Coastal Commission votes to tear down illegal seawall, double recommended fine on Laguna Beach homeowners to $1 million

OCRegister 11 days ago

Environmentalist are celebrating a precedent-setting vote Thursday by the California Coastal Commission to tear down a seawall protecting an oceanfront home in Laguna Beach.

After the previous owner received retroactive approval for the previously unpermitted seawall, Jeffrey and Tracy Katz bought the home on Victoria Beach and performed an extensive remodel, which was completed in January and increased the value of the home from $14 million to $25 million.

Katzes’ lawyer argued that the work qualified as “repair and maintenance” and so did not required a commission permit. The 11 commission members were not only unanimous in agreeing that the extent of the work required a permit, but doubled to $1 million the fine recommended by staff.

The Katzes are expected to pursue a pending lawsuit that could reverse the decision. If the suit is unsuccessful, removal of the seawall is likely to require demolition of at least a portion of the home because of its exposure to winter waves.

While environmentalists cheered the the decision against the Katzes, they also pointed to broader implications of the vote as sea levels rise and shrink the size of many California beaches.

“This was a huge, hard decision,” said Jennifer Savage, California policy manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “We know that our future means a loss of beaches. Hopefully, this means fewer seawalls and an extension of the life of our beaches.”

Seawalls interfere with the natural flow of sand along the coast, of erosion that helps replenish beaches and of the landward creep of beaches that accompanies sea-level rise.

Susan Jordan, director of the California Coastal Protection Newtwork, said the commission decision could prove a sign of more aggressive enforcement by the commission and a deterrent to others who build illegal seawalls and unpermitted remodels.

“We need homeowners to site their homes out of harms way,” Jordan said.

Jeffrey and Tracy Katz’s Laguna Beach house and seawall at 11 Lagunitas Drive before the controversial renovation that began in 2016. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

All exterior and interior walls were removed for the Katzes beachfront remodel. The owners contend that the work was “repair and maintenance” and did not need state Coastal Commission approval. Commission staff disputes that. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

  • Sound
    The gallery will resume inseconds
  • With the seawall reinforced, the Katzes proceeded to remodel the house without a Coastal Commission permit. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

    The Katzes’ remodeled house, shown here with a newly reinforced seawall in July, could be torn down depending on how the Coastal Commission votes. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

    In 2013, this is what the disputed Katz beachfront property looked like. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

  • This aerial photo show the location of the Katzes’ Laguna Beach house at 11 Lagunitas Drive. Photo courtesy of the California Coastal Commission.

    After the previous owners were told by the Coastal Commission they couldn’t rebuild their Laguna Beach house in the current location virtually on the beach, new owners — the Katzes — went ahead anyway without state permits and did an $11 million remodel that commission staff characterized as a virtually complete rebuild.

    “Every part of the house appears to have been replaced or, as in the case of the wood framing and decks, has been effectively replaced by the addition of new, reinforcing beams, framing, and other materials, including: installing new roof framing (including steel beams); adding new exterior wall framing or framing “sistered” to existing framing; adding new (larger) joists sistered to existing joists and/or adding new joists; installing glue lams and steel beams and adding new window/door framing,” according to the staff report.

    This story will be updated with more details shortly.

    Source link
    Read also:
    Forbes 12 days ago
    Referred to as “The Crown Jewel Of Carmel Valley” and also known as the “River House,” a French country chateau in Carmel, California, located a...
    CNN 12 days ago
    As the war against plastic continues, Lewis Hamilton has expressed his fury at companies who are "blindly fixated on profit" after spending two hours...
    CNN Sports 12 days ago
    This has been the summer of the goalkeeper.Weeks after Liverpool paid a world record fee for Brazil No.1 Alisson, Chelsea is edging closer to...
    OZY Lifestyle 12 days ago
    Tinsletown Municipality Votes for Trump Star’s RemovalCiting values that conflict with their community’s, West Hollywood city council members...
    OCRegister 12 days ago
    Scores of families gathered at Laguna Niguel Elementary to join the fun for the 7th annual National Night Out. The event was sponsored by the Orange...
    Miami Herald Lifestyle 12 days ago
    I was alarmed by the comments of Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman in the July 28 story, “Miami Beach is doubling down on its fight... 12 days ago
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsirpas announced thousands of illegal buildings will be demolished after the country's deadliest wildfire.
    Miami Herald 12 days ago
    A homeless man suspected in a double stabbing that briefly shut down a San Francisco Bay Area subway station last week was arrested Tuesday...
    USA Today 11 days ago
    An amateur fossil hunter and teacher in Australia found the teeth of an ancient mega shark in a boulder.  
    OZY 12 days ago
    Argentine Senate Votes on Decriminalizing AbortionIn June, Argentina’s deputies passed a bill that would decriminalize abortion in the first 14 weeks...
    One click to connect
    Select a social network to associate your account