The California Coastal Commission was created by voters in 1972 and made permanent by the Legislature when the California Coastal Act was enacted in 1976. The Coastal Commission is charged with protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for all generations.
It is an independent, quasi-judicial state agency. It is quasi-judicial because it has enforcement capabilities as well as appellate authority over developments that have been approved by local governments in specified geographic areas.
The California Coastal Commission has twelve voting members appointed equally by the Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, and the Speaker of the Assembly. Additionally, six of the voting commissioners are locally elected officials, and the other six are appointed from the public at large. The Commission also has three ex-officio members who represent the state’s Natural Resources Agency, Transportation Agency, and State Lands Commission.
The Commission works closely with coastal cities and counties to plan and regulate the use of both land and water in the coastal area. The coastal zone was developed by the Legislature and includes land as well as a three-mile band of the ocean. That said, the San Francisco Bay area is not regulated by the California Coastal Commission. Rather, development there is regulated by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, BCDC.
Pursuant to federal law, the Coastal Commission actually has regulatory control over all federal activities as well as federally licensed, permitted, or assisted activities. These include the outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing, exploration, and development, as well as the designation of dredged material disposal sites in the ocean, military projects at coastal locations, and several other specified activities under federal law.
The public is able to participate in Coastal Commission hearings as well as the ability to talk with Commissioners regarding proposed development activities and securing permits for those activities.
You can read the transcript of today’s podcast here.