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California Coastal Commission - Unofficial Guidebook to the Appeals Process

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Unofficial Guidebook to the Appeals Process. if your project has been appealed to the California Coastal Commission.

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California Coastal Commission - Unofficial Guidebook to the Appeals Process

  1. 1. Navigating the Coastal Commission What to Do When Your House has Been Appealed and Your County/City has a Local Coastal Program
  2. 2. Navigating the Coastal Commission Process - Series: 1. How to read the Monthly Coastal Commission Agenda 2. Things to do to avoid a Coastal Commission Appeal 3. Your House has Been Appealed– Your County/City has an LCP – This document 4. Getting a Coastal Development Permit from the Coastal Commission – Approval in Concept Your County/City has does not have an LCP - This document is not an official publication of the Coastal Commission. Any opinions in it are solely those of its author. Do not depend on this document for official facts, processes or procedures or as a substitute for legal advice. Anyone involved in Coastal Commission matters should depend on the Coastal Act, Coastal Regulations and the advice and guidance of counsel and the Coastal Staff. You should consult with an attorney for all matters involving the law. Dedicated to Section 30335.1 of the Coastal Act 5 August 2007
  3. 3. Table of Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................................1 How Did I Get Here?..........................................................................................................................1 The Coastal Act .................................................................................................................................2 The Coastal Commission...................................................................................................................2 Coastal Commission Organization.................................................................................................2 Commissioners ..........................................................................................................................2 Coastal Commission Staff..........................................................................................................3 Coastal Commission Meetings...................................................................................................3 How Does the Coastal Commission Process Work? .........................................................................3 Coastal Commission Process – Overview .....................................................................................3 Coastal Commission Process – Detail...........................................................................................4 The Appeal.....................................................................................................................................4 Who Can Appeal?......................................................................................................................4 Why Was I Appealed?................................................................................................................5 What’s Next?..............................................................................................................................5 Substantial Issue Determination – During the 49-day window.......................................................6 What to Do? ...............................................................................................................................6 The “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report.......................................................................7 What to Do? ...............................................................................................................................9 Substantial Issue Determination Hearing.......................................................................................9 Staff Recommends “No Substantial Issue” ..............................................................................10 Staff Recommends ”No Substantial Issue” but 3 Commissioners decide to have a Hearing ..10 Staff Recommends Substantial Issue and “Continues” to a De Novo Hearing........................11 Staff Recommends Substantial Issue but 3 Commissioners decide to have a Hearing ..........11 Staff Recommends and Commission finds Substantial Issue and holds a De Novo Hearing..12 Information Requests...................................................................................................................13 Working with the Staff ..............................................................................................................13 Environmentally Sensitive Habitat (ESHA) issues ...................................................................14 Special Conditions ...................................................................................................................15 Project Denial Warning Signs ..................................................................................................16 The “De Novo” Staff Report .........................................................................................................16 Conditions of Approval.............................................................................................................17 Findings and Declarations........................................................................................................18 Meeting the Commissioners after you receive the Staff Report and Before your De Novo Hearing.....................................................................................................................................18 The De Novo Hearing ..................................................................................................................19 Hearing Schedule.....................................................................................................................19 Opposition................................................................................................................................20 Your Presentation ....................................................................................................................21 Condition Compliance..................................................................................................................21 Do You Need an Agent or Lawyer at the Coastal Commission? .....................................................22 How Much is a Coastal Commission Appeal Going to Cost? ......................................................22 Appendix A: Glossary ......................................................................................................................23 Appendix B: What is a Local Coastal Program?..............................................................................26 Sample LCP’s available on-line: ..................................................................................................27 Appendix C: How Long Does an Appeal Take?...............................................................................29 Appendix D: Coastal Commission Organization..............................................................................30 Commissioners ............................................................................................................................30 Commission Geographic Organization ........................................................................................30 Appendix E: District Offices .............................................................................................................32 Appendix F: Example of a Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map ......................................................35
  4. 4. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 1 of 36 draft 9a Your House has Been Appealed to the California Coastal Commission Introduction This document is for a homeowner who is trying to build a house on the coast and has found his/her project appealed to the California Coastal Commission. On its surface the Coastal Commission process can appear daunting and its language jargon-filled. (See Appendix A for a Glossary.) The Coastal Commission process is similar if you are trying to build a single home or a 1,000 unit housing development. Given you have been appealed, if you go through the entire hearing process your house may be delayed perhaps for a year or more, or, in some cases, your application denied. Reading this document may help you shorten the time, reduce the frustration and end up with a house similar to the one you started with. But you will need inordinate amounts of patience, flexibility, a sense of humor, and a perspective on the greater good for the coast. How Did I Get Here? In theory, when your house was approved by your city or county it had met all the conditions of the county's Local Coastal Program (LCP.) Your project has been appealed because someone who participated in the local process (or the coastal commission staff) believes that is inconsistent with the Local Coastal Program (LCP.) See Appendix B for more details on what the Local Coastal Program is about. There are several ways this appeal might have happened: 1) Anyone who opposed your project in your city/county can appeal the city/county approval of your permit to the Coastal Commission. 2) Someone; a local environmental group, a concerned neighbor, etc. has contacted the commission staff to alert them to your project, and the staff found issue with it. The staff then asked two commissioners to sign an appeal. 3) Your project is so controversial the Commission Staff itself has been following its progress and has asked two commissioners to sign an appeal Specifically they have appealed your city or county approved Coastal Development Permit (CDP.) Without this Coastal Development Permit you cannot build your house. Typically appeal issues involve whether your house has impact on things that are protected by the coastal act such as views, beach access and protected plants and animal habitats. In order to resolve the impacts of your project you may need to modify the location of your home, reduce its size, provide public access, provide an agricultural easement, etc. Since 1982, Cities and Counties that have Local Coastal Programs have issued over 35,000 Coastal Development Permits. While ~22,000 of them were appealable, only ~1,100 were actually appealed, ending up in front of the Coastal Commission. You are one of them. (See Appendix C.)
  5. 5. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 2 of 36 draft 9a The Coastal Act Before 1976 local governments made all decisions concerning land use approvals for development on the coast. With the passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1972 and the California Coastal Act of 1976 (which created the Coastal Commission,) the voters in the State of California decided that the Coast should be protected in certain ways. What the Coastal Act and Coastal Commission has done for the 35 million people of the state of California and its visitors, is to give us the most pristine and undeveloped coast in the largest state in the country; with recreation and access for all. It’s an amazing accomplishment. One of the consequences for a homeowner is that there are very strict zoning and planning constraints if you want to build in the coastal zone. A way to think about the coastal zone rules is that in no location with zoning can you say, “it's my property and I can do anything I want on it.” The coastal zone has the strictest zoning and planning requirements in the country. However, to benefit the many there is a cost to the few – those who want to build or expand a house in the coastal zone. From the point of view of someone whose dream house has just been appealed to the coastal commission, an appeal is not good news. Take a deep breath, check your calendar and wallet, because this appeals process is going to be expensive and could take a long time. But keep in mind, while this seems that you are being treated differently from other homeowners you are not. The Coastal Commission The California Coastal Commission was established by the California legislature under the Coastal Act to protect public coastal access, coastal recreation, the marine environment, habitats/species and to put limits on some types of coastal development. All of these need to be taken into account before you can build or remodel your house. The Commission is an independent state organization whose charter is to regulate coastal land and water uses in the coastal zone. (see http://www.coastal.ca.gov/ ) The coastal zone covers 1,100 miles from Oregon to Mexico. It extends from three miles out at sea to an inland boundary that varies from several blocks in urban areas to as much as 5 miles in less developed areas. See http://www.coastal.ca.gov/lcps.html to find a map of the coastal zone for your area of California. The commissions’ jurisdiction in the coastal zone is very broad and applies to everything from outhouses to condo developments. Until you have a coastal development permit (CDP) issued by either your local government or on appeal, the Commission, you can't build on the coast. Coastal Commission Organization Commissioners The "commission" itself has twelve voting members called commissioners. (See Appendix D) Four are appointed by the Governor, four by State Senate Rules Committee, and four by the Speaker of the State Assembly. By law, six of the commissioners are locally elected officials from coastal counties and six are members of the public. (see http://www.coastal.ca.gov/roster.html) Generally, commission decisions are typically made on a case-by-case basis. The role of the commissioners is to adjudicate between value judgments of the staff and value judgments of the applicants by deciding what the coastal act requires. Legally the findings of the commissioners and staff require substantial evidence in order “bridge the analytic gap between raw evidence and the
