Local Coastal Program Background

Community Development Agency

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to see the answer, or Open All Questions.

  • What is the Local Coastal Program?

    In 1976, the California Legislature enacted the Coastal Act, which created a mandate for coastal counties to manage the conservation and development of coastal resources through a comprehensive planning and regulatory program called the Local Coastal Program (LCP). The Local Coastal Program (LCP) is a planning document that identifies the location, type, densities, and other ground rules for future development in the coastal zone. Each LCP includes a land use plan and its implementing measures. These programs govern decisions that determine the short and long term conservation and use of coastal land, water, and other resources).

    Marin County was among the first local governments to complete, and have the California Coastal Commission certify, its LCP. The Marin LCP is divided into two units: Unit I and Unit II. Unit I was certified in 1980 and includes the communities of Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, and Bolinas. Unit II was certified in 1981 and includes the communities of Olema, Point Reyes Station, Inverness, Dillon Beach, Marshall, and Tomales. The primary goal of the LCP is to ensure that the local government’s land use plans, zoning ordinances, zoning district maps, and implemented actions meet the requirements of, and implement the provisions and polices of the Coastal Act at the local level.

  • What is the Coastal Zone?

    The Coastal Zone is defined in Section 30103 of the Coastal Act. The Coastal Zone generally extends inland 1,000 yards from the mean high tide of the line of the sea. In significant coastal estuarine, habitat, and recreational areas it extends inland to the first major ridgeline paralleling the sea or five miles from the mean high tide line of the sea, whichever is less, and in developed urban areas the zone generally extends inland less than 1,000 yards. The Coastal Zone does not include the area of jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, nor does it include land owned by the Federal Government.

  • How does the Coastal Act protect the Coastal Zone?
    • Coastal Act Goals: According to Section 30001.5 of the Coastal Act, the basic goals of the state for the coastal zones are to:

      • Protect, maintain, and, where feasible, enhance and restore the overall quality of the coastal zone environment and its natural and artificial resources.
      • Assure orderly, balanced utilization and conservation of coastal zone resources taking into account the social and economic needs of the people of the state.
      • Maximize public access to and along the coast and maximize public recreational opportunities in the coastal zone consistent with sound resources conservation principles and constitutionally protected rights of private property owners.
      • Assure priority for coastal-dependent and coastal-related development over other development on the coast.
      • Encourage state and local initiatives and cooperation in preparing procedures to implement coordinated planning and development for mutually beneficial uses, including educational uses, in the coastal zone.
    • Coastal Act Policies: Coastal cities and counties must incorporate the following Coastal Act policies into their individual LCPs. These policies require:

      • Protection and expansion of public access to the shoreline and recreational opportunities and resources; including commercial visitor-serving facilities;
      • Protection, enhancement, and restoration of environmentally sensitive habitats, including intertidal and nearshore waters, wetlands, bays and estuaries, riparian habitat, certain wood and grasslands, streams, lakes, and habitat for rate or endangered plants or animals;
      • Protection of productive agricultural lands, commercial fisheries, and archeological resources;
      • Protection of the scenic of coastal landscapes and seascapes;
      • The establishment, to the extent possible, of urban-rural boundaries and directing new housing and other development into areas with adequate services to avoid wasteful urban sprawl and leapfrog development;
      • Provision for the expansion, in an environmentally sound manner, of existing industrial ports and electricity-generating power plants, as well as for the siting of coastal-dependent industrial uses;
      • Protection against loss of life and property from coastal hazards.
  • Why is the Marin LCP being amended?

    More than 30 years have passed since the original Marin County Local Coastal Program (LCP) was adopted. Beginning in 2008, the Board of Supervisors directed planning staff to review the policies and provisions of the LCP to determine which might require amendments based upon new knowledge, emerging trends and the experience of administering the LCP.

  • What is the current status of the Marin LCP amendment?

