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Del Mar, California Coastal Commission Clash Over Climate Change Plan

Del Mar officials hope sand, like this beach in the heart of Del Mar, will he...

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: Del Mar officials hope sand, like this beach in the heart of Del Mar, will help protect the community from rising sea levels on Oct. 7, 2019.

Del Mar’s local coastal plan for future development in this seaside San Diego community is up for a review and there is a difference of opinion about what the plan should say.

California Coastal Commission staff are only recommending approval of the plan if the city makes 25 amendments to the city’s local coastal plan. The plan guides future development in the coastal community of 4,400.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

Del Mar officials hope adding sand to local beaches will help cope with rising sea levels in the coming years.

City officials looked at and rejected a formal plan called "managed retreat," which calls on the city to back away from the ocean when rising ocean levels start flooding city neighborhoods or undercutting local bluffs.

RELATED: Protecting California’s Coast With Armor And Habitat

Surfrider Foundation’s Stefanie Sekich-Quinn worries the city isn’t doing enough.

“It’s the long term proactive planning that Surfrider wants to get out there,” Sekich-Quinn said. “Because, again, we owe it to future generations for them to have these tools. Because when the time comes they’re going to need to have all of these things on the table.”

City officials rejected the idea of planning for a managed retreat.

They said the city’s high home value makes it impractical to buy back threatened land from private homeowners.

Coastal Commission staff want the city to do more and that includes triggers that prompt action if certain conditions are met.

“Hopefully, the commission will have a productive conversation with the folks from Del Mar next week at their hearing to try to figure out ways that some of these 25 amendments can actually work,” Sekich-Quinn said.

The commission is in San Diego next week to decide the issue.

Del Mar is one of the first cities in the state to put together a coastal plan for future development that considers climate change impacts.

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Aired: October 8, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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