  6. 6. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 3 of 36 draft 9a ultimate decision1 .” The evidence, taken in light of the whole record (testimony, staff reports, hearing transcripts, minutes, and letters to the commission, etc.) has to substantially support the commission findings and decision. All of 12 the commissioners are dedicated and hard working, but with few exceptions they all have other jobs and this is a part-time activity for them. That means that the commissioners depend on the expertise and recommendations of their staff and executive director. Coastal Commission Staff The commission has a $17 million dollar annual budget and a 144 person staff (See Appendix E) that does the actual day-to-day work. Among other duties, the staffs’ job is to analyze permit appeals such as yours and issue a "staff report" recommending the actions they believe the commissioners should take. For organizational convenience the commission has split the coast into 6 districts, each with its own office. The six Coastal Commission Offices are: the North Coast, North Central Coast, Central Coast, South Central Coast, South Coast and San Diego Coast. Each district is managed by a district director and they each have their own staff of supervisors, planners. As your project gets further into the process you will get to know your planner intimately. Each of the six deputy district directors report to the Executive Director (Peter Douglas) who also has a chief legal counsel (Hope Schmeltzer) reporting to him. The staff runs the “process” from appeal to substantial issue to de novo hearing, to condition compliance. While the commissioners hear staffs’ recommendations at each one of these points, it is the staff that does the thorough and detailed analysis of your project. Coastal Commission Meetings The Commission holds public meetings, typically for three to four days each month, in different locations throughout the state. (see http://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/mtgdates.html) At these meetings the commissioners vote on Coastal Development permits based on the written reports from the staff. At these hearings you present your project and the public can comment on your project. The staff also will present its own report. How Does the Coastal Commission Process Work? Coastal Commission Process – Overview Since this is your first time in front of the coastal commission, the process looks complicated with its own set of buzzwords. This section hopefully will demystify some of it. You are in front of the commission because someone thought there’s a problem with your house. Specifically someone has claimed that your city/county was about to give you a Coastal Development permit, that violates the rules and regulations of the Local Coastal Program (known as the LCP,) and they have “appealed” your project approval to the Coastal Commission. After your project has been appealed, the coastal commission staff does some preliminary research to see if indeed your house raises a “substantial issue” in violation of the rules and 1 Topanga Association for a Scenic Community v. County of Los Angeles (1974)
  7. 7. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 4 of 36 draft 9a regulations of your Local Coastal Program. The staff presents their findings to the Coastal Commissioner’s in a “Substantial Issue Hearing.” If the commissioners agreed with the staff that your project does raise a “substantial issue,” then your project needs to be heard in a “De Novo Hearing.” De Novo is a Latin term, “from the beginning.” You need to change your project, fix the LCP and Coastal Act issues to the satisfaction of the staff and commissioner’s, and present the revised project to the commissioners as you would have to your local city/county planning commission. Coastal Commission Process – Detail If the process of your house was as simple as the three steps above you could stop reading. However, instead of the three simple steps above, the process really has 9 steps with lots of detail, process and procedures that you should become familiar with. Those steps are: The Appeal The 49 Day Window Substantial Issue Determination staff report Substantial Issue Determination hearing Information Requests De Novo staff report De Novo Hearing Condition Compliance Permit Issuance The Appeal Every time your city or county approves a house and issues a Coastal Development permit, the city or county Is required to send the Coastal Commission a Notice of Final Action (NOFA). After they receive this Notice, there is a 10-working-day window in which someone can appeal your project. Who Can Appeal? If your house is in the coastal zone it may be appealed by three groups. First, anyone who has been a part of the proceedings at the local level (your city or county) can appeal. That is, individuals or a group who opposed your project in your city/county can appeal the city/county approval of your permit to the Coastal Commission. Another way your house may have been appealed was that, someone; a local environmental group, a concerned neighbor, etc. has called or emailed the commission staff to alert them to your project, and the staff found issue with it and had two commissioners appeal it. Finally, the third appeal path is that any two Coastal Commissioners can appeal your project. Although a few commissioners actively do bring projects to the attention of the staff, most of the
  8. 8. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 5 of 36 draft 9a time, the two commissioners listed as appealing your project have been asked by staff to appeal. In reality, the staff has either been following your house project and thinks there are issues that need to be addressed, or some local group who is opposed to your house has asked staff to take a look at it. The staff then calls two commissioners, describes your project and the local coastal program issue or issues it raises, and gets their approval to use their names to appeal your project. Grounds for an Appeal Regardless of who appealed it, the grounds for an appeal are limited to an allegation that your house does not conform to the standards in the certified Local Coastal Program or the public access policies of the Coastal Act. Coastal Commission Jurisdiction The Commissions jurisdiction for an appeal covers a pretty broad territory. For example, if your house is: • Between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea • Within three hundred feet of the mean high tide line • Within three hundred feet of the face of a coastal bluff • Located one hundred feet from a sensitive coastal resource area, (next to a stream, bird/fish habitat, etc.) • Not the "principal permitted use" under the certified LCP (e.g. a residence in agricultural zone.) Your local planning department has the Coastal Commission Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map for your City or County. Look at them. (See Appendix F for an example.) Why Was I Appealed? Now that you have been appealed, a good first step would be to understand two things: What was the actual Local Coastal Program policy(ies) staff is saying I’m violating?” But much more important is that you need to understand the underlying reason (or several) that got your project in front of the commission. You need to understand that quickly. Some reasons your house may have been appealed could be: - Does the staff think that your house is too large and inappropriate for your particular part of the coast? Does it stick out from its surroundings or block scenic views? Are you building too close to an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat (ESHA)? Is staff is concerned if the commission approves your house, will it encourage others to follow on a particularly pristine part of the coast? Are you really bulldozing a forest for a driveway and filling in a wetland for your house? - Is it that some local environmental group has a special concern about some aspect of your house? BTW, if your project was opposed by a local environmental group on the city/county level, but their name didn’t formally appear on the appeal, you should assume they called the staff and instigated the appeal. Sometimes their name will be on the formal appeal. In either case, don't ignore them - deal with them. Most groups are rational. Meet with them as early as you can. Ask if there are changes that you could make that would get their support. If so, see if you can modify your project to address their concerns and satisfy their issues. You will be making changes to your proposed house so if you can shortcut the process now is the time to try to do so. What’s Next? After your house has been appealed, the commission staff sets a date for a “Substantial Issue” hearing, at a Coastal Commission hearing, no later than 49 calendar days after the date on which the appeal was filed, (unless you waive this time limit.) See Appendix C.
  9. 9. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 6 of 36 draft 9a Substantial Issue Determination – During the 49-day window After an appeal, and within this 49-day window, the Coastal Commission staff is busy writing a “Substantial Issue2 Determination” Staff Report. This report is where the staff states what they believe is wrong with your project in relationship to specific sections of your city/county’s Local Program. The staff will spend about 3-4 weeks writing this report, and you will get a copy 2-3 weeks before your Substantial Issue Hearing. This Substantial Issue Determination staff report can come to one of three conclusions; it can find that your house: Raises “no substantial issue" that needs to be addressed. If the commissioners agree with staff recommendation, your house Coastal Development Permit (CDP) is approved. (A welcome outcome.) Raises "substantial issues" which need to be addressed. And the staff has sufficient information to have a De Novo hearing today, at this same hearing on what conditions would “cure” your inconsistency with the LCP. (A possible outcome.) Raises "substantial issue" which need to be addressed. And the staff has insufficient information to have a De Novo hearing to figure out what conditions would “cure” your inconsistency with the LCP. Therefore your De Novo hearing will be some indeterminate date in the future (typically 3-9 months) when staff has enough information to write a De Novo staff report. (A typical outcome.) What to Do? Before the staff has finished writing the “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report, you need to contact the Coastal Commission staff ASAP and try to understand what is it in the Local Coastal Program they feel your project isn’t consistent with. Work with them to understand what the issues are. There is a small chance that with a few meetings, and some minor changes to your project, that the staff can recommend “No Substantial Issue” or “Substantial Issue”, followed by a “De Novo hearing” by the time you get to your hearing. If two commissioners are the ones who have appealed your project, try to contact them. Email or call them. Their name is on the appeal and they should be able to tell you why they approved the appeal. Even if it means they have to call the staff and get more detail. (However, not all of them will return your call.) 2 The term "substantial issue" is not defined in the Coastal Act or its regulations. The regulations indicate that the Commission will hear an appeal unless it "finds that the appeal raises no significant question" (Regs. section 13155(b)). In previous decisions on appeals, the Commission has been guided by: a. The degree of factual and legal support for the local government's decision that the development is consistent or inconsistent with the certified LCP b. The extent and scope of the development as approved or denied by the local government; c. The significance of the coastal resources affected by the decision; d. The value of the precedent set by the local government's decision for future interpretations of its LCP; and e. Whether the appeal raises only local issues, or those of regional or statewide significance.
  10. 10. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 7 of 36 draft 9a However, the most important thing for you to do is to get three or commissioners (typically they won’t be the two that appealed) to agree to “hear” your substantial issue. You’ll have more information about how to proceed when you receive your substantial issue staff report. The “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report You will receive a copy of the “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report 2-3 weeks before the Coastal Commission hearing. Read it several times. A “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report has a cover page summarizing the project for the commissioners: • Applicant: (you) • Local Government: (your city/county that was going to grant you your permit) • Local Decision: (what did the local government decide? Usually approval or approval with conditions) • Project Location: (where your house is going to be.) • Project Description: (how many square feet on what size lot, other distinctive features and anything else you need to build your house like wells, septic tanks, fences, etc.) • Appellants: (who is appealing your project. It may just be two commissioners, it may include others.) • Staff Recommendation: (what the staff is recommending to the commissioners. If it is “substantial issue” there may be more hearings to go through.) • Substantive File Documents: (what documents the staff has received/relied on from the city/county.) Make sure you look at some sample “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Reports at the Coastal Commission web site. http://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/mtgpast.html#Previous Look for the staff reports in the section labeled “New Appeals” and read a few that say [SUBSTANTIAL ISSUE FOUND, de Novo Hearing TO CONTINUE] on the website. The next section of the “Substantial Issue Determination” Staff Report is the Executive Summary or Summary of Staff Recommendation. This is the staffs’ view of your project. Further on in the report, you may see sections such as “Appellant’s Contentions” and “Applicable LCP Policies.” And somewhere in the staff report there may be a paragraph in the Substantial Issue Determination report that might read like this: “The Applicant’s proposed project on a 297 acre property zoned for agriculture raises concerns regarding protection of environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA), visual and scenic resources, archaeology, and agriculture along the largely undeveloped stretch of rural countryside between Carmel and Bixby Bridge. The subject property is highly constrained due to the presence of wetlands, streams and riparian habitat, and sensitive plant communities; is entirely within the Highway One public viewshed; contains known archaeological sites; and has a history of agricultural use that is protected by the LCP. Staff is recommending that the Commission find Substantial Issue with the project due to fundamental inconsistencies with the certified LCP.”
