By Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
In what could be a fatal blow to Pacific Shores Subdivision, the California Coastal Commission supports Del Norte County in dissolving the subdivision's 23-year-old water district.
"The Water District was formed to find solutions to this lack of infrastructure and it has failed to do so," said Meg Caldwell, commission chair. "The Commission fully supports the County in its application to LAFCO to dissolve the Water District."
The commission plans and regulates development in the coastal zone from Canada to Mexico. It is the only regulatory group that has authority over federal entities.
Caldwell wrote to members of Del Norte's LAFCO Nov. 15. The Daily Triplicate obtained a copy of the letter late Monday.
The commission ordered a halt to unpermitted residential development in September. The development, according to Caldwell's letter, was taking place on vacant lots within the subdivision.
Pacific Shores, north of coastal lagoons Lake Earl and Lake Tolowa, encompasses 1,524 roughly 1/2-acre lots platted in 1963 on 1,486 acres.
Its water district was created in 1987 with the intent of developing infrastructure (water and sewage disposal) for its residents. It has collected millions in fees from its members since then.
"Developing such infrastructure is highly improbable," Caldwell wrote.
She explained that development has not been allowed in the area since 1972, when the 1972 Coastal Initiative (Proposition 20) and the Clean Water Act became laws.
Since that time developments have required either a coastal development permit or the installation of a septic system ¬ó neither of which have ever been approved for Pacific Shores.
"A lot of people got led down the primrose path by investing in Pacific Shores Subdivision," said Peter Douglas, the commission's executive director. "Pacific Shores has a long history and it's unfortunate people are pursuing a fool's choice."
Douglas said the people who are living within the subdivision need to come to the realization that the services they need are not going to be provided to them at that location.
Acting on a petition asking that the water district be dissolved, county supervisors asked LAFCO in September to consider and make a recommendation.
Pacific Shores lot owner Maxine Curtis submitted her petition Sept. 1. LAFCO has not acted yet.