Local Coastal Program (LCP) Update

An overview of the Local Coastal Program Update can be viewed here.

Current Project Status (1/24/2019)


The Planning Division will hold a second community workshop on Tuesday, February 19, to introduce and discuss possible coastal hazards adaptation strategies. Residents, business owners, visitors, and others with an investment in vulnerable coastal assets are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop and/or provide input to Principal Planner Russ Cunningham via email (rcunningham@ci.oceanside.ca.us). Input received at the workshop and/or via email will inform the preparation of the AP, an initial draft of which will be the focus of a third community workshop to be held in the spring.

Those seeking further insight on possible coastal hazards adaptation strategies can consult the California Coastal Commission's recently updated Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance.

This guidance document outlines “framing principles” that coastal jurisdictions are expected to follow in their evaluation of adaptation strategies:

  • Use Science to Guide Decisions
  • Minimize Coastal Hazards Through Planning and Development Standards
  • Maximize Protection of Public Access, Recreation, and Sensitive Coastal Resources
  • Maximize Agency Coordination and Public Participation

Derived from the California Coastal Act, these principles should help to focus the public dialogue on adaptation strategies. The project team looks forward to working with stakeholders to ensure that these principles are reflected in the AP and its long-term implementation.  The state agencies listed below are responsible for the development of the Sea Level Rise document and for more information regarding the agency's goals and visions see the links below. 




Responses to the initial online surveys for residents and visitors have been posted to the project webpage. Launched roughly a year ago, the surveys generated over 1,100 responses (more than 700 responses to the resident survey and more than 400 responses to the visitor survey).

The resident survey posed questions about commercial goods and services available in the coastal area, the potential impacts of sea level rise, positive changes occurring in the area over the past 15 to 20 years, current challenges, and what the future may hold.  The visitor survey solicited input on reasons for visiting the coastal area, duration of stay, accommodations, modes of travel, and visitor demographics.

Responses to multiple choice and ranking questions are depicted with bar graphs and tables. Narrative responses to open-ended questions are summarized and assigned to broad topic areas (e.g., beach preservation, coastal access, public safety, visual resources).

In January, the project team will post another online survey that queries stakeholders on the state-prescribed policy areas that must be addressed in the updated LCP. These policy areas include:

  • Public access
  • Recreation and visitor-serving uses
  • Water quality
  • Natural habitat
  • New development
  • Scenic and visual resources
  • Coastal hazards, shoreline erosion, and protective devices
  • Energy and industrial land use

Current LCP policies and associated findings can be accessed hereThe project team is currently auditing these policies and findings, noting how conditions within the coastal zone have changed over the past three decades and considering how these changes can be addressed through new and revised policies.  See the links for the responses to the resident survey_1 and the visitor survey_1.

The project team wishes to thank all of you who participated in our recent community workshop, held on Thursday, November 8th in the City Council Chambers.  The workshop focused on the recently completed Coastal Hazards Vulnerability Assessment, which provides the basis for a Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan

The next community workshop, expected to occur in late January 2019, will introduce and solicit public input on possible adaptation strategies.  We encourage you to attend this next workshop and invite other interested parties to join us.  The feedback we receive at this next workshop will inform the preparation of a Draft Adaptation Plan, which will be the subject of the third community workshop.  We should have a specific workshop date, time, and location posted to the project webpage within the next two weeks.  The following links provide information regarding the workshop.

Workshop Summary

Appendix A (Agenda, Survey Form, LCP Overview Handout)

Appendix B (PowerPoint Presentation)Appendix B (PowerPoint Presentation)

Appendix C (Small Group Discussion Summary Reports)Appendix C (Small Group Discussion Summary Reports)

If you weren’t able to attend the workshop, we hope you’ll take a moment to review these materials.  Should you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Principal Planner Russ Cunningham at rcunningham@ci.oceanside.ca.us or 760-435-3525.