  11. 11. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 8 of 36 draft 9a
  12. 12. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 9 of 36 draft 9a It sounds kind of complicated with lots of new words; and you might be thinking, “This doesn’t even sound like our house. What’s ESHA? Substantial Issue - that doesn’t sound good; what is it? What’s a certified LCP? And I didn’t know I had any wetlands and streams, just old ditches with no water in them.” If you read the staff report and try to address each and every one of these issues with the staff yourself, you may never be done. Don’t panic, this may be a time to seek an someone who is familiar with the Coastal Commission process and explain what the staff is telling you about your project. Finally, near the end of the document you may see a section labeled “Information Needed for De Novo Review of Application.” This is a really important section. In it the staff is telling you the studies, reports, surveys, etc. that you have to do to give them enough information for staff to write the De Novo staff report; and hopefully to get you your Coastal Development Permit. What to Do? If the staff recommendation is “substantial issue,” unless three or more commissioners ask for a hearing, your project will automatically be headed for a De Novo hearing. This can turn a 60 day process into one lasting a year or more. One of the most important things you can do is to find three or commissioners to agree to “hear” your substantial issue at the hearing. If you can’t find three commissioners who agree to hear it is a very strong message that your project will require changes to conform to the LCP. Substantial Issue Determination Hearing One of the most confusing things about the Substantial Issue hearing is that you think this is where you get to explain to the Commissioners why your house is just fine, and there really is no problem. Nope, not at this hearing. This hearing is about whether there’s an issue or not. Unless you have gotten three or more commissioners to agree to “hear” the staff recommendation, at this hearing the Commissioners will be hearing from the staff, not you, on whether the staff and commissioners agree that your house raises important enough i.e. “substantial” issue (siting, habitat, scenic views, etc.) If it does, you need to help the staff and commissioners understand how to get your house in compliance before you can be issued a Coastal Development Permit (CDP.) There are multiple possible outcomes of this Substantial Issue Determination Hearing:
  13. 13. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 10 of 36 draft 9a Staff Recommends No Substantial Issue Substantial Issue (S.I.) Substantial Issue with De Novo Hearing Decline to Hear it Implicitly has Agreed with staff and has found No S.I. Implicitly has Agreed with staff and has found S.I. Approval with conditions Or Denial Decide to Hear It Agree with staff and find No S.I. Or Disagree and find S.I. Agree with staff and find S.I. Or Disagree and find No S.I. Approval with conditions Or Denial Staff Recommends “No Substantial Issue” If the staff recommends “no substantial issue,” (which you would have known by reading the staff report,) public testimony is allowed.3 If there is public opposition the people who appealed your permit get to speak in opposition at this hearing. Make sure you are prepared to discuss why you support the staff’s recommendation. Hearing procedure The staff gets unlimited time to speak, any persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), each gets 3 minutes, and then you get 3 minutes to speak. Testimony from anyone else is only accepted in writing.4 This is where you get to explain why your house complies with the Local Coastal Program and/or the Coastal Act. After the public testimony if the commissioners decline to “hear” it, you get your local Coastal Development Permit and get to go home and build your house. Staff Recommends ”No Substantial Issue” but 3 Commissioners decide to have a Hearing After the public testimony three or more commissioners can decide that they want all 12 commissioners to hear the appeal and discuss it further. This means that at the end of their discussions they will vote and either agree with the staff’s findings of “No Substantial Issue” or disagree, and instead find “Substantial Issue.” Hearing procedure The staff gets unlimited time to speak, any persons who opposed the application before the local government (the appellant,) each gets 3 minutes, and then you get 3 minutes to speak. If anyone is present from the local government they also get 3 minutes to speak. Testimony from anyone else is only accepted in writing.5 This is where you get to explain why your house complies with the Local Coastal Program and/or the Coastal Act. 3 Hearing Procedures for Commission Meetings Feb 27, 2007 Hope Schmeltzer, Chief Counsel 4 CCR 13117. Qualifications to Testify Before Commission Only the applicant, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government shall be qualified to testify at the Commission hearings at any stage of the appeal process. All other persons may submit comments in writing to the Commission or executive director, copies or summaries of which shall be provided to all Commissioners pursuant to Sections 13060-13061. 5 CCR 13117. Qualifications to Testify Before Commission Only the applicant, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government shall be qualified to testify at the Commissioners Decide
  14. 14. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 11 of 36 draft 9a If after a vote, the commission decides that there is no substantial issue you get your local coastal development permit. If the Commission decides that there is substantial issue the hearing is continued until a subsequent Commission meeting. Staff Recommends Substantial Issue and “Continues” to a De Novo Hearing If the staff recommends “substantial issue,” and most of the time they do, and the commissioners agree with them (you couldn’t get three commissioners to ask to have a hearing on your appeal,) the Commission should proceed directly to a de novo hearing on the merits of the project. However, since the staff has only 3-4 weeks to look at your project and write the Substantial Issue staff report, most of the time the staff truly hasn’t had enough time to gather all the information necessary to write the lengthy “De Novo Staff Report” and to hold a de Novo hearing. Therefore at this hearing the staff tells the commissioners since they have found substantial issue, and the staff does not have enough information for a De Novo hearing, the staff is asking for permission to “continue” your hearing (that is to delay the de Novo hearing until they work with you to get the information they need.) Hearing procedure The staff gets to present but no public testimony is allowed. (Meaning you do not get to speak at this hearing. You now go off and get a hold of all the information the staff has requested. You get to be heard at the De Novo hearing to be held in a future commission meeting.) It’s important to note that if the commissioners have found “substantial issue” with your project the final action of your local government has just been thrown out. You no longer have a Coastal Development Permit from your city/county. Going forward, the commission will act on your project like it is a new project – approving, denying or conditionally approving your coastal development permit. And they can look at any issue anyone raises as long as it is related to the Local Coastal Program. However, if you have talked to commissioners before this hearing, you made your case why at least three of them should ask for a hearing on your appeal. If three commissioners want to hear public testimony the commission will now hear have a Substantial Issue Hearing. Staff Recommends Substantial Issue but 3 Commissioners decide to have a Hearing If three or more commissioners decide that they want all 12 commissioners to hear more about the staff’s substantial issue determination, they can. This means that at the end of hearing from you and the public they will discuss the appeal and then vote. They will either agree with the staff’s findings of “Substantial Issue” or disagree with the staff and instead find “No Substantial Issue.” Hearing procedure The staff gets unlimited time to speak. Next, the person who opposed your application before the local government (the appellant) gets 3 minutes to speak. Then you get 3 minutes to speak. If anyone from your local government is in attendance, they also get 3 minutes to speak. Testimony from anyone else is only accepted in writing.6 Commission hearings at any stage of the appeal process. All other persons may submit comments in writing to the Commission or executive director, copies or summaries of which shall be provided to all Commissioners pursuant to Sections 13060-13061. 6 CCR 13117. Qualifications to Testify Before Commission Only the applicant, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government shall be qualified to testify at the Commission hearings at any stage of the appeal process. All other persons may submit comments in writing to the
  15. 15. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 12 of 36 draft 9a After listening to all sides, the commissioners vote. If a majority of the commissioners present find "no substantial issue" you get your local Coastal Development Permit. If a majority find “substantial issue", there will be a "de novo" hearing and your hearing will be “continued” to a future Commission meeting. Staff Recommends and Commission finds Substantial Issue and holds a De Novo Hearing There may be times (about 1/3rd of the appeals) that the staff has found that while your project did raise a “substantial issue,” you and the staff have already agreed on the changes that bring your project into compliance with the Local Coastal Program. In this case the staff is telling the Commission they have enough information about the project and you and the staff agreed on changes. In this case, rather than waiting months for a De Novo hearing, the Commissioners will proceed directly to a de novo hearing in this same meeting. The optimal outcome is that in the De Novo portion of the hearing the staff is recommending “Approval with Conditions,” with the conditions being ones you can live with. There is another reason why the staff may be holding this De Novo hearing now. It may be that your project raised so many issues that the staff believes there is no hope that your house can ever comply with the Local Coastal Program. Therefore in the De Novo part of the hearing the staff may be recommending Denial. This is not a good outcome. You should not be finding this out at the hearing. (Note: If you are not ready for the de novo hearing to occur the same day as the substantial issue hearing you have the right to postpone the de novo hearing.) Hearing procedure At the Substantial Issue portion of the hearing the staff gets to present but no public testimony is allowed. (Meaning you do not get to speak.) At the De Novo part of this hearing you are presenting anew just as you were getting your permit for the first time from your city/county. The standard of review is your city/county Local Coastal Program. The time limits for this part of the hearing are set by the chair; currently the procedures allow for 15 minutes of time per side. You may request 3-5 additional minutes for rebuttal after the opponents speak. At the Chairman’s discretion they may give you more time, but don’t count on it. The chair sets time limits for presentations by any other speakers who support and oppose your house – typically limited to 3 minutes per speaker. Supporters speak first, opponents next. Then you can present your rebuttal from the time you reserved. Finally the staff responds to the public testimony and your rebuttal. If the commissioners agree with the staff’s De Novo recommendation, assuming they recommended “Approval with Conditions,” you get your Coastal Development Permit, with agreed upon changes to your house, and get to go home. If staff recommended Denial you may end up with your permit denied. (Read ahead to the De Novo staff report and hearing sections to get a flavor of these hearings.) Commission or executive director, copies or summaries of which shall be provided to all Commissioners pursuant to Sections 13060-13061.
