Coast & Baylands Protection

California’s coastline is afforded special protection by law. The firm has extensive experience with the California Coastal Act and the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), representing public interest clients in proceedings before the California Coastal Commission (CCC) and advising public agencies seeking to comply with coastal laws. We represent coastal cities before the CCC in matters involving their Local Coastal Plans and city projects affecting the coastal zone. The firm has also worked extensively with the McAteer-Petris Act, which covers the San Francisco Bay shoreline, and its implementing agency, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Examples of the firm’s coastal work include:

photo courtesy of
San Onofre State Beach
  • Foothill-South Toll Road: The firm represented a coalition of major environmental groups in the CCC’s historic rejection under the CZMA of a proposed six-lane toll road through San Onofre State Beach.
  • Ellwood Mesa: The firm successfully won CCC denial of a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for a proposed development in this unique coastal open space in Santa Barbara County, leading to its eventual acquisition for a preserve.
  • Gaviota Coast: On behalf of the Surfrider Foundation, SMW won a denial of a CDP permit extension for the proposed Dos Pueblos golf course along Santa Barbara’s rural Gaviota coast.
  • Port of San Francisco: The firm represented the Port in negotiating the historic agreement with BCDC that established the City’s Waterfront Land Use Plan.
  • University of California: The firm advised the University on the Coastal Long Range Development Plan (CLRDP) for the Marine Science Campus in Santa Cruz, and is currently working on the CLRDP for the Santa Barbara campus.