MRCA Will Manage Geffen Beach Access
• Agency Will Get Funding From Coastal Conservancy
BY BILL KOENEKER
The governing board of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority approved a resolution last week authorizing acceptance of transfer of the David Geffen vertical accessway located at 22126 Pacific Coast Highway.
The beach pathway was formerly overseen by Access for All. Steve Hoye, a spokesperson for Access for All, said it was his idea to turn over the management of the accessway. "They did not take anything away from us. It was our idea. We fielded volunteers and paid staff to open it every day 365 days per year at sunrise and sunset. And we did it with little or no assistance from the state. That is why we are giving up the easement," he said.
"When the state wanted to open the Geffen easement, there was no other entity that wanted to do this. Then all of a sudden the MRCA got involved," Hoye added.
A MRCA staff report written by the executive officer Joe Edmiston indicates the state Coastal Conservancy had requested that the MRCA accept title to the Geffen vertical accessway and undertake the management of the accessway.
At the same time, the MRCA governing board also approved another resolution authorizing acceptance of State Coastal Conservancy grant funds for operation of the Geffen vertical accessway.
Access for All, which was instrumental in helping get the Geffen accessway opened on Carbon Beach, has run afoul of the state over its dealings with another beachfront owner about an accessway at the same beach also known as Billionaire's Beach, according to state officials.
A hearing before the state Coastal Conservancy was scheduled for July 21, but has been postponed until Sept. for the Conservancy to consider and make a determination as to whether Access for All has "failed in its obligation to properly manage the Ackerberg easement located at 22486 Pacific Coast Highway for public access to the shoreline and, if so, possible authorization for the Conservancy to accept the easement or designate another entity to accept the Ackerberg easement."
Hoye, who said he did not go to the MRCA hearing, said he would attend the Coastal Conservancy hearing. "I will detail the frustration of opening an accessway during the last five years. It was overwhelmingly frustrating working with them," added Hoye, who said, commenting on his dealings with Ackerberg, "What we did, we overreached. They did not like me going off the reservation. To be treated like that in public. I'm not going to do that anymore. I don't really believe the state is committed to accessways. It is just not good enough what they do."
The questions involve what Linda Locklin, the coastal access project manager for the California Coastal Commission, calls AFA's "side deal involving Ackerberg."
The idea was Ackerberg was to pay Access for All $250,000 for the organization to pursue another accessway on Carbon Beach held by Los Angeles County.
The revelations came after the California Coastal Commission won a lawsuit filed by Lisette Ackerberg challenging the state agency.
Judge James C. Chalfant recently upheld a Coastal Commission cease and desist order, which directed the Carbon Beach homeowner Ackerberg to allow opening up a public accessway from Pacific Coast Highway to the beach. Ackerberg has since indicated she is prepared to appeal that ruling.