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What does the Coastal Commission do?

The coast of California extends 1,100 miles. It's a lot of coast to protect, which is why the state legislature enacted the California Coastal Act in 1976, which was also when the California Coastal Commission was permanently established.

The Commission is responsible for planning and regulating development and the use of natural resources along the coast. It works with local governments to make sure the Coastal Act requirements are met.

The Coastal Zone includes the coast from Oregon to Mexico and shoreline around nine islands that account for about 287 miles. San Francisco Bay has its own program to manage the coast, so that is not included. All told, there are about 1.5 million acres that are part of the Coastal Zone.

For those who want to develop in the Coastal Zone, permits are generally required from the local government or the Coastal Commission. Federal activities that affect the Coastal Zone are also reviewed by the Coastal Commission. Some temporary events, improvements and repairs to single-family homes and replacement of structures that are destroyed in a natural disaster are exempt from the permitting requirements.

The Commission follows several standards to determine whether a permit will be issued. The policies of the Coastal Act are carried out by the Commission and include:

-- Protecting and restoring nearshore waters, riparian habitat, wetlands and habitats for endangered and rare species

-- Protecting and expanding recreational opportunities and public shorelines access

-- Protecting views of the sea and scenic landscapes

-- Protecting natural landforms, farmlands, commercial fisheries, archaeological resources and special communities

-- Establishing stable urban-rural boundaries and making sure new developments have adequate services

New developments can mean a lot for an area; however, the necessary permits must be obtained. An attorney who is experienced in real estate law can help make the permitting process easier in Southern California.

Source: California Coastal Commission, "California Coastal Commission: Why it exists and what it does," accessed June 24, 2016

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