California Coastal Act

Development projects within California’s coastal zone requires compliance with the California Coastal Act of 1976. Administered by the California Coastal Commission, the Act creates regulations over a myriad of land and coastal uses and access activities. While complex, these policies are not a barrier to the success of a project when navigated by experienced counsel, like the attorneys at Best Best & Krieger LLP.
 
Our attorneys have handled numerous public and private projects before the Commission. BB&K’s attorneys are adept at working cohesively with Commission staff, appearing before the Commission and, when necessary, challenging Commission decisions in court. BB&K attorneys serve as city attorney or special counsel to more than 35 cities and dozens of special districts located within the coastal zone and require Coastal Act experience.
 
Some notable examples of BB&K’s Coastal Act experience includes:

  • As city attorney for a Southern California coastal city, BB&K is assisting with the preparation and processing of an update to the city’s Coastal Land Use Plan. The update will be used to gain Coastal Commission certification of a Local Coastal Program for the city. The city has submitted its updated Land Use Plan to the Commission for review and is awaiting the Commission’s response.

  • BB&K attorneys are defending a coastal city in a lawsuit that, in part, challenges the city’s adoption of three ordinances establishing limits on short-term rentals and other types of short-term uses within the city, including within the coastal zone.

  • BB&K attorneys assisted a city with processing a conditional use permit application for a dog park within a portion of the coastal zone that falls within a coastal city’s corporate boundaries. After approving a mitigated negative declaration and conditional use permit for the dog park, the applicant applied to the Commission for a coastal development permit.

  • BB&K’s attorneys assisted a port district challenging the Commission’s imposition of a condition of low-cost hotel rooms on the port’s application to amend its master plan. The trial court agreed with the port district’s position that the Coastal Act prohibits the Commission for imposing such a condition.

  • The City of Avalon on Catalina Island sits entirely within a coastal zone. As city attorney, BB&K provides ongoing legal advice and support to the City, including the coordination, preparation and submission of Coastal Development Permits and Emergency Permits with the Commission for public works projects, emergency projects necessitated by sudden storm events, and special event permits for large-scale and multi-day athletic events. BB&K also provides ongoing support to the City for work on its Local Coastal Program/General Plan Update, which is currently in progress.

  • BB&K appeared before the Commission on behalf of a Southern California transit district to object to Commission staff’s recommendation to deny a proposed Local Coastal Plan amendment. The amendment was to allow permitted and accessory uses within the transportation corridor consistent with adjacent land use districts. The dispute involved jurisdictional issues related to the applicability of the Coastal Act to the transit district’s public transit system within its area of jurisdiction, the ability of the transit district to develop its surplus land with residential, commercial or mixed uses, and the proposed development’s consistency with Coastal Act policies. In response to our client’s objection, the Commission agreed to amended language in the LCP allowing non-transit related uses in the corridor.

  • BB&K represented a public university in negotiating an agreement with private property owners to mitigate the environmental and land use impacts that a proposed residential project would have on a neighboring property. The neighboring property was deeded for the benefit of the university’s Health Services Department in exchange for a charitable gift annuity in which the donor received the right to occupy the property for the remainder of her life. The private property owners had submitted an application to the city for the project. The university sought to ensure the project would not negatively impact the donor or her property. BB&K provided advice on the project’s compliance with CEQA and the city’s Local Coastal Program and participated in the administrative process and a settlement negotiation. The negotiated settlement agreement imposes numerous construction and operational mitigation measures on the project related to geotechnical, noise, air quality, lighting and access impacts.

  • BB&K attorneys assisted a port district with Coastal Act and CEQA compliance related to the adoption of a building wrap ordinance applicable to the commercial district within the city’s jurisdiction, including compliance with the district’s Coastal Development Permit regulations.

  • As general counsel to a wastewater joint powers agency, BB&K recently assisted the JPA in a Coastal Commission certification hearing regarding the permitting of a $400 million wastewater treatment facility.

Jeffrey S. Ballinger

Jeffrey S. Ballinger

Partner

(619) 525-1343

Areas of Focus: Comprehensive Code Enforcement | Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Safety | Special Districts
Janet E. Coleson

Janet E. Coleson

Partner

(925) 977-3319

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts
Ruben Duran

Ruben Duran

Partner

(213) 787-2569

Areas of Focus: General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts
Lindsay D. Puckett

Lindsay D. Puckett

Partner

(619) 525-1378

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Water
Alisha M. Winterswyk

Alisha M. Winterswyk

Partner

(949) 263-6565

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

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