Report: California Coastal Commission often hinders affordable housing plans

The coast of La Jolla. Photo by Chris Stone

A new report from a San Diego-based nonprofit think tank suggests that the California Coastal Commission is blocking plans for affordable housing and climate-friendly transportation in coastal areas.

Circulate San Diego's study, “A Better Coastal Commission,” was released Friday, and Assemblyman David Alvarez supported the findings.

“The Coastal Commission is supposed to protect the environment and coastal access for all Californians, but its actions have locked Californians off the coast and exacerbated climate change,” said Will Moore, legal counsel for Circulate San Diego and lead author of the report.

Examples cited in the report include rejections and long delays in approving housing projects and bike lanes.

In February, the commission denied approval for an eight-unit housing development in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, a mile from the fault, saying the project was “inconsistent with the community character of the surrounding area.” Other affordable housing projects in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz have been delayed for years.

In San Diego County, the report found that the commission had blocked the designation of bike lanes in Pt. Loma and Encinitas despite serious traffic accidents.

The report made six recommendations, including the abolition of special permits for residential development in the coastal zone, and called on the state parliament to take action.

“We need the Coastal Commission to live up to its mission and its rhetoric. We hope this report will spur them to do better,” Moore said.

Anna Harden

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