    The proposed Land Use Plan and Implementation Program amendments were initially adopted by the Board of Supervisors and submitted to the Coastal Commission in 2013. The following year, the Land use Plan was approved by the Coastal Commission with a variety of significant modifications. The Coastal Commission subsequently considered the Implementation Program in early 2015. However, this element of the LCP was formally withdrawn by the County prior to action by the Commission to allow additional time to resolve outstanding issues. On August 25, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted revised Land Use Plan and Implementation Plan Amendments, which incorporate most of the Coastal Commission-approved modifications as well as a number of key revisions to critical policy and development code provisions, particularly related to agriculture. On November 2, 2016 the Coastal Commission approved the proposed amendments with suggested modifications to the LUP and IP, with the exception of environmental hazards. Next steps include approval by the Board of Supervisors of the Coastal Commission suggested modifications, and engaging the community to develop revised environmental hazards policies and implementation measures to, ultimately, bring back to the Commission for certification.

  • Who has been involved in the Marin LCP amendment process?

    The public outreach effort for the Marin LCP amendment was kicked off by planning staff in the winter of 2008 and continued through 2011, including a multitude of community meetings, public workshops with the Planning Commission, and discussions between staff and various stakeholders. Staff carefully considered all input received and conducted in-depth analysis of the issues raised to formulate a comprehensive set of proposed amendments to the LCP.

    The Planning Commission began their official review of the proposed amendments in August 2011 with a series of 9 public hearings, during which time interested members of the public were able to testify. Following extensive evaluation of each section, the Planning Commission approved a set of modified amendments on February 13, 2012, and recommended them for adoption by the Board of Supervisors.

    The Board held two public workshops in March 2012 to get an introduction and overview of the Planning Commission-Approved LCP amendments, and to hear from the public about their concerns. The Board began their official review of the proposed amendments with the first of 7 public hearings on August 7, 2012. After careful evaluation and minor modifications, the Board adopted the proposed amendments on July 30, 2013.

    Throughout the period following approval by the Board, the public and interested parties continued to provide input regarding the LCP Amendments with the focus of the LCP Amendment process shifting to the Coastal Commission. Commission staff separated the LCP Amendments into two parts: the Land Use Plan Amendments (LUPA) and the Implementation Program (IPA). The Commission held a public hearing on the LUPA in May, 2014 in Inverness, and adopted a set of Suggested Modifications for the County Board to consider. Commission staff then focused on the IPA, and shared a draft of possible recommended modifications with some parties, which soon thereafter was made available to all those interested. The Marin Conservation League Agriculture Subcommittee also hosted a number of meetings with representatives of the various differing viewpoints, at which alternative policies were discussed. The Commission staff released their recommendation on the Implementation Program Amendments for public review several days prior to the Commissions scheduled April 2015 hearing, spurring letters and comments from many parties. As a result of extensive testimony at the Commission hearing, the County Board withdrew the IPA from Commission action to allow additional time for more complete review and consideration by the County staff, as well as the interested and involved parties.

    The Board invited further input and received additional recommendations at a public hearing, on August 25, 2015. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board considered and approved staff's recommendation to move forward with a targeted resubmittal of Marin's LCP Amendment, including the entire Land Use Plan (excepting Environmental Hazards) and Implementation Program measures related to Agriculture. While the Board-adopted LCP Amendments are expected to be considered for certification by the Coastal Commission by the end of 2015, they would not take effect until further action by the Board, to ensure that members of the public and the Board have an opportunity to review of any additional modifications adopted by the Coastal Commission. Public outreach on the second part of the LCPA consisting of the LUP Environmental Hazards Chapter and the remainder of the IPA will be getting underway soon, including a C-SMART public workshop on November 14 in Stinson Beach to consider alternatives for addressing hazards for inclusion in the LCPA.

