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Coastal Act Amendments Signed by Governor

Under Assembly Bill 2616, signed by Governor Brown on September 24, 2016, the California Coastal Commission will be reconfigured and will seek to "advance principles of environmental justice and equality." 

The new guideline impacts the commissioners to be appointed by the Governor. The Governor appoints two (2) representatives from the public of the state at large, one (1) representative from the north coast region (Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino) and one (1) representative from the south central coast region (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura).  From these appointment areas one (1) of the representatives appointed by the Governor must reside in, and work directly with, communities that are disproportionately burdened by high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice.  

The change in the appointment guidelines means that at least one representative must be a local person and cannot be from outside the designated area.  

The "principles of environmental justice and equality" means pursuant to Section 11135 of the Government Code that no person in the State of California, on the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, genetic information, or disability, shall be subject to discrimination under the operation or administration of the Coastal Act.

"Environmental Justice" also incorporates the protection of existing, and the encouragement of new, affordable housing opportunities in the coastal zone. To encourage new low and moderate income housing, A.B. 2616 places restrictions on the Coastal Commission regarding reduction of density for these types of projects.

A close reading of these new laws is important for all coastal real estate practitioners, lawyers, developers, planners and local jurisdictions.

L. Sue Loftin is the Founder and Managing Shareholder of The Loftin Firm. For questions relating to this blog or any other California real estate, corporate governance, land use, or estate planning matter, contact Ms. Loftin at (760) 814-9649. 

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