  16. 16. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 13 of 36 draft 9a Information Requests If your project was found to raise Substantial Issue by the Commission you will have a De Novo hearing. De Novo means “to start anew.” You will need to redo the work you did for your city/county planning staff, and prove to the Commission staff that project is in compliance with the Local Coastal Plan (LCP.) In addition, if your house is between the ocean and the first public road, you also have to comply with the public access and public recreation policies of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act. Make sure you understand what these issues and design constraints are. The official reason your project was continued from a substantial issue hearing to a De Novo hearing meant that the staff hasn’t received all the information it needs from you or the city/county to write their staff report. That’s the legal definition. In reality it may also mean that your house raises one or more difficult issues that the staff would like to spend time negotiating with you to fix. At times it may be hard for an applicant to know whether the requests for information are truly needed or if the staff is trying to signal that your project raised a bigger policy issue. Working with the Staff The Coastal Commission staff takes the project from the city county and starts the review process from the beginning. The relevant Coastal commission district assigns a planner to you. Their job is to generate a staff report to recommend whether your project is consistent with the LCP and if not, what conditions could make it consistent with the LCP. During this process you need to get to meet and know not just your planner but the Deputy Director as well as the District Manager. In the end, you need a positive staff report. While you have every right to present your case to have the Commissioners overturn a staff recommendation of denial in a De Novo staff report, you may want to carefully consider your chance of success. Often, for a single family home, the commissioners don't have the knowledge to dispute and overturn the staff. The planner gathers information about the project from you. At a minimum this includes all the information you previously submitted to your city/county. They may also need additional information about environmental sensitive habitat and species. Also any visual impact, traffic, and other issues your project may raise from a Coastal Act perspective will be reviewed. (The staff can ask for as much information as they deem necessary to write their staff report. This phase may take you months, or in some extreme cases, a few years.) The staff will be asking you for more studies (visual, biological, etc.) and paperwork than you could imagine. You may minimize the height of the stack but in the end you have no choice but saying yes to most of these requests. The staff raises their issues about the project with you, and you work towards addressing their concerns with modifications to your project.
  17. 17. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 14 of 36 draft 9a Unlike detailed specifications on how to build a house from a zoning or planning commission, (height, square footage, lot coverage and location, etc.) your Local Coastal Program may be a guideline. “Interpretation” of this guideline is what you and your staff planner will be discussing. What may be confusing to you is seeing houses similar to yours, that your neighbors may have gotten approved in prior years without an appeal. The commission can’t look at every house on the coast. It may be yours is the one that raised the issue. It may also be that over time shifts different political, ecological and economic issues have come to the fore. This year the issues may be environmentally sensitive habitat, next year it might be your homes' visibility from public roads or parks, and next it might be water quality. In addition, there may be local issues in your area about development, habitat, public views or access that have become increasingly sensitive over time. The staff honestly works hard in being impartial, however they are human. If you show up at your meetings with a sense of entitlement and start screaming at the staffers that "they can't tell you what to do"—that doesn’t optimize your chance of staffs positive interpretation of the LCP. Be infinitely polite to everyone you deal with on the commission even after they ask for the most outrageous changes--they hold all the cards. This process will seem like it goes on forever (this portion of the process takes 3 to 9 months on average). The staff has no motivation to fast-track your house, and every motivation to be sure that they get all the details right. Be patient. Work with them, fulfill their requests and keep the process moving. Environmentally Sensitive Habitat (ESHA) issues If your substantial issue staff report raised Environmentally Sensitive Habitat (ESHA) issues, (and it is a rare staff report that doesn’t these days,) the LCP will require you to set your house, other structures, roads and construction areas away from the identified sensitive habitat. If something is designated ESHA by the Commission that means it really cannot be touched. (With a few exceptions for activities that depend on that ESHA, for example; nature study, aquaculture, etc.). The Coastal Act does not allow you to mitigate or trade in exchange for disturbing or removing ESHA. Discussions with staff around ESHA issues typically involve; 1. what habitats and species are ESHA7 2. what are the appropriate ESHA buffers for these habitats and species, and 3. where is the ESHA on your lot While you would think the list of habitats and species that are ESHA and the buffer size to protect them, would all be clearly defined for the entire state, they are not. Habitats and species identified 7 For your project it is your LCP that defines what is or isn’t ESHA. In areas of the coast without an LCP Section 30107.5 of the Coastal Act is the definition of ESHA, “…any area in which plant or animal life or their habitats are either rare or especially valuable because of their special nature or role in an ecosystem and which could be easily disturbed or degraded by human activities and developments.” The Commission staff uses that section of the Coastal Act to define ESHA by asking four questions: 1) What is the area of analysis? 2) Is there a rare habitat or species in the subject area? 3) Is there an especially valuable habitat or species in the area, based on: a) Does any habitat or species present have a special nature? b) Does any habitat or species present have a special role in the ecosystem? 4) Is any habitat or species that has met test 2 or 3 (i.e., that is rare or especially valuable) easily disturbed or degraded by human activities and developments?
  18. 18. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 15 of 36 draft 9a as ESHA in Local Coastal Programs vary widely from LCP to LCP. The same is true for buffer sizes. ESHA buffer sizes may be explicitly defined in your local LCP. Older LCP’s have more general and less restrictive requirements (smaller buffers) while newer LCP’s have stricter and more detailed policies.8 The most consistent buffer dimension required across city and county LCP’s is 100 feet for wetlands9 . Riparian habitat buffers vary from 20 to 100 feet with 50 to 100 feet the most common. Many LCP’s require buffers for particular ESHA but do not cite a specific buffer dimension. If you have large acreage, it is not unreasonable for the staff to be asking for you to set back your house 100 feet from wetland and riparian habitat or 50-feet from other terrestrial ESHA. The same variance between LCP’s is true for habitats and species that are ESHA. Some older LCP’s offer general habitat descriptions; “wetlands, riparian systems, coastal bluffs, dune and sandy bluffs and CNND listed habitats. As well as vague species descriptions; “rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals and heron rookeries.” Newer LCP’s are much more detailed and specific about which habitat and species are Environmentally Sensitive. Make sure you check your particular LCP and have a copy of the Coastal Commission document listed in footnote 8, below. However, staffs recent position has been that no matter what an LCP says about ESHA, LCPs are for guidance only and staff will determine ESHA on a site by site basis. Therefore, while you may have planned your project based on following the written LCP policies, staff may be suggesting more stringent ones. If staff finds that there is ESHA over your entire buildable lot, they most allow some reasonable development of the site in order to avoid a “taking10 ” of the property without just compensation, as provided under the coastal act section 30010. To avoid a “taking” the commission interprets the Lucas ruling and the Coastal Act to mean that they just can’t deny your project, since that would deprive you of all reasonable economic use of your property. Therefore they have to allow some development. For the past several years the staff has in some cases suggested a development area of 10,000 sq. feet or less on large acreage. At times staff has recommended even smaller development footprints. Special Conditions As your planner is gathering information from you, the staff is trying to decide what changes they want in your project. Keep in mind since “substantial issue” has been found with your project, the staff will be requesting changes. Try to be flexible. Be prepared to give something. After some calm reflection you can probably move that driveway, lower that roof or even move the location of 8 Policies in Local Coastal Programs Regarding Development Setbacks and Mitigation Ratios for Wetlands and other Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas – California Coastal Commission January 2007 9 Definition and Delineation of Wetlands in the Coastal Zone – California Coastal Commission Wetlands Workshop Handout November 15 2006 http://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2006/11/Th3-11-2006.pdf 10 U.S. Supreme Court decision: Lucas vs. South Carolina Coastal Council. Lucas bought beachfront property for $975,000 in order to build a residential development. Later, the South Carolina legislature passed a law that made it illegal to develop the land Lucas bought. Lucas suit claimed that the law constituted a taking of his property without just compensation. The trial court ruled his in favor and found that the new law deprived Lucas of 100% of the economic value of the land. The trial court ordered the Council to pay $1.2 million to Lucas ruling that when the state deprives a property owner of 100% of the economic value of their land for some public purpose, it is a compensable taking unless the use that is being taken away was never part of the title to the land in the first place.
