West Coast
Jon Clark

CA - Del Mar declines to seek Coastal Commission certification for sea level rise plan

The Del Mar City Council decided to withdraw its sea level rise adaptation plan from a June 10 hearing in front of the California Coastal Commission, which leaves the plan uncertified after years of discussions between the two sides.

The Del Mar City Council decided to withdraw its sea level rise adaptation plan from a June 10 hearing in front of the California Coastal Commission, which leaves the plan uncertified after years of discussions between the two sides.

The city’s plan, adopted in 2018, will remain in effect without Coastal Commission certification, but that could create complications in new public and private development. The commission oversees development throughout the state’s coastal zone, which includes the entire city of Del Mar. Sand replenishment and other efforts to counter the rising sea in Del Mar will continue.

The two sides have been divided over whether Del Mar’s plan should include “managed retreat,” which involves moving property inland and conceding ground to the rising sea. The Coastal Commission also added 22 new suggested modifications, including updates to the Floodplain Overlay Zone map, more details about calculating setbacks for development on the bluffs, and a fee program to fund sea level rise adaptation plans.

“Every time they have sent comments to the city, their changes reintroduce managed retreat for private property, which would irreversibly harm Del Mar, our beaches, our many beach visitors each year, and especially the 700-plus homes in the beach community,” Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland said during the council’s June 7 meeting.

Council members knew that the commission was expected to reject the Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA) that would have certified the city’s plan, based on a recommendation from the commission’s staff. So by a 4-1 vote, the council decided to take it off the table.


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