When the California Coastal Commission was created back in 1970s, its purpose was to regulate and look after the state’s coastal zones. But lately, the commission is dipping its feet further into San Diego politics.
To combat the region’s homelessness problem, the City Council approved the purchase of a hotel near Imperial Beach that it wants to turned into a treatment facility for people convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors.
That’s a problem for the Coastal Commission. It says the city’s plan will conflict with rules meant to ensure there are lots of low-cost visitor accommodations near the coast, like the current hotel.
The Coastal Commission has voiced similar concerns in the past over other issues. Last year, the commission made a similar complaint advising the city not to take a harsh stance on short-term vacation rentals near the beach – a hot topic that’s still being debated.
On this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts discuss the conflicts between the City Council and the Coastal Commission.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
The Coastal Commission was never supposed to be a permanent agency. It's charter was set up to assist local municipalities in creating Local Coastal Plans to guide development and protect the coastline. Once the Local Coastal Plans were created, the local permit authority was supposed to be in the hands of the local cities. However, like any bureaucratic agency, it did not want to go out of business. So The Coastal Commission never turned permit authority over to the local cities in about 50% of the state, ensuring their temporary agency status became permanent.
The major problem with this is since the agency was never supposed to be permanent, the Commissioners are appointed, not elected, meaning there is no way for the public to vote commissioners in or out if the public feels the commissioners are not acting in their best interest.
In the last 40 years, the Commission has continued to try and stretch its authority boundaries, including an unsuccessful try several years ago to assert jurisdiction over any watershed that eventually discharged to the ocean.
The City Council wants to tell you who,what and when you can do what you like with your home. Hurray for the Coastal Commission fighting them with even deeper pockets and attorney's.
Barbara Bry could you just fix the potholes - that's all we ask , stay out of our pockets and fill the potholes.