First LCP Update Community Workshop

November 8

5:30 – 7:30 pm

City Council Chambers, 300 North Coast Hwy

- While it has been some time since the last webpage update, the project team has made significant progress in gathering public input, evaluating existing conditions in the coastal zone, assessing the City’s vulnerability to coastal hazards associated with sea level rise, and coordinating with Coastal Commission staff on potential new policy direction.  The project team has also been following coastal hazard adaptation efforts in other jurisdictions and coordinating with organizations like the San Diego Climate Collaborative to identify the full range of options available to the City in its exploration of coastal hazard adaptation strategies.  We look forward to sharing our progress with you and other stakeholders at the upcoming workshop and other public outreach events.

We recently reached an important project milestone: the Coastal Hazards Vulnerability Assessment (VA) has been completed and is available for review here. 

Based on sea level rise projections by the National Research Council (NRC) and the findings of the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS), the VA identifies public and private assets at risk of inundation under a range of sea level rise scenarios.  These assets include buildings, infrastructure, hazardous materials sources, recreation and visitor-serving facilities, cultural resources, and natural habitat.  The VA also considers the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of these assets, following a methodology recommended by the Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance promulgated by the California Coastal Commission.  This methodology accounts for: 1) the type of hazard exposure (e.g., daily inundation, flooding during tidal and storm events, wave run-up impacts during tidal and storm events); 2) the projected exposure timeframe; and 3) each asset’s ability to function during and subsequent to exposure to these impacts.  Each asset category is assigned a sensitivity grade of high, medium, or low.  The sensitivity grade provides a basis for evaluating potential adaptation strategies.  

For a short summary of the City of Oceanside's VA efforts, please visit the Oceanside Tide newsletter here.

The first community workshop in support of the LCP Update will take place on Thursday, November 8th in the City Council Chambers (300 North Coast Highway).  The workshop will begin at 5:30 pm with an open house that includes staffed stations addressing LCP topic areas, online survey results, the VA, and possible coastal hazard adaptation strategies.  During the open house, participants will be walked through the VA map exhibits that illustrate the extent of inundation anticipated under different sea level rise scenarios.  The second hour of the workshop will be devoted to brief presentations and a whole-group discussion.  We have invited Julie Kalansky, Ph.D., Program Manager and Post-Doctoral Researcher at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, to discuss the scientific basis of the sea level rise projections that inform the VA.  Dr. Kalansky is scheduled to speak at 6:30 pm.

Should you have questions about the VA or other aspects of the LCP Update, please contact Principal Planner Russ Cunningham at (760) 435-3525 or rcunningham@ci.oceanside.ca.us.

The project team has prepared a background study that assesses current conditions within the City’s coastal zone, with emphasis on those coastal zone features subject to LCP policies and regulations.  These features include:  

  • land use and cultural resources;
  • public works;
  • circulation, parking, and coastal access;
  • scenic resources, recreation, and visitor-serving facilities;
  • coastal hazards and shoreline protective devices; and
  • natural resources.

In addition to assessing the coastal zone’s physical features (e.g., the transportation network, water and sewer infrastructure, visitor-serving uses, coastal view corridors, habitat areas), the background study also outlines the current policy and regulatory frameworks for the coastal zone, as well as those long-range planning efforts that address coastal resources (e.g., the General Plan Update and the Coast Hwy Corridor Study).  The study provides a snapshot in time that can be compared to conditions that existed 32 years ago, when the City’s LCP was adopted and certified.  The study reveals that while the City has made considerable progress in achieving LCP goals and objectives, the City’s coastal zone faces new challenges that call for new policies and strategies.  Stakeholders are encouraged to review the background study to gain a fuller understanding of how the coastal zone has evolved over the past 32 years, what it currently has to offer both residents and visitors, and what the future holds for the area.  The following infographic from the background study.  

The following infographic appears on Page 37 of the background study.

- Preliminary map exhibits illustrating projected sea level rise have been prepared as a first step in assessing the extent to which the City’s coastal assets are vulnerable to this phenomenon.  These map exhibits can be accessed here (Username: ESA_Oceanside  Password: 2worldmap). 

