July 30, 2014

Local Implementation Plan Passes Coastal Commission Unanimously

 

PHOTO BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN, MALIBU SURFSIDE NEWS © 2014

Local Implementation Plan Passes Coastal Commission Unanimously

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Kim Lamorie, President of the Las Virgenes Homeowner’s Federation, after a unanimous vote by the Coastal Commission for approval of the Local Implementation Plan, a component of the Local Coastal Program.

On Thursday, July 10, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) unanimously voted to approve the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) for the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (LCP), an exhaustively detailed land-use plan that will constrain future development of the coastal zone.

In this, the second of two components of the LCP, the first being the Land Use Plan (LUP), Coastal Commission approval was based on numerous modifications intended to clarify the language of the document to include additional environmental protections, among them a new provision, particularly dear to Topanga, that prohibits “the use of pesticides, rodenticides, fumigants and other synthetic substances in areas with existing crop-based agriculture.”

Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky was beaming as he left the hearing. “This is a historic day for the Santa Monica Mountains and the state of California,” he said. “The most significant coastal environmental resource in the southern half of our state is one step closer to being protected for future generations. It’s not every day that you get not one, but a second unanimous vote from the Commission on a plan of such great complexity”.

At the hearing, there were approximately 150 letters in support of the LIP, one in opposition and two that expressed support but with concerns. The commissioners were grateful that only a handful of people asked to ­speak.

­In her statement before the commissioners, Kim Lamorie, president of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation, said, “After more than five hearings at the county and before your commission, numerous community workshops, intense public outreach and extensive community input, your Commission is in a position today to finally enact the detailed rules and implementation mechanisms that will ensure that the full intent of the Land Use Plan policies will be faithfully, consistently and fairly executed. Just as importantly, upon certification of the LIP, a locally certified LCP for the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone will finally be within reach."

The plan not only protects 52,000 acres of habitat and vistas that stretch from the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles to the Ventura County line, but also home values, which will be enhanced by its clear rules for building and expansion.

Ten years later and many concessions on everyone’s part, the LCP is on the brink of implementation of a compromise to preserve the land while finding a balance between public and private use.

“Nobody was happy with every element of the plan,” Yaroslavsky said. “It’s a Solomon-like plan that we all came up with. None of us wanted to kill the baby. It’s a great threshhold moment. It’s been a rigorous process, but we're now on the verge of protecting it for all time.

“The ridgelines are going to be protected, the rivers will be cleaner, mountains, canyons, rivers, oak woodlands, sycamore groves and precious wildlife have won a great victory, for which our grandchildren will thank us.”

And that will be the greatest legacy of all who worked so hard for so long to protect the great resource that is the Santa Monica Mountains. The LCP will likely be certified by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors later this summer.

Editor’s Note: It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of architect Bob Bates, who in 1963, wrote the bylaws for the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC) that stated, “The purpose of this organization is to endeavor to maintain an orderly development of Topanga in keeping with the natural terrain and intrinsic beautfy.” In other words, “Let the land dictate the use.” Bates became TASC chairman in 1972 until he retired in 1991.

Residents of Topanga and throughout the Santa Monica Mountains owe him a great debt of gratitude.