Chapter 21.50


21.50.010    Purpose.

21.50.020    Authority for Decisions.

21.50.025    Projects Bisected by Jurisdictional Boundaries.

21.50.030    Application Preparation and Filing.

21.50.040    Application Fees.

21.50.050    Initial Application Review.

21.50.060    Project Evaluation and Staff Reports.

21.50.070    Environmental Review.

21.50.080    Posting Notice.

21.50.010 Purpose.

This chapter provides procedures and requirements for the preparation, filing, and processing of permit applications required by this Implementation Plan. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.020 Authority for Decisions.

A.    Review Authority. Table 21.50-1 (Review Authority) identifies the review authority responsible for reviewing and making decisions on each type of application required by this Implementation Plan.

TABLE 21.50-1


Type of Action

Applicable Code Chapter/Section

Role of Review Authority (1)


Zoning Administrator

Harbor Resources Manager


Council (2)

Coastal Commission

Administrative and Legislative


Section 21.12.020

Determination (3)





Appeal (8)

LCP Amendments






Decision (4)

Decision (4)

Approvals in Concept

Section 21.52.015


Determination (3)

Determination (5)




Waiver for De Minimis Development

Section 21.52.055

Determination (9)






Permits and Approvals

Coastal Development Permits

Section 21.52.015


Decision (6)




Decision (7)

Appeal (2)

Emergency Coastal Development Permits

Section 21.52.025

Decision (3)







(1)    “Recommend” means that the Commission makes a recommendation to the Council; “Determination” and “Decision” mean that the review authority makes the final determination or decision on the matter; “Appeal” means that the review authority may consider and decide upon appeals to the decision of a previous decision-making body, in compliance with Chapter 21.64 (Appeals and Calls for Review).

(2)    The Council is the final review authority for all applications in the City. A decision by the City on a coastal development permit application within the appeal areas depicted on the permit and appeal jurisdiction map or a project that constitutes a major public works project or energy facility may be appealed to the Coastal Commission in compliance with Chapter 21.64 (Appeals and Calls for Review).

(3)    The Director or Zoning Administrator may defer action and refer the request to the Commission for consideration and final action.

(4)    The California Coastal Commission is the final decision making authority on amendments to the Local Coastal Program. See Chapter 21.66 (Amendments).

(5)    For development located on tidelands or submerged lands that did not involve a discretionary action authorized by this implementation plan where the authority is specifically assigned to the Council, Commission, Director, or Zoning Administrator.

(6)    If the project also requires another discretionary approval (e.g., conditional use permit, variance, etc.), then the applicable review authority shall be the authority for the other discretionary approval.

(7)    All development on tidelands, submerged lands, and public trust lands as described in California Public Resources Code Section 30519(b) and in deferred certification areas designated by the Local Coastal Program shall require a permit issued by the Coastal Commission in accordance with procedures specified by the Coastal Commission, in addition to other permits or approvals required by the City.

(8)    Appeal procedure for interpretations shall only apply to interpretations made by the Director on the determination of whether a development is categorically excluded, exempt, non-appealable or appealable to the Coastal Commission according to the dispute resolution process in compliance with Section 21.50.050(B).

(9)    A waiver shall not take effect until after the Director makes his/her report to the City Council. If two members of the City Council so request, such issuance shall not be effective and, instead, the application for a coastal development permit shall be processed in accordance with the coastal development permit provisions of Chapter 21.52 (Coastal Development Review Procedures).

(Ord. 2018-16 § 4 (Exh. A)(part), 2018; Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.025 Projects Bisected by Jurisdictional Boundaries.

A.    Projects Bisected by Coastal Zone. Where a proposed project site is physically located both within and outside the coastal zone, the following procedures apply:

1.    A coastal development permit shall be required for a lot or parcel proposed for subdivision that is bisected by the coastal zone boundary.

2.    For any development involving a structure or similar integrated physical construction partially in the coastal zone, a coastal development permit shall be required for the development in the coastal zone.

B.    Projects Bisected by City and Coastal Commission Jurisdiction. Where a proposed development is located within both the Coastal Commission’s and City’s coastal development permit jurisdictions, coastal development permits are required by both the City and the Coastal Commission. Alternatively, if the applicant, the City and the Coastal Commission agree, the Coastal Commission can process a consolidated coastal development permit application pursuant to the procedures in Public Resources Code, Section 30601.3.

