It has been over 4 years since the release of the ‘Preliminary Draft Local Coastal Plan (2015). Due to the massive public response raised in public comment and during LCP workshops Permit Sonoma (PRMD) pulled the Preliminary Draft LCP. On September 26, 2019 PRMD posted the current 2019 Local Coastal Plan (LCP) Update. It is substantially revised and merits rounds of public workshops similar to last go around (there were 7 in 2015) and opportunity for the public to review this massive and critical land use document to provide meaningful comment. The timeline proposed for public comment prior to the revised draft being heard before the Planning Commission has not been clearly defined. The suggested timeline is not sufficient. It is important that adequate time be provided to ensure “meaningful public participation” which is mandated in the Coastal Act.
The LCP is a large document and a critical one for the Sonoma Coast as it is THE document that controls all future development for 55 miles of the Sonoma Coastal Zone and ensures equitable public access to the coast and protection of critical coastal resources (including environmentally sensitive habitat areas). It is the controlling document for the Coast going forward and we will have to live with/by this document for the foreseeable future.
Get Involved – Please Take the Following 6 Initial Steps:
1. Take the PRMD LCP Survey https://lcpupdate.metroquest.
2. Email PRMD-LCP-Update@sonoma-county.
§ Adequate time is provided to the public to review the Updated Local Coastal Plan prior to public workshops are scheduled (minimum of 4 weeks from date of release – September 26th, 2019)
§ That the County schedule a minimum of 5 public workshops – 3 on Coast in Bodega Bay, Timber Cove, & Sea Ranch and 2 inland
§ That the County make printed copies of the Updated LCP available to check out from all coastal post offices and Sonoma County Libraries as well as reasonably priced printed copies for purchase from PRMD.
§ That the County form an Advisory Committee to the Coastal MAC made up of a variety of citizens from thoroughout the County who have expertise in land use, ocean policy, conservation, affordable housing, fire safety, and water quality. (For the original draft of our Local Coastal Plan there were at least 5 Technical Advisory Committees formed each made up of 8-12 citizens with expertise in the above listed areas. No such committees have been formed for this current updated LCP)
3. Begin by reading the “Introduction to the LCP” (26 pages). You can either download the entire document as a PDF by linking to the “Public Review Draft Local Coastal Plan – All Sections & Appendices” or open and download it section by section here:
Reading the introduction will help you understand the history and background plus explain the purpose and content of each section or “element”. The introduction also has a chart which shows where existing LCP chapters and policies have been moved to in this new draft.
4. Next-Read the Introduction to each Element by opening that link. These are usually just 1-2 paragraphs and explain the purpose of that element.
5. Check out the “Policy Comparison Tables” at the bottom of the Update page https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/
6. Decide which element you have the most background or experience with and start reading and comparing…take notes and share your concerns.
We deserve to be allotted the time and the public participation process commensurate with the document’s critical importance to the future of the Coast.
Please get involved — protection of the California and Sonoma Coast is our legacy. It was the citizens of Sonoma County who fought for these protections and ensured passage of the Coastal Act. Let’s make sure that the legacy of coastal preservation continues.
“People know the coast as the geographic soul of California. You can’t take our relationship with the [California] coast for granted because it took a lot of sweat, blood and tears to preserve it so we have what we have today. These things didn’t just happen. The coast is what it is because of a lot of people worked really hard and sacrificed to protect it. And if we want it to be there for our children, we have to keep fighting to protect it. In that way, the coast is never saved, it’s always being saved.” Peter Douglas, past Executive Director, California Coastal Commission.
The County is trying to push this through for final vote before the end of the month. The long document will have effects for years to come. So far it’s been found that the endangered species areas have been drastically cut, and threatened and potentially endangered species have been removed. This will allow for development and commercialization of the coast.
Please take action. The public needs time to review.