There are two map exhibits on this website: one that shows coastal zone boundaries (Coastal Zone) and another that shows the extent of coastal inundation associated with various sea level rise scenarios (SLR Hazards).  Clicking the clock icon on the SLR Hazards map (upper right corner) will initiate a phased illustration of coastal inundation associated with increasing sea level rise (25cm, 50 cm, 100cm, and 175 cm).  The dashed black line in the illustration shows the seaward edge of beachfront development.  The light blue shading depicts the shoreline during a typical high tide.  The light blue line shows the extent of wave uprush during a 100-year storm event.  The red shading depicts beach retreat assuming no further protection or restoration of beachfront property.  There is a zoom function, and the map can be pulled up and down the coastline with the mouse.


The scenarios depicted in these map exhibits reflect modeling assumptions based on the best available science.  The scenarios are intended to provide general information and should not be relied upon for property specific conclusions.  Staff is available to review these maps with councilmembers and address their questions and concerns. The project team intends to begin sharing these map exhibits with members of the public through various means: email correspondence to interested parties, “pop-up” outreach at community events, and a public workshop in April or May.  In addition to illustrating the City’s vulnerability to sea level rise and associated coastal hazards, the April/May public workshop will begin an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders on how best to adapt to sea level rise.  This dialogue will culminate in a sea level rise adaptation plan.


-  The City's project team has posted the first online survey for coastal area residents in support of the LCP update. If you are a coastal area resident, click hereto take the survey.  This survey will remain open through February.  A separate survey has been prepared for visitors to the City's coastal area.  To access the visitor survey, please contact the project manager at rcunningham@ci.oceanside.ca.us.

-  Please visit our LCPU booth at the City of Oceanside's Ferris Wheel and Movie at the Pier event within the public beach parking Lot 29 on February 10 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  We will share preliminary results of our sea level rise modeling efforts, seeks input on key LCPU topics, and raffle off a gift card to the Privateer Coal Fire Pizza restaurant.   

In early November, the project team conducted a series of interviews with representatives of various coastal-oriented interest groups.  A summary of these interviews, including information provided to stakeholders and input received, can be accessed here.

Staff is available to meet with groups with an interest in the LCP Update.  If you would like to invite staff to speak with your group, please contact Principal Planner Russ Cunningham at rcunningham@ci.oceanside.ca.us 

Congratulations to Jason Ji, winner of our Turkey Trot raffle.  Jason took home a $50 gift card from Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank, one of several innovative restaurants that have debuted on Coast Highway over the past five years.  The project team thanks Urge for their generous contribution!


On Tuesday, January 2, City staff assembled with roughly 30 members of the public a the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and The Strand to observe a 7.5-foot "king tide" event.  Staff provided a brief overview of the Local Coastal Program Update and described the sea level rise (SLR) vulnerability assessment now being prepared by the City's consultant partner Environmental Science Associates (ESA).  Staff also fielded questions and comments from attendees, who expressed a range of opinions regarding how the City should respond to more frequent and extensive flooding anticipated in conjunction with sea level rise. 

During the king tide, which peaked at approximately 8:30 am, the beach was entirely submerged from Tyson Street to points south of Oceanside Boulevard.  Fortunately, the surf was very small during the event, so The Strand and other beachfront areas experienced minimal flooding. 

The next series of king tides is anticipated in mid-June of this year (6/10 through 6/15).  Conditions permitting, staff intends to host another king tide observation with the general public at 9:00 pm on Thursday, June 12, when the high tide is expected to peak at 7.6 feet.  The site of this next observation has yet to be determined, so please visit the project webpage periodically for more information. 

To learn more about king tides on the California coast, please visit the webpage of the California King Tides Project.



 Local Coastal Program Background

The City of Oceanside has initiated an update of its Local Coastal Program (LCP). In support of this effort, the City is seeking input from residents and other stakeholders. The California Coastal Act requires that all coastal jurisdictions in the state adopt a Local Coastal Program (LCP) to ensure local implementation of Coastal Act priorities, which include protection of coastal resources, preservation/enhancement of public access to the shoreline, and provision of adequate recreational amenities, visitor-serving commercial goods and services, and reasonably-priced overnight accommodations.

