April 19, 2012

Local coastal regulation assured for now

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

A bill from the California Department of Finance that would have eliminated local coastal programs appears to be dead.  Under California’s Coastal Act, every local jurisdiction within the coastal zone must produce a local coastal program—essentially a zoning plan for coastal areas.  Once the statewide Coastal Commission certifies the local coastal plan, the plan becomes the standard for determining whether coastal development may occur within the coastal zone.

Local coastal programs are popular with local governments, environmentalists, and many landowners.  Thus, Commission watchers were surprised to see the Department of Finance’s trailer budget bill that would have eliminated such programs and made the Commission the sole permitting body.  Given the amount of dissatisfaction with the bill, the opposition of both the Senate and Assembly budget subcommittees was to be expected.

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