San Diego County updating Local Coastal Program, will streamline permit process


San Diego County is working on an update to its Local Coastal Program, which will affect a small sliver of Rancho Santa Fe homeowners who live in the California Coastal Commission’s coastal zone.

The Coastal Commission’s coastal zone encompasses areas of Encinitas, Solana Beach and the San Dieguito Planning area, which includes the very western edge of the Rancho Santa Fe Covenant.

Danny Serrano, a county planner, attended the Rancho Santa Fe Association board’s Nov. 5 meeting to keep the members updated on the very beginnings of the process.

Last November, the Coastal Commission awarded a planning grant to the county to update the Local Coastal Program (LCP) for the portion of the county within the coastal zone. The purpose of the LCP is to guide development within the coastal zone, provide ground rules for future development and protect coastal resources.

With an updated coastal program, the county will be able to assume responsibility for issuing coastal development permits, streamlining the development review process for property owners, Serrano said.

“Homeowners in those areas currently have to go to the Coastal Commission for coastal permits, and they also have to go through the county,” Serrano said. “This update, once approved by the county and reviewed by the Coastal Commission, will give the county authority to issue permits in that area.”

The county has jurisdiction over about 1,050 acres within the coastal zone. Most parcels are designated for low-density residential use. About 160 acres is designated as open space and 3.5 acres is designated for office use. The coastal zone also includes San Dieguito Park.

“There are no anticipated changes to land-use designations,” Serrano said.

Areas addressed in the update will include public access and recreation, water quality, agricultural resources and sensitive habitats. The LCP must also address potential impacts from climate change and sea-level rise.

Serrano said this is just the beginning of the process, and there will be a variety of presentations and workshops to solicit feedback from the community. The LCP is expected to be complete by 2017.