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Title: 21 - Coastal Zoning

Chapter: 35 - C Coastal Area Combining District

Section: 40 - Requirements of coastal access

A.  Intent. It is the intent of this section to implement the certified Local Coastal Program and the basic goal of the public access set forth in the California Coastal Act which calls for the maximization of public access both to and along the shoreline where it is consistent with public safety, property owner rights and the protection of fragile coastal re-sources.

     B.  Vertical Access.

         1.  Development along the immediate shoreline shall provide public access to the shoreline except where:

             a.  Findings are made consistent with Section 21.35.040(B)(2), that access is inconsistent with public safety or that agriculture would be adversely affected or

             b.  Access would have unavoidable adverse impacts on environmentally sensitive habitat areas as designated on the Land Use Plan or

             c.  An existing vertical accessway, adequate to meet anticipated access needs, is located one-half mile or less from the development or

             d.  The parcel is to small to allow for an adequate vertical access corridor without passing within twenty-five feet of a proposed dwelling or

             e.  Project site is too small for the proposed development and the access with improvements related to its use (i.e., parking).

          2. a.  Public access from the nearest public road-way to the shoreline and along the coast shall be provided in new development projects except where (i) it is inconsistent with public safety, military security needs, or the protection of fragile coastal resources, (ii) adequate access exists nearby, or (iii) agriculture would be adversely affected. Dedicated accessways shall not be required to be opened to public use until a public agency or private association agrees to accept responsibility for maintenance and liability of the accessway.

             b.  For the purposes of this section, "new development" does not include:

                 i.  Replacement of any structure, other than a public works facility destroyed by natural disaster. Such replacement structure shall conform to applicable existing zoning requirements, shall be for the same use as the destroyed structure, shall not exceed either the floor area, height, or bulk of the destroyed structure by more than ten percent, and shall be sited in the same location on the affected property as the destroyed structure. (As used in this subdivision, "natural disaster" means any situation in which the force or forces which destroyed the structure to be replaced were beyond the control of the owner.)

                ii.  The demolition and reconstruction of a single-family residence, provided that the reconstructed residence shall not exceed either the floor area, height or bulk of the former structure by more than ten percent, and that the reconstructed residence shall be sited in the same location on the affected property as the former structure.

               iii.  Improvements to any structure which do not change the intensity of its use, which do not increase either the height, or bulk of the structure by more than ten percent, which do not block or impede public access, and which do not result in a seaward encroachment by the structure.

                iv.  Any repair or maintenance activity which does not result in an addition to, or enlargement of maintenance activities unless such activity will have an ad-verse impact on internal public access to the beach.

(As used in this subdivision, "bulk" means total interior cubic volume as measured from the exterior surface of the structure.)

             c.  Nothing in this division shall restrict public access nor shall it excuse the performance of duties and responsibilities of public agencies which are required by Sections 66478.1 to 66578.14, inclusive, of the Government Code and by Section 4 of Article X of the California Constitution. (Amend. by Cal. Stats. 1979. Ch. 919.)

         3.  Priority for vertical access shall be restricted to that for sandy beach areas. Accessways to rock beaches will not be required for areas where public safety is of concern or where increased visitor pressure on biological areas or areas of unique character, sensitive to visitor pressure, will be degraded.

         4.  The county shall not allow any development between the mouth of the Smith River and Prince Island Court and from Marhoffer Creek north to the east line of Section 14 at Point St. George, that would preempt any prescriptive rights that may exist on a parcel. Any new development shall, when feasible, be sited in such a way that it will not infringe on any existing prescriptive rights accessways unless an alternative easement is provided on the site which is substantially equivalent to that required by the public.

     C.  Lateral Access.

         1. New development along the immediate shoreline shall provide lateral access by access easements along the shoreline, inland of the mean high tide to the first line of vegetation or to the crest of the paralleling bluff in areas of coastal bluffs.

     No permit shall be issued for a project which obstructs lateral access on the immediate shoreline, inland of the mean high tide to the first line of vegetation, or the crest of the paralleling bluff. Exceptions to these requirements would be for the placement of navigational aids or shoreline protective devices to protect existing structures (i.e., houses, roadways and parking areas) and as set forth in Section 21.35.040 (B) (2).

