Surfrider Foundation Files Suit To Protect Strand Beach

Dana Point, CA (February 24, 2005) — Today the South Orange County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club jointly filed a lawsuit challenging the California Coastal Commission approval of the City of Dana Point’s Local Coastal Plan Amendment and the Headlands Development Plan. The plan allows the construction of a new 2,200 linear feet rockpile seawall for the sole purpose of facilitating the grading and development 75 coastal bluff-face lots on top of land known to be geologically unstable. The plan also allows for the destruction of 11.29 acres of environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA) protected under the Coastal Act.

California Coastal Commission staff twice reported to the Commissioners that the plan was inconsistent with multiple sections of the Coastal Act including those sections addressing shoreline protective devices and ESHA. Surfrider and Sierra Club agree with Coastal Commission staff that the project is in violation of multiple sections of the Coastal Act. A narrow majority of Coastal Commissioners eventually approved the project after a long session of deal-making on the dais. Part of the deal-making eliminated the public-serving lighthouse and historical center planned on ESHA, but allowed for the expansion of a 65-room hotel to a 90-room hotel cited on ESHA.

Surfrider and Sierra Club members have worked together at every administrative step in this nearly four-year process and have rallied great support from citizens throughout California. We are fortunate to have this important Coastal Act case heard within California’s judicial system and anticipate that the work of so many volunteers will be upheld in a court of law.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 40,000 members and 60 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil.