Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program Approved by BOS!

On February 18, Los Angeles County Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, successfully championed the proposed Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (LCP) through Board of Supervisor (BOS) approval. The LCP now moves on to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for certification.

Here is a link to a great story just published about the LCP by our Supervisor:

Here is a link to the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program map: coastal_map1

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The Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation and the LCP

For almost seven years, the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation has been working with the county to bring balance, consistency and predictability to all stakeholders within the Coastal Zone. This LCP reflects those efforts. All of the Federation’s homeowners, property owners and horse owners in the Santa Monica Mountains were unanimous in their support and were joined by Senator Pavley, Assemblymember Bloom, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Heal the Bay, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups.

The LCP locks in critical resource protection of the Santa Monica Mountains; it safeguards the unique character of our mountain communities; it ensures horse owners in our LCP communities of Topanga, Monte Nido, Cold Creek and Malibou Lake can thrive; it allows homeowners to rebuild after natural disasters; and, it greatly enhances recreational benefits and public access for everyone – including trail, parkland and scenic route preservation.

Without this LCP, the CCC would retain final permit authority and continue its case-by-case, ad hoc policy interpretations for coastal development permits, which fails coastal resource protection and homeowners alike. Contrarily, this LCP:

1. Preserves our most sensitive, highest value habitat by codifying standards and requiring that development be sited in less environmentally damaging areas.

2. Brings the permitting authority back to the county and restores local control – enacting key development standards so landowners will be knowledgeable, can make informed choices and will be on notice of the rules and expectations. it also brings democracy closer to home with one-stop efficiency.

The Santa Monica Mountains are a scenic resource of national and regional significance and the LCP protects the public’s interest by ensuring new development adheres to scenic resource policies and standards.

The Local Coastal Program is a remarkable collaboration for the first time between County planning staff and the California Coastal Commission. It is a brilliantly written document that respects all stakeholders’ interests. While giving precedence to coastal resource protection as is required, it unequivocally protects property rights, laying out clear guidelines and policies for the future.

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The Complex Journey to Local Coastal Program BOS Approval

On February 11th, the proposed Local Coastal Program (LCP) was heard by the Board of Supervisors. Approximately 100 people attended with overwhelming support for the LCP from all stakeholders including the Federation’s homeowners, property owners and horse owners, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Heal the Bay, Sierra Club, and many more organizations. Tiny, but focused opposition came from pro-development attorneys, well known expediters and developers including Don Schmitz and Stanley Lamport. City of Calabasas Mayor and pro-development attorney Fred Gaines was also present.

Almost seven years in the making, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s office had spent an inordinate amount of time on public outreach for the LCP throughout the Santa Monica Mountains – working with all stakeholders.

Ben Saltsman, Zev’s Planning Deputy, and Gina Natoli, County Supervising Regional Planner, were outstanding in their expertise and dedication, and they went above and beyond the call of duty – even tweaking language into the wee hours of the morning of the Feb. 11 hearing to accommodate input from the public. And then a last minute attempt by pro-development and pro-AG (vineyards in particular) proponents to use certain equestrians to hold the LCP hostage had to be thwarted by our Supervisor.

With a great sigh of relief from the Federation, the LCP was approved at the Feb. 11 hearing in a 4-1 vote, and the Board directed County Counsel to prepare the final resolution. Zev’s motion to adopt was seconded by Supervisor Don Knabe, with Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina also voting yes. The lone abstainer was Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

The following week, on Feb. 18, the final Local Coastal Program returned as one of 35 items on the BOS Consent Calendar, where all matters are approved by one motion unless held by a Board Member or member of the public for discussion.

Guess who came back for a second bite of the apple? Once again, in an eleventh hour bid to hold all other stakeholders hostage when the county would not meet their demands, the pro-development forces returned – but this time under the guise of Ruth Gerson, an equestrian and member of ETI Corrall 36 who then tried to rally several horse owners to oppose the LCP, despite having given their resounding support the week before. This effort however failed too. Their demand for BOS to continue the process for another 30 days, in essence, was a back door attempt to bring the LCP to a screeching halt – and those motives were transparent. The only thing it did do was give Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich an opportunity to oppose, instead of abstain, as he did the week prior.

But, our Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy, spoke eloquently and forcefully about the importance of the LCP, and the significance of protecting the Santa Monica Mountains’ coastal resources. He marveled at the sweeping, unencumbered ridgelines; the open spaces, pristine canyons and oak woodlands that he has been committed to preserving for almost 20 years. He talked about the future and the Santa Monica Mountains as the lungs of Los Angeles – and he said he simply would not entertain any more delays in moving the Local Coastal Program forward.

He won. In a 4-1 vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the LCP and a resolution to submit it to the California Coastal Commission for certification.

Thank you, Zev!