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The work planned by Scripps includes drilling 80-feet boreholes into the parking lot in addition to installing short- and long-term monitoring equipment. File photo
The work planned by Scripps includes drilling 80-feet boreholes into the parking lot in addition to installing short- and long-term monitoring equipment. File photo
Cities Encinitas Encinitas Featured Environment News

Encinitas denies appeal to revoke Scripps’ permits at Beacon’s Beach

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council denied an appeal seeking to revoke the permits used by Scripps for monitoring at Beacon’s Beach. 

Absent the appellant Matthew Gordon, the Encinitas City Council voted unanimously on Aug. 24 to reaffirm the Planning Commission’s June 29 approval of the installation of permanent monitoring equipment on the bluff face at Beacon’s Beach and temporary construction parking located at 948 Neptune Ave.

A team from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography responded to the May 2 landslide at the Leucadia State Beach (Beacon’s), working with city staff to determine the movement of the bluff — work partially funded using a state grant. An emergency coastal development permit from the California Coastal Commission was issued on June 29. 

The scope of work planned under Scripps’ major use and coastal development permits includes drilling 80-feet boreholes into the parking lot in addition to monitoring equipment installation. 

Gordon’s absence was due to a work conflict that the city knew about since July 13, attorney Stephen Ostrow wrote in an Aug. 17 letter addressed to Mayor Catherine Blakespear. 

Ostrow, who represents Gordon, said that city staff had agreed to set a hearing for Sept. 21 through an email discussion on July 13 — more than a month before Wednesday’s meeting. 

“This is a clear violation of the appellant’s right to due process, which affords the right to a fair process,” Ostrow wrote in the letter. 

In Gordon’s appeal, he alleges points including unpermitted soil disturbance on coastal bluff and closure of beach; incorrect filing date is shown on notice; a member of the public was denied due process; project grading, and incomplete project description for state park permit, among other concerns. 

In its alternative motions, staff included an option that would request additional information to substantiate Gordon’s arguments. 

A full description of the appellant’s positions and staff response can be found in the staff report

To his concern regarding soil disturbance, Gordon wrote that work started on the bluff without obtaining a necessary Coastal Development Permit.

“As you are all aware, any private property owner would never be able to disturb a bluff without the proper permits, emergency, or otherwise,” Gordon wrote, “The Emergency Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was not issued until June 30, 2022, therefore, missing the three-day requirement. The current closure violates the Coastal Act by continuing an unpermitted action.”

In response, staff wrote that the California Coastal Commission was contacted via email on May 2, and a permit was subsequently granted in June. 

While Gordon was not in attendance to plead his case, Chandra Slaven, a planning specialist and coastal land-use consultant, spoke during oral communications to support the appeal. 

1 comment

JohnEldon September 6, 2022 at 1:42 pm

Thank you, city council — you definitely got this vote right. We need to know what that bluff is doing, and Scripps is the logical local agency to do the monitoring work.

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