Public encouraged to have comments ready
By Erica Schroeder
The Solana Beach City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Solana Beach City Hall to discuss the most recent changes made to the Solana Beach Local Coastal Program's Land Use Plan.
The revised plan has been available for public review and comment since the end of July at City Hall, 635 S. Highway 101. The public is encouraged to view the plan before the Sept. 9 meeting and then come ready with comments for the council.
"There will have been a six-week period of possible commentary by the public before this hearing," City Manager David Ott said. "We're hoping to have a lot of public comment during the meeting, as well as comment from various stakeholders in this plan such as the bluff-top homeowners and environmentalists who have helped us draft this plan."
This is the most recent of several attempts by Solana Beach to get a Land Use Plan approved by the Coastal Commission.
The last attempt was in June 2008 and the Coastal Commission found policies in the plan to be directly in conflict with the California Coastal Act of 1972. The act is the state's guidelines for cities in coastal zones outlining how they should plan to safely maintain and develop their coastal areas.
Other concerns were the fact that the city has yet to file a Local Implementation Plan (LIP), though the California Coastal Act does not require this LIP to be concurrently filed with the city's Land Use Plan.
The plan includes rules about constructing controversial bluff retention devices for potentially threatened bluff-top properties and sand retention programs to slow bluff erosion.
Solana Beach is just one of a handful of coastal cities in Southern California that doesn't have an approved Land Use Plan yet.
Because beach and bluff erosion has accelerated in the last 15 years, the city is under pressure to draft a plan as soon as possible that lives up to the Coastal Commission's criteria.
"The outcome of getting an approved Land Use Plan is for the city to have more power when it comes to local coastal construction plans and things like that," Ott said.
Once the plan is approved, coastal development permits can move through city bureaucracy. In the meantime, permits must go before the Coastal Commission for approval.