  19. 19. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 16 of 36 draft 9a the house and life won't end. These changes to your house will show up in your De Novo staff report as “special conditions.” However, some claim that the commission has a reputation of having honed to an art the ability to have you negotiate with yourself. Then they ask for more. (Given they are working for the benefit of all of the people of California this may not be a bad thing.) A) be patient, b) let the staff make their requests for information and changes in writing, and sadly, c) even if you are the most ardent environmentalist willing to do the right thing, do not volunteer anything you are willing to change. Your good intentions may turn into the starting position for a negotiation. Project Denial Warning Signs During this information gathering phase there are some warning signs that your staff report may be heading for a Denial rather than an Approval with Conditions. Repeated requests for additional information which lasts over 6 months Your project has been held by staff for information gathering over a year Finding that most, but not all of your site is ESHA Staff has suggested a building envelope of less than 10,000 feet Public opposition local or otherwise organized by the Sierra Club, CLEAN, COAST or other local environmental group Assuming that these delays and conditions haven’t been caused by your intransigence or belligerence to the staff, there are some steps available to you. (For example, in the rare cases where the staff keeps asking for additional information and says your application is incomplete, you can petition the commission to have the commissioner’s review whether the staff is being unreasonable. If you request a hearing, the hearing must be set for the next available hearing, but no more than 60 days after your request.) The “De Novo” Staff Report You will receive a copy of the “De Novo” Staff Report 2-3 weeks before the Coastal Commission hearing. The first thing you will notice is that it will have many more pages than your substantial issue staff report. A “De Novo” Staff Report has a cover page summarizing the project for the commissioners: • Appeal Number • Applicant: (you) • Local Government: (your city/county that was going to grant you your permit) • Local Decision: (what did the local government decide? Usually approval or approval with conditions) • Project Location: (where your house is going to be.) • Project Description: (how many square feet on what size lot and other factors.)
  20. 20. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 17 of 36 draft 9a • File Documents: (what documents did they use to come up with their recommendation.) • Staff Recommendation: (what is the staff suggesting to the commissioners? It will say Approval with Conditions or Denial. • Substantive File Documents: (what documents they receive from the city or county or appellants.) You should read a few staff reports that say [Appeal Staff Report, de Novo Hearing] on the website. Go to the Coastal Commission web site. http://www.coastal.ca.gov/ and search for “Appeal Staff Report.” The first section of the “De Novo Hearing” Staff Report is the Executive Summary or Summary of De Novo Appeal Staff Recommendation. This is the staffs’ view of your project. Hopefully it says “Approval with Conditions.” Next may be the “Standard of Review.” This section lists the specific rules and regulations the staff used to make their findings. Since you were appealed in a city or county with a Local Coastal Program it will call out that it is using the LCP as the basis of their decisions. Get a copy of that specific LCP and read it and compare it to the “Findings and Declarations” section later on it the report. Conditions of Approval Next there are “Conditions of Approval.” This is what the entire process has been about. Here’s where you’ll find what the staff is recommending to the commissioners that your project look like to be approved (i.e. to be in compliance with the rules of the Local Coastal Program, so you can receive a coastal development permit.) There are two types of conditions, the first is what the commission calls “Standard Conditions,” and the second are “Special Conditions.” “Standard Conditions” are general conditions the commission imposes on all De Novo permits. They will include: Expiration. Your permit is only good for two years from the date on which the Commission voted on the application. You must start your construction within this two year period. Interpretation. Any questions of intent or interpretation of any condition will be resolved by the Executive Director or the Commission. Assignment: The permit may be assigned to anyone as long as they agree to these conditions. Terms and Conditions Run with the Land. These terms and conditions are perpetual, and bind future owners. “Special Conditions” should actually say “very, very incredibly important conditions.” For these are the conditions that specify how your house will look. They are “special” in the sense that they pertain to your specific project. They may include: Landscaping Plan. No invasive or exotics and usually includes California Native Plants. May include a five-year monitoring plan that shows compliance. Design Restrictions. Specific design criteria for your specific house, such roof height, square footage, type of windows and color/material of siding and decks, etc. No Future Shoreline Protective Device: You can never build a seawall to protect the house and if the house or any part of the house is damaged by the sea you will remove it. Plans Conforming to Geotechnical Engineer’s Recommendations: Whatever your geology report said you needed to do to build safely, you need to do. Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability and Indemnity. You acknowledge the risks of where
  21. 21. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 18 of 36 draft 9a you are building. You hold the Commission harmless if you are injured from hazards. Future Development Restriction. Whatever the commission is agreeing to for this project, doesn’t apply to anything else you may want to build. Deed Restriction. You’ll write these special conditions into your deed. Erosion Control, Drainage and Polluted Runoff Control Plans. Typically includes Best Management Practices for a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to control erosion and contain polluted runoff during the construction phase of the project and a Storm water Management Plan Habitat Impact/Wetland Mitigation: May include a Habitat/Wetland Restoration Plan, Open Space Deed Restriction, Performance Bond, Mitigation Fund ($3-$12,000/acre,) Monitoring Plan Executive Directors Approval any changes to the final approved plans must be reported to the Executive Director for a determination regarding whether the changes can be approved administratively or require a CDP amendment. Lighting Restriction. What kind of outdoor lighting you can have. Usually 60 watts or less. Pool and Spa Drainage and Maintenance: No/low chlorine system. No discharge into ESHA. Archeological Resource Protection. Like it sounds. Final Grading Plans. Land Use – Agriculture. The primary zoning of your property may be for farming Findings and Declarations This section establishes the rationale for the staff recommendations (which include the special conditions in your report about your house.) Typically it starts with a section establishing the “Commission’s Appeal Jurisdiction of your Project.” Next it recounts the procedure and history of how you got to this De Novo hearing and recounts each step of the process. Then it has a “Site Description.” In this site description section is where you will encounter details about the staff’s findings about Habitat, ESHA, riparian corridors or other environmentally important issues about building on your property. Next is the “Project Description” which will include your last submitted changed proposal for your house. Then you may have other sections such as “Visual Resources.” Read these findings in detail. Make sure they are accurate. Once adopted they will be assumed to be true. If they are factually incorrect make sure they get corrected for the record. Meeting the Commissioners after you receive the Staff Report and Before your De Novo Hearing Determine if you agree with the staff, if any issues have been overlooked by the staff, or if there are issues that you do not agree with the staff. Reading and analyzing the staff report in conjunction with your Local Coastal Program is essential to any arguments you may wish to make with Commissioners or at a commission hearing. If you disagree with conditions or identify factual errors in the staff report, continue to work with the staff to correct those errors and reach agreement on the conditions. At this point in the process, with a De Novo staff report issued and in-hand, and a staff recommendation of Approval with Conditions you can live with, a reasonable goal is to try to change some of the special conditions you may feel are onerous. BTW, if staff is recommending a Denial, by all means try to talk to the Commissioners. However, the odds of you convincing the commissioners to overturn the staffs’ recommendation of a Denial are low. (But not zero if there are some special circumstances.) If you think you need more time to work with the staff ask the commissioners to direct the staff for a “continuance.”
  22. 22. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 19 of 36 draft 9a Given the sheer volume of projects in front of the staff and commission, unless you are building a a large housing development which has ESHA issues, the commissioners may not know about your individual project. Therefore, unless you go and see them and talk to them, they depend entirely on the staff to "recommend" what they should do. Even with a positive staff report make sure you get you in front of every commissioner before the hearing. You need eyeball contact. (Not all commissioners will meet with applicants, but most will give you the time.) Hopefully you can talk about your positive staff report, why this is a good project, and how you worked with your neighbors and local environmental groups. If you know of any objections to your project give the commissioners a "heads-up" about who is opposing the project and why. You do not want them to hear about opposition for the first time at the hearing. If you feel the staff report or staff has not fairly presented your project, discuss issues with Commissioners directly but politely. This is not the time to tell the Commissioners your frustration about dealing with the staff, how unfair or irrational you believe the process is. It's like telling parents how bad their kids are. While you may have strong feelings right now about the commission, the coast is a much better place for it. Focus on your project. If at all possible try to get as many commissioners as possible to visit your proposed house site, so they can see on the ground, what the issues are. (At a minimum invite the Commissioner who lives closest to your project). Looking at a picture at a hearing is nothing like having walked the site with you talking through the staff issues and conditions. The De Novo Hearing Hearing Schedule The staff has issued their De Novo report to the commission (hopefully recommending approval) 2-3 weeks before your scheduled hearing. They place the report on the commission agenda on the commission web site” at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html under “Coastal Permit Applications” section by district. Your report will be under the district you are in. This will tell you what day your hearing will be. Unfortunately due to the vagaries of scheduling there is no predicting what time your hearing will occur, so plan on making a day of it. If you’ve gotten this far but still have a staff report you can’t live with, (or a Denial) you have the right to ask for a “continuance” before the hearing begins. This means you can delay your hearing
  23. 23. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 20 of 36 draft 9a for a month or two while you keep negotiating with the staff. (However it’s put back on the agenda at staff’s discretion.) You have the right to one “continuance.” The Commissioners can grant additional ones for good reasons, but you have a right to only one. Opposition You will have your staff report in hand, you've met all the commissioners, but the wild card is the public. Try to talk to all the people who have publicly opposed your project. (Either by appeal or by letters to the commission staff.) While you may not have changed their minds at least you have heard their objections. If your project is opposed by the Sierra Club, CLEAN, or COAST, expect additional local comment. Do not treat this lightly. Organized opposition can derail your approval at the last minute. See if you can work with these groups to make some of not all of the changes they are recommending. Hearing Logistics At this meeting you get to speak to the commissioners and address any remaining issues. However, this is not a casual conversation. Coastal Commission hearings have their own formal process and procedures. Your De Novo hearing should not be the first one you attend. Make sure you have viewed the video archives of a few hours of one of them to see how an appeal hearing works before-hand. Better yet, go to one before yours to get a feel for how it works. Before the hearing each commissioner gets a stack of staff reports covering all the projects to be approved that month. Not all commissioners read the entire stack and immerse themselves in the details of each project. If you had something to say to the commissioners hopefully you did it in person before this hearing. Do not assume they have all read any letters you’ve sent. If you have to send written material to a commissioner before the hearing, make sure it goes to their personal mailing address. Most commissioners list the Coastal Commission Headquarters as their address to reduce the flood of mail they receive. When they get to the hearing your material is included in a large stack of others. Odds are it may not get read. Make sure any written materials sent directly to commissioners are clearly labeled on the envelope that “this material has been copied to the staff and all the commissioners.” Hearing Procedure When it’s time for your project to come up in the agenda, the staff will read its executive summary and its recommendation. Given this is already in the staff report; none of this will be a surprise to you. Next the Chairman will ask for comments from you and the public. The time limits for a DeNovo hearing are set by the chair. Currently the procedures allow for 15 minutes per side (unless your project is particularly difficult.) You may reserve an additional 3-5 minutes for rebuttal after the opponents speak. At the Chairman’s discretion they may give you more time, but don’t count on it. If you need more time, ask the Chairman ahead of the meeting. The chair sets time limits for presentations by other speakers supporting and opposing your house – typically limited to 3 minutes per speaker. Supporters speak first, opponents next. Then you can present your rebuttal from the time you reserved. To close the presentations, the staff responds to the public testimony and your rebuttal. Finally the commissioners vote on whether they support the staff’s recommendation, want to modify some of the conditions, or want to oppose the staff’s recommendations.
