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Coastal Resiliency
Amanda Lee, Principal Planner City of Del Mar

The Planning Commission hearing for a Local Coastal Program Amendment dealing with coastal resiliency and sea level rise will resume on September 11. Then on October 1, the City Council will consider whether to adopt the proposed Local Coastal Program Amendments (Adaptation Plan, LCP Land Use Plan, and LCP Implementing Ordinances). At the same time the City Council will also be asked whether to direct staff to prepare and process a Community Plan Amendment to explicitly reference the Del Mar Adaptation Plan and San Diego County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Planned retreat (to move existing neighborhoods away from hazards as requested by the Coastal Commission) is not part of the City’s adaptation strategy because it was determined not necessary or feasible.

Since 2015 Del Mar has been actively planning to protect its beach, coastal bluffs, and environmental resources in areas that are vulnerable to storms, flooding, erosion, and projected sea level rise. On May 21, 2018, the City Council approved an Adaptation Plan with measures to address the identified hazards, which included priorities to implement various beach nourishment and flood management projects and programs. Instead of Planned Retreat, a Sediment Management Plan and Wetland Habitat Assessment were prepared to identify how best to preserve Del Mar’s existing beach and plan for the effects of saltwater intrusion into the San Dieguito Lagoon. Maintenance of the beach also provides flood protection for adjacent property.

On August 14, 2018, the Planning Commission listened to over two hours of public testimony relating to proposed amendments to the City’s existing certified Local Coastal Program (LCP). The City’s proposed hazard control policies and implementing regulations will help disclose local hazards and implement the City’s desired approach for adaptation consistent with the Del Mar Community Plan, Adaptation Plan, and Beach Preservation Initiative. The amendments expand the existing Coastal Bluff Overlay Zone along the upper bluff between 7th Street and 15th Street (subject to coastal bluff erosion and sea level rise through year 2100); and expand the existing Floodplain Overlay Zone to include beachfront properties from 18th Street north to the river mouth (subject to wave impacts and storm damage). Amendments to the Floodway Zone and Floodplain Overlay Zone are also needed for the City to remain in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s requirements for continued participation in the federal flood insurance program and access to funding for future hazard mitigation projects and disaster relief.

Public comments on the draft code amendments generally reinforced the community’s objection to managed retreat, expressed concerns about new requirements (i.e. deed restrictions and adaptable foundation design), and showed distrust relating to the Coastal Commission’s expressed desire for jurisdictions to begin implementing retreat now. Staff explained that the City can tailor the local approach to adaptation, which means Del Mar can continue to reject planned retreat as a strategy. The Planning Commission continued the item to allow time for the draft to be revised to address concerns relating to deed restrictions, defined terms, and the requirement for adaptable foundation designs.
For additional information, visit the following web page and direct any questions to Amanda Lee, Principal Planner at alee@delmar.ca.us or (858) 755-9313.

 

 

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