CPOA Testimony for the Board of Supervisor’s Meeting on 2/13/24 re Contract Award to Integral Consulting

CPOA urges the Board of Supervisors to direct staff to re-issue RFP, ensure it reaches the appropriate contact people at each of the major Coastal Consulting firms, and to extend the deadline by 30 days.

Santa Cruz County recommended Integral Consulting to Conduct Coastal Vulnerability Study & Recommend Changes to the LCPd

County staff had recommended Integral Consulting be awarded a grant in the amount of $692,608 to complete a vulnerability assessment of the Santa Cruz County Coastline and to recommend changes to the Local Coastal Plan (Land Use & Implementation Plan) to address coastal erosion and loss of public beaches due to sea level rise for the next 50 – 100 years. We are very concerned that Integral Consulting may have strong ties to the Coastal Commission and would not necessarily best represent the interests of the County and the Coastal Property Owners. CPOA Members are urged to Contact Supervisors Koenig, McPhearson, and Friend to get them to vote on February 13th to put the Vulnerability Assessment and recommended LCP changes for Santa Cruz County back out to bid. We do not want Integral Consulting to get the award!

CCC Issues Cease & Desist Order, Sanctions and Fines Rio Del Mar Island HOA $4.7 Million

CCC disagreed with Court’s decision, that the 37 foot wide walkway along the beach in front of the “Island” properties was private, but that is irrelevant. The Rio Del Mar Island HOA and property owner at 202 Beach Dr. are in violation of their initial 1980 Coastal Development Permit and subsequent Amendments, which require the homeowners restore and allow for public access to the beach along the pathway in front of the homes in accordance with the Coastal Act. Cease & Desist Order is effective 12/23/23, the Rio Del Mar Island HOA must remove the barriers at both ends of the walkway, remove the non-native ice plant, pots, other debris and obstacles within 8 feet of the revetment rocks to allow for public access. The CCC also levied fines of $4.7 M which they felt should have been closer to $28 M. Property owners plan to appeal.

CPOA Endorses Candidates for 2024 County Board of Supervisors Election

CPOA endorses Manu Koenig (District 1) and Kim De Serpa (District 2) who have committed to supporting “the rights of coastal property owners” to protect their structures and properties from coastal erosion, and to guarantee that CPOA will have a “seat at the table” in every step from the Vulnerability Study to the proposed revisions of the Local Coastal Plan – Safety Hazards for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs (Land Use and Implementation Plan). Please contribute to their campaigns.

CPOA to Investigate Funding Options in Support of 2024 County Elections

COA is investigating the feasibility of establishing a Political Action Committee and other funding alternatives to allow CPOA to raise funds and contribute to our chosen candidates for the County Board of Supervisors in our next election.

County Approves Submission of Grant Application to CCC for sea level rise vulnerability assessment and preparation of related Local Coastal Program General Plan

The County Board of Supervisor’s just approved the submission of a grant application to the Coastal Commission to fund $733,000 to fund a sea level rise vulnerability assessment and preparation of related Local Coastal Program General Plan, which is expected to be awarded by CCC this summer. Then the County will select a Coastal Engineering Consultant to complete the Vulnerability Study and begin work on revising the LCP this fall.

Recent Storm Damages in Aptos Rio Del Mar and Beach Dr.

The heaviest damages sustained in Santa Cruz County were in Aptos, Rio Del Mar, and along Beach Dr. Dozens of homes along a roughlymile stretch of road at Beach Drive in Rio Del Mar were badly damaged after rising seas and massive piles of debris tore apart concrete walls and rushed through front yards and living rooms. Five homes have been red- tagged, including one which was pushed off it’s foundation onto Beach Dr. 19 other homes sustained heavy flood damage and were yellow tagged according to the County Building inspector. The sidewalk and railing along the beach front was also damaged. Property owner’s have begun the tedious process of clean-up and repairs. Please help and support these property owner’s with any thing you can.

County Board of Supervisors to Delay Public Hearing on new Revisions to the LCP Section re Coastal Beaches and Bluffs to 12/12/2023

BOS item 57 (13633) on 12/6/22, to defer and set a Public Hearing for 12/12/2023 on the new proposed amendments to the Amendments to the LCP Safety Element 6.4 (Land Use Plan) for Coastal Beaches and Bluffs, and the Geological Hazards sections (Implementation Plan chapter 16.10). On October 14, 2022 the Coastal Commission denied a portion of the amendments addressing development on coastal bluffs and beaches. The
timeline for these updates is estimated to include most of 2023. Therefore, staff is
recommending this item be deferred to December 12, 2023.

CPOA’s Summary of the CCC Hearing on 10/14/22

The Commissioners voted (9:0) to reject the Santa Cruz County’s proposed LCP Amendments, and sided with the Surfriders, and recommendations on the CCC Staff Report. The CCC Staff report asserted that the LCP Amendments were poorly written, with many internal inconsistencies, were not consistent with the Coastal Act (1977), which generally prohibits any new shoreline armoring, and most existing armoring may need to be removed to allow managed retreat to preserve the public beaches as sea level rises.

County letter to CCC re LCP Amendments for Hearing on 10/14/22

The County staff is committed to pursuing the clearest and quickest route to getting an LCP amendment certified by the Coastal Commission which is reasonable and feasible for the County to implement to address sea level rise, and to continue to meet with CCC staff and major stakeholders to reach consensus where possible. It is imperative that the LCP amendment effort which has taken over 6 years to get to this point, not be abandoned.