The City adopted its current LCP in 1986.  Over the past 31 years, the City’s coastal zone has seen considerable change, necessitating a comprehensive LCP update that both acknowledges progress in achieving Coastal Act goals and addresses ongoing and emergent issues occasioned by changing physical conditions, evolving policies and regulations, and new information about coastal hazards. 

As the potential impacts of sea level rise and associated coastal hazards become more apparent, it is the state’s expectation that Oceanside will study its vulnerability to these phenomena and prepare adaptation strategies.  Thus, vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning will be key aspects of the LCP update.



The City's Coastal Zone includes all property from the inland side of Coast Highway to the Pacific Ocean, as well as property in proximity to portions of the San Luis Rey River, Loma Alta Creek, and Buena Vista Lagoon.  Portions of the coastal zone nearest the beach and coastal watersheds lie within the appeal jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission (CCC); City actions on proposed development in these areas can be appealed to the CCC, which has the authority to uphold, modify, or reverse City's determination.

         The Local Coastal Zone Boundary Map

The City's current LCP was certified by the CCC in 1986.  At the time the LCP was certified, the City's coastal zone suffered from extensive blight, limited coastal access, and few recreational facilities.  Over the past 30 years, the City has made enormous progress in revitalizing the coastal zone and improving public access to its many resources.  Today, the coastal zone faces new challenges, including the threat of sea level rise, increasing visitor traffic, more stringent water quality and habitat management requirements, and aging infrastructure.

In the spring of 2016, the City Council authorized the Planning Division to submit an application for CCC grant funding in support of a LCP update.  In August of 2016, the City was awarded a CCC Grant in the amount of $200,000.  A grant agreement between the City and the CCC was approved by the City Council on April 5, 2017.  The grant agreement has since undergone minor revision.

At the same public hearing, the City Council also approved a professional service agreement with Environmental Science Associates (ESA).  As the City's consultant partner on the LCP Update, ESA is responsible for preparing a coastal hazards vulnerability assessment, a coastal hazards adaptation plan, and a series of studies on existing conditions in the coastal zone.  ESA will also assist the City with public outreach, policy development, and coordination with the CCC.    

The LCP Update will be informed by two CCC publications: the LCP Update Guide and the Sea Level Rise Policy Guidelines.  Both of these documents assist local jurisdictions in preparing LCP updates that comply with the goals and policies of the California Coastal Act

The City's LCP Update is being conducted concurrently with the preparation of two new General Plan elements: an Economic Development Element (EDE) and an Energy and Climate Action Element (ECAP).  The updated LCP must be consistent with the goals and policies of these two new General Plan elements.  More information on the EDE and ECAP can be found on the Onward Oceanside webpage.

The Coast Highway Corridor Study is another planning effort with which the LCP Update must align.  The Corridor Study proposes right-of-way improvements and zoning incentives that would implement the recommendations of the Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan, adopted by the City Council in 2009.         


Key Concerns of the LCP   


Public Access                                                                           

  • Identify existing & planned coastal access ways
  • Assess public safety & coastal resource concerns
  • Evaluate circulation network, parking & multi-modal transportation options
  • Consider changes to land use & development standards to mitigate impediments to coastal access
  • Understand how coastal access is impacted by sea level rise


                              The Pier View underpass provides or safe pedestrian passage across the railroad

Recreation & Visitor-Serving Facilities 

  • Identify existing recreational areas & facilities & evaluate their accessibility & functionality
  • Identify existing visitor-serving accommodations
  • Assess demand for additional recreational amenities & visitor-serving commercial uses
  • Assess land use and development standards for recreational & visitor–serving uses
  • Consider the impacts of new housing growth on recreational and visitor–serving uses

The Oceanside municipal pier accommodates a variety of visitor-serving uses and affords expansive views of the coastline


Water Quality Protection 

  • Evaluate the consistency of local water quality policies and programs with the Coastal Act
  • Identify all water quality devices and measures within the coastal zone
  • Explore ways to further enhance protection of water resources
  • Consider changes to land use and development standards to further protect water quality

Per the Clean Water Act, the Loma Alta Creek and slew acts as an imperial water body.

