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Background

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The California Coastal Commission was established in 1972 by voter initiative via Proposition 20. Proposition 20 gave the Coastal Commission permit authority for four years. The California Coastal Act of 1976 extended the Coastal Commission's authority indefinitely.

 

The California Coastal Act of 1976 declares that the basic goals of the state for the coastal zone are to: (a) Protect, maintain, and where feasible, enhance and restore the overall quality of the coastal zone environment and its natural resources.

Sounds good, right?

The short answer is, the body that administers the California Coastal Act is the California Coastal Commission which is enforcing harsh over-reach of the prime objective. This unregulated, un-elected board has been forcibly pushing dangerous language onto Pacifica’s Local Coastal Land Use Plan. Jerry Brown, in his first term as governor, signed the California Coastal Act into law, but two years later, became frustrated with the commission and called them "bureaucratic thugs."

The Local Coastal Land Use Plan (LCLUP) is a “contract”, or agreement, that the City of Pacifica uses to issue permits. It has a lifespan of about 30 years, but a current update has been prolonged. The current LCLUP is from the 1980s. It is said we need another to reflect the changing times.

Pacifica’s latest LCLUP, the Local Coastal Land Use Plan, was approved by the City in February 2020, after over six years of public meetings and input from the public. Because one third of Pacifica’s shoreline is vulnerable to flooding without protection, our plan is to replace the aging seawall to protect Sharp Park and keep our other armoring like revetments to protect our vulnerable coastal bluffs, existing private property, critical infrastructure, and the shoreline.

Managed retreat was rejected by the city because over 70% of our businesses and affordable housing is in our most vulnerable areas. Home and business owners would not be able to obtain bank loans for repairs or remodeling. Even a roof replacement would require a special permit from the CCC. The owner would have to record a deed restriction, waiving any right to protection from coastal armoring, to get a permit. Values plummet. Blight sets in. Insurance becomes hard to get, or impossible.

If you'd like to get a glimpse of what managed retreat looks like, take a look at the San Francisco RV Resort on Palmetto Ave. The Coastal Commission is ordering them to remove the revetments that currently protect the park from sea erosion and destruction. It will cost all of Pacifica $4 million to move 150 feet of sewer line 350 feet eastward. Dozens of residents will be displaced, and the RV resort will be no more. Read more in this article from the Pacifica Tribune.

The CCC has already indicated they will not accept the LCLUP our citizens approved. If we accept their ruinous decision Pacifica loses everything, no matter where you live. We can build a new seawall that stops all this for $121 million. Or we can give up and be on the hook for $243 million just to move the infrastructure the whole city relies on to function.

That doesn’t include the cost of removing the armoring, or the municipal pier, or the inevitable crush of lawsuits. Now we’re talking upwards of $1 billion with a "B". Multiply that times the 60 other California coastal cities. It could easily bankrupt the state. It’s an economic decision: One that will affect not just our lives, but the lives of our children and grandchildren.

The choice is yours.

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