C.    Projects Bisected by Different Local Government Jurisdictions. If a project straddles the boundaries of the City and another local government, the applicant must obtain separate coastal permits from each jurisdiction. An exception is possible for public agencies that, pursuant to California Public Resources Code Section 30605, may obtain one “Public Works Plan” approval from the Coastal Commission, in lieu of locally issued coastal permits. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.030 Application Preparation and Filing.

A.    Application Contents. Each permit application required by this Implementation Plan shall be filed with the Department on the appropriate City application form, together with all required fees and/or deposits and all other information and materials specified by the Director for the specific type of application.

B.    Eligibility for Filing. An application may only be filed by an “applicant,” as that term is defined in Chapter 21.70 (Definitions) of this Implementation Plan. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.040 Application Fees.

A.    Fee Schedule. The Council shall establish a schedule of fees for the processing of the applications required by this Implementation Plan, hereafter referred to as the City’s fee schedule adopted by resolution.

B.    Timing of Payment. Applications shall not be deemed complete, and processing shall not commence on any application, until all required fees or deposits have been paid. Failure to timely pay supplemental requests for payment of required fees and/or deposits shall be a basis for suspension of processing or issuance of any permit.

C.    Refunds and Withdrawals. Application fees cover City costs for public hearings, mailings, staff time and the other activities involved in processing applications. No refund for an application that is denied shall be allowed. In the case of a withdrawal by the applicant, the Director shall have the discretion to authorize a partial refund based upon the prorated costs to date and the status of the application at the time of withdrawal. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.050 Initial Application Review.

A.    Review for Completeness. The Director shall review each application for completeness and accuracy before it is accepted as being complete. The determination of completeness shall be based on the City’s applicable list of required application contents and any additional written instructions provided to the applicant in any preapplication conference, and/or during the initial application review period.

1.    Notification of Applicant or Authorized Agent. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the City’s receipt of an application submittal, the applicant or authorized agent shall be informed in writing, either that the application is complete and has been accepted for processing or that the application is incomplete and that additional specified information shall be provided before the application is deemed complete.

2.    Appeal of Determination. Where the Director has determined that an application is incomplete, and the applicant believes that the application is complete and/or that any additional information requested by the Director is not required, the applicant may appeal the determination to the appropriate review authority in compliance with Chapter 21.64 (Appeals and Calls for Review).

3.    Additional Information.

a.    When the Director determines that an application is incomplete, the time used by the applicant to submit the required additional information shall not be considered part of the time within which the determination of completeness shall occur.

b.    The time available to an applicant for submittal of additional information is limited by subsection (A)(4) of this section.

c.    The additional specified information shall be submitted in writing.

d.    The Director’s review of any additional information resubmitted by the applicant shall be accomplished in compliance with this subsection (A) along with another thirty (30) day period of review for completeness.

4.    Expiration of Application.

a.    If an applicant fails to provide any additional information requested by the Director within sixty (60) days following the date the application was deemed incomplete, the application shall be deemed withdrawn without any further action by the City.

b.    After the expiration of an application, future City consideration shall require the submittal of a new, complete application and associated filing fees.

5.    Submittal of Additional Information.

a.    During the course of the review process, the review authority may require the applicant to submit additional information or revised plans.

b.    The Director shall notify the applicant in writing of any revisions or additional information required and the applicant shall submit the requested information to the Department within thirty (30) days after the date of the notice or within the period of time designated by the review authority.

c.    Failure to submit the required information within the thirty (30) day period or within the period of time designated by the review authority may be cause for denial.

6.    Additional Environmental Information. After an application has been accepted as complete, the Director may require the applicant to submit additional information needed for the environmental review of the project’s compliance with the certified LCP and the public access and recreation policies of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act, if applicable.

B.    Determination of Applicable Notice and Hearing Procedures. The determination of whether a development is categorically excluded, nonappealable or appealable to the Coastal Commission for purposes of notice, hearing and appeals procedures shall be made by the Director at the time the coastal development application is submitted to the City. This determination shall be made with reference to the certified LCP, including any maps, categorical exclusions, land use designations and zoning ordinances which are adopted as part of the certified LCP. Where an applicant, interested person, or the City has a question as to the appropriate designation for the development, the following procedures shall establish whether a development is categorically excluded, nonappealable or appealable:

1.    The Director shall make his or her determination as to what type of development is being proposed (i.e., categorically excluded, appealable, nonappealable) and shall inform the applicant of the notice and hearing requirements for that particular development;

