Keep Big Sur Wild’s LUP Update

Big Sur Land Use Plan Update

Since its certification by the California Coastal Commission in 1986, the award-winning Big Sur Land Use Plan (LUP) has helped to ensure the protection of the Big Sur Coast. Developed by the County of Monterey, Big Sur residents, and the Commission, the LUP implemented the then-radical ideas of acquiring hundreds of acres of critical viewshed lands, significantly downzoning residential buildout, and capping visitor serving units. For 35 years, the LUP has successfully protected the natural beauty of seventy miles of the California coast, a well-known national treasure.

Since 2013, the County of Monterey and the Big Sur Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) have been evaluating potential changes to the LUP. While changing conditions may warrant modest updates to the LUP, Keep Big Sur Wild believes that its core tenants are still valid and should remain strong and enforceable. As a result, Keep Big Sur Wild has been actively involved in the Planning Commission’s recent review of proposed changes to the LUP. 

Alarmingly, the draft Update released in July 2021 would significantly undermine the LUPand its protections of the Big Sur Coast. Some of the most problematic changes include: ● Modifications to the critical viewshed policy to allow additional development in this critical area. ● Modifications to Plan prioritizations, such that the Plan’s current favoring of visual access of the coast over physical access and other development is weakened.● Eliminating mandatory policies in favor of non-mandatory “objectives.”● Allowing additional visitor serving units beyond those currently permitted. ● Allowing additional “special events” without adequately regulating noise and impacts on Highway capacity.● Proposals for “improvements” to Highway One that would negatively impact the wild and scenic character of the Big Sur Coast, while failing to address the current overuse issues.  

We understand that a County subcommittee is currently reviewing the proposed LUP Update in light of these and other identified issues. Keep Big Sur Wild supports this current effort to ensure that both the spirit and the letter of the LUP is retained into the future.