Signed into law as part of the new state budget on June 20, the Coastal Commission can now levy administrative fines against those who violate the California Coastal Act by preventing public access to coastal resources.
Until now the Commission’s only means to enforce Coastal Act compliance was by taking violators to court, which it has limited resources to do, leading to a huge backlog of violations. Of almost 2,000 outstanding Coastal Act violations, most involve blocking access, removing access signs, or posting unauthorized "no parking" or "no beach access" signs.
The commission’s new ability to levy fines is limited to public-access violations. Penalties for other violations, such as damaging wetlands or building without permits, will still require court action.