Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Planning and Building Department



March 29, 2010


April 13, 2010







Honorable Board of Supervisors



Jim Eggemeyer, Interim Director of Community Development



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Consideration and Analysis of the California Coastal Commission’s Action on the County of San Mateo’s Midcoast Update Local Coastal Program Amendments




Receive staff’s presentation and public comments regarding the California Coastal Commission’s December 10, 2009 action on the Midcoast Update Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendments.



Identify any additional information or analysis needed by the Board to respond at its May 11, 2010 meeting to the California Coastal Commission’s action.



On December 10, 2009, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) denied certification of the Midcoast Update LCP amendments submitted by the County in January 2007. The CCC then voted to approve the amendments with 72 changes, as recommended by its staff (a copy of the CCC staff recommendation is available at The CCC’s action did not include the revisions requested by the County, which were formulated after three Board of Supervisors hearings on the CCC staff recommendation, conducted in June, July, and December of 2009.


The Board of Supervisors must now decide whether to accept the changes adopted by the CCC, and has six months from the date of the Commission’s action (i.e., until June 10, 2010) to do so. The Board has the following options in connection with this matter:


Adopt a resolution to accept the changes in their entirety. The amendments, as revised by the CCC, would take effect on the date that the CCC determines that the resolution is legally adequate;

Adopt a resolution to reject the changes, which would result in the County retaining the existing LCP as the standard of review for coastal development permit applications;

Direct staff to develop an alternative version of the update that would undergo local review approval and then be resubmitted for CCC certification; or

Request a one-year extension of the statutory six-month timeframe in which the County must act on the CCC’s proposed changes in order to allow more time to evaluate the County’s options.


Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider each of the above options and identify any additional information it may need to make a final decision. Staff will apply the Board’s feedback to the development of a recommended course of action, which will be presented to the Board at its meeting of May 11, 2010.



The suggested modifications proposed by the CCC that present the greatest concern at this time are those that:


Require applicants for subdivisions and conditional certificates of compliance to acquire, and set aside as open space, a number of vacant developable lot(s) equivalent to the number of new lots created;

Prohibit new private wells within the urban area until a comprehensive groundwater management plan is incorporated into the LCP;

Introduce new growth limits that prevent the development of non-residential and non-Coastal Act priority uses until traffic levels improve;

Eliminate grandfathering provisions and apply the amendments to currently pending projects; and

Establish standards for public works projects that restrict capacity according to the availability of other existing public services rather than the buildout allowed by the LCP.


Factors to consider when determining how to respond to the CCC’s action include: the impacts that the suggested modifications will have on future development patterns and the County’s permit review process; the legal issues the County may inherit if it agrees to apply the suggested policies; and the consequences of losing the work expended on the policy updates contained in the County’s submittal if the modifications are rejected.


Shared Vision 2025: Acceptance or rejection of the CCC’s action will impact the County’s ability to carry out Shared Vision 2025. Acceptance of the modifications will introduce new standards that will reduce opportunities for infill development that promotes livable, healthy, and prosperous communities. Rejection of the modifications will result in the loss of County policies designed to advance these objectives.


This report was reviewed by County Counsel and determined to be acceptable in form and content.



Acceptance of the CCC’s s changes would place unfunded demands on limited staff resources. Resubmittal of the amendments would require the reallocation of staff time and Department funds.