City amends agreement with LCP consultant

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The City Council this week unanimously approved an amended and “restated” professional services agreement with Michael Baker International to work on the city’s Local Coastal Plan application project.

A Local Coastal Plan basically streamlines construction in the coastal zone by transferring part of the California Coastal Commission’s authority to a local community.

The revised agreement with the consultant was on the Consent Calendar. Items on the Consent Calendar are voted on collectively, without discussion, unless they are removed from the calendar.

In an email to the council, local budget watcher Robert Goldberg raised his concerns about differences between the earlier version of the contract and the restated version, which apparently reduces the maximum amount of the contract from $280,000 to $235,000.

Goldberg wrote that “it is important to note that this cost reduction only reflects a reduction in the number of Tasks, not the cost per Task.”

Goldberg went on to argue that the total cost had increased by about $15,000 even with the reduced number of tasks.

The money for the project was included in the Capital Improvement (city construction and maintenance) budget, according to the report by Interim Community Development Director Crystal Landavazo.

“LCPs contain the ground rules for future development and protection of coastal resources in the 76 coastal cities and counties. The LCPs specify appropriate location, type, and scale of new or changed uses of land and water,” according to the California Coastal Commission website.

“Each LCP includes a land use plan and measures to implement the plan (such as zoning ordinances),” according to the Coastal Commission.

“After an LCP has been finally approved, the Commission’s coastal permitting authority over most new development is transferred to the local government, which applies the requirements of the LCP in reviewing proposed new developments,” according to the Coastal Commission.

“The City of Seal Beach was awarded a grant by the Coastal Commission for consultant services to assist the City in preparing a Local Coastal Plan. In September 2016, the City Council authorized a professional services agreement with Michael Baker International for preparation of a Local Coastal Program to be funded in part by the grant and in part by City funds for a total project cost not to exceed $280,000,” wrote Interim Community Development Director Crystal Landavazo in her report.

The public outreach for the latest version of the Local Coastal Plan project will begin in spring 2019, according to Landavazo’s report.

During public comments at the meeting, Goldberg said he believed this was the sixth time the city had started a Local Coastal Plan. He said this was probably the city’s longest project.

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