Marin County’s Local Coastal Program Amendments

It is critical the Marin County LCP update be a comprehensive forward-thinking plan that fulfills the Coastal Act’s intent of coastal resource protection and maximum public coastal access.
— Morgan Patton, EAC executive director

The California Coastal Act is largely responsible for the preservation of California's 840 mile beautiful coastline. The Act helps protect California's coast from large-scale development. The Act requires each local government within the coastal zone develop a Local Coastal Program (LCP). Each LCP includes both a Land Use Plan and an Implementation Plan. LCPs define where, how, and when development can occur in the coastal zone.

In addition to providing environmental protections, LCPs must allow public participation that create pathways for communities to voice concerns over development proposals that may negatively impact natural resources, coastal views, and public access.

The 1981 Certified Marin County LCP has provided a development framework for public participation that has successfully protected and conserved natural and coastal resources, the community character of our unique coastal villages, our scenic vistas, public access to coastal areas, and our agricultural lands of West Marin.

In 2008, Marin County embarked on a process to amend the current LCP, which continues today. The Certified LCP will remain in effect until the California Coastal Commission adopts the updated LCP.

The amendment process requires involvement from multiple government agencies, as well as the public. The process includes public workshops in communities within the coastal zone, County Planning Commission hearings, the adoption of the LCP by the County Board Supervisors, and finally the LCP’s certification by the Coastal Commission.

Guiding Principles

EAC is committed to ensuring that the updated LCP: 

Protects and preserves the distinct and valuable natural resources of the coastal zone,

Protects the community character of West Marin,

Allows for the widest opportunity for public participation in the process, and

Provides tools to address climate change and sea-level rise.  



EAC’s Role in the Amendment Process: 

Since 2008, EAC has been a critical and tireless advocate in this important process. EAC is the only environmental group that has participated in every public workshop and planning meeting for the LCP amendments.

Through attendance at workshops and hearings and the submittal of extensive public comments to both the Coastal Commission and Marin County, EAC has advocated for strong coastal protections, public access, public participation, and enforceable standards in the amended LCP.

EAC continues to be very actively involved in the amendment process. EAC is committed to ensuring that environmental protections within our current LCP are not weakened, the amendments do not have any unintended negative environmental consequences, our wetland and stream protections are improved, the rural character of West Marin is protected, and the public’s right to participate in planning decisions is not diminished.

Current Status:

The California Coastal Commission considered the proposed Marin LCP amendments for certification on November 2, 2016 in Half Moon Bay, CA. In brief, the Coastal Commission approved the proposed amendments to the Land Use Plan (LUP) and the Implementation Plan (IP) with the exception of the Environmental Hazards sections, if certain agricultural provisions were modified as the Commission suggested. The Coastal Commission gave Marin County until May 2, 2017 to accept the Commission's suggested modifications or the approval will expire. The Coastal Commission also postponed consideration of the proposed Environmental Hazards amendments.

Upon Marin County's request, the Coastal Commission requested a one-year extension for the County to accept the modifications (until May 2, 2018). This extension was considered at the Coastal Commission's March 8, 2017 meeting, and the Coastal Commission unanimously granted the County's extension request. 

The Marin County Board of Supervisors considered the LUP (without the Environmental Hazards sections) on May 16, 2017. At the May 16 hearing, the Board approved the LUP (except environmental hazards) and delayed approval of the IP, while including interpretations some of which are contrary to the Coastal Act. EAC submitted public comments and testified at the May 16 hearing. 

Per the Coastal Commission’s directive, the County still has to revise the Environmental Hazards sections, which were not certified by the Commission on November 2, 2016. EAC, as well as other interested community and environmental groups, has been invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting in West Marin likely late summer (date TBD) to discuss potential Environmental Hazards revisions. You can count on EAC to remain engaged to ensure that sea-level rise adaption strategies and public trust protections are in the hazards plan. The Coastal Commission and the County still have some areas of disagreement around the hazards sections, and the County may withdraw the Environmental Hazards sections. 

Before the LCP Amendments will be in effect, the Commission must approve and certify the entire LCP, including the Environmental Hazards sections. The Commission has until September 29, 2017 to take action on the remaining Environmental Hazards sections. Until the entire LCP is approved and certified by the Coastal Commission, the 1981 Certified Marin County LCP remains in effect. 

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