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Sonoma County Gazette
Local Coastal Program Photography Contest Professional Category Winner – Mark Zukowski's piece. Photo:
Local Coastal Program Photography Contest Professional Category Winner – Mark Zukowski's piece. Photo:

1972 Changed Our Coast

Sometimes History Sneaks Up
and Taps You on the Shoulder

Time to engage in local government and politics is right now

Oct 3, 2019


By Eric Koenigshofer

This is the case right now as Sonoma County government embarks on an update of theLocal Coastal Plan (LCP).  If you like life in Sonoma County, and especially if you like the magnificence of our coast, you should know about the LCP and the update process.  

Your time to engage in local government and local politics is right now.  A little history always helps to set the stage.

By 1929 the turn-of-the-century lumber mill was closed with no trees in site.
In 1932 the Jenner Jetty was used to keep the mouth of the Russian River open in order to haul gravel to waiting barges.

Most people have heard something about the Coastal Commission, that state government body which regulates land use and development of the coast while also protecting the coastal environment and guarding the public right to access the coast.  The Coastal Commission was established by a grass roots political movement in the 1970’s when in 1972 California voters passed Proposition 20, the Coastal Initiative. 

In 1976 the Commission was permanently extended with the adoption of the Coastal Act.  For more than 40 years every city and county in California which lies along the coast has been required to have a Local Coastal Plan.  These plans are to be responsive to each local community while still adhering to the special policies in state law to protect the coast while guaranteeing public access.

In 1966 the Jenner estaury was still  being mined for gravel with plans for more than 2,000 homes on land that is now the Jenner Headlands Preserve.
It is important for people to get into the details of any proposed changes to the LCP.

It’s our responsibility to make sure it remains consistent with state law and th wishes of the local population.  Serious public involvement is critical to make the process work well.  So here we go…let’s not fail those who worked so hard to preserve the coast.  

You can find all you need to know by spending some time on these websites:

• Sonoma County Permit & Resource Management Department (PRMD): and click on Local Coastal Plan 

• California Coastal Commission:

Wikipedia – search California Coastal Act Proposition 20 

Now, Let’s Make Some History and Keep Care of OUR Coast.

Look for more information in future issues of the Gazette. The document we must review has not been scheduled for release as of this printing but IS scheduled to be released in either October or November. Stay Tuned! We’ll keep you updated online.

Public Process and Next Steps

From the beginning of the County’s Local Coastal Program, there has been strong citizen participation. The County welcomes and encourages continued public participation in the Local Coastal Program update process. Permit Sonoma staff and consultants are now in the process of updating the Local Coastal Plan, with multiple opportunities for public comment.

The Preliminary Draft Local Coastal Plan (LCP) was published in June 2015, and five public workshops were held during the summer of 2015. 

The Public Review Draft is available for review with public workshops to introduce the plan scheduled to begin in fall 2019. Public hearings will be scheduled before the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, and California Coastal Commission meetings.

The purpose of this Local Coastal Plan Update is to revise the LCP to reflect policies related to coastal development that were adopted by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in General Plan 2020. In addition, this LCP Update adds new information and policy in the following areas: 

Sea level rise (2100 planning horizon), 

  • biotic resources, 
  • geologic hazards, 
  • water quality, and
  • public access.

The goal of the update is to produce a modern, up-to-date, and easy-to-use document with digital maps. The Update focuses on new information, changed conditions, and policies in these key areas:

Agricultural Resources

  • Public Access
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Biotic Resources
  • Geologic Hazards
  • Water Quality

The intent of the Local Coastal Plan Update is not to encourage new or increased development. The current Local Coastal Plan meets the goals of the California Coastal Act to preserve coastal resources, and this Update continues the existing protections.

TAKE THE SURVEY to Update Local Coastal Plan:

This survey is designed to help Permit Sonoma staff assess how to best reach local residence to keep them involved in the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan Update process.. The current Sonoma County LCP was adopted in 1981 and amended in 2001.



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