Oceanside launches update of Coastal Program

Oceanside wants to know what its residents think about sea-level rise, coastal access, ocean views and other concerns that come with living near the beach.

The city has launched the first comprehensive update of its Local Coastal Program, which was adopted and certified by the California Coastal Commission in 1986. The document is a road map for development west of Coast Highway and along coastal waterways such as the San Luis Rey River and the Buena Vista Lagoon.

A lot has changed since 1986 and the existing guidelines are somewhat “antiquated,” said Russ Cunningham, the city’s senior planner.

Sea-level rise “was not a phenomenon that was really on anyone’s radar screen 30 years ago,” Cunningham said.

Now sea-level rise is a worldwide concern. The Coastal Commission requires the city’s updated plan to include an extensive evaluation of the possible effects of sea-level rise and an assessment of ways to adapt to it.

“We have some unique vulnerabilities because we have some unique assets,” he said. Oceanside is the only North County city with a harbor, a municipal pier, and a beachfront amphitheater. Other areas in danger of flooding include homes along the beachfront residential street called The Strand, and coastal waterways such as the San Luis Rey River, Loma Alta Creek and the Buena Vista Lagoon.

Other concerns to be addressed in the update include visitors’ access to the coastline, recreational opportunities, visual resources such as ocean views, and shoreline protection from erosion.

Anyone interested in participating in the update has until the end of January to fill out the survey on the city’s website, www.ci.oceanside.ca.us.

The population of Oceanside’s coastal zone has increased by about 2,000 residents in the last 30 years, Cunningham said, and it’s likely to increase twice that much or more in the next three decades, as the city’s available space fills up and older areas are infilled.

“The Coast Highway corridor is ripe for that kind of growth,” he said. “That’s one of the issues we’re trying to plan for.”

A community workshop on sea-level rise will be held sometime in the spring, Cunningham said. The entire Local Coastal Program update will take about two years.


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