Environmentally Sensitive Habitats (ESHA) & Other Natural Resources

  • Identify existing sensitive habitat within the coastal zone
  • Evaluate the consistency of the City’s Subarea Plan with the Coastal Act
  • Coordinate with regional habitat restoration efforts (e.g., BV Lagoon restoration)
  • Assess ESHA buffer requirements
  • Consider the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on ESHAs

The San Luis Rey River provides sand to the City's beaches.

Planning & Locating New Development

  • Consider population, housing, & employment growth within the coastal zone
  • Calculate infrastructure capacity & identify future infrastructure needs
  • Reevaluate current land use and development standards in light of available infrastructure
  • Reevaluate policies/procedures to protect archeological, paleontological, & cultural resources

The Downtown District is in the midst of a building boom.

Scenic and Visual Resources

  • Identify public view corridors
  • Assess the visual quality of the coastal zone, identifying visual characteristics that merit preservation, enhancement, and removal
  • Reevaluate current land use & development standards in light of view preservation & visual compatibility priorities
  • Reevaluate historic preservation standards


The Oceanside Pier provides scenic views of the Oceanside and San Diego coastline. 


Coastal Hazards, Shoreline Erosion, and Protective Devices

  • Identify vulnerabilities to sea level rise & associated coastal hazards
  • Identify beach & bluff areas subject to erosion
  • Explore beach nourishment options
  • Limit grading and vegetation clearance on steep slopes
  • Reevaluate coastal development setbacks
  • Reevaluate policies addressing the repair, maintenance and removal of protective devices

 The City of Oceanside is already experiencing impacts of Sea Level Rise.


Energy & Industrial Development

  • Identify existing energy and industrial facilities within the coastal area
  • Reevaluate land use and development standards in light of evolving energy sources and needs
  • Consider policies and standards that promote energy efficiency, alternative transportation, & water conservation
  • Consider policies and standards for proper site remediation

Public Outreach

The City is conducting extensive public outreach in support of the LCP Update. Public outreach will include:

  • This project webpage, featuring announcements of upcoming outreach activities, draft work products, and supportive materials. The project webpage can be accessed at


  • Stakeholder interviews, to be held in November 2017. Those interested in participating in an interview on behalf of a public agency, NGO, or community group should contact City staff as soon as possible.
  • Online surveys, posted to the project webpage. The first of these surveys will be posted in November 2017.
  • Public workshops (3), addressing coastal hazards vulnerability assessment, coastal hazards adaptation planning, and land use policies.
  • "Pop-up” outreach at various community events, the schedule for which will be posted on the project webpage.
  • Email updates, delivered to individuals and groups on the interested parties list. Please contact City staff if you wish to be placed on the interested parties list.


We encourage all stakeholders to participate in our public outreach efforts. For more information, please contact:

Russ Cunningham, Principal Planner

(760) 435-3525


The City is undertaking the LCP Update in partnership with the California Coastal Commission and the Coastal Conservancy. These two agencies have made the project financially feasible by contributing $200,000 in grant funding. Once adopted by the City Council, the updated LCP will require certification by the Coastal Commission. Throughout the update process, the City will be in regular contact with Coastal Commission staff, ensuring that all components of the LCP are consistent with the Coastal Act and other applicable state regulations and guidelines.

Comprised of different phases, the LCP Update effort is expected to extend into early 2020.  The initial phases of the project involve early coordination with the CCC and technical analysis of existing conditions within the coastal zone.  A subsequent phase focuses on coastal hazard vulnerability assessment and adaption planning.  Latter phases involve the development and public review of LCP policies.  All phases of the project involve extensive public outreach.  A summary of project phasing can be found here.