Local Coastal Program

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Latest: Notice of Availability of Draft Local Coastal Program Amendments
             Notice of Availability of Draft Local Coastal Program Amendment Revising Accessory Dwelling Unit    Regulations



Latest : The General Plan / Local Coastal Program Implementation Committee  holds public meetings on a monthly basis (See current agendas here). The Committee is charged with the completetion of the Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan.

The complete Coastal Land Use Plan can be accessed here.

In 1972, the United States Congress passed the Coastal Zone Management Act (Title 16 U.S.C. 1451-1464). The CZMA declared a national policy “to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance, the resources of the Nation's coastal zone for this and succeeding generations.” The CZMA sought to encourage and assist States to develop and implement management programs for the use of coastal land and water resources, “giving full consideration to ecological, cultural, historic, and esthetic values as well as the needs for compatible economic development.”

The Coastal Zone Conservation Act (Proposition 20) was approved by a 55.2 percent vote in 1972. It prohibited development 1,000 yards inland from California's mean high tide without a permit from a regional or state coastal commission. It created a temporary California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission and six regional commissions to develop a statewide plan for coastal protection. The California Coastal Plan was submitted to the Legislature in 1975 and led to the passage of the California Coastal Act in 1976.

The Coastal Act established the permanent California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission’s mandate is to protect and enhance the resources of the coastal zone mapped by the Legislature. Coastal Commission membership is composed of twelve voting members, appointed equally by the Governor, the Senate Rules Committee, and the Speaker of the Assembly. Half of the voting commissioners are locally elected officials and half are representatives of the public at large. The Coastal Commission also has four ex officio (non-voting) members representing the Resources Agency, the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, the Trade and Commerce Agency and the State Lands Commission.

The Legislature found that “to achieve maximum responsiveness to local conditions, accountability, and public accessibility, it is necessary to rely heavily on local government and local land use planning procedures and enforcement.” Therefore, implementation of Coastal Act policies is accomplished primarily through the preparation of a Local Coastal Program (LCP) by the local government that is reviewed and certified (approved) by the Coastal Commission. An LCP typically consists of a Land Use Plan and an Implementation Plan. The Land Use Plan indicates the kinds, location, and intensity of land uses, the applicable resource protection and development policies, and, where necessary, a listing of implementing actions. The Implementation Plan consists of the zoning ordinances, zoning district maps, and other legal instruments necessary to implement the land use plan. Any amendments to the certified LCP will require review and approval by the Coastal Commission prior to becoming effective.

After certification of an LCP, coastal development permit authority is delegated to the appropriate local government. The Coastal Commission retains original permit jurisdiction over certain specified lands, such as submerged lands, tidelands, and public trust lands, and has appellate authority over development approved by local government in specified geographic areas and for major public works projects and major energy facilities. In authorizing coastal development permits, the local government must make the finding that the development conforms to the certified LCP. Furthermore, after certification of the LCP, City actions on applications for Coastal Act authority to conduct certain types of development and development within certain geographic areas are appealable, to the Coastal Commission.

The City of Newport Beach does not have a certified LCP, and therefore, does not have the jurisdiction to issue Coastal Development Permits (CDP). The City does, however, have a Coastal Land Use Plan that has been certified by the California Coastal Commission. Since the City does not have permit jurisdiction, the City reviews pending development projects for consistency with the City’s General Plan, Coastal Land Use Plan and Zoning regulations before an applicant can file for a coastal development permit with the Coastal Commission. The City is presently in the process of preparing an Implementation Plan for the City’s Coastal Land Use Plan.

Certain categories of development are excluded from the need to obtain CDPs, provided they comply with certain condition. Excluded developments are the demolition or construction of single-family residences and duplexes including appurtenant development within residential zones provided that these locations are not abutting beaches, Newport Harbor, Upper Newport Bay or coastal bluffs. The Coastal Commission approved Categorical Exclusion Order E-77-5 in 1977 authorizing the exclusion and they established the conditions under which a project can proceed without the need to obtain a CDP. The City Council adopted the Categorical Exclusion Order by Resolution No. 9190, and a map of these qualifying areas can be found here - Categorical Exclusion Map (See Categorical Exclusion Zone layer). The required conditions are summarized as follows:

  • Lot Coverage – structures shall not exceed 1.5 times the buildable area of the lot.
  • Parking – two parking spaces shall be provided for each unit and they shall be provided from an alley to the maximum extent practical.
  • Housing opportunities for as many renter- and owner-occupied households as possible in response to the demand for housing in the City. 
  • Density – duplexes may only be allowed on lots of 2,400 square feet or greater. 
  • Applicable Zoning – development shall comply with applicable zoning unless otherwise limited by the Categorical Exclusion Order.  
  • Implementation – notification of the California Coastal Commission shall be made at an appropriate point within the City review process and construction shall not commence within 5 working days of receipt of the notice by the California Coastal Commission.. 
  • Public Trust Lands – if a competent agency or court determines that any lands excluded by this Categorical Exclusion Order are subject to the public trust, the Categorical Exclusion Order is inapplicable to those public trust lands.

If you have any questions regarding the City’s LCP or the Categorical Exclusion Order, please contact a planner at (949)-644-3204.


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