That growl you heard from Supervisor Janet Wolf after the Board of Supervisors voted to kill the Land Use and Development Code (LUDC)? It should have been a howl of dismay, as her colleagues abandoned a negotiation process they’d voted to support only two weeks earlier.

For years, the County has been out of compliance with the Coastal Act as regards regulation of activities in the coastal zone. It’s past time that the County implement state law—unless we want to secede from California? As for claims about loss of local control: this County is part of the state of California, and thus subject to its laws and regulations. Complaints about bad process are equally suspect: The LUDC was years in the making, with ample opportunity for public input (like the meeting I attended in Carpinteria last year). The claim that we don’t need better regulation because no one is doing anything bad right now is worst of all: So we should wait until after there are a series of land misuses to pass protective legislation? The whole point of the LUDC is to close the barn door before the horse gets out, not after we see its tail off in the distance.

The 4-1 vote to kill the LUDC means that years of staff efforts and county money were wasted. It means that we either spend more of same to get a new LUDC, or go back to Article II, under which pretty much everything can be appealed to the Coastal Commission. If that happens, all those outraged property owners are going to wish they had an LUDC that defined their rights and limited their permit obligations.


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