County Board of Supervisors Voted Not to Withdraw the proposed LCP Amendments

On September 20, 2022 the County Board of Supervisors voted not to withdraw the proposed LCP Amendments for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, but to allow it to go to the Coastal Commissioners for Hearing on October 13, 2022. It is anticipated that the Coastal Commissioners will reject (deny) the proposed LCP Amendments, and send it back to the County for revision and resubmittal. The Supervisors directed the Planning staff to begin setting up meetings with CCC staff, CCC Regional Officers and major stake holders beginning in early 2023, with the goal of resubmitting LCP amendments that can be certified by CCC by October 2023. This is also tied to Housing Element which is due by December 2023.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY TO WITHDRAW ALL OF THE PROPOSED LCP AMENDMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE COASTAL COMMISSION FOR CERTIFICATION.

Without a formal written review, Coastal Commission staff has informed County staff they intend to recommend denial of the amendments related to coastal hazards, including LCP Safety Element 6.4 (Land Use Plan) for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, and the Geological Hazards sections (Implementation Plan chapter 16.10), which were deferred for review by CCC until this summer. Therefore the County Planning Department Staff has recommended to the Board of Supervisors that the entire LCP proposed amendments be withdrawn. CPOA has requested the County share all feedback received from the CCC regarding the LCP Safety Element 6.4 (Land Use Plan) for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, and the Geological Hazards sections (Implementation Plan chapter 16.10).

CCC to rule on extension for County to respond to requested changes to the LCP until 8/11/23

Santa Cruz County has requested to Extend the Time Limit for Acceptance of
the Commission’s Certification (with Suggested Modifications) of Santa
Cruz County Local Coastal Program (LCP) Amendment Number LCP-3-
SCO-20-0067-2 (Safety Element). If approved by the CCC, this would extend the deadline for the County to respond and accept the CCC recommended changes until 8/11/23. The LCP under consideration does NOT include the sections of the Safety Element Section 6.4 (Land Use Plan) for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, which will not be reviewed until August of 2022 according to Kevin Kahn, District Manager, Central Coast Division, California Coastal Commission. For more information, please refer to https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2022/7, Thursday, agenda item 13b.

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.