  24. 24. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 21 of 36 draft 9a Your Presentation • If there is no opposition to your project, focus your presentation on agreeing with the staff and politely present your case to modify or remove some of the special conditions. • Photos of the site or mockups of the house on the site can be effective. • If there is opposition to your project do not assume that because the staff is recommending approval, you will get it. Public opposition, particularly from organized groups such as COAST, CLEAN and the Sierra Club, make the commissioners’ pay very close attention to the staff’s recommendation. First, you need to understand the opposition’s objections. Then you need to organize your presentation to the commissioners to: o Summarize your project in your words (only if yours is different than staff’s, if not don’t waste the time) o Cover the opponent’s contentions from your point of view. Make sure you are supported by the LCP and Coastal Act. Do not confuse your opinion with the law. Read/reference other staff reports similar to you own. o If opponents are making claims that are unsupported by the facts of your projects, use photographs to illustrate the points you want to make. Make sure they are high resolution and good contrast. o Be prepared to agree or not agree in real-time to changes in your project the Commissioners may request during the hearing. o If the commission has approved other projects like yours remind them with a PowerPoint slide. They’re under no obligation to follow precedent, but it can be an effective argument. o Use Google Earth if necessary to set your project in geographical and topological context. o If possible, use the California Coastal Records Project website photos http://www.californiacoastline.org/ for additional context setting. Ask for permission to sjordan@coastaladvocates.com and include their copyright notice. Condition Compliance The approval of your Coastal Development is not the same as actually having your Coastal Development Permit. Before you can receive the permit you have to satisfy some of the conditions the commission approved and you agreed to in the De Novo Hearing. If your house approved by the Commission differs substantially from what your city/county approved, you may have to go back to your City/County and revise some of the original approvals they gave you. In addition, you may have deed restrictions that need to be recorded, revised landscaping and/or house plans that need to be reviewed and approved by the staff.
  25. 25. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 22 of 36 draft 9a Remember, your Coastal Development permit requires that you start construction within two years from the time of the commission vote. While the commission typically will extend the time you have to start building for a year, it is not automatic. Do You Need an Agent or Lawyer at the Coastal Commission? If you are facing a coastal commission hearing you may be facing a fairly complicated process that may take a year. You certainly can represent yourself, and many applicants do so successfully. However, you may want to consider hiring an agent that knows the Coastal Commission system, process and individual commissioners. There are several agents/lawyers that represent homeowners in front of the commission. If you decide to go down this path, get references and talk to their clients before you pick an agent. Understand how much of their work are for developers/business versus homeowners. Ask them if they’ve worked on projects in your district office before. Query them on the issues your project will face and how would they go about solving them. Agents and lawyers who practice in front of the commission are well known by the Commission staff and others. Ask around and get recommendations of several and interview them. How Much is a Coastal Commission Appeal Going to Cost? If there is a finding of “No Substantial Issue,” all you have lost is time in the appeals process. However, if “Substantial Issue” is found, a consequence may be the cost to change the layout of your project or redesign your house. This may mean new fees for the architect, putting your contractor on hold for as much as a year, and related ancillary expenses. In addition, if you decide you do need an agent/lawyer experienced with coastal commission projects, the cost for formal representation may be substantial. Some agents charge by the project, some by the month, while lawyers charge by the hour. Your agent/lawyer may need to bring on other technical consultants to the team, such as a biologist or geologist. For an individual house agents may charge up to $15,000/month, lawyers’ bill up to $800/hour (though some charge much less.) The total bill for agent/legal fees for an appeal through a DeNovo Hearing and Condition Compliance could cost ~$50K to $500K.
  26. 26. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 23 of 36 draft 9a Appendix A: Glossary Substantial Issue Determination. The commissioners decision whether or not your project might violate the Local Coastal Program of your city/county. Substantial Issue Hearing. The hearing where the 12 Commissioners hear the staff’s Substantial Issue Determination recommendation. They can decide that there is or is not, “Substantial Issue.” If there is, then your project is headed for a De Novo hearing. De Novo Hearing: The hearing where the 12 Commissioners hear the staff’s De Novo appeal recommendation. De Novo means “to start new or fresh.” Your De Novo hearing means that the Coastal Commissioners will be reviewing your entire project from the beginning, just as if you never went through your city/county permit process, to determine whether it conforms to the city/county Local Coastal Program. Any issue, not just the ones raised in the appeal, can be considered. Staff Report. The written analysis of a staff planner on your project. You will see two staff reports. The first a Substantial Issue Determination staff report, the second (if substantial issue was found,) is an Appeal Staff Report, for a de Novo Hearing. ESHA. Environmentally Sensitive Habitat. Any area in which plant or animal life or their habitat are either rare or especially valuable because of their special nature or role in an ecosystem and which could be easily disturbed or degraded by human activities and development. These determinations are usually made on a case-by-case basis. Your LCP will define what is ESHA. Almost all LCP’s define wetland and riparian ESHA. A large number of LCP’s identify specific ESHA types but do not have a general ESHA category. ESHA Buffer. The land set aside around a designated ESHA to protect it from disturbance. The Coastal Commission has mandated ESHA buffers anywhere from 35 feet to 100 meters, depending on circumstances. These are often specified in your LCP. Check it. (The most consistent buffer dimension is 100-foot for wetlands. Riparian habitat buffers vary from 20 to 100 feet with 50 to 100 feet the most common.11 Many LCP’s require buffers for particular ESHA but do not cite a specific buffer dimension.) Wetland12 Lands within the coastal zone which may be covered periodically or permanently with shallow water and include saltwater marshes, freshwater marshes, open or closed brackish water marshes, swamps, mudflats, and fens. The commissions’ definition of a wetland13 is much stricter than other wildlife agencies such as California Fish and Game and US Army Corps of Engineers. Consultants make tons of money arguing what a wetland is. Streams: Perennial (a stream that would normally be expected to flow throughout the year) and intermittent watercourses identified through site inspection and USGS maps. Perennial streams are those which are depicted on a USGS map with a solid blue line (hence their designation “blue-line” 11 Coastal Commission document: Policies in Local Coastal Programs regarding development setback and mitigation ratios for wetlands and other ESHA areas January 2007 12 Definition and Delineation of Wetlands in the Coastal Zone – California Coastal Commission Wetlands Workshop Handout November 15 2006 http://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2006/11/Th3-11-2006.pdf 13 CCR section 13577 is the Coastal Commision definition of a wetland
  27. 27. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 24 of 36 draft 9a streams.) Intermittent streams are those which are depicted on a USGS map with a dotted blue line. Development Almost everything you do on the coast is development and requires a coastal development permit,14 with some limited exceptions; e.g. remodels or tear-downs which don’t change the intensity of the use and area, height or bulk by 10%. However if you are on a beach, altering landforms, expanding wells or septic systems, or between the sea and first public road or 300 feet from any beach, it is considered development and needs a permit. Coastal Development Permit (CDP) is the building permit required for any development within the coastal zone. Local Coastal Program (LCP) Many city/county’s on the coast have their own plans to implant the coastal act and are eligible to issue their own Coastal Development Permits. A Local coastal program consists of (a) land use plans (LUP), (b) implementation plans (sometimes known as zoning ordinances,) (c) zoning district maps, and (d) within sensitive coastal resources areas, which, and implement the Coastal Act. Most local governments have elected to prepare their LUPs first and, once certified by the Commission, then begin work on the IP portion. Some have prepared both components simultaneously as a "total LCP.” There are currently 75 cities and counties either totally or partially within the California coastal zone subject to the Coastal Act. The Coastal Act allows local governments to divide their jurisdictions into geographic "segments" for purposes of preparing the LCPs. As of 2005 there are 128 LUP segments. Land use plan (LUP) - The detailed portion of a local government's general plan, which show what kind of land use is acceptable, where it is acceptable and the intensity of use. In addition, what kind of protections are required for habits and other resources, and what are the development policies for that are. Finally it may include a list of what’s necessary to build in these areas. The LUP must conform to Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act. Implementation Plan (IP) – is the part of the LCP that contains the ordinances, regulations and other enforcement mechanisms to implement the Land Use Plan. This part of a LCP is sometimes referred to as “zoning,” or “implementing ordinances,” "implementing action phase,” or "implementation program.” Area of Deferred Certification (ADC): is an area that has not been officially where both the LUP and IP portions have been deferred to some future date, or in some cases denied in geographic part. The concept arose in response to a situation where all LCP issues had been resolved except for an unresolved geographic area. To avoid delay in certifying the balance of the LCP, the geographic area of controversy was removed for later action or denied, and thus became a deferred area. In these areas the Coastal Commission had direct jurisdiction. Coastal Zone - That land and water area of California from the Oregon border to the Mexican border. It extends in the sea to the state's 3-mile limit of jurisdiction, including all offshore islands, and extends inland about 1,000 yards from the mean high tide line of the sea. In important coastal stream, habitat, and recreational areas it extends inland to the first major ridgeline paralleling the 14 Section 30212 New Development Projects and CCR 13250 Improvement to existing single family residences
