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Solana Beach residents to battle over seawalls, coastal plan

A showdown between environmental activists and oceanfront property owners appears imminent as the Solana Beach city council prepares to discuss approval set to be granted by the California Coastal Commission to the city’s Local Coastal Plan, provided that the city adopts a host of recommended changes to the document.

Many of these changes affect what private property owners can do to affect public lands, such as building retaining walls along the ocean bluffs, and who pays the costs associated with them. These issues have sparked a lawsuit from the Beach & Bluff Conservancy and Condominium Owners of South Sierra Avenue, demanding that the city reject some of the changes proposed by the Coastal Commission.

One issue concerns funding for a sand replenishment program at the city’s beaches. Because seawall construction prevents natural erosion and replenishment of beach sand, the Plan calls for collection of fees from owners of private seawalls that would be used to periodically dredge and replace the sand being lost at the beach due to the presence of the walls. The landowners’ lawyers are seeking to insert language into the Plan that would assign public funding for the same purpose.

Other points of contention include a proposal that private access points to the beach either be phased out or converted to public use (which is opposed by landowners), an argument over whether new development should “avoid” or “minimize” the impact on public access and recreation, and a move by the Conservancy to strike language suggesting that partial relocation or redesign of bluff top houses might be a feasible alternative to installing additional walls.

“We sincerely hope the Solana Beach city council doesn’t succumb to the bluff-top homeowners and go back on their word; there is too much riding on this decision,” said Jim Jaffee, Surfrider San Diego’s co-chair of beach preservation, in a release.

The council will take up the issue at a meeting this Wednesday.

“It's going to be difficult, controversial and emotional,” Solana Beach city councilman Tom Campbell tells the North County Times. “It is extremely, extremely difficult to come up with a plan that everyone can buy into.”

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A showdown between environmental activists and oceanfront property owners appears imminent as the Solana Beach city council prepares to discuss approval set to be granted by the California Coastal Commission to the city’s Local Coastal Plan, provided that the city adopts a host of recommended changes to the document.

Many of these changes affect what private property owners can do to affect public lands, such as building retaining walls along the ocean bluffs, and who pays the costs associated with them. These issues have sparked a lawsuit from the Beach & Bluff Conservancy and Condominium Owners of South Sierra Avenue, demanding that the city reject some of the changes proposed by the Coastal Commission.

One issue concerns funding for a sand replenishment program at the city’s beaches. Because seawall construction prevents natural erosion and replenishment of beach sand, the Plan calls for collection of fees from owners of private seawalls that would be used to periodically dredge and replace the sand being lost at the beach due to the presence of the walls. The landowners’ lawyers are seeking to insert language into the Plan that would assign public funding for the same purpose.

Other points of contention include a proposal that private access points to the beach either be phased out or converted to public use (which is opposed by landowners), an argument over whether new development should “avoid” or “minimize” the impact on public access and recreation, and a move by the Conservancy to strike language suggesting that partial relocation or redesign of bluff top houses might be a feasible alternative to installing additional walls.

“We sincerely hope the Solana Beach city council doesn’t succumb to the bluff-top homeowners and go back on their word; there is too much riding on this decision,” said Jim Jaffee, Surfrider San Diego’s co-chair of beach preservation, in a release.

The council will take up the issue at a meeting this Wednesday.

“It's going to be difficult, controversial and emotional,” Solana Beach city councilman Tom Campbell tells the North County Times. “It is extremely, extremely difficult to come up with a plan that everyone can buy into.”

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As someone who goes to Coastal Commissions statewide, the property owners on the bluffs will not get a better deal than they have been offered. The commission has a consistent policy on all these issues and that will not change as result of a self-interested group that recklessly built on top of the bluffs knowing the bluffs were being rapidly eroded.

Sept. 24, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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