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Ross v. California Coastal Commission

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20283
Nos. B225796, (Cal. App. 2d Dist. , 09/09/2011)

A California appellate court held that the California Coastal Commission complied with the California Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified a coastal development project along beachfront dune property in the city of Malibu. Petitioners argued that the commission failed to comply with the 100-foot buffer requirement set forth in the city's land use plan policy. But the policy must be considered in conjunction with the city's local implementation plan, which does not, in all cases, require a 100-foot buffer. The applicable sections of the land use plan policy and the local implementation plan, which were simultaneously certified by the commission, must be interpreted together to give effect to all provisions of the local coastal program. Here, substantial evidence supports the commission's determination that a five-foot minimum buffer would provide adequate protection. Moreover, the commission's interpretation of the local coastal program is entitled to deference. And because of Secretary of the Resources Agency approved its certified regulatory program, the commission was exempt from having to prepare an environmental impact report.