  28. 28. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 25 of 36 draft 9a sea or five miles from the mean high tide line of the sea, whichever is less. In developed urban areas the zone generally extends inland less than 1,000 yards. The coastal zone does not include the area inside the San Francisco Bay. Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map Your planning commission has maps that are essential for you to refer to. The most important one is the Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Maps for your City or County. Look at them. See Appendix F for an example. Best Management Practices (BMPs) Conservation practices or management measures which control soil loss and reduce water quality degradation caused by nutrients, animal wastes, toxins, sediment, and runoff. BMPs are designed to prevent spillage and/or runoff of construction-related materials, sediment, or contaminants associated with construction activity. BMPs need to be maintained in a functional condition throughout the duration of the project. Standard Conditions. Are conditions that you have to comply with to receive your Coastal Development permit. They are “standard” in the sense that staff and commission use them on projects consistently and they are not only about your project. Special Conditions. Are conditions that you have to comply with to receive your Coastal Development permit. These are the conditions that in the commissions’ eye “cure” your violations of the Local Coastal Program. They are “special” in the sense that staff and commission are recommending them only about your project. And that they apply only to your site and house. Findings. Critically important. Found in your staff report, these are the legal justifications for the conditions the Commission is recommending. Once approved by the commission, they become the “facts.” Visual Resources Development is required to be sited to protect public views of the ocean and scenic areas. This includes major roads, public parks/beaches. Structures have to blend into/with the area. Check your LCP for specifics. Landform Alteration15 The Commission is charged with concern for land form alteration by Section 30251 of the Coastal Act. The Commission often takes an expansive view of alteration of natural land forms, encompasses vegetation clearing and all forms of earth moving, such as cut, fill, removal and recompaction, placing rip-rap, retaining walls, buildings or other structures. California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. Approval of Coastal Development Permits must be supported by a finding showing the permit along with the conditions of approval is consistent with the CEQA requirements. CEQA prohibits a proposed development from being approved if there are feasible alternatives or feasible mitigation measures available which would substantially lessen any significant adverse effect that the activity may have on the environment. The conditions imposed on your project made it consistent with the environmentally sensitive habitat, geologic hazards, and water quality policies of the Coastal Act. 15 Coastal Commission: Landform Alteration Policy Guidance http://www.coastal.ca.gov/landform/title-tc.html
  29. 29. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 26 of 36 draft 9a Appendix B: What is a Local Coastal Program? The Coastal Act was designed to move the granting of Coastal Development Permits from the Coastal Commission to cities and counties. However, before the cities and counties were allowed to issue these permits, they needed to submit a Local Coastal Program (LCP) to the Coastal Commission for approval. While every city/county LCP is unique, it must conform to the Coastal Act goals and policies and must pass muster of the commission staff and commissioners. The Coastal Commission staff helps shapes each LCP and then formally reviews them for consistency with Coastal Act standards. Technically Local Coastal Programs (LCP) are made up of several interconnected planning documents. They include: Land use plan (LUP) Zoning ordinances Sensitive habitat maps anything else that helps define the implementing measures After an LCP has been approved, the Commission’s coastal permitting authority over most new development is transferred to the local government, which applies the requirements of the LCP in reviewing proposed new developments. Your city/county might not have a separate document labeled “LCP.” They may be separate coastal elements, but may be part of a general plan. So How Did I Get Appealed if My City/County Can Issue their Own CDP’s? Coastal Commission Jurisdiction While in theory the Coastal Commission only has jurisdiction to hear appeals in a narrow set of circumstances, the reality is a bit different. The theory says the commission can only hear appeal of approved projects: between the sea and the first public road or within 300’ of the beach or 300’ of the top of a coastal bluff These “appealable development areas” are defined by the Coastal Act and are shown on a “Post LCP Certification Permit and Appeals Jurisdiction Map” that your city/county planning commission has. But the commission can also hear appeals if your house is: 100’ of any wetland, estuary or stream in the coastal zone Is not the principal permitted use. I.e. you’re building a house in area whose primary zoning is agriculture. or located in an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) – in rural areas this can be any lot with grassland or trees The commissions own statistics show that they have jurisdiction in 60% of the permits that your county/city issues. Since 1982, Cities and Counties that have Local Coastal Programs have issued over 35,000 Coastal Development Permits. While ~22,000 of them were appealable, only ~1,100 were actually appealed, ending up in front of the Coastal Commission. Grounds of an Appeal The grounds for an appeal are limited to a claim that your house does not conform to the standards
  30. 30. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 27 of 36 draft 9a in your city/county LCP. However, your city/county LCP offers an appellant lots of grounds of appeal. They could be that your house is in violation of visual resources, improperly situated next to sensitive habitat, etc. Sample LCP’s available on-line: Marina Del Rey LCP: http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/BandH/DeptInfo/Planning.htm Ventura County LCP: http://www.countyofventura.org/RMA/planning/programs_services/local_coast/local_coast.htm And http://www.countyofventura.org/RMA/planning/pdf/Coastal_Area_Plan.pdf City of Del Mar: http://www.delmar.ca.us/NR/rdonlyres/A47C2186-E202-4B91-8C7B- DAF0BE5CB522/0/LocalCoastalPlanImplementing.pdf Laguna Beach LCP: http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/development/informationguides/pdf/plans/Local%20Coastal%20Pr ogram.pdf Newport Beach LCP: http://www.city.newport-beach.ca.us/PLN/LCP/LCP.htm and http://www.city.newport-beach.ca.us/PLN/LCP/LCP.htm#How_can_I_get_a_copy_of_the_LCP_ Santa Monica Mountains LCP: http://planning.co.la.ca.us/spSmmlcp.htm City of Malibu LCP: http://www.ci.malibu.ca.us/index.cfm?fuseaction=detailgroup&navid=204&cid=1576 and http://www.coastal.ca.gov/ventura/malibu-lup-final.pdf Sunset Beach LCP: http://www.ocplanning.net/docs/codes/planned/SUNSET%20BEACH%20SPECIFIC%20PLAN.pdf Morro Bay Proposed LCP Map: http://www.morro-bay.ca.us/mapprop.pdf San Luis Obispo Planning LUP’s and Maps: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/planning/General_Plan__Ordinances_and_Elements/Area_Plans.htm http://www.sloplanning.org/gis/mapimagepdf/Rural_LUC_and_Combining_Des_Map.pdf http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/planning/zoning/Map_Image_Download_Center/Land_Use_Maps.htm http://www.sloplanning.org/gis/mapimagepdf/Planning_Area_Index_Map.pdf Monterey County North County LUP: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/pbi/docs/Plans/NC_LUP_complete.PDF Del Monte Forest LUP: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/pbi/docs/Plans/NC_LUP_complete.PDF Big Sur Coast LUP: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/pbi/docs/Plans/Big_Sur_CIP.pdf Carmel LUP: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/pbi/docs/Plans/Carmel_Area_LUP_complete.PDF Sonoma County LCP: http://www.sonoma-county.org/prmd/docs/lcp/ Marin County LCP: http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/CD/main/comdev/ADVANCE/coastal.cfm Mendocino County: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/planning/LCPUpdate/LCPupdateindex.htm and http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/planning/CoastPlan/ContentIndexFrame.htm
