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. 

14 thoughts on “Keep Big Sur Wild’s LUP Update

  1. So very glad to see this posted. I hope it encourages everyone to read the Land Use Plan, Support Keep Big Sur Wild and hold Transparency accountable.
    It ensures that, there will be No paving
    We have a Voice

  2. There is another wave of development density in California that will destroy its natural beauty forever. Single family residential lots are now multiple family lots given new rulings that automatically approve additional dwelling units on any lot. Daily I sing the Joni Mitchell song quoted by two posts above. We who love California are facing its demise. How to handle this?

  3. I can’t think of a song off the top of my head, but The original Big Sur Land Use Plan should remain with its original intent and not be weakened in any way to encourage more overuse of the Big Sur area. We must fight to protect this fragile coastline.

  4. 1986 Certified Big Sur Land Use Plan – 2.2 Basic Objectives & Policies

    2.2.2 – Coastal Scenic Resources – Recognizing the Big Sur Coast’s outstanding scenic beauty and its great benefit to the people of the State and Nation, it is the County’s objective to preserve these scenic resources in perpetuity and to promote, wherever possible, the restoration of the natural beauty of visually degraded areas.

    The County’s basic policy is to prohibit all future public or private development visible from Highway 1 and major public viewing areas.

  5. We need to protect our wonderful environment. Our ancestors will left nothing of beauty. Thank God for Teddy Roosevelt and others who have saved some precious areas for us. Let’s do the same for future generations.

  6. Just what I was wondering about. Thank you for this announcement following up from the formation of the LUP update subcommittee.

  7. Don’t mess with it, the 1986 plan mostly works, I’ve seen building encroachments, for example a home above Deetjen’s by a former golf instructor, and in a few more places. Big Sur is now googled as the #1 tourist destination, beating Rt 66, so we must hang on to the beauty and sanity of LUP for everyone’s sake. We are a nature destination, mainly, not a new commercial development. Soon there will be few locals and no near emergency services. Stop the madness!!! Keep Big Sur Wild.

  8. Thank you for posting this Kate! Are there any actions an individual can take, a petition to be signed & circulated? A protest or sit in when the sub- committee meets? I’m sure there are many of us who strongly agree with the philosophy of Keeping Big Sur Wild, who haven’t been able to actively participate up until now. Please advise of any calls to action, to preserve the original intent of the BSLUP

  9. Susan RP and others … at this moment there is a wonderful ad hoc committee of four, two of which are Big Sur Planning Commissioners going over the original 1986 certified Big Sur Land Use Plan word for word to bring back the original language with just minor changes to bring it up to real time. Basically bring back all the important wording and policies that protect the Big Sur environment from over use and development, such as the all important policy of “visual Access.”

    Needs to be said … many of you don’t know this, but early on (2013-2014) we had one County Planner that hacked and whacked our LUP to death … saying something like the CCC won’t except this or something to that effect, he basically hood winked everyone into believing this and doing a complete rewrite when the Coastal Commission has stated many times that they only wanted it updated, not a complete rewrite as the Plan had worked very well protecting the Big Sur Coast for the last 35 some odd years.

    Long story short, I would like to thank all the LUAC Members for all the hours and years they spent “updating” our LUP, with new fire protection, housing, protecting access, and the all important protection of our coastal environment … I would also like to thank all the residents and two other County Planners for their time also as well as the people that brought this to our attention –

    And thank you Big Sur Kate for giving us a platform to voice our concerns, and for everything else you do … thank you all!!

  10. Exxon Mobile Oil Company just put out an ad with a photo of the Bixby Bridge. Even oil companies are now using Big Sur to somehow generate profits. Every person who cares about this coast should stand united on the protection of it. The goals and plans for protecting this coast should never be steered or directed for the profit of anyone or anything. We must question impacts of our decisions and how they will change the future of Big Sur. The BSLUP is protecting this coast from harmful development that would forever change the rural wild character that we all come here to see. Thank you Kate and everyone who wants to save this coast.

  11. I live in the middle of VERBO Central in Palo Colorado Canyon. Last summer someone started a Hipcamp destination here. None of these activities are allowed on private roads. They continue, though Hipcamp may not be in operation. It’s hdifficult to get concrete information. Highway 1 traffic is now on the canyon road in terms of increased volume. I was assured by someone on the Planning Commission that something will be done. I’m waiting.

  12. “Let us control the money of a nation, and we care not who makes its laws” was said to be a “maxim” of the House of Rothschilds, or, even more vaguely, of the “money lenders of the Old World”.

    The only way to protect the future of Big Sur is to officially be recognized as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and issue your own currency to promote Financial Inclusion.

    You may want to move fast.. in case you haven’t noticed Big Sur is suffering from the Sorites Paradox.

    If you do a little research there are a few people/families and two multi-Billion dollar VC firm close to Big Sur that are pioneers in SEZ’s and Digital Currency, no persuasion necessary to protect the land they love.

    With mindfulness Big Sur Valley wont lose its way like Silicon Valley did.

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