20.02            GENERAL PROVISIONS

20.02.010            REFERENCE.

This Title shall be known and cited as The Coastal Zoning Ordinance of the County of Monterey.  This Title is applicable only to the unincorporated areas within the Coastal Zone in the County of Monterey.

20.02.020            ADOPTION OF ZONING PLAN.

This Title implements the Monterey County Local Coastal Program.  The Zoning Plan which contains the sectional district maps shall hereby be a part of this Title.


This Title is adopted for the following particularly specified purposes among others:

A.        To assist in providing a definite plan of development for the County, and to guide, control and regulate the future growth of the County, in accordance with said plan;

B.         To protect the character and the social and economic stability of agricultural areas, residential areas, commercial areas, industrial areas, and other areas, within the County and to assure the orderly and beneficial development of such areas;

C.        To protect the public safety from the location of structures and other uses of land which may cause interference with existing or prospective traffic movement on highways;

D.        To implement the Monterey County Local Coastal Program, specific plans and the policies and standards adopted by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors;

E.         To provide regulations of sufficient clarity and detail for the location and nature of Zoning Districts to provide the appropriate authorities and the public with clear standards and direction in the land use decision making process;

F.         To provide a sufficient level of review and public hearing processes for adequate and necessary public participation in the review of development projects;

G.        To provide standards and procedures for preservation and exercise of property development rights.


The Coastal Zoning Ordinance consists of the establishment of various districts, regulations and permit processes for the unincorporated territory of the County of Monterey within the Coastal Zone.

The coastal zoning districts list the uses which are allowed or may be allowed subject to discretionary permit processes.  Those listed uses and other uses which are consistent with the Monterey County Local Coastal Program may be allowed subject to appropriate permits.  Other uses are prohibited.  Further, the districts provide the regulation of structural height, bulk, and setbacks, as well as prescribing other site development amenities and requirements such as parking, landscaping, and lighting control.

This Title is not intended and shall not be construed as authorizing the County of Monterey, through the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator, Minor Subdivision Committee, Subdivision Committee or Director of Planning and Building Inspection, acting pursuant to this Title, to exercise its power to grant or deny a permit in a manner which will take or damage private property for public use without the payment of just compensation therefore.

20.02.050            EFFECT OF ADOPTION

A.        Upon adoption this Title shall become applicable to lands in the County of Monterey within the Coastal Zone.

B.                Upon adoption the terms, conditions and regulations of this Title shall govern and supersede the provisions of Title 20, Monterey County Code and Part 1 of the Monterey County Coastal Implementation Plan, for the unincorporated Coastal Zone areas of the County of Monterey.


A.        No building permit, grading permit, land use discretionary permit, coastal administrative permit, coastal development permit, exemption, categorical exclusion, or other permit relative to land use may be approved if it is found to be inconsistent with the Monterey County Local Coastal Program.

B.         An exception to the finding required in Section 20.02.060.A may be considered by the Board of Supervisors on appeal, if it is found that the strict application of the area land use plan policies and development standards of this ordinance denies all reasonable use of the subject property.  The exception may be granted only if the decision-making body is able to make the following findings:

            a.         that the parcel is otherwise undevelopable due to specific policies of the applicable land use plan and development standards of this ordinance, other than for reasons of public health and safety;

            b.         that the grant of a coastal development permit would not constitute a grant of special privileges inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity and land use designation in which the subject property is located;

            c.         that the parcel is not located within the critical viewshed of Big Sur as defined in Section 20.145.020 and Section 20.145.030 and in the Big Sur Land Use Plan;

            d.         that any development being approved is the least environmentally damaging alternative project.  In order to make this finding, the development shall be required to minimize development of structures and impervious surfaces to the amount needed to reduce environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible and shall be required to locate the development on the least environmentally sensitive portion of the parcel;

            e.         that any development being approved under these provisions shall be one of the "allowable uses" as listed under the parcel's zoning classification and that it shall be appealable to the California Coastal Commission in all cases.

C.        If under the foregoing provisions, a property remains undevelopable, then the County or applicant may initiate a land use plan amendment for the subject parcel.   For parcels identified in the Land Use Plans or found through implementation of the Land Use Plans to consist of important environmental or other coastal resources worthy of complete, permanent protection, the County Planning Department shall engage in an on-going effort to identify such means of protection and report periodically to the Board of Supervisors on such efforts.  These  may include, but not be limited to, possible land use plan amendments that would be consistent with the Coastal Act, public or private acquisitions, or other techniques, such as transfer of development credit programs.

D.        In the event of a conflict or inconsistency between this Title and any County land use regulation the terms of the regulations listed highest on the following ladder shall prevail:

            1.         Coastal Act

            2.         Applicable Area Land Use Plan

            3.         Regulations For Development (Parts 2 through 6 of the Coastal Implementation Plan)

            4.         Title 20 (Part 1 of the Coastal Implementation Plan)

            5.         Any other regulation in the County

20.02.070            SEVERABILITY.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Title is for any reason held to be invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Title.  The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this Title and each section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, or phrases be declared invalid.


A.        Nothing in this Title or the ordinance adopting this Title shall affect any offense or act committed or done, or any penalty or forfeiture incurred, or any contract or right established or accruing before the effective date of this Title.

B.         The adoption of this Title shall not be interpreted as authorizing any use or the continuance of any use of a structure or premises in violation of any ordinance of the County of Monterey in effect on the date of adoption of this Title, except as otherwise provided.

C.        The repeal of any section, chapter, or portion of the Monterey County Coastal Implementation Plan or any ordinance of the County of Monterey shall not affect any punishment or penalty incurred before the repeal took effect, nor any suit, prosecution or proceeding pending at the time of the repeal for an offense committed under the section, chapter or portion of the Monterey County Coastal Implementation Plan or any ordinance repealed.

20.02.090            CONFLICTING PROVISIONS.

A.        If the provisions of different chapters of this Title conflict with or contravene each other, the provisions of each chapter shall prevail as to all matters and questions growing out of the subject matter of such chapter.

B.         If conflicting provisions be found in different sections of the same chapter, the provisions of the section which is last in numerical order shall prevail unless such construction be inconsistent with the meaning of such chapter.

C.        If the provisions of this Title conflict with or contravene the ordinances incorporated by reference in Chapter 20.96, the provisions of this Title shall prevail.