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Rules of the road for the 241 public hearing

A July 25 public hearing has been set by the Department of Commerce for an appeal of the rejection of the proposed Foothill South toll road through San Onofre State Beach.

The route has been the focus of a battle between those opposed to any encroachment on the state park and those backing an alternative to Interstate 5.

Here are some guidelines on the hearing set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What is the hearing about?

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It is to gather public opinion about the proposed 16-mile extension of California 241. In February, the state Coastal Commission rejected the route. This hearing is part of an appeal by the Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Where and when will it be held?

The UC Irvine Bren Events Center, July 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Directions: www.bren.uci.edu.

Why is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric agency holding the hearing?

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Because its Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, which is part of the Commerce Department, administers the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The act was passed by Congress to manage growth in the coastal zone.

What is the format?

Jane Luxton, the ocean agency’s general counsel, will preside. Staff members will also be present. There will be a lunch break and an afternoon break about 4:30.

How can I testify?

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Registration starts at 10 a.m. and continues during the hearing. Members of the public get three minutes to speak; elected officials and those representing organizations have five minutes. There is a designated period in the afternoon for elected officials to speak.

Will audience behavior be monitored?

Cheering and booing will not be tolerated. Anyone violating the instructions will be asked to leave and escorted from the hearing room.

Can I ask questions there?

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No. The hearing is to take testimony from the public.

Can I videotape the hearing?

No. The use of cameras, camera phones, video cameras and other recording devices is prohibited. There is an exception for registered members of the press.

Are signs and banners allowed in the hearing room?

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Signs are discouraged and may not be larger than 13 by 24 inches. You may hold a sign in front of you or on your lap. But you may not hold up signs during the hearing or block the views of others.

Can I submit written materials at the hearing?

Yes. Boxes for comments will be available in the hearing room.

Will there be any more chances for public comment?

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Written comments will be accepted for 10 days after the hearing, until Aug. 4. They can be mailed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of General Counsel for Ocean Services, 1305 East-West Highway, Room 6111, Silver Spring, MD 20910.


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