Coastal Commission postpones hearing on Del Mar sea-rise plan

The high cost of real estate, where about 600 homes sit in a low-lying area, makes managed retreat impractical in Del Mar, residents say.
(K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission have mutually agreed to postpone the Wednesday, Oct. 16 hearing on the city’s plan for adapting to rising sea levels.

The Coastal Commission staff had recommended that the board reject Del Mar’s plan unless the city agrees to a list of 25 detailed modifications. Del Mar’s City Council agreed last week to stand by the plan as it is, with no changes.

At the heart of the difference is a disagreement over the commission’s recommendation that all cities consider “managed retreat” as part of their plan for adapting to rising sea levels. Del Mar says that strategy, which encourages cities to moves homes and other structures away from the water, would not work because of the high property values in the small community.

“Continued discussions will center on the Coastal Commission’s recommended modifications and the city’s locally-adopted plans for dealing with sea level rise, flooding and erosion,” states an announcement posted on the city’s web site.

The Del Mar City Council approved funding in June for beach sand replenishment, the design of a new bridge over the San Dieguito River, and to explore a sand project called a “living levee” along the river’s edge.

— Phil Diehl is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune