Del Mar, Coastal Commission postpone vote on land use plan

DEL MAR, Calif. — The city of Del Mar announced Tuesday that it reached a mutual agreement with the California Coastal Commission to postpone a discussion of its plan to combat sea level rise and other effects of climate change.

The commission was scheduled to consider the city’s Local Coastal Program on Wednesday, the first day of its three-day meeting in Chula Vista. The discussion would have resolved tension between commission staff, who outlined more than two dozen proposed changes to the LCP, and the Del Mar City Council, which voted last week to avoid altering the plan.

The commission balked at the plan’s resistance to the concept of “managed retreat” to deal with sea level rise, which would allow the shoreline to move further inland in addition to making structural improvements like adding sea walls and levees. Del Mar’s proposed LCP includes plans to reinforce beach heads and make coastal homes more flood-resistant.

Del Mar is one of the first coastal cities to submit a land use plan to the commission as required and the commission’s decision to unilaterally reject the plan without the addition of a managed retreat provision could affect similar plans in coastal cities throughout the state.

“The goal of the continuance is to identify if and how the local adopted plan can move forward through the state certification process in a way that meets both agencies’ objectives,” the city wrote in a statement published Tuesday.

Environmental organizations like the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation have called on the city to acquiesce to the commission’s requests and avoid catering strictly to the wishes of coastal residents who don’t wish to leave their homes.

“The Coastal Act was enacted by California voters to preserve the beach for public use while balancing private property rights,” Surfrider Foundation Policy Coordinator Laura Walsh said. “What we are seeing in Del Mar is an attempt to dismantle that balance.”

Neither the city nor the commission stated when a vote on the plan might be held.

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