Article written by John Erskine, Esq, with Nossaman LLP, provides a detailed and practical guideline and summary of the origins of the California Coastal Act, Sea Level Rise, and adaptation strategies for both public and private projects in Coastal Hazards Zones. (To view and read this document, open as a separate tab.)
This year, the California Legislature is doubling-down, having introduced more than a dozen bills intended to address sea level rise in some form or fashion. From a “takings” perspective, it appears the proposed legislation has been crafted broadly and in such a way as to avoid inverse condemnation or regulatory takings liability, but the real question will be how local jurisdictions implement the various programs (assuming the legislation is adopted).
The County has held two Zoom meetings on 2/3 & 2/17, to review proposed changes to the Live Oak Parking Program. 1) Expand the area covered to include all streets within two blocks of the ocean between the Harbor and Capitola City border (includes Opal Cliffs), 2) Extend seasonal permit from March to October (previously May to September), 3) Eliminate stickers and use Digital Parking App to obtain permits (seasonal and day use), 4) Seasonal permit fee $75 for residents and non-residents, 5) Temporary permit $2/hr for day use on Weekends and Holidays, 6) Residents will be allowed to register up to 5 vehicles but may only park one on the street at a time during restricted hours 11 a.m – 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays March – October, and 7) increased parking enforcement. The Live Oak Parking Program Application is expected to be submitted for Coastal Permit on March 1st, and to the board of Supervisors for approval on April 13th. New parking season begins on May 1st.
Petitioners are five property owners with a private driveway easement on Geoffrey Drive,
Santa Cruz, located on a bluff above Twin Lakes State Beach. Petitioners challenge the Coastal
Commission’s jurisdiction to (1) reverse the County’s exemption determination on their
application for a Development Permit to install a gate and fence on their easement; (2) require
Petitioners to either remove the gate and fence or apply for a Coastal Development Permit
(CDP); and (3) impose civil penalties if Plaintiffs refuse to remove the gate and fence to allow
public access to Twin Lakes State Beach. The CA Superior Court ruled that the CA Coastal Commission does not have the authority to impose unreasonable fines and fees to an approved application for Coastal Development Permit, after it has been approved by Santa Cruz County in accordance to it’s approved Local Coastal Plan.
The legislation (SB 1090) presented by Sen. Patricia Bates, a Republican from Laguna Niguel, to the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee in Sacramento would obligate public agencies and private owners of seafront property in San Diego and Orange Counties to mitigate coastal erosion.
SB 1090 would require the Coastal Commission to review and approve a public agency’s or homeowner’s application for erosion-mitigation efforts in regard to planting, drainage and seawall or other reinforcing structures. Approved applicants also would have to pay for the costs of sand replenishment and permit processing.
Homeowners fighting sea level rise say going to the Coastal Commission for any form of protection has increasingly become a non-starter. This new legislation (SB 1090), supporters say, would streamline a frustrating permitting process that could ultimately save lives. They point to the bluff collapse in Encinitas last summer that killed three women.
SB-1090 Coastal erosion: installation of shoreline protective devices: application process.(2019-2020)
CA bill will amend the application process for shoreline protection devices for Orange and San Diego Counties, to limit Sand Mitigation Fees to $25,000 per parcel or 1% of assessed value, and outlines an appeal process for denied applications. If passed, it is unclear if this bill will affect other Counties.
In a recent decision the California 4th District Court of Appeal sided with the California Coastal Commission on the 60-foot mandate for set back of new home on coastal bluff in Encinitas, Southern California. The property owner will not be able to rely on any shoreline protection, and must build the new home 60 feet from the bluff’s edge to meet the 75 year projected coastal erosion. A couple, who recent bought this property for $1.8M had hopes of building a new home overlooking the cliffs and beaches with only a 30 – 40 foot set back. But now, they must move the structure farther inland with no views of the cliffs or ocean surf. This is what could happen to Santa Cruz Coastal Property owners, if the County does not get a revised Local Coastal Plan approved by the CCC.
This KAZU Radio News article provides a summary of some of the concerns in addressing sea level rise. Professor Gary Griggs, David Carlson from the Planning Department, Cove Britton of Pacific Coast Protection Association, and several coastal property owners were interviewed. CPOA declined to be interviewed for this article.
The sea level rise is accelerating at a rate that is alarming according to the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) Report. In 2019, rates of sea level rise accelerated at all 21 of the stations studied along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts and at seven of the eight monitored stations along the U.S. West Coast.