Sea-Level Rise Local Coastal Program Amendment

The City of Del Mar has demonstrated great leadership and commitment to actively plan for sea-level rise to protect local beaches, coastal bluffs, and environmental resources and minimize  impacts to residents, businesses, and visitors. Del Mar was the recipient of two competitive state grants.  In accepting the grants, the City committed to bring forward a Vulnerability and Risk Assessment of local hazards (sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding), a long-term Adaptation Plan, and Local Coastal Program Amendment with new land use policies and implementing regulations. The City is currently working with the California Coastal Commission and Environmental Science Associates to prepare the Local Coastal Program Amendment, which will address Sea-Level Rise, Storm-Surge, and Coastal Flooding. Additional work to prepare a Sediment Management Plan, Lagoon Wetland Habitat Migration Assessment, and further amend the Local Coastal Program will follow.  Guidance is being provided by the City’s appointed Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder-Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). 

Generous grants from the California Ocean Protection Council, California Coastal Conservancy and California Coastal Commission, together with supplemental funding from the City of Del Mar, have made this work program possible.
CA-Ocean Protection ConcilCoastal-Conservancyca-coastal-commision-sm

News Items

Press Release: Draft Del Mar Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Study

Draft Adaptation Plan

The Draft Adaptation Plan will serve as the City's long-ranging planning guide for SLR management and will be integrated into the City's Local Coastal Program. Draft Adaptation Plan (Large Document)

Upcoming City Meetings

No upcoming city meetings.

Past Meetings

  • September 29, 2016 (regular STAC meeting) 
  • July 21, 2016 (Regular STAC Meeting)  
  • June 9. 2016 (Regular STAC Meeting) - Minutes
  • May 5, 2016 (Community Workshop and STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • April 14, 2016 (regular STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • February 25, 2016 (Community Workshop and STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • January 14, 2016 (Community Forum) - Minutes
  • December 3, 2015 (regular STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • November 5, 2015 (regular STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • October 15, 2015 (regular STAC meeting) - Minutes
  • September 24, 2015 (regular STAC meeting) - Minutes

Work Program Documents

Work Program - Overview:

The Work Program outlines the City’s effort to address sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding impacts.  Tasks 1 through 3 have been completed.  Task 4 involves preparation of the Local Coastal Program Amendment documents, public review and outreach, and the public hearing phase, which will involve Planning Commission recommendation and City Council hearings to introduce and adopt the corresponding resolution and ordinance documents.  Task 4 is expected to be concluded by October 31, 2017, at which point the required Coastal Commission certification process will begin.

Task 1.4:  Public Involvement Plan Task 1.4 - Public Outreach Plan FINAL.pdf

The Public Involvement Plan describes the City’s process for engaging the community, stakeholders, and the general
Task 2.1: Gaps Analysis and Data Summary Task 2.1 - Gaps Analysis and Data Summary FINAL.pdf
This memorandum presents a review and collection of pertinent data sets and documents that will be used to  
Task 2.2 – Project Planning Area Project Planning Area

The Planning Area delineates the boundaries of the areas under review as part of the Work Program.
Task 2.3 – STAC/Community Meeting Report (through December 2015) STAC/Community Meeting Report

This report summarizes the first five meetings conducted by the City’s Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder-Technical Advisory Group (STAC) through December 2015.   

Task 2.3 – Stakeholder Outreach Report (through December 2015) Stakeholder Outreach Report

This report summarizes stakeholder outreach completed through December 2015, including stakeholder presentations made at STAC meetings.
Tasks 2.4 & 2.5 -  Final Draft Vulnerability and Risk Assessment - Coastal Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (Large Document)
The Vulnerability Assessment (VA) serves as part of the underlying foundation for the Adaptation Plan (Task 3.1) and 
 the City’s planned Local Coastal Program amendment overall.  Specifically, the VA provides an understanding of the 
 degree of vulnerability posed to the City’s beaches, lagoons, bluffs, visitor-serving amenities, public access areas, 
 residential/commercial, and infrastructure by examining the magnitude of risks and sensitivities associated with 
 sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding, and combination of sea-level rise and storms or extreme high water 
 events.  In addition, the VA examines historical erosion and storm data along the City’s coastline, and the results of the hydrodynamic model of the Planning Area created in Task 2.2.  The Risk Assessment (RA) evaluates how expected 
 sea-level rise impacts will affect people, development, infrastructure, and natural resources located in areas vulnerable to sea-level rise.  In addition, the RA prioritizes areas to target with sea-level rise strategies as part of an Adaptation 
Plan (Task 3.1).

Task 3.1 - Draft Adaptation Plan - Draft Adaptation Plan (Large Document)

The Draft Adaptation Plan will serve as the City's long-ranging planning guide for SLR management and will be integrated into the City's Local Coastal Program, and will draw from the prior work completed under Tasks 1 and 2. Specifically, the AP identifies effective shoreline Accommodation, Protection and Retreat strategies through a rigorous analysis of SLR and community/stakeholder input.


