LCP hearing: ‘Collapse of the compromise’ Homeowners, environmentalists vocal in opposition to coastal plan
The City Council heard strong opposition to the Solana Beach Local Coastal Program’s revised Land Use Plan on Sept. 9 from both bluff-top homeowners and environmentalists.
But in the end, the council voted unanimously, with the exception of Mayor Mike Nichols who was absent, to push the LCP draft through, vowing to look into some of the concerns raised during the meeting.
The plan is required for all coastal cities and creates parameters for development in the coastal zone. It also directs the city on how to deal with bluff erosion around existing properties and whether or not property owners can obtain permits to build seawalls, which also makes them responsible for sand retention adjacent to the property.
Environmentalists say seawalls interrupt the natural process of erosion, which brings sand to the beaches. Without erosion, sand must be brought in from elsewhere to maintain the beaches.
“Surfrider believes that poorly planned city development should not be assuaged with selfish seawall band-aids that permanently steal public property for the advantage of those responsible for irresponsibly placing structures so near the bluff edge – a bluff that has been eroding for thousands of years,” Scott Harrison, chair of the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, wrote in an e-mail to The Sun.
Deputy Mayor Thomas Campbell introduced the public comment period of the meeting by saying, “There’s passion on both sides of this issue,” and urged everyone to keep their cool.
The public comment period went on for an hour and a half. The audience of more than 50, including several uniformed officers, was vocal in their opposition to some of the speakers’ opinions. Headshaking, disapproving whispers and even heckling from audience members was observed.
The compromise that was drafted in 2008 between stakeholders made several changes to appease both sides and it had seemingly done its job – until last Wednesday’s City Council meeting. People who had been proponents of the compromise were against it.
Many were shocked when Jim Jaffe, one of the authors of the latest version of the LCP, avowed his work in drafting the compromise and urged the council to edit the draft again before giving approval.
“At this point, property owners have an inherent conflict of interest that can not be resolved through an LCP,” Jaffe said. Many attendees expressed concern about Jaffe’s sudden change of heart after the compromise had so diligently been hammered out between groups.
By the end, several shocked audience members and council members were calling the meeting a “collapse of the compromise.”
Solana Beach has made four attempts over the last eight years to get an LCP approved by the Coastal Commission, all of which were denied because they did not meet the requirements of the Coastal Act: the state guidelines for coastal maintenance and development.
Diane Garber, a bluff-side homeowner, felt that not approving a seawall for her and her husband’s home was, “putting a time limit on the ownership. We are never certain what we have in store for our property,” she said.
Once the document has been submitted, the city gets in line behind other proposals for the Coastal Commission. It can take as long as six months before Solana Beach’s LCP goes before the commission for review. During that time the city can edit the document and work with commission staff on revisions.
The city may hold more public meetings during this process.
- Land-use plan to be discussed Sept. 9
- Controlling our destiny while protecting our environment
- Solana Beach City Council to withdraw land-use proposal
- Sand to beach reclamation effort under way in Encinitas
- Coastal Artists bring spirit to gallery
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