San Clemente seawall proposal finally earns Coastal Commission approval

Plans to build a seawall on a sandy beach in San Clemente were finally approved by the California Coastal Commission, only a few weeks after the agency balked at the city’s initial proposal. The Coastal Commission needed more time to consider San Clemente’s seawall proposal in October; commissioners were presented with alternative plans on Dec. 12 and gave San Clemente the green light to move forward with its proposal.

San Clemente has been seeking to upgrade its 50-year-old Marine Safety Building by adding a new seawall. The seawall would protect the building from wave action coming in from the shoreline. Two seawalls already exist, about 15 feet seaward of the building.

San Clemente’s proposal would add a third seawall to the beach area near the Marine Safety Building.

“The new approximately 220 linear ft. long, +9.5 ft. (MLLW) tall seawall will also have a 2-foot, 4-inch wide concrete cap connecting all three seawalls together and continue with a new concrete armor mat between the new seawall and building foundation wall under the building providing ‘slope protection’ to protect the building’s foundation from undermining due to wave erosion,” Coastal Commission staff stated.

The San Clemente Marine Safety Building was built prior to the California Coastal Act and is used to support lifeguard operations.

“Building foundation repairs and protection of the foundation from erosion is crucial the performance of the building; continued undermining and wave run up will cause the foundation to deteriorate and fail. The proposed structural improvements and foundation repairs plus new steel sheet pile seawall are necessary to extend the building’s life an additional 5 years while a replacement building is being designed and constructed,” Coastal Commission staff stated in a report to commissioners.

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