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SAVE CAPISTRANO BEACH - not a parking lot!

Which would you rather have: A beach to walk and recreate on or a beachfront parking lot next to a seawall and a drowned beach? 

On Wednesday, December 8 at 9 am, the California Coastal Commission will vote whether to approve OC Parks’ application to retain several unpermitted seawalls along Capistrano Beach for at least 5 more years, thereby perpetuating erosion and impacting public access along the beach.  We ask the Commission to deny OC Parks’ proposal and request them to come back to the Commission with a plan that protects the beach now – there’s no reason for interim solutions that continue to “kick the can down the road” and continue to use our taxpayer dollars foolishly and needlessly.

OC Parks’ proposal would perpetuate decades of unpermitted, emergency seawalls and the erosion of Capistrano Beach. There IS a better way! We can RESTORE the beach, park nearby along Coast Highway or at South Doheny State Beach Parking lot and enjoy a sandy beach for decades to come.

We CAN make this a win to still provide for public access and connectivity of the trail system.  This is not an either-or.   The false narrative that the armoring and seawalls for a parking lot are the only way to protect Capistrano Beach, is just that -- FALSE.  When in fact they will only continue to drown and exacerbate erosion of the beach.

OC Parks’ proposal, while intended to be yet another temporary solution for Capistrano Beach, will perpetuate momentum towards the wrong solution – one that will drown the beach forever!


Please write an email today to Coastal Commission staff Dani Ziff – we have to let the Commission know we want to restore Capistrano Beach – not Capistrano parking lot! Send an email to by 5 pm on Friday, December 4.

If you’d like to speak to the Coastal Commission at their hearing over zoom about this issue and are available on Wednesday, December 9, please let us know and we can guide you through the process. It’s easy and straightforward! 

Suggested Letter:

Please deny the staff recommendation to approve OC Parks’ application to retain the unpermitted rock revetments and sand cubes at Capistrano Beach. I ask the Commission to deny the County’s proposed project, which will further erode and drown Capistrano Beach, blocking public access along the coast. The County should remove the parking lot and restore the beach with a living shoreline.  It is time to improve beach access and restore coastal resources lost to decades of unpermitted shoreline revetments - not save a parking lot where ample parking alternatives exist.

Instead of planning for and enacting long term solutions, the County has instead chosen to abuse the emergency permit system. The revetments in place have vastly exceeded their intended duration, and are now becoming various forms of pollution. Clearly, the rock revetments haven’t worked in the past, and won’t work now. 

The County’s proposal to retain the seawalls and sand cubes for an additional two to five years will only delay and cause further erosion and unsafe conditions at Capistrano Beach. OC Parks should be required to submit their plan at this time for managed retreat and a living shoreline and remove the crumbling parking area. The Commission must send a clear message that emergency permits are not substitutes for long-term planning.

Capistrano Beach should be thought of not as a problem, but as a possibility to come up with creative solutions that the rest of the state can model. Our coastlines and beaches are central to the identity of Orange County, and the state at large. The continual encroachment and building up to the shoreline has cost us many beaches that we won’t be able to recover, but Capistrano Beach gives us the opportunity to reclaim some of that beach.