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Toll road hearing postponed

A Thursday, Oct. 11 California Coastal Commission hearing in Long Beach on the proposed Foothill Toll Road extension through South Orange County that has generated heated opposition from local environmentalists and surfers has been postponed and no new date has been set.

Members of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation had planned to charter a bus — and provide lunch — to those who planned to attend and argue against the proposed 16-mile, six-lane toll road that would begin at the 241 Toll Road terminus at Oso Parkway and run through San Onofre State Beach near Trestles Beach, a prime surfing spot in San Diego County.

The project cannot go forward without a finding of “consistency” with the Coastal Act, and coastal staff had recommended against such a finding based on numerous adverse effects on wildlife and endangered species including the Pacific pocket mouse and coastal California gnatcatcher; recreational uses; as well as potentially harming the “near perfect waves” at Trestles, according to the staff report.

In addition, the Transportation Corridor Agency which is proposing the road infuriated the Crystal Cove Alliance when it offered to give $100 million to the state park system — including millions that would be earmarked for restoration of the historic Crystal Cove cottages.

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The funding would also extend the leases for San Onofre State Beach Park and Trestles, located on federal lands.

The offer drew intense opposition from Laura Davick, president and founder of the Crystal Cove Alliance, which has worked to restore the beach cottages on the site and to rent them through the state park system.

“Crystal Cove Alliance is not in favor of any plan that would compromise a California State Park,” Davick wrote in a press statement. “The TCA’s proposal is not the right answer for restoring Crystal Cove.”

More information about the project and the Coastal Commission staff report can be found at www.coastal.ca.gov

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