Posted on Categories Land Use, Sonoma CoastTags , ,

Op-Ed: Coastal protection threatened where it started


Those of us who spent much of our lives working to protect the coast are dismayed and shocked that the Board of Supervisors would even consider overturning the well-thought-out recommendations of their own Planning Commission to benefit one particular East Coast developer whose bulldozers are aimed at sensitive natural habitat right above the oceanside bluffs near Timber Cove.

Can you imagine a four-lane freeway running from Petaluma to Jenner, built to service high-density subdivisions blanketing the scenic blufftops between Bodega Bay and the Russian River, and permanent closure of a swath of shoreline to block off access by the public?

These were just a few of the environmental threats the Sonoma Coast faced in the 1970s. Outspent financially and confronted by an aggressive billboard campaign underwritten by corporate oil and development interests, California’s voters and state Legislature simply said “enough” and set in motion an orderly process to ensure that the California coast would survive in perpetuity.

California’s voters had just adopted Proposition 20 — the statewide coastal initiative — in 1972, largely in response to a series of disastrous schemes targeting the Sonoma Coast. By 1976, state legislators had made coastal protection permanent.