  31. 31. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 28 of 36 draft 9a San Mateo County LCP: http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/planning/pdf/lcp_1098.pdf and http://ceres.ca.gov/planning/lcp/sanmateo/index.html Santa Cruz County LCP/General Plan: http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pl/gp/GPVolume.html And http://www.sccoplanning.com/pdf/generalplan/toc.pdf And http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pl/gp/PDF/GPAC%20FLOW.pdf http://ordlink.com/codes/santacruzco/index.htm see chapter 13.03 Half Moon Bay LCP: http://lcp.sanmateo.org/HMBLCP/HMB%20LCP.pdf all of it http://lcp.sanmateo.org/HMBLCP/HMB%20LCP%20chapters%201-8.pdf chapters 1-8 http://lcp.sanmateo.org/HMBLCP/HMBLCP%20ch%209.pdf chapter 9 http://lcp.sanmateo.org/HMBLCP/HMBLCP%20ch%2010.pdf chapter 10 http://lcp.sanmateo.org/HMBLCP/HMBLCP%20maps.pdf maps and appendices
  32. 32. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 29 of 36 draft 9a Appendix C: How Long Does an Appeal Take? Below is a summary of the time it took to resolve the 38 appeals filed between May 2006 to May 2007. The table measures the date the appeal was filed, until the date the Commissioners ruled at the De Novo hearing. It does not include the time it took to actually comply with all the conditions and receive a Coastal Development permit. Applicants report that Condition Compliance takes on average another 3 to 6 months. Total time in front of the Coastal Commission ~9-12 months. Number Date Filed Substantial Issue Hearing De Novo Action Days Months (Approx.) A-4-MAL-06-096 8/4/2006 11/16/2006 5/9/2007 278 9 A-1-MEN-06-047 12/5/2006 1/12/2006 5/11/2007 157 5 A-1-MEN-06-052 12/19/2006 4/13/2007 115 4 A-5-VEN-07-092 2/28/2007 4/11/2007 42 1 A-6-PEN-07-26 2/20/2007 4/10/2007 49 2 A-1-EUR-06-028 5/5/2006 6/16/2006 3/16/2007 315 11 A-4-MAL-05-164 10/6/2005 11/16/2005 1/10/2007 461 15 A-6-LJS-06-79 7/12/2006 1/11/2007 183 6 A-6-IMB-06-108 9/5/2006 10/11/2006 1/11/2007 128 4 A-3-SLO-06-017 3/17/2006 5/11/2006 12/14/2006 272 9 A-3-MCO-06-384 11/16/2006 12/14/2006 28 1 A-4-STB-04-124 12/7/2004 1/12/2005 11/15/2006 708 24 A-3-MCO-04-064 11/2/2004 11/16/2006 744 25 A-4-SBV-06-037 3/13/2006 11/16/2006 248 8 A-1-MEN-05-035 7/21/2005 8/12/2005 9/15/2006 421 14 A-4-MAL-06-043 4/10/2006 5/11/2006 8/9/2006 121 4 A-4-STB-06-056 5/15/2006 6/13/2006 8/9/2006 86 3 A-3-SLO-06-016 3/27/2006 8/10/2006 136 5 A-6-NOC-06-075 6/29/2006 8/10/2006 42 1 A-6-ENC-06-05 1/20/2006 3/7/2006 8/10/2006 202 7 A-6-COR-06-46 4/24/2006 5/10/2006 8/10/2006 108 4 A-4-MAL-06-064 6/1/2006 7/12/2006 41 1 A-3-PSB-06-011 2/21/2006 7/13/2006 142 5 A-6-OSN-06-60 5/25/2006 7/13/2006 49 2 A-6-PCB-06-45 4/19/2006 6/13/2006 55 2 A-6-OCN-06-44 4/14/2006 5/10/2006 6/13/2006 60 2 A-3-SLO-06-015 3/23/2006 6/15/2006 84 3 A-3-SCO-05-073 10/21/2005 11/16/2005 6/15/2006 237 8 A-3-PSB-06-022&023 1/5/2006 2/10/2006 6/15/2006 161 5 A-5-VEN-05-320 8/25/2005 11/18/2005 5/10/2006 258 9 A-2-PAC-05-018 12/19/2005 1/11/2006 5/11/2006 143 5 A-3-SCO-05-066 9/13/2005 5/11/2006 240 8 A-4-MAL-06-044 4/10/2006 5/11/2006 31 1 A-1-MEN-06-023 4/13/2006 5/12/2006 29 1 A-1-FTB-05-053 10/31/2005 12/14/2005 5/12/2006 193 6 Average Duration May 06 - May 07 6 months + Condition Compliance 3 - 6 months Total Time at the Coastal Commission 9 - 12 months
  33. 33. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 30 of 36 draft 9a Appendix D: Coastal Commission Organization Commissioners The "commission" itself has twelve voting members called commissioners. Four are appointed by the Governor, four by the State Senate Rules Committee, and four by the Speaker of the Assembly. Six of the commissioners have to be locally elected officials of coastal counties and six are members of the public. (see http://www.coastal.ca.gov/roster.html) COASTAL COMMISSIONERS (as of August 2007) Governor Assembly Senate Steve Kram Pat Kruer (Chair) Larry Clark (Rancho PV) Khatchik Achadijian (San Luis Obispo) William Burke Mike Reilly (Sonoma) Bonnie Neely (Humboldt) Dave Potter (Monterey) Mary Shallenberger Steve Blank Ben Hueso (San Diego) Sara Wan Commission Geographic Organization The six seats filled by locally elected officials are drawn from specific geographic areas. The Governor gets to appoint elected officials from the North Coast counties (Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino) and South Central counties (Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo). The Senate
  34. 34. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 31 of 36 draft 9a Rules Committee gets to appoint elected officials from the North Central counties (Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco) and South counties (L.A., Orange County). The Speaker gets to appoint elected officials from the North Central counties (Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo) and San Diego. The Speaker and Senate Rules Committee appointees serve for fixed terms for 4 years. The Governors appointees serve for two years at the pleasure of the Governor and may be changed by him at any time.
  35. 35. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 32 of 36 draft 9a Appendix E: District Offices
  36. 36. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 33 of 36 draft 9a DISTRICT OFFICES COASTAL COUNTIES INCORPORATED CITIES North Coast District Office Bob Merrill, District Manager 710 E Street, Suite 200 Eureka, CA 95501 (707) 445-7833 or (707) 445-7834 FAX (707) 445-7877 Del Norte Humboldt Mendocino Crescent City Arcata, Eureka, Trinidad Fort Bragg, Point Arena North Central Coast District Office Charles Lester, Senior Deputy Director Michael Endicott, District Manager 45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000 San Francisco, CA 94105-2219 (415) 904-5260 or (415) 904-5200 FAX (415) 904-5400 Sonoma Marin San Francisco San Mateo San Francisco Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica Central Coast District Office Charles Lester, Senior Deputy Director 725 Front Street, Suite 300 Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4508 (831) 427-4863 FAX (831) 427-4877 Santa Cruz Monterey San Luis Obispo Capitola, Santa Cruz, Watsonville Carmel, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Sand City, Seaside Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach South Central Coast District Office John (Jack) Ainsworth, Deputy Director Gary Timm, District Manager 89 South California Street, Suite 200 Ventura, CA 93001-2801 (805) 585-1800 FAX (805) 641-1732 Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Barbara Oxnard, Port Hueneme, San Buenaventura, Ventura Malibu, Santa Monica Mountains Area within L.A. County South Coast District Office John (Jack) Ainsworth, Deputy Director (for Los Angeles Co.) Sherilyn Sarb, Deputy Director (for Orange Co.) Teresa Henry, District Manager 200 Oceangate, 10th Floor Long Beach, CA 90802-4416 (562) 590-5071 FAX (562) 590-5084 Los Angeles Orange Avalon, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Seal Beach, South Laguna
  37. 37. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 34 of 36 draft 9a DISTRICT OFFICES COASTAL COUNTIES INCORPORATED CITIES San Diego Coast District Office Sherilyn Sarb, Deputy Director Deborah Lee, District Manager 7575 Metropolitan Drive Ste 103 San Diego, CA 92108-4402 (619) 767-2370 FAX (619) 767-2384 San Diego LEGISLATIVE OFFICE Sara Christie, Legislative Liaison 1121 "L" Street, Suite 503 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 445-6067 FAX (916) 324-6832 Essential Reading California Coastal Commission's own "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" http://www.coastal.ca.gov/qa99.pdf The Coastal Act http://www.coastal.ca.gov/coastact.pdf The California Coastal Commission Regulations, Title 14, Division 5.5: http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=CCR-1000
  38. 38. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 35 of 36 draft 9a Appendix F: Example of a Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map
  39. 39. Navigating the Coastal Commission Page 36 of 36 draft 9a Change History: Revision 9a, August 5 2007 Changes • Page 22 – minor changes to “Do you need an agent” • Page 24 – added Area of Deferred Certification (ADC) to the glossary • Page 33- Updated Central Coast Office Staff • Page 34 - Added Legislative Office Revision 9, August 1 2007 Changes • Page 6 – modified wording in describing the probability of substantial issue outcomes • Page 7 – removed may have weapons of mass destruction from last paragraph • Page 13-14 – reworded Working With the Staff, second paragraph about Denial, minor change to 5th paragraph, reedited 6th paragraph for tone. • Pages 14-15 – Added ESHA discussion • Page 14 – Added footnote reference to the Coastal Commission document: Policies in Local Coastal Programs Regarding Development Setbacks and Mitigation Ratios for Wetlands and other Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas –January 2007 • Page 14 – footnote Section 30107.5 of the Coastal Act • Page 15- footnote Added Lucas vs. South Carolina decision • Page 15 – reference to the Coastal Commission document Definition and Delineation of Wetlands in the Coastal Zone – California Coastal Commission Wetlands Workshop Handout November 15 2006 • Page 19 –modified wording in paragraph 5 of “Meeting the commissioners.” • Page 19 – added commissioners site visit recommendation as the last paragraph in De Novo staff report • Page 22 – minor changes to “Do you need an agent” • Page 23 – added two Wetlands footnotes including reference to CCR section 13577 • Page 25 – additional wording to the definition of CEQA in the glossary • Page 25 – added Landform glossary definition and reference to Coastal Commission document: Landform Alteration Policy Guidance • Page 29 – added Morro Bay Proposed LCP Map, added San Luis Obispo Planning LUPs & Maps • Page 30 – update Commissioners date, fixed error on Senate appointing authority • Page 34 – added Coastal Act and Coastal Regulations to Essential Reading • Page 36 – Added this Change History Page Revisions prior to July 2007 • Removed references to agents/lawyers from the main body of the text. Moved them to a summary section. • Updated Glossary • Added Appendix F, Example of a Permit and Appeal Map

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