Appellate Court Upholds Carbon Beach Access Plan
• Judge Rules CCC Within Rights to Order Removal of Blockage
BY BILL KOENEKER
A Carbon Beach homeowner lost her appeal to stop the opening of a coastal accessway adjacent to her property when a California Court of Appeal upheld an action by the California Coastal Commission that will ultimately provide new public access to Carbon Beach, according to a CCC press release.
The Second District Court of Appeals has affirmed a Superior Court decision that the coastal agency properly ordered the Lisette Ackerberg Trust to remove unpermitted development blocking a public access easement on Ackerberg's property including a nine-foot-high wall across the accessway, large boulders, a concrete slab and generator, fence and more.
Removing this unpermitted development will create a new public accessway from Pacific Coast Highway to Carbon Beach, according to CCC officials.
The commission had originally issued two permits for development on two beachfront lots on Carbon Beach, also known as Billionaire's Beach, when they approved construction of a large house, pool, tennis court and a 140-foot long sea wall.
The permits required the property owners to record two public access easements across the property. One accessway runs across the edge of the property from PCH to the beach, which was intended to provide public access easements across the property.
The other accessway runs across the full width of the beachfront side of the property from the mean high tide line to the seawall and is to provide public access on the beach itself, according to a Coastal Commission press release.
However, the proposed access was never opened and became blocked by the aforementioned items and according to commission officials, made it impossible to open and use the easements.
For years, the coastal agency contends it attempted to work with Ackerberg to resolve the alleged violations, but those efforts never produced the results sought by the state agency.
"This week's decision confirms that the land owner is legally obligated to remove all encroachments and clear the way for public use," the press release states.
Charles Lester, the Coastal Commission's executive director, said, "This property owner has enjoyed the benefits of their coastal development for many years, while blocking the beach access lawfully required by the Coastal Commission on behalf of the public.
"We are grateful that the court agrees the time has come to open this new accessway for public use. It's a great stretch of beach, and a tremendous resource for current and future generations."
CCC officials say when the beach pathway is opened, it will provide the third accessway to a 1.5 mile stretch of sand halfway between Zonker Harris Accessway and the Carbon Beach East Accessway. Both of those accessways resulted from earlier coastal agency permit conditions.
"We hope the decision sends a strong message that the Coastal Commission is fully committed to protecting beach access for all Californians and vigorously enforcing development permit conditions to do so," added Lester.