Coastal commission proposals would destroy homes and businesses

10/27/2016

As concerned leaders of West Marin community organizations and businesses, we are alerting all residents to imminent changes in Marin County’s Local Coastal Program. Despite conscientious, inclusive efforts on the part of Marin County agencies to find workable solutions for our communities, the staff of the California Coastal Commission has proposed to replace our current regulations with harsh new permitting policies. If you own a home or property along the coast, your rights to maintain, rebuild and potentially ever sell it are at risk. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, coastal commissioners are scheduled to meet in Half Moon Bay for a final vote on these new policies. We urge you to rally against the changes being forced on us by their staff. 

Marin County has tried to submit an update to its coastal program twice in the past two years. This update was developed in a process that has spanned more than eight years and over a dozen public meetings. County staff met with concerned community members in each village; they created and distributed a coastalwide survey to gather meaningful opinions, comments and feedback from impacted communities. The survey and meetings garnered hundreds of responses that helped shape the county’s proposed regulations. 

Each time that Marin has submitted its L.C.P., coastal commission staff has attempted a wholesale rewrite outside of public view. In 2014, and again in 2015, staff simply deleted the text our communities helped the county create, replaced it with dozens of pages of new regulations and then released these changes within 24 hours of a coastal commission vote. When this reoccurred last year, commissioners admonished both the county and commission staffs and encouraged them to find a compromise within the framework of the county’s submission and with further public discussion. 

Yet for the third time in a row, apparently ignoring the directives of its own commissioners, commission staff are attempting to rewrite Marin’s regulations. Once again, they have refused to negotiate with the county or incorporate feedback from community groups. Once again, they have simply redlined the county’s regulations and replaced them with their own twice-rejected regulations. You can view their document, a veritable sea of redlines replacing Marin’s submission, at http://marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/planning/local-coastal-program.  

The result is a disaster for all of us who live along the coast. In practical terms, commission staff’s draconian policies would make it virtually impossible to meet permitting standards anywhere in Stinson Beach west of Highway 1, along wide swaths of Tomales Bay and in many sections of Bolinas, Muir Beach, Point Reyes Station and Tomales. Hundreds of houses would become unmaintainable, with the likely long-term result being the gradual disappearance of our
communities.

Please join us in contacting the California Coastal Commission. Email Planner Shannon Fiala before Monday, Oct. 31 at MarinLCP@coastal.ca.gov, referencing agenda item W10a, expressing your opposition and asking the commission not to adopt these changes at its hearing on Nov. 2.  Help us stop a disaster for Marin coastal communities.

 

By Terry M. Gordon, President, Stinson Beach Village Association; Sam Matthews, Stinson Beach Village Association; Lori Kyle, President, East Shore Planning Group; George Clyde, Secretary, East Shore Planning Group; Laura Arndt, Leadership Circle, Point Reyes Station Village Association; Randall Fleming, Leadership Circle, Point Reyes Station Village Association; Donna Clavaud, Chair, Tomales Design Review Board; Venta Leon, Tomales Design Review Board; Paula Reynolds, President, Seadrift Association; Kiren Niederberger, General Manager, Seadrift Association; Sandra Cross, President, Stinson Beach County Water District; Carrie Varroquiers, Residents for Reasonable Land Use, Stinson Beach; Chris Harrington, Stinson Beach Affordable Housing Committee; Jeff Loomans, C-SMART Community Representative, Stinson Beach; Katie Beacock, Owner, Seadrift Realty; Sarah Butler, Owner, Oceanic Realty; Barbara Mitchell, Owner, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s; and Maxine and John Gilbert, Owners, Parkside Café.