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LA Supes give their final vote to Santa Monica Mountains LCP

Martha Bridegam on
Aug 27, 2014

On August 26 the LA County Supervisors gave final approval to the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (LCP) on its return from the Coastal Commission with amendments approved there July 10.

Since the Commission had already approved the whole program with county participation, a quick pro forma approval and a round of congratulations might have been expected.

Instead, a group of indignant winemakers and winelovers made a last attempt to beat the plan before it went through.

The plan now bounces back to the Commission and what's expected to be final certification. After which, for the first time in 28 years of trying, Los Angeles County will receive delegated authority to issue its own coastal development permits for the Santa Monica Mountains area.

As reported at http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3528, on July 10 the Coastal Commission reached what appeared to be the last substantive approval for the Local Coastal Program (LCP): endorsement of the county implementation ordinances for the previously passed Land Use Plan. (See http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3474 for prior Land Use Plan coverage.)

The July 10 meeting had been heavy with valedictory talk about success in negotiating approval for the LCP (especially through a negotiated compliance program for properties with horses) and about its status as a closing accomplishment for the area's district Supervisor, Zev Yaroslavsky, whose term is about to end. At that meeting, vintners and farmers, led by consultant and vineyard owner Don Schmitz, objected to a blanket rule against new vineyards in the mountains -- but their fight looked to be more or less fought.

Going into the August 26 Supervisors hearing, an LA Times editorial favored the approval (see http://lat.ms/1nfSqdz) and the Los Virgenes Homeowner's Federation urged members to turn out in support (see http://lvhf.org/2014/08/support-our-lcp-attend-bos-meeting-aug-26/).

However, the Wine Spectator at http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/50439 and the LA Weekly at http://bit.ly/1tJj82F showed that winegrowers and appreciators of the relatively new Santa Monica Mountains terroir were still trying to fight the portion of the all-but-final LCP that would ban the planting of new vineyards.

The LA Times posted immediate coverage of the August 26 hearing and vote at http://lat.ms/1taoZ48. It reported Schmitz said the mountains had just obtained federal recognition as an American Viticultural Area and told the Supervisors, "It is an ironic tragedy that you are contemplating destroying this at this very moment." KPCC reported at http://bit.ly/1vOERHR that the four Supervisors at the meeting (Sup. Mark Ridley-Thomas was absent) "split 2-2 on a decision to amend the plan to make more allowances for agricultural uses, including wineries," but since the amendment lacked a majority, the board "then voted to adopt the program as proposed."

The LA Times reports the Supervisors passed the plan 3-1 with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich opposed. Extensive attachments for the matter are linked from Item 6 on the Supervisors' August 26 agenda at http://bit.ly/1trtFz7.

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