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Coastal Planning

The California Coastal Zone is about 840 miles of coastline and about 287 miles of shoreline around 9 offshore islands. The Coastal Zone extends 3 miles into the ocean. Inland, the Coastal Zone can vary from a few hundred feet up to 5 miles.

The 1976 California Coastal Act mapped the Coastal Zone. The Coastal Act also established a comprehensive coastal protection program. The state Coastal Commission became responsible for coastal resources protection. Some Coastal Zone issues include shoreline public access, visitor accommodations, sensitive habitats, and visual resources. Commercial fisheries and water quality are also some of the issues addressed.

County Coastal Areas

Five coastal areas fall within LA County Planning:

  • Marina del Rey
  • Santa Catalina Island
  • Santa Monica Mountains
  • San Clemente Island
  • Ballona Wetlands Area A

We have certified Local Coastal Programs for Marina del Rey, Santa Catalina Island, and the Santa Monica Mountains.

San Clemente Island is the southernmost of the California Channel Islands and has been owned and operated by the United States Navy since 1934. Ballona Wetlands Area A is an ecological reserve owned by the State of California and managed by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Local Coastal Program

A Local Coastal Program is the main land use document for coastal area development and natural resource protection. Each LCP has:

  • A Land Use Plan. This designates goals and policies, land use classifications, and type and density of allowable development.
  • A Local Implementation Plan. This identifies specific zoning regulations and procedures for development.

The Coastal Commission certifies LCPs, and then we have authority to issue permits.

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