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Del Mar City Council restates opposition to managed retreat

The Del Mar City Council reaffirmed its opposition to using "managed retreat" to respond to the threat of flooding due to sea level rise in the coming decades, at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 15.

The council unanimously approved a "commitment resolution" that spells out its approach to dealing with the potential of sea level rise -- including a rejection of managed retreat -- in preparation for submitting its sea level rise adaptation plan to the California Coastal Commission for approval.

The adaptation plan will be submitted as part of Del Mar's Local Coastal Program, a planning document that falls under the purview of the Coastal Commission. The commission is expected to consider the city's adaptation plan and updated Local Coastal Program sometime next year.

Managed retreat became a hot-button issue this spring as the city wrapped up work on its sea level rise adaptation plan, which was in the works for three years. The concept calls for removing manmade structures such as homes and sea walls in the face of a rising ocean.

Instead, the city's plan calls for a number of measures -- such as beach sand replenishment, dredging the mouth of the San Dieguito River and building river levees -- to protect the shoreline from flood damage.

City officials have said inclusion of the adaptation plan in the Local Coastal Program is the best way to prevent any attempt by the state to force the city to adopt managed retreat as an option for dealing with sea level rise.

But some residents and their legal advisers contend that Del Mar should instead make the adaptation plan part of the city's voter-approved community plan as a bulwark against the managed retreat option.

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