The best way to stay up-to-date on the latest LCP amendment news and events is to sign up for email updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



Project Timeline 2008 - 2017
Date Event
July 26, 2017
Withdrawal of Environmental Hazards Land Use Plan policies and Implementation Plan standards from CCC review with intent to submit Environmental Hazards amendments in the future.
July 10, 2017
The Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 1:30 to consider a response to the Coastal Commission Modifications to the Board's LCPA.  Click here for more information.
May 16, 2017
Board of Supervisors hearing to consider acting upon amendments to the LCPA, including suggested modifications approved by the Coastal Commission on 11/2/2016.
March 8, 2017
California Coastal Commission approves the County's request for a one year time extension (to May 2, 2018) for LCP-2-MAR-15-0029-1. Click here for more information.
December 7, 2016 Board Hearing Scheduled 12/13/16 - BOS to consider CCC changes to Marin LCP
November 18, 2016 Board of Supervisors to Consider Coastal Commission Changes to Marin LCP
November 2, 2016
California Coastal Commission approves amendments to the LCPA Land Use Plan and Implementation Program (with the exception of Environmental Hazards)
November 1, 2016 County Letter to CCC for Weds. Nov. 2, 2016 hearing in Half Moon Bay
October 24, 2016 Coastal Commission Staff Report Available
October 17, 2016 CCC Staff Releases Draft Proposed Modification to Marin County LCP
September 26, 2016 Coastal staff draft changes to Marin's LCPA now available for comment
June 22, 2016 Coastal Commission staff agree to file Marin County's LCP Amendments pending one item
May 10, 2016 County Supervisors complete approval of LCPA
April 19, 2016 Board of Supervisors hearing and adoption of LCPA Part 2
April 6, 2016 Publication and announcement of CDA Staff Recommendation for the April 19, 2016 Board hearing
March 4, 2016 Publication and announcement of public review drafts of the Environmental Hazards LUP and IP, including posting to website
February 17, 2016 Completed working draft elements of the LCPA Part 2 (Environmental Hazards LUP and IP) were sent to Coastal Commission staff for internal review
August 25, 2015 Board of Supervisors hearing on resubmittal of the LCP Amendments to the CA Coastal Commission
April 16, 2015 California Coastal Commission hearing on the IP; County withdraws IP
May 15, 2014 California Coastal Commission hearing on and certification of the LUP
November 5, 2013 The LCPA was officially submitted to the California Coastal Commission for review
August - October 2013 Planning staff to prepare and submit the LCPA “Filing Package” to the California Coastal Commission for review and certification
July 30, 2013 Board of Supervisors adopted the PC-Approved Draft LCPA with modifications. Board further adopted a resolution to submit the LCPA to the California Coastal Commission for review and certification
August 2012 – July 2013 Series of public hearings held with the Board of Supervisors to review the PC-Approved Draft LCPA
February 13, 2012 Planning Commission approved a comprehensive set of amendments to the LCP Land Use Plan and Development Code, as well as a set of new Maps for the Coastal Zone and an Appendix, which altogether formed the PC-Approved LCPA Draft
August 2011 – February 2012 Series of public hearings held with Planning Commission to review the LCPA Public Review Draft
July 2011 Series of community presentations hosted by planning staff to present the LCPA Public Review Draft to the public
June 20, 2011 Based on further input and research, planning staff compiled the Draft Land Use Plan and Implementation Plan documents to formulate the LCPA Public Review Draft of proposed amendments
February 25, 2011 Based on feedback from the public and Planning Commission, planning staff developed a set of preliminary draft amendments to the LCP Land Use Plan policies for public review
March 2009 – January 2011 Series of Planning Commission public workshops held on key issues identified through research and public outreach
December 2008 – January 2009 Series of community meetings and workshops hosted by planning staff to identify key issues, opportunities and constraints, and formulate strategies
November 10, 2008 Public workshop held with the Planning Commission to identify and solicit input on key issues and strategies
October 28, 2008 Joint workshop held with the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission on the proposed LCP amendment process and schedule