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Inventory of the California Coastal Commission Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Indexing Terms
  • Oral History at the California State Archives
  • Related Materials at the California State Archives

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California Coastal Commission Records
    Dates: 1973-1997
    Collection number: R254
    Creator: California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission California Coastal Commission
    Collection Size: 45 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: In November 1972, the People of California approved Proposition 20, the Coastal Zone Conservation Act, which created the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission (CCZCC). The CCZCC was mandated with the responsibility for the preservation and protection of California's environmentally and ecologically diverse coastal resources within the coastal zone. The successor agency to the CCZCC was the California Coastal Commission (CCC). The records of the CCZCC and the CCC reflect the work of the executive director, various divisions, and two regional commissions. Files contain primarily correspondence, minutes, reports, and news articles. Strengths of the collection include records associated with offshore oil drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, budget related issues, the Sea Ranch development project, and the Local Coastal Program.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], California Coastal Commission Records, R254.[series number], Box [number], folder [number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Agency History

    In November of 1972, the people of the State of California voted and approved of Proposition 20, the Coastal Zone Conservation Act, which created the temporary California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission (CCZCC). Members to the State Commission consisted of one member chosen by the each of the six regional commissions and six public representatives of which two were appointed by the Governor, two by the Senate Rules Committee, and two by the Speaker of the Assembly. In an effort to maximize local participation and to maintain communication with county and city governments within the coastal zone, six district offices were opened. The six regional commissions formed by Proposition 20 included: the North Coast Regional Commission (Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties); the North Central Coast Regional Commission (Sonoma, Marin, and San Francisco Counties); the Central Coast Regional Commission (San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties); the South Central Regional Commission (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties); the South Regional Commission (Los Angeles, and Orange Counties); and the San Diego Regional Commission (San Diego County). Proposition 20 stipulated that the membership of each of the six regional commissions come from an equal number of locally-elected officials (such as council members, mayors, county supervisors) and public representatives of which one-third was to be appointed by the Governor, one-third by the Senate Rules Committee, and one-third by the Speaker of the Assembly.
    The CCZCC was mandated with the responsibility for the preservation and protection of California's environmentally and ecologically diverse coastal resources within the established coastal zone. Specifically, Proposition 20 required the CCZCC to study resources within the coastal zone, establish guidelines and review procedures for the approval or denial of development permits within the coastal zone beginning in 1973, and to prepare a statewide coastal plan for the long term conservation and management of California's coastal resources for future generations. In December of 1975, the CCZCC delivered its statewide plan to the Legislature. The plan was based on nine elements: the marine environment, coastal land development, appearance and design of coastal development, intensity of development, geology of the coastal zone, energy development and facility siting, transportation, recreation/access to the coast, and the powers, funding, and organizational authority necessary to carry out the coastal plan.
    The Coastal Zone Conservation Act did not authorize the establishment of a permanent governmental agency. Prior to its expiration date in 1976, Senator Jerry Smith (D-Santa Clara) introduced legislation (SB1227) to extend the Coastal Zone Conservation Act until January of 1981. Known as the California Coastal Act (Chapter 1330, Statutes of 1976) it named the California Coastal Commission (CCC) as the successor agency to the CCZCC. In addition to maintaining the obligations, powers, duties, and responsibilities of the CCZCC, the Coastal Act required the Coastal Commission to implement the Local Coastal Program (LCP). As part of the LCP, each local government within the coastal zone was to prepare a coastal development program based on the principles of Coastal Act no later than July 1, 1980. Upon approval of the LCP by the CCC, the CCC was authorized to close the regional commission offices and theoretically assume any and all regional commission obligations, powers, duties, responsibilities, benefits, and legal interests.
    Similar to the CCZCC, representatives to the CCC consist of appointees from the Governor and from the Legislature. Commission members include sixteen independent members with twelve voting and four non-voting members. The Governor, the Senate Rules Committee, and the Speaker of the Assembly with the confirmation of the Assembly Rules Committee select two public and two locally-elected officials as representatives to the CCC. In an effort to minimize duplication and conflicts among existing state agencies, the Coastal Act stipulated that the four non-voting members include the Secretary for Resources, Secretary for Business, Transportation, and Housing, Secretary for Trade and Commerce, and the Chairperson of the State Lands Commission. The commission and each regional commission were given the responsibility of appointing the executive director. In addition to having the responsibility of hiring senior staff, the executive director was given broad supervisory powers. The executive director was to assist local governments in implementing the LCP, oversee the CCC budget, coordinate planning and regulatory procedures with existing state agencies within the coastal zone, and to balance the energy interests of the nation (primarily along the Outer Continental Shelf) with the California Coastal Act.
    Unable to certify a significant portion of city and county LCP by the deadline of July 1, 1980, the legislature granted yet another extension to the CCC in 1981 (Chapter 1173, Statutes of 1981). Since 1981 the primary constituents of the CCC are local governments, industrial ports, development interests needing coastal permits, community organizations, and utility and other related energy interests along California's coastline.
    Though records in this collection do not currently reflect these changes, under the 1990 amendments to the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, the Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board have prepared, adopted, and are now implementing, a Coastal Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control Program. The Commission also has programs in partnership with other state agencies such as the Coastal Conservancy, State Lands Commission, California State Parks and federal, regional, local parks and recreation entities. Beginning in the 1980s, the Commission carried out an extensive public education program that included annual statewide coastal clean-up events, such as the "Adopt-A-Beach" program, the Whale Tail license plate program, and also maintained a Coastal Resource Information Center to facilitate public education of coastal issues.

    Scope and Content

    The records of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission (CCZCC) and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) comprise 45 cubic feet of primarily textual records reflecting the work of the executive director, the various divisions, and a selection of records from two regional commissions. Although the files are organized according to office of origin, in many instances files overlap between the CCZCC and the CCC. Found within the files are primarily correspondence and memorandum from the executive director, minutes, drafts of reports, final reports, copies of news articles, program outlines, and educational material. The records cover the period from 1973 through 1997, when the CCC had in essence completed the mandate of Proposition 20 (1972). Strengths of the collection include the records associated with offshore oil drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), budget related issues, the Sea Ranch development project, the Local Coastal Program (LCP), the Adopt-A-Beach program, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. These records reflect both the major responsibilities of the CCC to protect and preserve the coastal environment, educate the public on coastal issues, as well as the major challenges from local and federal government to the regulatory authority of the CCC inside of the coastal zone. In general, the records mirror the growth of state government under Governor Jerry Brown's first administration (1975-1983). Furthermore, the records of the CCC provide a means to measure the environmental movement in California during the 1970s through the early 1990s versus the growing national interests in becoming more self sufficient with regards to oil and fuel production following the oil embargoes during the early and mid 1970s.


    Further accruals are expected.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California Coastal Commission
    California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission
    Coastal zone management

    Oral History at the California State Archives

    Interview with Michael Fischer conducted by the Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley for the State Government Oral History Program of the California State Archives.

    Related Materials at the California State Archives

    Additional information on the California Coastal Commission includes a series of Coastal Zone maps from 1980 through 1990.