The Del Mar coastline / Image via Shutterstock

Like every coastal city, Del Mar is faced with adapting to flooding and erosion related to sea level rise. Thanks to the city’s small size, however, Del Mar is also, in theory, a good place to test some of the solutions.

KPBS reports that the city released a draft of a plan this week for adapting to sea level rise, which includes an assessment of methods to address erosion and flooding, and the “triggers” that could force the city to act. Notably missing from the latest version is an option for “planned retreat.”

North County Report

Planned retreat, or managed retreat, is one way of dealing with sea level rise by clearing and relocating buildings and infrastructure that become threatened. It’s a method that is typically favored by environmental groups as the only solution that doesn’t compound the problem, or commit public money to fixing the same infrastructure and replenishing sand on the beach. (Disclaimer: I work in IT at the Surfrider Foundation, which argues for managed retreat.)

For property owners, the prospect of managed retreat means taking all the value out of their homes. How can someone refinance or sell a house that eventually will be claimed by the sea?

At a meeting of the city’s Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder-Technical Advisory Committee in August, residents berated the committee for including planned retreat as a “last resort” for dealing with sea level rise.

“Is there not a way that you can just not talk about taking people’s property away from them?” said resident Larry Wolfe, according to the Union-Tribune. “Can you start with the beginning of your plan and then if it hits a certain point then we say, ‘OK we’ll come up with another plan,’ instead of putting it in there now and killing everyone’s real estate value? That’s what everyone’s been saying to you all night long. Jiminy Christmas, how many times do we have to say it?”

As a result, planned retreat was removed from the latest draft, leaving protection (seawalls) and adaption (building on stilts, or with wider setbacks from the coast) as the primary strategies.

This month, federal funding was canceled for a related report in Oceanside – to study the effect of Camp Pendleton’s harbor on that city’s beaches. The report would have paved the way for federal funding for beach sand replenishment, like Encinitas and Solana Beach receive.

That doesn’t bode well for Del Mar, which may also seek funds to pay for beach sand replenishment as one of its primary strategies.

As John Oliver discussed, all levels of government have made policies that keep people in the path of coastal flooding, despite the costs to the public. (Last Week Tonight)

It’s Been a Hell of a Week at the Escondido Country Club

In a 3-2 vote, the Escondido City Council approved a plan for 380 homes at the former Escondido Country Club, perhaps bringing an end to a five-year battle.

Perhaps – because the approval will likely come with the usual lawsuits over residential development from neighbors. After the Council’s decision, Mike Slater, president of the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Organization, said his group was mulling a lawsuit against the project, the Union-Tribune reported.

In response, the property’s owner threatened to cancel the deal he has with the current developer, and instead seek a partner who would be willing to develop the 600-home project that is allowed under the property’s zoning. Owner Michael Schlesinger and developer New Urban West had previously agreed to the smaller proposal to appease neighbors.

Then Wednesday morning, a fire broke out at the Country Club, consuming the old clubhouse.

Slater issued a statement saying it was “critical to move forward with redevelopment plans,” to ensure the safety of the neighborhood.

Issa Votes Against GOP Tax Plan

Rep. Darrell Issa voted no on the GOP’s tax plan that passed the House and is making its way through the Senate now.

Issa called it a “Robin Hood” bill, and said it paid for tax breaks for companies that itemize their taxes at the cost of hardworking families. (Perhaps he meant reverse Robin Hood, robbing from the poor to give to the rich.)

In an OC Register op-ed, Issa also wrote that the deduction for state and local taxes from their federal tax bill was the “first line of defense” against high taxes imposed by the state, and that California currently subsidizes other states by sending more money to Washington than it receives back.

Also in the News

  • The new platform at the Oceanside Transit Center opened Monday, meaning riders can board the Sprinter, Coaster, Amtrak and Metrolink at the same time. It’s not uncommon to see three different lines arrive at the same time now. (NBC7)
  • An Oceanside man who is an immigrant married to a U.S. citizen has been held in an immigration jail in Colorado. His lawyers say the location was chosen to get him out of the 9th Circuit, which recently made rulings in other cases that could benefit the man’s case. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he was held there because it ran out of beds here. (Union-Tribune)
  • The cannabis industry is diving into county races, including the race to replace Supervisor Bill Horn in the 5th District. Support for marijuana could be the key to attracting support from rural farmers for the race’s urban candidates. (Union-Tribune)
  • Oceanside is considering a sales-tax increase. (Union-Tribune)
  • A donation helped the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy buy an additional 77 acres of conservation land. (Union-Tribune)
  • There are now four Democrats running against Issa. (Union-Tribune)

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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