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Surfrider, a beach preservation advocacy group, says the city of Oceanside is illegally allowing private property owners to encroach onto the public beach by laying big boulders on the sand. / Photo courtesy of Surfrider Foundation San Diego County

This post originally appeared in the March 11 Morning Report. Get the Morning Report delivered to your inbox.

The state told the city of Oceanside to stop laying big boulders (called, hilariously, rip rap) in front of beachside properties, an act beach preservation advocates decried as an effort to extend private property lines over public shores.

“Entitled beachfront property owners on the Pacific Street block in Oceanside have decided yet again that their private beach wasn’t big enough, and used front-end loaders and cranes to slash and gash the public beach for their own exclusive private use,” Surfrider San Diego wrote on Instagram March 6.

The city of Oceanside says what it’s doing is legal.

In a March 3 email to the Coastal Commission, Oceanside principal planner Russ Cunningham said the city OK’d repair to a revetment, or boulder wall, and adding sand to the beach in the 1200 block of South Pacific Street. It did so under an exemption the city can make to a type of permit needed to do any work on the coastal zone, or California’s shoreline, which is protected for public access under state law.

The city can permit coastal development as long as it’s following state rules. In this case, the Coastal Commission doesn’t agree the work being done in this particular area is following those rules.

“No further work should occur until the dispute is resolved,” wrote Diana Lilly, coastal program manager for the Coastal Commission, wrote to Cunningham on March 5.

The Coastal Commission is looking into how the city exempted the work, and asked to review the paperwork.

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