The Del Mar Beach Preservation Coalition (DMBPC) seeks to preserve and protect our beach and unique coastal character. A healthy beach is an integral part of our city and has an impact on everything from residents’ quality of life and the prosperity of our local businesses to our visitors’ rich experiences. For current and future generations, we want to ensure full access and enjoyment of Del Mar’s beach and public and private lands.

What is The Problem?

The City of Del Mar completed its review of policies that govern our beach and coastal community. The governing document, known as a local coastal program amendment (LCPA) currently is under consideration by the California Coastal Commission (CCC).

People associated with outside special interests – people who do not represent Del Mar residents – have jumped into the middle of the process and want the CCC to set aside common-sense coastal policies and protections.

The meddling of these outsiders threatens the health of our beach, our public lands and infrastructure, our visitor economy, and even our homes. The policy change that is being pushed on Del Mar residents by outsiders is called “managed retreat.” Managed retreat rejects proven methods of keeping our beaches healthy with sand replenishment, retention, and nourishment. Instead, managed retreat would tear down the seawalls that protect our public and private lands and would actively force the removal of Del Mar residents from approximately 600 homes.

What is at Risk if Managed Retreat is Implemented?

Without sand replenishment, retention, and nourishment, and the retention and maintenance of long-time seawall and barrier protections:

Del Mar’s public beach access is at risk. 

The result could be the tragic loss of cherished direct public access to the coast for residents and visitors due to flooding and erosion.

Del Mar’s public facilities and infrastructures are at risk. 

The result could be the flooding destruction of bridges and roads, including key segments of U.S. Coastal Route 101. Also managed retreat-related flooding could destroy railroad tracks that support significant passenger and freight traffic with regional ramifications. Sewer lines and water supplies, emergency services facilities, and essential utility infrastructures could be destroyed. Managed retreat-related flooding also could inundate our beloved Powerhouse Park and even the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Del Mar’s visitor economy is at risk.

The result will be lost tax revenue from visitors who no longer spend time and dollars in Del Mar because our beach will be inaccessible or unusable and our coastal region will be destroyed. The flow of visitor-generated tax revenue is critical to our city’s budget and to our civic quality of life. The full extent of the fiscal loss is unknown, however, because the city’s current review does not include an essential, exhaustive economic impact study.

Del Mar’s residents’ homes and neighborhoods are at risk. 

The result, in the short term, will be that insurers will refuse to cover Del Mar homes and property; banks will refuse to issue loans or grant refinance agreements for Del Mar’s coastal structures and properties; land values will plummet and dramatically reduce the city’s tax revenue stream; and all property sales will stall or cease because of the uncertainty of beach and coastal preservation and protections.

The result, in the long term, could be whole neighborhoods from the shoreline to the railroad tracks, like our historic North Beach, will disappear because of flood-related or government-compelled relocation. The city, then, would be legally responsible for compensating private property owners for the loss of their property at great expense to taxpayers. As is the case with the other reasonably expected economic losses related to managed retreat, the full negative impacts cannot be known without a thorough fiscal analysis.

What is The City of Del Mar Doing?

At Del Mar planning commission and city council meetings, city officials and elected leaders heard public comment and debated the new policies that will govern our beach and coastal community. At the insistence of concerned and engaged residents, managed retreat was rejected as a viable policy option for Del Mar. The Del Mar City Council passed a resolution that agrees with our position: The Del Mar Beach Preservation Coalition strongly opposes any policy that includes managed retreat in our city. 

Now the matter is in the hand of the California Coastal Commission. All residents will have a chance to attend the meetings, voice opposition to managed retreat, and urge commissioners to accept Del Mar’s LCPA as presented and without modifications.

What is The Solution?

The most effective way to preserve and protect our beach and coastal community in Del Mar is through a sustained sand replenishment, retention, and nourishment effort at our beach and through the retention of long-standing seawalls and barriers. These measures will: 

  • Ensure that cherished public access to the coast continues and that a viable beach is available for the public’s enjoyment;

  • Safeguard our public facilities, infrastructure, and civic amenities;

  • Reduce the risk of flooding destruction in our neighborhoods, like North Beach; and

  • Provide relative cost-effective protection and maintenance for our beach and coastal community compared to the very costly economic – and as yet not fully known – repercussions to the city inflicted by managed retreat policies.

What Can You Do? 

Join Us! Let California Coastal Commissioners and CCC staff know that Del Mar residents reject managed retreat as a governing policy for our beach and coastal community. The state’s review of the City of Del Mar’s new policies has several more steps to go before it’s finalized. It is not too late to stop managed retreat.


  • Sign up as a supporter to receive our updates,

  • Write a letter of support for sand replenishment and retention to save our beach and coastal community,

  • Speak at a public meeting,

  • Share our message with Del Mar friends?

The DMBPC is actively working to ensure that the California Coastal Commission adopts a policy that supports sand replenishment, retention, and nourishment and seawall and barrier retention and maintenance. We look forward to working with our neighbors to preserve and protect Del Mar’s beach and unique coastal character!