Theses Master's

The California Coastal Act and Historic Preservation

Vermillion, Jessica

In 1972, the California Coastal Commission was established by voter initiative via Proposition 20. The passing of Proposition 20 gave the Coastal Commission authority over the distribution of coastal development permits for four years. The passing of the California Coastal Act in 1976 gave the Commission this authority indefinitely. Under the Coastal Act, the Commission is tasked with protection of coastal resources including: shoreline public access and recreation, terrestrial and marine habitat, visual resources, landform alteration, agricultural lands, commercial fisheries, industrial uses, water quality, offshore oil and gas development, transportation, and development design, among various other things. Also under the California Coast Act, coastal cities and counties are asked to develop Local Coastal Programs (LCPs) that are to be approved by the Coastal Commission. After the Coastal Commission approves the LCPs, a local agency is then made responsible for issuing coastal development permits. Under these LCPs, communities are able to implement policies that address historic preservation issues. While some communities do not specifically mention historic preservation as one of the goals of their LCP, others do. Through an examination of various Local Coastal Programs, including those that both do and do not address historic preservation, recommendations for how other coastal communities can incorporate historic preservation into their LCPs will be made. California provides an important lesson for other states because the Coastal Act shows how historic preservation can and should be a part of larger policy conversations.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
McEnaney, Liz
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
September 17, 2014