LOCAL COASTAL PLAN (LCP) PROJECT

What is an LCP?

Local Coastal Programs (LCPs) are planning documents used by local governments to guide development in the coastal zone, in partnership with the Coastal Commission. LCPs contain rules and regulations for future development and protection of coastal resources, by specifying appropriate location, type, and scale of new or changed uses. LCPs must be in conformance with the broad requirements of the California Coastal Act and reflect the unique and specific community characteristics of the jurisdiction. Each LCP consists of a Land Use Plan (LUP) and Local Implementation Plan (LIP). The LUP designates land use classifications, and goals/policies guiding development (similar in nature to a City’s General Plan, but specifically for the coastal zone).  The LIP includes measures to implement the LUP, typically through the zoning ordinance.

Once an LCP is certified by the Coastal Commission, the City becomes responsible for issuing Coastal Development Permits within the coastal zone as the Coastal Commission transfers coastal permitting authority. However, the Coastal Commission is responsible for handling appeals within the following areas: any locally-approved development between the first public road and the city; within 300 feet of a beach, mean high tide or bluff edge; within 100 feet of a wetland or stream; or, on tidelands, submerged lands, or public trust lands.  Additionally, the Commission handles approval/denial of major public works or energy facility projects. It should be noted that Coastal Commission will only consider appeals from applicants or any person who participates in a local permitting process for a project. Additionally, an appellant must generally exhaust local appeals prior to appealing to the Commission.

In 2015, the California Coastal Commission adopted a Sea Level Rise Policy document to provide methodology in addressing sea level rise in planning/regulatory actions.  In 2018, the Science Update was adopted as part of the 2015 Sea Level Rise Policy document, reflecting best available data on sea level rise projections relevant to California. All LCP updates must now include a sea level rise vulnerability assessment and identify adaptation measures that help develop policies for the LCP.   

Benefits of Certified LCP

After an LCP is certified, the city will have coastal development permitting issuance authority within the coastal zone (except for tidelands, submerged lands, and public trust lands).  Community based policies would guide future development activities and resource protection, ensuring that the City’s vision is reflected. A certified LCP will streamline the permitting process and significantly improve the efficiency of City Staff review and Coastal Commission staff review. Decisions made at the local level ensure that approvals are made by the people who know the City best.

Seal Beach LCP Background

The City of Seal Beach initiated preparation of a Local Coastal Program in 2003 and then again in 2008. The 2008 LCP was prepared by City staff and submitted to Coastal Commission review.  City staff was unable to attain certification due to limited staff time and resources. The City has reinitiated preparation of an LCP that now also includes an analysis of sea level rise in accordance with the 2015 California Coastal Commission Sea Level Rise Policy.  In 2017, the City won a grant through the Coastal Commission to pursue LCP certification.  The City of Seal Beach has also contracted with Michael Baker International to prepare an LCP with the goal of certifying the document through the California Coastal Commission.  

LCP Preparation Process

The LCP preparation process will be divided into two phases to ensure there is thorough analysis and review time within each step. This approach is intended to divide the initial “kick-off” and data collection phase from the later process which will focus on preparation of the final document and identifying acceptable implementation strategies.  Work efforts anticipated to be undertaken with each phase are as follows:

Phase One:

·        Community Outreach

o   Stakeholder Meetings (Dates TBD)

o   Community Workshops (Dates TBD)

·        Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

·        Administrative Draft LUP

Phase Two: 

·        *Final LUP

·        *Administrative Draft LIP

·        *Final LIP

·        *Study Sessions with Planning Commission and City Council

·        *Local Adoption: Planning Commission and City Council

·        Coastal Commission Application and Certification

* The City anticipates applying for a Coastal Commission grant at a later date to fund these additional tasks

Community Outreach Process and Dates

Community Workshops

Workshop #1: Vision, Issues, and Opportunities (Date and Time TBD)

Workshop Goal: Inform and consult with the public regarding the LCP process and inventory issues and opportunities (including types of adaptive planning/examples) within the community.

Workshop #2: Sea Level Rise and Adaptation Strategies (Wednesday, July 17th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

Workshop Goal: Inform the public about the Vulnerability Assessment results, and facilitate discussion regarding potential solutions and adaptation measures.
Workshop Flyer

Workshop #3: LCP Key Issues (Date and Time TBD)

Workshop Goal: Inform the public about key LCP issues (coastal accommodations/tourism, environmental issues, public access, etc.) and facilitate discussions regarding preferred policy measures.

Reference Documents

·        2008 LCP – Not Certified

·        Link to Coastal Act: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/coastact.pdf

·        Coastal Commission Sea Level Rise Policy: https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/assets/slr/guidance/2018/0_Full_2018AdoptedSLRGuidanceUpdate.pdf

·        Technical Papers

o   Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) Summary and Policy Recommendations

o   Land Use Baseline Summary and Policy Recommendations

o   Lower-Cost Visitor-Serving Accommodations and Policy Recommendations

o   Coastal Public Access, Beach Use, and Special Events Baseline Report and Policy Recommendations