2.    If the determination by the Director is challenged by the applicant or an interested person, or if the Director wishes to have a Coastal Commission determination, the Director shall notify the Commission by telephone of the dispute/question and shall request an Executive Director opinion on the Director’s determination. If the Director fails to notify the Executive Director within five days of the applicant’s or interested person’s challenge, then the applicant or interested person may notify the Commission by telephone of the dispute/question and request an Executive Director opinion on the determination;

3.    The Executive Director shall, within two working days of the Director’s, applicant’s or interested person’s request (or upon completion of a site inspection where such inspection is warranted), transmit his or her determination as to whether the development is categorically excluded, nonappealable or appealable to the Director and, if applicable, to the interested person and/or the applicant;

4.    Where, after the Executive Director’s investigation, the Executive Director’s determination is not in accordance with the Director’s determination, the Coastal Commission shall hold a hearing for purposes of determining the appropriate designation for the area. The Coastal Commission shall schedule the hearing on the determination for the next Commission meeting (in the appropriate geographic region of the state) following the Director’s or, if applicable, the interested person’s or applicant’s request.

C.    Referral of Application. At the discretion of the Director, or where otherwise required by this Implementation Plan or State or Federal law, an application may be referred to any public agency that may be affected by or have an interest in the proposed project for their review and comment. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.060 Project Evaluation and Staff Reports.

A.    Director Evaluation. The Director shall review all applications to determine whether they comply and are consistent with the provisions of this Implementation Plan, the General Plan, and other applicable provisions identified in Section 21.10.040 (Applicability of Implementation Plan).

B.    Staff Report. The Department shall provide a written recommendation for discretionary applications to the applicable review authority recommending that the application be approved, conditionally approved, or denied.

C.    Staff Report to Include Findings. Whenever this Implementation Plan requires a set of findings to be made before granting approval of an application by the applicable review authority, it shall be the responsibility of the Department to present all relevant facts to support the findings.

D.    Report Distribution. Each staff report shall be furnished to the applicant at the same time as it is provided to the review authority before the review authority’s action on the application. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.070 Environmental Review.

A.    LCP Review. After acceptance of a complete application, the development shall be reviewed in compliance with the applicable policies of the LCP.

B.    Investigation. Analysis of proposed development within or adjacent to ESHA, wetlands or other sensitive resources shall include an analysis of the individual and cumulative impacts of the development on coastal resources, define the least environmentally damaging alternative, and recommend modifications or mitigation measures to avoid or minimize impacts on coastal resources.

C.    Environmental Documents.

1.    Preparation by Qualified Specialist. All environmental documents, including surveys, assessments, reports and other technical studies, shall be prepared by a qualified resource specialist with technical expertise as appropriate for the environmental issues of concern.

2.    Review of Documents. All environmental documents submitted as part of a development application shall be reviewed by a qualified City staff member, City-designated advisory committee, or consultant approved by, and under the supervision of, the City. Environmental documents prepared more than two years prior to the date of submittal shall be reviewed to determine if changes to the project and/or changes to the surrounding area of the project warrant additional environmental review in the form of an addendum, a supplemental environmental document, or a new environmental document.

3.     Report. A qualified City staff member, advisory committee, or contracted employee shall prepare a written report with recommendations to the appropriate decision making official or body.

4.    Recommendations. Written findings of fact, analysis and conclusions shall be included in any recommendation to approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove proposed development within or adjacent to ESHA, wetlands or other coastal resources. Any recommendations of approval shall include an identification of the preferred project alternative and required modifications or mitigation measures necessary to ensure conformance with the Local Coastal Program. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)

21.50.080 Posting Notice.

A.    Posting of a Sign and Notice. At the time the applicant submits a coastal development application for filing, the applicant shall post, at a conspicuous place, easily readable by the public and placed as close as possible to the site of the proposed development, notice that an application for a coastal development permit has been submitted to the City. Such notice shall contain a general description of the nature of the proposed development and shall adhere to the following requirements:

1.    One or more signs shall be posted as determined by the Director to ensure adequate notice.

2.    The size and location of the sign(s) shall be as determined by the Director to ensure that it will be easily readable by the public.

3.    The project applicant shall be responsible for maintaining the sign(s) in a satisfactory condition.

4.    The project applicant shall remove all sign(s) at the end of the applicable appeal period. (Ord. 2016-19 § 9 (Exh. A)(part), 2016)