Coastal Resources

GDB assists clients whose projects require Coastal Development Permits or must otherwise demonstrate compliance with California’s rules regarding coastal resource protection and public access.

Within the State of California, there is arguably no more powerful unelected body than the California Coastal Commission (Commission), the entity that approves Local Coastal Programs and issues Coastal Development Permits for projects located within the State’s Coastal Zone. Many of GDB’s clients are located along the California coast, where they are subject to these special mandates of the California Coastal Act (Coastal Act).  

GDB assists landowners whose projects are subject to the Coastal Act with securing the permits they need, either from the Commission itself or from local agencies that have Commission-approved Local Coastal Programs. This effort often requires GDB attorneys to work closely with biologists who specialize in coastal ecology, as the Coastal Act affords special protections to Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (known as “ESHAs”) located along the coastline and elsewhere in the Coastal Zone. 

In addition, the Coastal Act is expressly committed to maintaining public access – including “visual” access – to beaches and other coastal areas. The Coastal Act’s public access rules often pose challenges to property owners seeking to build in the Coastal Zone and maintain a certain level of privacy. GDB works closely with landowners, consultants, city planners, and Commission staff to resolve these difficult issues in a manner that complies with the Coastal Act but allows the project to move forward.