Sea wall fee revised again

Sea wall fee revised again
Most of Solana Beach’s 1.7-mile coastal line is already heavily armored. The fee property owners must pay to mitigate for the loss of public beach due to sea walls has been modified again. It increases if a bluff failure is imminent and decreases if it already occurred. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

SOLANA BEACH — In response to public input a fee that bluff-top property owners will have to pay to make up for the beach that is lost when they build sea walls to protect their homes will be determined on a case-by-case scenario rather than the one-size-fits-all plan that was originally proposed.

A draft public recreation impact fee, released late last year, was created using a methodology that considers factors such as beach size, use and visitor income.

It set the fee at $870 per linear square foot for bluff retention devices permitted this year.

The varying annual increase is between about $25 and $60 until 2026, when the price is set at $1,311.

Sea walls in Solana Beach are typically about 50 feet long, meaning a bluff-top property owner with a retention device permitted this year would be required to pay $43,500.

The same owner would pay $65,550 10 years from now.

Comments submitted during a 66-day review period prompted those crafting the fee to refine some of the variables and assumptions, resulting in a higher payment for some homeowners and a lower one for others.

The new fee ranges from $431 to $939 per linear foot for devices permitted this year.

“The revised approach, which assumes an initial impact as well as the remaining 20-year impact, provides the City with the flexibility to apply the fee on a case by case basis to ensure rough proportionality of impact to mitigation,” the staff report states.

One modification that resulted in the fee adjustment is an increase in the available public beach area from 15.5 acres to 18.8 acres.

The other major factor that will affect what homeowners pay is the timing of the sea wall construction.

The cost is $431 per linear foot if a collapse has occurred and $939 if the bluff failure is assumed to be imminent.

Using the revised methodology a property owner would pay $21,550 for a sea wall permitted this year if failure is not imminent and $46,970 if it is.

The fee will be calculated when an application is submitted based on actual conditions on the ground and dimensions proposed by applicant, consultant Leslea Myerhoff said.

The revised study is available at City Hall, on the city website and at the Solana Beach Library for public review and comment until April 6.

It will be presented to the City Council at either the April 13 or April 27 meeting for approval. According to the terms of a grant used to create the fee the draft must be submitted to the California Coastal Commission by April 30.

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