Benchmark Schedule



Project Commencement  July 6, 2015
Prepare Gaps Analysis December 11, 2015
Define Planning Area December 11, 2015-January 29, 2016
Community/Stakeholder Meetings - Planning Area/Assessments

December-February 2016

Prepare Vulnerability and Risk Assessments April 30, 2016
Community/Stakeholder Meetings - Assessments March-April 2016
Determine SLR Strategies and Develop Adaptation Plan August 31, 2016
Community/Stakeholder Meeting - Adaption Plan May-September, 2016
Draft LCP Amendment Package September 2016 - March 2017
Planning Commission Hearing(s) May 9 (and June 13 if needed), 2017
City Council Hearing(s) July through September 2017
CCC Amendment Submittal October 31, 2017
CCC Certification Hearing TBD

Sea-Level Rise LCP Amendment

The purpose of the City’s work program is to create a long-term plan to manage the City’s coastlines in the event of sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding impacts.  On December 2, 2014, the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) awarded the City a $100,000 grant, which the City matched.  The work program will incorporate strategies to address these sea level rise-related impacts into the City’s certified Local Coastal Program (LCP) based on the principles of shoreline Accommodation, Protection, and Retreat.  The Adaptation Plan will then serve as the City’s long-range planning guide to manage the City’s shoreline and low-lying areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal-flooding impacts. The local planning process will occur over a two-year period (July 2015 through October 2017) with extensive public outreach and participation opportunities.  After adoption by the City Council, the LCPA will be submitted to the Coastal Commission for review and certification.  

To date, a Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Assessment, and draft Adaptation Plan have been prepared.  Areas of the City that are potentially vulnerable to sea level rise-related impacts include: 1) San Dieguito Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and bordering tidelands; 2) Beachfront, beach-area and bluff-top residences; 3) City infrastructure including roads, bridges, storm drains, wastewater and utility systems; 4) Commercial development on Ocean Boulevard and in the North Commercial Zone; 5) Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds; 6) North Beach and the coastal bluff at north City limit; 7) Public beach from 29th Street south to Powerhouse Park; 8) Public beach from Powerhouse Park to south City limit, including the flanking 1.5-mile coastal bluff and rail corridor; 9) Various public access points to the coast; and 10) the Coast-to-Crest Trail, including the Lagoon Boardwalk and River Path Del Mar.   These areas comprise the “Planning Area” of the Work Program.  The LCPA is anticipated to create a new Sea Level Rise Hazard Overlay Zone specific to sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding that will apply to the project Planning Area.  

On December 1, 2016, the Coastal Commission awarded the City a second grant in the amount of $211, 220. As part of the additional grant agreement, the City and ESA will review the latest CoSMos data and incorporate it into the City’s Adaptation Plan and LCPA documents as appropriate.  A hydrodynamic model of the Planning Area will be created to provide an accurate picture of the future floodplain based on sea-level rise, storm-surge, and coastal flooding planning scenarios.  In addition, a Sediment Management Plan will be prepared with soft sediment management solutions to protect development and coastal resources, including beach nourishment, dune management, San Dieguito River Lagoon mouth and channel dredging (for rover flood management and beneficial reuse of dredge material for beach nourishment) and integration with the Regional Sediment Management Program.  Finally, the City and ESA will assess the potential for San Dieguito Lagoon wetland habitats to migrate upstream and to upland areas adjacent to the Lagoon.  This will allow the City to complete the wetland vulnerability assessment and develop adaptation measures that facilitate habitat migration and avoid habitat disruption. This supplemental analysis will further provide a strong scientific basis for the City’s ultimate approach to sea level rise-related coastal hazard planning.  

Technical studies and hydrodynamic modeling to be completed as part of this effort will be a valuable asset to the City when planning for future Capital Improvement Projects in vulnerable areas, including upgrading systems facilitating stormwater, wastewater, potable water, and roads and bridges. Further, this information will available to the public to assist with planning private development projects in identified vulnerable areas (i.e. to determine a safe elevation to site a future home).  The information would also be useful for identifying alternatives to maintaining sand supply on the City’s beaches and preserving the fragile ecosystems in the San Dieguito Lagoon SMCA. It is important to note that absent a comprehensive review of these issues, future development within the Sea Level Rise Hazard Planning Area would continue to be evaluated on a case-by-case, piecemeal approach with limited guidance provided by the City.


STAC MembersRoster

Chair: Terry Gaasterland –

Vice Chair: Bruce Bekkar –

Committee Members: Kristin Brinner, Gabe Buhr (CCC), Robin Crabtree, Kim Fletcher, Dustin Fuller (22nd DAA), 
Mark Handzel, Sarah Giddings

Council Liaisons:  David Druker – 
                                Dwight Worden –

Staff Contacts

Kathleen Garcia, Planning and Community Development Director –
Amanda Lee, Senior Planner, 

Information requests, notification list registration, and general inquiries should be sent to: 

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