Lining Victoria Beach – a small cove beach located in Laguna Beach and the acclaimed birthplace of skimboarding – with shoreline armoring  in response to sea level rise and increasing erosion is one sure way to permanently lose the beach over the coming decades. We must stand against sacrificing our public beaches and the recreational opportunities they provide for private homeowner benefit.

Property owners on Lagunita Drive, adjacent to Victoria Beach, have illegally retained and rebuilt a seawall after undergoing extensive unpermitted renovations to their private residence (you can read the full history of the violation under item 8 & 9, here). This brand new home is not entitled to a seawall under the California Coastal Act. As we well know, seawalls exacerbate erosion and accelerate beach loss; and this at a time when we need to be preserving our beaches and retreating from sea level rise.

Victoria Beach continues to be a popular skimboarding location. In fact, Laguna Beach was recently declared the Skimboard Capitol of the World.  Let’s not lose it due to developer attempts to exploit the Coastal Act!

The California Coastal Commission staff has documented the violation and are now pursuing enforcement and administrative fines at their hearing on Thursday, August 9. We need to be there to support the enforcement action and ensure Commissioners approve staff’s recommended enforcement orders! Without public outcry, the Commissioners may choose to be more lenient and not order removal of the seawall. If you can attend, please arrive by 9am – however, timing is difficult to nail down and this item could start as late as 12pm. Please contact Mandy Sackett at msackett@surfrider.org if you plan to attend and for any updates on timing.

If you are unable to attend, please send your comments of support to the Coastal Commission at robert.moddelmog@coastal.ca.gov.

Suggested language:

  • Victoria Beach is a popular skimboarding beach and an important coastal resource to South Orange County. After a complicated permitting history, 11 Lagunita, adjacent to Victoria Beach, was approved for a seawall permit in 2015 with some minor home remodel elements.
  • Instead, the homeowners completely gutted the house – to the extent that it would be considered new development and not entitled to a seawall. So now, the homeowners have a seawall and a new house. Since 11 Lagunita was significantly redeveloped, it is no longer entitled to a seawall based on section 30235 of the Coastal Act.
  • We must stand against the sacrificing of our public beaches – and the recreational opportunities they provide –  for private homeowner benefit. As we now know well, seawalls exacerbate erosion at beaches and accelerate beach loss, at a time when we need to be preserving and retreating our beaches from sea level rise.
  • I support the Coastal Commission in levying a fine of $500,000, which is extremely reasonable given the egregiousness of this violation and the maximum possible fine being over $8 million.

Please contact Mandy Sackett at msackett@surfrider.org for more information.