Coastal Element (Public Hearing Draft, 5/1/13)
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Coastal Element

San Clemente’s coastline provides many gifts. It is the main influence on our community’s identity, it creates a desirable climate and living environment, it provides stunning scenery and recreational opportunities, it attracts tourists and businesses, and provides marine and shore habitats that are home to diverse plant and animal species. Coastline protection and land use often involve competing interests and needs. These interests must be carefully balanced to ensure long-term coastal protection and an environmentally sustainable future.

The Coastal Zone is a distinct geographic area defined and governed by the California Coastal Act, which establishes distinct legislative requirements for the use and development in the Coastal Zone. Land use policies in the Coastal Element, along with development standards and an Implementation Program, comprise San Clemente’s Local Coastal Program (LCP).


In developing goals for the Coastal Element, the City relied on the objectives set by the State Legislature in the Coastal Act. Even more important, however, is the realization that the coast is a precious and finite resource, and a fundamental part of our community’s identity. We, therefore, have a deep and abiding responsibility for its long term care. Accordingly, the primary goals for our Coastal Zone are a Coastal Zone that continues to:
  • Sustain healthy natural habitats, natural resources, coastal canyons and the marine and shoreline environment;
  • Protect and enhance water quality;
  • Sustain adequate beach sand for recreation, flood protection, environmental and visual quality;
  • Be accessible to residents and visitors;
  • Be a valued and cherished scenic resource;
  • Reflect our cultural and historical identity;
  • Preserve the coastal zone as a key part of our beach culture;
  • Provide recreational and visitor-serving opportunities; and
  • Be characterized by land uses and development that follow the City’s Local Coastal Program and are consistent with the Coastal Act.
We implement the Coastal Act to the best of our abilities; however, we also recognize its implementation is shaped by existing land uses, street and development patterns, and the availability of funds.

  1. Coastal Access and Recreational and Visitor-Serving Opportunities
  2. Protecting Sensitive Habitats, Natural Resources, and the Marine Environment
  3. Scenic and Cultural Resources
  4. Coastal Hazards




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City of San Clemente
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