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Coastal Commission Hearing Set on Revocation of Malibu Lagoon Permit

California Coastal Commission staff has recommended denial of the revocation request at the hearing next week in Santa Cruz, but opponents of the project plan to present photographic evidence and other testimony they believe could sway the commission.

The California Coastal Commission will consider a request to revoke a permit for the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project at its meeting next week in Santa Cruz.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 701 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

The Wetlands Defense Fund, led by Marcia Hanscom, and the Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network (CLEAN), led by Roy van de Hoek, filed the request on June 14 with the commission.

“We are so grateful to the Coastal Commission staff for granting this hearing, and we look forward to going to Santa Cruz to seek sanity to be returned to the protection of our California coast,” Hanscom said in a statement.

Under state law, a permit can be revoked if the application for the permit included inaccurate, erroneous or incomplete information.

According to a report, Coastal Commission staff recommended denial of the revocation request because of a lack of evidence showing any wrongdoing.

Hanscom said she believes photographic images and testimony from Malibu residents and leaders could sway the commission.

“More than half of the commission is new since the October 2010 approval of the project,” Hanscom said, adding that she is hoping Malibu leaders can make it up to Santa Cruz.

The groups also allege that the Costal Commission did not adequately weigh the impacts to the endangered tidewater goby when it originally issued the permit.

The report states the Coastal Commission had the correct information when it issued the permit. 

“No evidence was presented showing that the applicant submitted inaccurate, erroneous, or incomplete information of the sort,” according to the report.

The hearing was set to allow the public to have input on the revocation request, which does not have merit and was not filed with due diligence, the report states.

According to the report, the Coastal Commission received information about the tidewater goby at its Oct. 13, 2010 meeting. A letter was also received by the Wetlands Defense Fund and CLEAN on the same day outlining the same concerns about the impacts to the tidewater goby, the report states.

“Because the same parties requesting revocation raised the same issues at the time of Commission’s action, the revocation request was not filed with due diligence,” according to the report.

Hanscom recently criticized the project for conducting no ongoing surveys about the status of the tidewater goby since the breach of the sand berm separating the Malibu Lagoon from Surfrider Beach.

“This breach, by scientific conjecture, was likely to have caused serious harm to the breeding habitat for this fish species, while making it easier for the contractors to begin significant grading at the lagoon, which state officials have admitted,” according to a statement from Hanscom and van de Hoek.

The groups also raised concerns about the discovery of the South Coast Marsh Vole, which is on the state Fish & Game “Species of Special Concern” list, and the new critical habitat designation for the Western Snowy Plover on June 19.

The Coastal Commission report acknowledges it received an email from Hanscom about the snowy plover habitat, but that she failed to show “how this information raises any grounds for revocation.”

Chuck Almdale August 01, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Marcia Hanscom: You certainly have a plethora of funds, networks, institutes, and whatnot. Why so many? Whatever happened to Wetlands Action Network, under which you were operating only a few years back?
Suzanne Goode August 01, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Marcia, I totally sympathize with your first sentence.
JustWondering August 02, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Chuck - You can get the 990 tax forms for most charities at www.guidestar.org . The last one for W.A.N. was for 1998. I don't see a 990 after that for any of the organizations associated with Marcia or Roy actually, but I could be missing something. In particular, Marcia mentions above that she switched at some point to an umbrella organization, which makes it harder to trace the finances. This is not necessarily fishy, there are good reasons for small charities to use such services. Still it does prevent us from getting the basic information provided in the 990, e.g., income, outlays, and how much the top people get paid.
Cece Stein August 02, 2012 at 03:21 AM
JustWondering, we like and support the description "fishy". That works for us.
Brian Ginna August 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
"We are in the business of working to change this paradigm and, thus, changing the world." Wow, you sure take yourself seriously. A little too much, I think. Good luck on your losing appeal.

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