     D.  Specific Access Requirements. In addition to the above general access requirements of the Coastal Program, the Coastal Element Access and Development Components identify specific areas where access shall be required to river areas which are subject to tidal action. These areas are:

         1.  Ship Ashore Resort - access to the Smith River

         2.  Trains End - access to the Smith River

         3.  County Boat Ramp - access to the Smith River from Fred Haight Drive

         4.  Simpco Lands (Assessor\'s Parcel Number 105-020-38, 39) - access to the Smith River

         5.  Buzzini Road - access to Lake Earl

         6.  Lake View Drive - access to Lake Earl

         7.  Public Reserve Area (County) and existing RV parks - access to the Klamath River.

     E.  Design and Use.

         1.  The vertical access required shall be limited to the right of pass and repass unless additional uses are specified as a condition of development. If possible, the accessway should be sited along the border of the development and shall extend from the road (or boundary line closest to the road) to the shoreline.

         2.  The lateral access required shall be limited to passive recreational uses unless another type of use is specified as a condition of development.

         3.  Developments that provide access for the general public over a wide range of income levels, ages, and social groups shall have priority over other private development.

         4.  The design and construction by any public entity of shoreline access facility (e.g., parking, trails, stair-way, etc.) shall consider safety from potential vandalism and the protection of fragile coastal resources.

     F.  Dedications.

         1.  Legal Instruments Required. Prior to the issuance of a permit for development in the coastal zone between the first public road and the sea, each applicant may be required to record one of the following legal documents for the provision of coastal access as specified in the condition of approval.

             a.  Irrevocable Offer of Dedication. Prior to issuance of a development permit, the landowner shall submit a preliminary title report and shall record an irrevocable offer to dedicate an easement free of prior liens and encumbrances except tax liens in the public accessway as described in the permit condition. This offer can be accepted by an appropriate agency which may or may not be the local government, within twenty-one years. In all offers, the county of Del Norte shall have the first right of refusal for a period of two years of the offer. Until the offer is accepted or unless the landowner consents, the public has no right to use the proposed accessway.

             b.  Outright Grant of In-fee Interest of Easement. If the parcel is important in and of itself for access needs, the size and scope of the proposed development is such that an outright interest is appropriate, or there is an accepting agency available to accept the easement (as in subdivision map approvals), a grant of an easement or in-fee is required prior to issuance of the permit.

             c.  Deed restrictions do not grant any interest in the land proposed for public access and the landowner retains all responsibility for the maintenance of the accessway. Deed restrictions are appropriate in limited situations, e.g., in large residential development where the accessways will mostly be used by residents and a homeowners association is available to maintain the accessway or in commercial facilities. Deed restrictions are not appropriate for small parcels or for accessways that will require public maintenance.

         2.  Title Information. As a condition to the issuance of the permit, the applicant shall be required to furnish a CLTA title report and all necessary subordination agreements. Title insurance may also be required where extensive easements are being granted. The amount of insurance shall be estimated on the basis of what it would cost to acquire an equivalent access or recreational use else-where in the vicinity.

         3.  Procedure. Copies of the document to be recorded, title report and permit shall be forwarded to the Coast-al Commission within ten days after submission of the document for preparation of the coastal access inventory. The accepting agency or commission staff may make minor revisions to the documents (such as corrections in the legal descriptions) to assure that the public right of access along the shoreline or the vertical accessways are protected and capable of being implemented. The coastal commission shall have fifteen working days from the receipt of the document in which to notify the county and the applicant of any recommended revisions.

If notification of inadequacy has not been received within that time period, the county may issue the permit and record the documents. If revisions are recommended by the commission, the permit shall not be issued until the discrepancies have been resolved.

         4.  Dedication and Development. The county shall submit a brief description of all offers to dedicate to the state of California for illustration of the State Access Inventory Map. The county shall have the right of first refusal on these offers for a period of two years. These offers should be made available for acceptance by any public or private organization acceptable to the county after consultation with the coastal commission and after the option of the county\'s first right of refusal. Any required accessway shall not be opened to public use until a public agency, including the state, or a private association agrees to accept responsibility for maintenance and liability of the accessway.


(Ord. 83-03(part))