The recent January storms have accelerated the costal bluff erosion along the Opal Cliffs. In some locations, 3-4 feet of the bluffs edge has collapsed, compared to a seasonal average of one foot of bluff loss. The proposal for a uniform seawall along Opal Cliffs was opposed by the Surfriders, and rejected by the Coastal Commission. Yet the County and Costal Commission will not grant Emergency Permits to shore-up bluffs or repair existing seawalls and restack revetment rocks. Dangerous debris and concrete continue to fall down Opal Cliffs to the bedrock below, causing unsafe conditions for surfers and beach goers. CPOA has asked the County if they will continue to support the proposal for a uniform seawall given the recent storm erosion and opposition from the Coastal Commission.
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.