Since 2013, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has provided grant funds to support local governments in completing or updating their Local Coastal Programs (LCP), with a special emphasis on planning for sea level rise (SLR) and climate change. LCPs are the basic planning tools to guide development in the Coastal Zone and protect coastal resources. In January 2014, the City was awarded a grant from the CCC to update the Coastal Land Use Plan (LUP), and embarked on a four year extensive consultation process with CCC staff to ensure the Coastal LUP is in alignment with the California Coastal Act (CCA) and the local priorities of the City. The Coastal LUP was adopted by City Council in August 2018 but must be certified by the CCC as a LCP amendment in order to be effective in the Coastal Zone. The City submitted the LCP Amendment to the CCC for certification in September 2018 and is awaiting a hearing date.
A primary tenant of the CCA is the protection and maximization of public access to the coast for all. One of the ways this is addressed is through CCA Section 30213 which calls for the preservation and expansion of lower cost overnight accommodations (LCOA) because these types of facilities allow for a larger portion of the population to stay and recreate on the coast. Statewide, there is an increasing demand for LCOA, and most new or redeveloped overnight accommodations are higher priced. As a result, the CCC has expressed a growing concern that the lack of LCOA in the Coastal Zone statewide is limiting access to the coast.
During the development of the draft Coastal LUP, the City and CCC staff acknowledged that the LCOA issue is particularly challenging here because the City’s limited Coastal Zone area is nearly fully developed, property values are very high, and nearly a third of the land area is designated as Open Space. It was determined that additional research, technical study, analysis of policy and implementation options, stakeholder involvement, outreach, and education was needed to determine how best to address LCOA within the City’s Coastal Zone. To that end, in 2016 the City applied for and was awarded an additional CCC grant to fund the LCOA Study.