Ventura County Local Coastal Program Update

The County of Ventura is updating the Local Coastal Program (LCP), which is the document that defines the County’s goals, policies, and programs for the coastal zone. The focus of this update is amendments that bring the County’s coastal policies and regulations into conformance with state and federal laws and with current County and California Coastal Commission standards. Amendments are being made in two phases. In February 2013 the California Coastal Commission certified Phase 1 amendments to the CZO, which addressed regulatory clarifications and minor policy changes that bring the CZO into conformance with current state and federal standards, allow for more efficient processing of coastal development permits, and acknowledge technological changes that have occurred since the CZO was originally adopted. Phase 2 is underway and will include several proposed policy modifications, focused on the areas of archaeological/paleontological resources, filming, signs, parking, coastal trail(s), tree protection, landscaping, environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA), coastal access and recreation and wireless telecommunication facilities. All work is funded through a grant from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP).

The website information for ongoing updates to the LCP can be found at these locations:

  1. Introduction
  2. What’s New – Upcoming Meetings, Public Review Documents
  3. Existing Local Coastal Program


Land use development in the Coastal Zone (see map link below) is governed by the terms and conditions of the Ventura County’s LCP which consists of the Coastal Area Plan (CAP), the Coastal Zoning Ordinance (CZO), and the County’s two adopted Categorical Exclusion Orders – all of which are subject to the California Coastal Act (Pub. Res. Code § 30000 et seq.) and corresponding Coastal Regulations (14 Cal. Code of Regs. § 13000 et seq.).

Click here for maps showing the unincorporated areas of Ventura County that are within the coastal zone.

Numerous sections of the LCP are outdated due to changing coastal land use policies, technologies, or other circumstances that occurred since the first LCP was produced in 1983. For example, Federal and State law requires that local jurisdictions define policies/standards related to reasonable accommodation for disabled persons. In addition, the Board adopted new policies/standards for reasonable accommodation in 2011 as part of the Housing Element. Reasonable accommodations must be consistent with the standards and policies of the LCP.

Ventura County’s first LCP became effective in October 1983, and it was updated in December 1987 to include the Categorical Exclusion Order. A Categorical Exclusion Order is an independent document adopted by the Coastal Commission in accordance with § 30610 of the Coastal Act. It exempts certain categories of development from Coastal Development Permit requirements because they have no possibility of causing environmental impacts. Categorical Exclusion Orders are adopted separately from the Coastal Zoning Ordinance, and the policies and specifics within those orders apply regardless of whether or not they are adopted by the local jurisdiction into its zoning ordinance. While the language of a Categorical Exclusion Order may be incorporated into a zoning ordinance by the local jurisdiction’s legislative body, the order itself remains independent from the local zoning ordinance and cannot be amended or altered without approval of the Coastal Commission.

Since 1983, minor amendments were made to the CZO to address specific land use policy issues (e.g. second dwelling units and camps). With the exception of the recently certified Phase 1 amendments, the County has not prepared a comprehensive update to either the CAP or the CZO since 1987.

Phase 2 amendments to the LCP include proposed modifications to existing regulations that address obsolete sections of both the CAP and CZO. While these amendments represent substantive changes to the LCP, they do not constitute a comprehensive update to the LCP, as they primarily affect the CZO (which contains detailed regulations) and only include changes to the Coastal Area Plan (the policy document) that are needed to maintain consistency within the LCP. No changes are currently planned for the Categorical Exclusion Orders adopted in 1987.

Pursuant to Coastal Act § 30510 et seq., the adoption of or amendment to a zoning ordinance within the Coastal Zone is an extensive process. First, the ordinance or ordinance amendment must be prepared by the local jurisdiction’s staff and approved by the local jurisdiction’s decision-making body (the Board of Supervisors in Ventura County). As part of its approval process, the local government adopts a resolution stating that the ordinance or ordinance amendment will become effective automatically upon its certification by the Coastal Commission or, alternatively, that it will require additional follow-up action by the local government following Coastal Commission certification.

Next, the ordinance is presented to the Coastal Commission. If the ordinance is certified by the Coastal Commission, the following steps must be completed before the ordinance becomes effective:

  1. The local government must complete any required follow-up actions.
  2. The Executive Director (ED) of the Coastal Commission must determine, in writing, that these actions are legally adequate.
  3. The Coastal Commission must concur with the ED’s determination.

Please contact case planner Jennifer Welch at (805) 654-2465 with questions or comments.

What’s New?

As 2015 comes to an end, the Ventura County Planning Division (Long-Range Planning Section) is pleased to announce that the next group of draft text amendments for the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) are complete: tree protection and water efficient landscaping. These documents can be accessed through the links below. In spring 2016, text amendments to environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHA), coastal access and recreation, and wireless telecommunication facilities will be ready for public review.

Early 2016 the full set of text amendments for the Local Coastal Plan (called Phase II) will be presented to the Ventura County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for their consideration.  Following Board approval, Ventura County will submit a formal LCP amendment request to the California Coastal Commission for final approval and certification.  This website will be updated to provide additional information on the hearing schedule when dates and times are confirmed.

Outreach Meetings

November 2, 2015: Carpenter Community Center, Port Hueneme
November 4, 2015: Carpinteria City Council Chambers

Public outreach meetings to discuss proposed text amendments to the Local Coastal Plan for tree protection and water efficient landscaping have been scheduled at the following locations:

*Carpenter Community Center - November 2, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

*Carpinteria City Council Chamber - November 4, 2015 @ 6:00pm

All coastal residents and individuals who requested to be on our mailing list will be notified by mail that the text amendments are available for review. That notification will also include the time and date of the public outreach meetings.

November 2015 - Draft Text Amendments
March 20 and 26, 2014

In March 2014, two public outreach meetings were held to discuss proposed text amendments to the Local Coastal Plan for the following topics: archaeological/paleontological resources, filming, signs and parking. In response to comments received at the public outreach meetings, by e-mail and regular mail, updated drafts were posted to this website (see below). A Power Point Presentation (pdf) that discusses these topics is also provided below.

November 2014 - Updated Draft Text Amendments

March 2014 – PowerPoint Presentation

We encourage any interested stakeholder to get involved. If you would like to be added to our stakeholder list, please email Jennifer Welch.

Existing Local Coastal Plan

See the existing Ventura County Planning documents for the LCP here:

Please check back to this website to find the latest information.