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Coastal California is already experiencing the early impacts of rising sea levels, including more extensive coastal flooding during storms, periodic tidal flooding and increased coastal erosion. Sea level rise science is constantly being improved upon to become more fine-tuned and to accommodate new information and technological innovation. While specific impacts and timelines are always becoming more refined, we will use the best available science to plan for and adapt to sea level rise, consistent with state guidance.
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A General Plan is a broad planning document to a city's or county's future development goals and provides policy statements to achieve those development goals
The General Plan is the foundation for establishing goals, purposes, zoning and activities allowed on each land parcel to provide compatibility and continuity to the entire region as well as each individual neighborhood.
Local jurisdictions have freedom as to what their general plans include however each general plan must include the vision, goals, and objectives of the city or county in terms of planning and development.
The 1992 LCP Land Use Plan no longer reflects the physical and policy environment of 2018 Pismo Beach.
The new LCP will contain one comprehensive zoning ordinance that will be consistent with the General Plan, be more user friendly, and in some cases will transfer the permitting authority from the Coastal Commission to the City.
Incorporate recently adopted elements (Circulation Element) and elements currently in process (Housing Element). Will also include latest studies such as Sea Level Rise and Lower Cost Visitor Serving Accommodations and Policies regarding Environmental Justice.
Local Coastal Programs (LCPs) are basic planning tools used by local governments to guide development in the coastal zone. LCPs contain the rules for future development and protection of coastal resources.
The LCPs specify appropriate location, type, and scale of new or changed uses of land and water.
Each LCP includes a land use plan and measures to implement the plan (such as zoning ordinances)
After an LCP has been finally approved, the Commission’s coastal permitting authority over most new development is transferred to the local government, which applies the requirements of the LCP in reviewing proposed new developments.
GPAC Meetings / Community Input - Each month for next 18 months (as needed)
Public Hearings / Workshops for public input (December 2018)
Develop and distribute Request for Proposal (January 2019)
Consultant Interviews and Selection (February 2019)
Land Use Plan / Zoning Ordinance / General Plan / Local Coastal Plan draft – (February 2020 – approximately 1 year)
Environmental Impact Report (November 2021)
Public Hearings – Planning Commission, City Council, Coastal Commission (Early to mid 2022)
The California Coastal Act requires coastal communities to prepare a Local Coastal Program (LCP), which must address potential hazards associated with coastal areas and establish policies and implementation measures to avoid and/or reduce coastal hazards. Sea level rise is scientifically linked to climate change. Because the State of California has made it a priority to prepare for climate change, the Pismo Beach LCP must include a section on coastal hazards related to sea level rise along with policies and implementation measures to avoid and/or reduce risks. Sea level rise and climate change present challenges of a new magnitude. Sea level rise has the potential to significantly threaten many coastal resources, including shoreline development, coastal beach access and recreation, natural habitats, cultural and scenic resources, all of which are subject to specific protections and regulations in the California Coastal Act. Sea level rise in Pismo Beach also has the potential to threaten critical infrastructure, transportation systems, and public facilities, which could affect safety, health, economic, and environmental sustainability.
While mid and long term increases in sea-level rise will undoubtedly cause significant flooding and tidal inundation, it is the short-term increases in sea-level rise that are expected to become the driver of the strongest impacts to infrastructure and coastal development in California. Short-term processes, including Pacific Basin climate fluctuations (Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Niño Southern Oscillation, and North Pacific Gyre Oscillation), King tides (perigean high tides), seasonal cycles, and winter storms, will produce significantly higher ocean water levels along the California coast.
These short term processes, combined with sea-level rise and storm events could present significant risks. Anticipating and planning for sea level rise related coastal hazards now can help avoid or reduce the extent and severity of any sea level rise related damages or impacts Pismo may experience in the future.
Additionally, the City of Pismo Beach has many unique features, such as the campgrounds and beach areas near the downtown which are vulnerable to sea level rise already and are being specifically analyzed in the context of a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. The Vulnerability Assessment will detail Pismo’s unique sensitivities to Sea Level Rise and provide a basis for the development of policies intended to help the City adapt to Sea Level rise related coastal hazards.
An important component of sea level rise adaptation planning is preparation of a vulnerability assessment. The main steps in a vulnerability assessment include the following:
1) Determine the range of projections relevant to the LCP planning area2) Identify potential physical sea level rise impacts in the LCP planning area3) Assess potential impacts from sea level rise to coastal resources and development
While CCC contributes to the Planning aspects of Sea Level Rise, the cost and who pays for adaptation projects is another discussion that will need to occur over the course of developing the LCP. These discussions must consider how to incorporate extensive feedback in order to develop the right equitable approach. Some measures will need to be implemented by private property owners through the land use development process. Other adaptation measures that have community-wide benefits might be funded by the local government. The extent and estimated costs of the adaptation measures will be better understood after a draft report is produced, estimated for early 2020.
As an example of how a California community is financing sea level rise adaptation, 2016, San Francisco Bay voters passed Measure AA with 69% of the vote, to pay for sea level rise adaptation measures through a $12 per year parcel tax over 20 years. In Pismo Beach, we will need to develop our own local financing for adaptation projects.
Community input is critical to ensure that all members of the public have the opportunity to review and comment on each component of the LCP, including sea level rise planning. After each major component (Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation Plan, General Plan/LCP, and Zoning Ordinance) of the LCP is drafted, a public workshop will be held. Additionally, there will be numerous ‘Study Sessions’ and public hearings, all of which will be noticed and will encourage public participation. Study Sessions and public hearings are estimated for late 2020.