first step, a survey conducted by the County Parks Department, has identified access encroachments along 24th, 25th and 26th avenues off of East Cliff Drive, where property owners have built fences, patios, and installed landscaping which is encroaching on public roads, limiting parking and access to the public beaches. Letters were recently sent to the property owners along these streets, to request they remove the improvements, or pay the County Parks Department and “Encroachment Fee” of $5,000 – 20,000 or more each year. A special meeting between the property owners and Supervisor Manu Koenig will be held in January, 2022 to review the survey’s findings and possible solutions for property owners.

Coastal Commission to Extend deadline to review Santa Cruz County’s LCP

The CCC has placed a consent item on the CCC October agenda to extend the time frame to review and comment on the County’s proposed amendments to the LCP for Coastal Bluffs and Beaches until February 2022. According to Kevin Kahn, the CCC plans to provide written feedback to the County by the end of the year (December 2021), and will also consider additional input from major stakeholders such as the County, CPOA and the Surf Riders Association.

County of Santa Barbara withdraws their LCP from submission to the CCC

Santa Barbara County withdraws it amended LCP to address Sea Level Rise due to significant disagreements with the CCC regarding requested modifications: 1) definition of ‘existing structures,’ the Commission has interpreted this term, in the context of Section 30235, to mean structures that were in existence when the Coastal Act was enacted” (i.e., January 1, 1977), 2) new structures or redevelopment within coastal hazard will not be entitled to new shoreline protection under Public Resources Code Section 30235 or any analogous provision of this LCP, 3) new or modified developments (structures) that are reliant on existing shoreline protection should be moved/relocated to provide more setback and shoreline protection removed, 4) require that Coastal Development Permits for shoreline protective devices expire after 20 years, after that the CDPs may be extended but must include mitigation measures to minimize impacts to shoreline sand supply, public access, biological resources, or other coastal resources be reassessed in 20-year increments.

CCC Meeting 9/9/21, Santa Cruz County LCP Amendment Number LCP-3-SCO-21-0050-1- Part A (Park Fees/Dedication)

The CCC will review and approve Santa Cruz County’s proposed changes to Public Park Beach fees and access. According to Section 15.05.05, the word “beach” will now be changed to “coastal access” throughout and the minimum public shoreline access easement width is increased from 5 feet to 10 feet. It appears that easements for current beach access paths for Public Parks will be widened from 5 to 10 feet, to access costal beaches. This would impact beaches such as Twin Lakes, Blacks Beach, and Moran Lake. The easement to adjacent property owners may be increased by up to five feet on either side of existing beach trails in State & local parks, without any compensation to the property owners.

Coastal Commission Delayed review of Santa Cruz County LCP Amendments

The Proposed Santa Cruz County LCP Amendments for Coast Beaches & Bluffs have been filed with the Coastal Commission, who is scheduled to meet with County officials in the next few weeks to discuss identified issues and timing for changes. The CCC Hearing on the County LCP Amendments will most likely be delayed from this Fall until Early Winter 2022. For more information, contact Kevin Kahn, at CCC: kevin.kahn@coastal.ca.gov

Coastal Commission Issues Draft Guidance to Protect Public Infrastructure that Serves Shoreline Communities

This Draft Guidance focuses on water and transportation infrastructure with a goal of promoting resilient coastal infrastructure and protection of coastal resources. The document provides local governments, asset managers, and other stakeholders with policy and planning information to help inform sea level rise adaptation decisions that are consistent with the Coastal Act. The Commission’s guidance presents five key considerations and makes a series of recommendations.
Strategies include floodproofing, elevating or relocating existing infrastructure and siting new
infrastructure in safer areas. Many of the approaches could broadly apply to other types of infrastructure
such as power plants, gas pipelines and other shoreline facilities.