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Concrete Wall

Words Matter

Recently received back from the California Coastal Commission is the marked-up and over-hauled Pacifica Local Coastal Land Use Plan. This revision is almost a complete rewrite of the LCLUP that the city of Pacifica submitted to the CCC in February 2020.

These changes will cost ALL Pacificans millions of dollars in future tax assessments and fees. It will do nothing short of destroying this city. The city will go bankrupt and be enveloped into the County.

The Coastal Commission HATES any kind of shoreline protections, including seawalls. But a lot of preexisting homes and businesses exist on the coast, and Section 30235 of the Coastal Act provides for shoreline protections for these developments. The Coastal Commission intends to change this by using policies, like the ones detailed below, that reclassify existing development as new development.

If this is allowed to happen in Pacifica, we will lose our seawall and the berm. Critical infrastructure like the water treatment plant, sewer lines, water, electrical lines -- even Highway 1 -- will need to move east due to erosion. Everyone in Pacifica will pay millions of dollars through tax assessments. Hundreds of homes will be lost at a time when California is mandating 1,800+ new housing units in Pacifica, not to mention 80% of our local businesses. Gone.

Coastal Commission's overreach must be stopped!

Substantial Structural Modifications

At the heart of CCC staff's changes is the definition of Substantial Structural Modifications (SSM), which goes into effect if you remodel 50% or more of your house, replace your roof or flooring, or add-on.

Its purpose is to reclassify coastal properties as new development, make the owner record a deed restriction where they must waive rights to any future shoreline armoring, and agree to remove the property at their own expense if CCC warrants it. This is simply outrageous.

Substantial Structural Modification (SSM): Any physical improvement which modifies an existing structure in any of the following ways:

  1. alteration, removal or replacement of 50 percent or more of the linear length of the exterior walls or other major structural components but not limited to floor, roof, and foundation structures), whether or not the floor area or building footprint is expanded; or

  2. an addition that includes new floor area equal to 50 percent or more of the structure's total existing floor area; or

  3. an increase of the existing building footprint equal to 50 percent or more;

but excluding:

removal, replacement, or maintenance of nonstructural exterior components such as decorative siding, shingles, and windows.

Incremental changes that cumulatively amount to replacement of 50 percent or more over time shall also be considered a SSM.

New Shoreline Development Standard Policies
Assumption of Risk by Private Landowners

CCC staff greatly expands the requirement for deed restrictions to include all properties in Coastal Vulnerability Zones and Tsunami Evacuation Areas. This could affect areas in Linda Mar that are not even under Coastal Commission jurisdiction. It's just not clear.

Say goodbye to property values throughout the city! Good luck getting property insurance.

Banks won't do loans and existing loans will get pulled. This is happening already!

Click here to see the city's map of Tsunami Evacuation Areas, which extend into Linda Mar.

CR-I-45 Assumption of Risk by Private Landowners. Permit approvals of development in Coastal Vulnerability Zones and Tsunami Evacuation Zones shall require the applicant to: record a deed restriction requiring the owner to assume liability and indemnify and hold the City, its officers, agents, and employees harmless, including any injury and/or damage from coastal hazards in connection with the permitted development; unconditionally waive any claim of damage from coastal hazards against the City: waive rights to future shoreline armoring: acknowledge the development may need to be removed and the site restored in response to future hazard conditions; and to assume all responsibility for any adverse effects to property caused by the permitted project and/or need for removal or relocation of development.

Pacifica's Tsunami Evacuation Areas

New Shoreline Development Standard Policies
Technical Reports

CCC staff requires residents in Coastal Vulnerability Zones to get coastal engineering, geomorphology, and other technical reports to get a development permit to build up, add an ADU, or do any remodeling.

CR-I-43 Technical Reports. Development proposed in Coastal Vulnerability Zones shall include coastal engineering, geomorphology, and other relevant technical reports unless on-site hazards already identified in a recent Coastal Vulnerability Zone Map or assessment approved within the last five years are adequate for evaluating and ensuring compliance with the LCP, including through use of permit conditions to address any uncertainty. Reports shall 

  • be prepared by a licensed civil engineer or other suitably qualified professional;

  • use the best available science;

  • consider the impacts from the med-high projection (CalNRA & OPC 2018' or similar precautionary projections as reflected in future updated statewide guidance) of sea-level rise for the anticipated life of the proposed development;

  • demonstrate that the development will avoid (or if unavoidable, minimize) impacts from coastal hazards for the anticipated life of the proposed development without reliance on any existing or future shoreline protection devices;

  • demonstrate that the factor of safety for blufftop development will be greater than or equal to 1.5 for static conditions and greater than or equal to 1.1 for seismic conditions; and

  • evaluate the foreseeable effects that the development will have on coastal resources over time and mitigate the impacts where they are unavoidable.

Reports may be waived for temporary events, temporary development structures or other minor, short-term development where it is clear there will be no significant hazard risks over the project's life.

New Shoreline Development Standard Policies
Substantial Structural Modifications

CCC staff really did a number on Pacifica with this one. If your property is unfortunate enough to be defined as an SSM, it is redefined as new development and you will be required to correct any existing nonconformities ("legal nonconformities" is not defined) with all the restrictions that go along with new development on the shoreline, no matter how close that is.

CR-I-49 Substantial Structural Modifications. When proposed modifications to an existing structure constitute a Substantial Modification (SSM), as defined, such proposed development shall correct any existing legal nonconformities and shall be undertaken consistent with the LCP and the Coastal Act, including but not limited to Policies CR-l-43 and CR-l-44.

Stop the insanity. Tell the City Council to reject these crippling changes!

Visit the Your Voice Counts page for email addresses.

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