City of Pacifica Local Coastal Area Program Boundary

What is a Local Coastal Land Use Plan?

In 1976, the California Coastal Act was passed to protect coastal resources and maximize public access to the shoreline. Local governments may prepare and implement Local Coastal Programs (LCPs), which can be certified by the California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission then delegates responsibility for issuing coastal permits for most new development to the local jurisdiction, subject to the standards established in the certified LCP.

There are two components of the LCP, the Land Use Plan and the Implementation Program.

  • Local Coastal Land Use Plan (LCLUP): Specifies the kinds, locations, and intensities of land uses; the applicable resource protection and development policies; and where necessary, a listing of implementing actions.

  • Implementation Program: Consists of zoning ordinances, zoning district maps, and other legal instruments to implement the Land Use Plan. The current planning process does not include the development of an Implementation Program.

Amendments to certified LCP’s, such as those that will be proposed by the Pacifica Update, must maintain Coastal Act consistency. In order to comply with this requirement the Pacifica Update will need to include elements that address the following concerns.

Prioritize Coastal-Dependent and Coastal-Related Land Uses

Coastal-dependent uses are land uses that require a site on or adjacent to the shoreline to function. Examples include aquaculture, research, and educational uses that depend on a fresh supply of seawater. Others include land uses that directly support fishing, boating, and water-oriented recreation. The Pacifica LCLUP Update must ensure that adequate land is reserved for these types of land uses, as necessary to meet existing and anticipated future demands. After accounting for these needs, visitor-serving uses that support coastal recreation must receive priority over residential and other general commercial or industrial uses.


Maintain and Enhance Coastal Access and Recreation Opportunities

The Pacifica LCLUP Update must maximize opportunities for the public to travel to and along the shoreline, and to recreate on the beach and in the ocean. Provisions to maintain and expand existing pedestrian and bike routes, and to address parking and circulation needs, will be key components of the Update.

Protect and Restore Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas and Coastal Water Quality

The quality and biological productivity of all areas that provide habitat for rare or threatened species, including wetlands, riparian corridors, and aquatic habitats must be protected, and where feasible, restored. The LCLUP Update will therefore include policies and regulations that limit the types of land uses allowed within and adjacent to such areas, and address drainage and stormwater to minimize pollution.

Preserve Visual Resources and Community Character

Scenic views of the coast available from public areas, and the unique characteristics of a community that make it a popular destination for visitors, are also important considerations. Pacifica’s unique character, and its proximity to extremely scenic natural areas, necessitates a customized approach for addressing architectural design and visual resource protection issues.


Address Coastal Erosion, Sea Level Rise, and Natural Hazards

Threats to the public’s health, safety, and welfare posed by both man-made and natural hazards must be accounted for by the LCLUP Update. To this end, it will need to include provisions for stabilizing or retreating from shoreline areas experiencing erosion, and for minimizing risks from earthquakes, tsunamis, and rising sea levels. The City developed draft recommendations for Local Coastal Plan policies related to Sea Level Rise in late 2018.

Identify and Respond to Infrastructure Capacities and Constraints

The type and amount of development that can be constructed in accordance with the LCLUP Update must be within the working capacity of local public service districts. Domestic water supplies, wastewater conveyance and treatment capacities, and ability of local roadways to provide adequate circulation, will play an important role in determining the timing and extent of future development.

Help Shape Pacifica’s Future!

The current process to update the General Plan and Local Coastal Land Use Plan, and to establish a Specific Plan for the Sharp Park neighborhood relies on vital input, visioning and feedback from the community. Please visit the Participate page to learn more about how you can get involved.