OCEANSIDE — Construction crews are set to remove nine private stairways and other illegally built structures as part of repairs to an aging rock revetment along the city’s coastline.
First constructed in 1978, the 700-foot seawall made of boulders sits between the 900 and 1000 blocks of South Pacific Street, seaward of 19 homes. Of those residences, 13 feature unauthorized private stairways down to the water or other backyard improvements.
Applicant Mark Dillon proposed to fix the revetment by replacing dislodged rocks that have rolled onto the beach, importing approximately 1,220 cubic yards of new rock (roughly 9% of the overall 13,445 cubic-yard revetment), and removing the unlawful improvements located on top and within the stones.
In addition to the stairs, the project will also remove 90 cubic yards of illegal concrete grouting and decking. The project will also add between 1 and 3 feet of height to the revetment structure.
While the final version of the project was approved on Oct. 12 by the California Coastal Commission, the original proposal approved by the city of Oceanside included repositioning the filter fabric underneath the revetment, restacking rock, importing 20% of the total volume of new rock instead of 9%, and importing an unknown amount of sand for backfill.
Dillon revised the project after receiving appeals from the Surfrider Foundation, two coastal commissioners, including Donne Brownsey and Caryl Hart, and Citizens for Preservation of Parks and Beaches, an Oceanside-based resident advocacy group.
Appellants cited concerns that the project would infringe upon public access to the beach, create public safety hazards, and allow for unpermitted development to continue.
“We are really interested in seeing all that unpermitted development removed,” Brownsey said.
The revised project eliminates any work to the revetment’s foundation, removes unpermitted development, reduces the amount of new rock, and improves public access points on city property west of Marron Street, including adding a public bench and a bike rack.
As part of the Coastal Commission staff’s recommendation to approve the revised project, 17 special conditions were added. These conditions include preventing any further encroachment of the revetment seaward and long-term monitoring of the revetment.
“This addresses the majority of our concerns,” said Mitch Silverstein, policy coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego chapter.
Silverstein noted he did not trust Dillon, the applicant, who he said is known for completing “lots of unpermitted development” in the area.
“We have to watch to continue to make sure we don’t lose our public access,” Silverstein said.
Dillon, representing the affected homeowners, expressed their support for the revisions.