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Marin County Homeowners Face New Laws Due To Rising Sea Levels

STINSON BEACH (KPIX 5) -- Imagine owning prime waterfront property, but you can't do any repairs or remodeling.

Homeowners are bracing for a decision that could drastically restrict development on the Northern California coast.

Waterfront homes in Marin could soon be a steal, as long as you don't mind taking them as-is.

The plan could make even the smallest renovation -- a huge headache for homeowners.

But the California Coastal Commission tells KPIX that its plan is reasonable considering the danger posed by rising sea levels.

Marin County has been working on its coastal plan for eight years but amendments the California Coastal Commission wants to make may mean those eight years are down the drain and threaten some coastal homes.

Morey Nelsen picked the Seadrift community of Stinson Beach for its waterfront value, but that value could figuratively erode next month if the California Coastal Commission approves certain changes to the county's coastal plan.

"It's going to drive my property values way down and then my ability to do any kind of maintenance -- even put on a new roof," Nelsen said.

It comes down to two major changes, out of thousands.

The California Coastal Commission is redefining certain flood zones according to the worst possible scenario that could happen 100 years from now, creating a much bleaker outlook for the future than the county's plan.

Secondly, because of that outlook, it would make most construction and maintenance on structures west of Highway 1 virtually impossible.

Jeff Looman, sea level rise representative for Stinson Beach said, "What we feel is the staff of the CCC wants to take those and turn them into a case study all up and down the coast -- in a way the forces managed retreat. And that's not something Marin County needs to be doing right now."

The communities of Point Reyes, Muir Beach, Tomales, Inverness, Marshall, Stinson and Bolinas would all be affected and all have united with the county against the commission's recommendations.

In the meantime, homeowners are rushing to get their work done before the commission meeting November 2nd in Half Moon Bay when this will be decided.

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