• BCDC Adopts Sea Level Rise Policy Recommendations

  • At its Oct. 6 meeting, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission adopted a set of policy recommendations [click here] related to addressing sea level rise. The policy recommendations are the result of a monthly series of workshops that began in January 2016 to identify potential BCDC policy priorities. The adopted recommendations are:
    1. Create a regional sea level rise adaptation plan that serves as a framework for implementing future actions, while allowing for immediate early actions to be developed in advance of the plan.
    2. Complete multi-sector, county scale sea level rise vulnerability assessments for all nine counties using the Adapting to Rising Tides Program.
    3. Explore new institutional arrangements to address the impacts of climate change in a way that promotes a shared regional perspective and increases collaboration.
    4. Identify regionally significant existing and future natural and built assets and protect them from flooding in ways that adapt to changing natural circumstances such as rising sea level.
    5. Modify existing laws, policies, and regulations to more fully consider the local and regional impacts of rising sea levels in permitting and decision-making processes.
    6. Work with others to develop a regional educational campaign to increase awareness of rising sea level and how the Bay Area can adapt successfully to its challenges.
    7. Assist efforts to define, identify, and fund one or more regional data repositories to collect and share data in ways that best inform rising sea level strategies and actions.
    8. Develop a new Commissioner Working Group on innovative financing called Financing the Future, which would consist of Commissioners, Alternates, and external stakeholders.

    BIA Bay Area participated in the policy recommendation development process and ultimately voiced general support for the adopted recommendations, while noting that moving forward on each of the policy initiatives must be undertaken in a way that does not increase the overall regulatory burden on new housing in the region. BIA Bay Area opposed several preliminary policy recommendations identified during the process as possibly detrimental to the region's housing interest, and was successful in preventing them from being adopted. Among the recommendations considered and NOT adopted were the following:
    • Develop regional regulatory system to discourage new development that is not resilient along the shoreline for those areas below estimated elevations of sea level rise.
    • Modify BCDC's permit application to require information on the potential impacts of a project on adjoining properties in a manner that can inform local and regional resilience efforts.
    • Establish an Adaptation Review Board, to provide technical expertise and non-binding guidance for project applications along the shoreline.
    • Create a collaborative and inclusive Regional Adaptation Plan, modeled on the Regional Transportation Plan process..; consider seeking state legislation to place the RAP in statute.