West Coast
Great strides were made in protecting the coast in 2018, with one San Clemente exception. (ActCoastal.org photo)


The state Coastal Commission did a better job protecting the ocean and coastline in 2018, according to a new report that identifies votes on Orange County issues as the panel’s best and worst actions of the year.

The 2018 Coastal Commission Conservation Report Card was issued Monday by ActCoastal.org, a coalition of the San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation, Los Angeles’ Environment California and Wildcoast/Costa Salvaje, which has offices on both sides of the Mexican border, in Imperial Beach and Ensenada.

“The Commission’s most significant vote of 2018 involved a landmark enforcement decision requiring, for the first time, the removal of an illegal seawall,” states the report card of what went down with a Laguna Beach home that was built in the 1950s and received an emergency permit for a seawall in 2015.

Seawalls were originally built to protect property from encroaching surf, but they are controversial because they are often erected on public sand, which has become a dwindling resource thanks to beach erosion. As a result, the commission has permitted seawalls for development constructed before the Coastal Act went into effect in 1976 but has been stingy with allowing them for projects after that year.

Investors who resided adjacent to the Laguna Beach home purchased the property and applied for a permit to reinforce the seawall and do a major remodel of the structure.

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