The California Coastal Act is a landmark piece of legislation that was enacted in 1976 with the aim of protecting and preserving the state's valuable coastal resources.
Here is a summary of its key provisions and objectives:
Coastal Zone Definition: The Act defines the coastal zone as the land and water area extending 1,000 yards inland from the mean high tide line, along with specific designated areas. This area encompasses the state's entire coastal region.
Coastal Commission: The Act established the California Coastal Commission, a regulatory body responsible for implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Act. The commission consists of 12 voting members and has the authority to review and approve development projects within the coastal zone.
Land Use Planning: The Act requires the preparation and implementation of Local Coastal Programs (LCPs) by local governments within the coastal zone. LCPs outline land use policies and regulations that are consistent with the Act's objectives and goals.
Coastal Development Permits: Any development activity within the coastal zone is subject to the requirement of obtaining a coastal development permit (CDP). The Coastal Commission reviews and approves or denies CDP applications based on the project's consistency with the Act and LCP policies.
Coastal Access: The Act emphasizes public access to and along the coast. It ensures that the public has the right to access and enjoy the shoreline, and restricts private development from blocking public access to beaches and other coastal areas.
Environmental Protection: The Act emphasizes the protection and preservation of coastal resources, including sensitive habitats, wetlands, and marine ecosystems. It requires the consideration of potential impacts on natural resources and the mitigation of adverse effects in development projects.
Visual and Scenic Resources: The Act recognizes the importance of preserving the visual and scenic qualities of the coast. It aims to protect scenic vistas, scenic highways, and significant viewpoints from visual obstructions or inappropriate development.
Public Education and Outreach: The Act encourages public awareness and involvement in coastal issues. It promotes educational programs and public participation to increase understanding of coastal resources, policies, and conservation efforts.
Overall, the California Coastal Act seeks to balance coastal development with environmental protection and public access, ensuring the sustainable and responsible management of the state's coastal resources for current and future generations.
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