Local Coastal Program (LCP) Update

Overview of the Local Coastal Program Update

Current Project Status (12/18/2019)

Sponsored by the California Coastal Commission,the California King Tides Project provides an opportunity for the general public to share photographs of king tide events and their impacts on coastal resources. Photographs posted to the project webpage are displayed on an interactive story map. Members of the public can also post notices of upcoming king tide observation events.

Informed by the Coastal Hazards Vulnerability Assessment (VA), the project team has prepared an administrative draft of the Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan (AP), which will be delivered to Coastal Commission staff before year’s end.

  • Designed as a toolbox, the draft AP outlines a wide range of potential adaptation strategies the City can deploy as future conditions warrant. The AP evaluates the feasibility and efficacy of each of these strategies, highlighting associated tradeoffs. For instance, with respect to beach nourishment strategies, the AP notes that “while a wider beach reduces wave energy that reaches the shore, nourishment may not protect against flooding during high water level events when the beach is submerged. "Such insight is critical in identifying the most practical and cost-effective strategies for protecting coastal assets, conforming to community values, and complying with the provisions of the City’s LCP and the California Coastal Act.
  • The draft AP also identifies potential triggers that would provoke the City to reevaluate and/or implement adaptation strategies. Such triggers could be based on beach widths, the extent of sea level rise, the frequency and degree of property damage, etc. The draft AP calls for the establishment of benchmarks (e.g., mean high tide levels) and diligent monitoring and documentation of coastal conditions to determine if/when trigger points have been reached.
  • Coastal Commission review of the draft AP is likely to take six to eight weeks. Once the project team has responded to Coastal Commission comment, a public workshop will be scheduled to share and receive public input on the draft document. The project team will keep interested parties apprised of the date, time, and location of the upcoming workshop, which will likely occur in March 2020.

The project team is now preparing an updated policy framework for the Coastal Land Use Plan (LUP).The updated policy framework addresses a variety of topic areas specified in the California Coastal Act and LCP update guidance promulgated by the Coastal Commission. These topic areas include: land use, public access, recreational and visitor-serving uses, water quality, biological resources, visual resources, and shoreline protection. Much has changed since LUP policies for these topic areas were first developed in 1985.The updated policies will reflect current and anticipated future conditions within the City’s coastal zone. The project team will deliver an administrative draft of the update LUP to Coastal Commission staff in mid-January. A public workshop on the LUP will likely occur in April 2020.

The next series of king tides will occur between January 10-12 and February 8-9. The project team invites you to meet us on the beachfront in January and February to observe the king tides and discuss what king tide events suggest about the potential impacts of future sea level rise. We will be at Buccaneer Beach on Friday, January 10, at 8:00 am, and at the public parking lot at Wisconsin Street and The Strand on Sunday, February 9, at 8:30 am. During these gatherings, we welcome your input on those stretches of our coastline most impacted by tidal and storm events, as well as any changes you have witnessed on the beachfront over the past several years.  Please join us!

Please direct questions and comments on the LCP Update to Principal Planner Russ Cunningham at (760) 435-3525 or rcunningham@oceansideca.org.

The Draft Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan is currently under review by City staff and will be available for public review in the Fall of 2019. The Adaption Plan builds on findings of the Coastal Hazards Vulnerability Assessmentand acknowledges community values pertaining to public safety, public access, property rights, and visual quality.  The Adaption Plan will not prescribe specific adaption strategies, but instead provides the City with a toolbox of options to choose from as conditions warrant.  Toolbox items include sand bypass and nourishment, shoreline devices to retain beach sand, larger development setbacks along the shoreline.  The plan outlines various triggers the City could establish to determine when adaptation strategies should be implemented; such as, degree of seal level rise, beach sand levels, frequency of flood events and associated impacts, and cost of maintenance repair.

The public workshop for the Draft Adaptation Plan is tentatively planned for late October.

Staff is also reviewing a preliminary draft to the updated Land Use Plan, which provides the basis for the updating of zoning standards, capital improvement plans, and resource protection programs.  The Draft Land Use Plan will include the items listed below:

  • A description of the existing coastal zone conditions:
  • Positive changes that have occurred sine the adoption of the original LCP (e.g., redevelopment, new coastal    amenities, expanded public access)
  • Ongoing challenges (e.g., loss of beach sand, impeded view corridors, water quality concerns)
  • Revised polices pertaining to land use and development review, public access and recreation, coastal resources, coastal hazards and adaption, public works/infrastructure)

A community workshop focused on the Draft LUP is tentatively planned for early December. The sea level rise handouts below provide information and facts regarding California's past experiences with sea Level rise and examples of community adaption approaches based on projected 2020, 2050, and 2080 outcomes.


The survey conducted at the February 19 community workshop is still available to the public. The survey asks participants to share their thoughts on how the City should plan for sea level rise and associated coastal hazards.  Those unable to attend the February 19 community workshop are strongly encouraged to respond to the survey, which will remain open until the October public workshop. Input received through the survey will inform the preparation of the Draft Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan.

Attended by over 100 community members, the March 4th workshop introduced and solicited input on possible coastal hazards adaptation strategies. The project team utilized digital technology to conduct real time polling of participants on a wide range of questions, including the following:

  • What stake do you have in the City's coastal zone?
  • Have you seen/experienced changes on the beachfront and/or within coastal watersheds?
  • What's the first word that comes to mind when you see the words sea-level rise?
  • Who should pay for adaptation of at-risk public resources?
  • How would you like to see Oceanside Harbor adapt to sea-level rise?

The survey also asked participants to identify those coastal assets that they believe should be prioritized in the adaptation planning process.

If you weren't able to attend the workshop, not to worry: The survey will be posted to the project webpage within the next two weeks. We encourage you to take the survey and invite other interested parties to do the same.

Possible coastal hazard adaptation strategies were outlined in a PowerPoint presentation. Per the City's grant agreement with the Coastal Commission, the City is to explore adaptation strategies that include hard armoring, accommodation, and managed retreat. The presentation provides details on each of these categorical approaches to coastal hazard adaptation.

The project team wishes to thank all of you who participated in the most recent community workshop, held on February 19. The workshop included review of Local Coastal Program update process, discussion of possible adaptation strategies and associated trade-offs. We have prepared a workshop summary for those unable to attend.

The workshop also involved an open house session, during which participants were encouraged to visit several staffed stations addressing different aspects of the project. Infographics shared during the open house session outline guiding principles for adaptation planning and describe possible adaptation strategies for each of the three coastal hazards zones (i.e., coastline, watersheds, harbor).

With the input received at the workshop and the forthcoming online survey, the project team will begin drafting the Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan, which will be the subject of the next community workshop (tentatively scheduled for June).


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. 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 can be accessed at the links below. 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

The 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 8 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 C (Small Group Discussion Summary Reports)

If you weren't able to attend the workshop, we hope you will 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@oceansideca.org 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).

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 check out the Oceanside Tide newsletter.

The first community workshop in support of the LCP Update will take place on Thursday, November 8 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@oceansideca.org.

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.

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 here to 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@oceansideca.org.

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@oceansideca.org

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 improve coastal access.