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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

14-Year Fight Comes to an End as CCC Approves Creek Revetment

• Commission Staff Changes Course and Recommends Yes Vote for Proposed Development with 11 Conditions


The California Coastal Commission last week, without comment, approved a long-sought-after permit by Malibu resident Grant Adamson involving a 14-year-old struggle between Adamson, who heads up the Mariposa Land Company, and the coastal panel over a rock rip-rap revetment on Malibu Creek. The matter was moved to the consent calendar and approved with conditions.
With a staff recommendation for approving the permit, the coastal panel did not discuss the matter when it met in Santa Cruz.
The issue began on February 20, 1998, when the coastal agency issued an Emergency Coastal Permit to place about 500 linear feet of rock rip-rap revetment along the west bank of lower Malibu Creek, about 300 feet upstream of the Pacific Coast highway bridge, according to CCC officials.
The revetment consists of 1500 tons of  granite boulders placed on the slope and 14-16 feet in height with two-to-four-foot toe below the stream.
Adamson told coastal staff at the time the revetment was necessary to protect the subject property and an adjacent commercial development from further severe storm bank erosion in the face of potential continuing winter storms.
Prior to placement of the revetment, coastal officials maintain approximately 20 feet of lateral erosion occurred along the stretch of creek bank following a powerful storm that month.
The applicant then filed a lawsuit challenging the approved permit condition that required the rock slope protection be re-engineered. The trial court ruled in the applicant’s favor, finding that the evidence in the record did not establish that the re-engineered revetment would be feasible.
The court issued a writ of mandate remanding the permit back to the commission with directions to hold a new hearing on the permit. in the record,”  the CCC staff report states.
This time the staff recommended approval of the proposed development with eleven conditions.
The project area lies within the City of Malibu, but falls within the commission’s area of retained original permit jurisdiction because development is proposed on lands that are below the mean high tide line and/or on public trust lands.
On another matter, two California Coastal Commission members, who wanted to appeal a Malibu Planning Commission decision approving the construction of a Broad Beach residence contending that the development approved “is not consistent with the policies and provisions of the Local Coastal Program with regard to shoreline development and public access,” will have to wait. The matter was postponed
The CCC staff had recommended that the commission determine that a “substantial issue” exists with respect to the grounds on which the appeal [was] filed relative to the approved project's conformity to the policies and provision of the city's LCP.”
Given the relatively new status of the commission and its members, the appeal may be closely watched, if it is taken up by the coastal panel.
Another Malibu agenda item was also postponed when a consent cease and desist order and a consent restoration order were taken off the calendar.
The proposed order was for authorizing and ordering Eric and Barbara Linder to cease and desist from maintaining existing unpermitted development including removal of major vegetation, development within a deed-restricted area inconsistent with an existing coastal permit, retaining walls, side-cast material, landscaping planters and non-native plants within the deed-restricted 25-foot setback, wooden retaining structures, a path in violation with deed restrictions, stairs, irrigation, horse corral with altered flattened areas, fences and drainage devices.
The proposed consent order and restoration order also includes provisions for resolving claims for injunctive relief and civil liability for undertaking development in violation of the Coastal Act, according to a public notice.

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