PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. - For residents and businesses near the coast, any type of construction can come with a hefty price tag for fees and getting everything approved can take a long time. That's why the city of Pacific Grove is trying to ease the burden for those in the coastal zone. "The coastal zone is a geographically defined area that was defined in the coastal act," explains Anastazia Aziz, Senior Planner with the city of Pacific Grove.
In 1989, the city began a land use plan but never got it certified. Now, it's continuing the process in hopes of getting a local coastal program approved by the California Coastal Commission. "Right now they have to go through two agencies. First, the city to get city permits. Once they have their city permits, they then have to apply to the coastal commission," said Aziz.
The hearings for the state Coastal Commission can be held anywhere in the state from Long Beach to Eureka, which is tough for homeowners and developers. That's one of the things the city hopes to change. "Once the coastal development permitting authority transfers to the city, all the hearings can be held here locally at the city of Pacific Grove council chambers to facilitate public participation in those decisions," explains Aziz.
Jeff Edmonds has owned a local construction company for more than 20 years. He says this will be a welcome change. "It's really going to affect us by increasing the speed of getting the permit. It can take two years to get a coastal permit."
With the state regulations still being enforced by the city, officials say it's a win win for locals and tourists. "The city does have an incredible shoreline park and the policies will continue the protection of the shoreline park and public access for generations to come," said Aziz.
For more information about the Local Coastal Program, click here.