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In the case of Lynch v. California Coastal Commission (D064120; Cal.App.4th 658; San Diego Superior Court; 37-2011-00058666-CU-WM-NC), the California Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of the decision by the Fourth Appellate District (Division One) upholding a prior decision in which the California Coastal Commission denied bluff-top homeowners’ petition for a coastal development permit to reconstruct a seawall and access stairs that would provide the homeowners with private beach access.  On review, the California Supreme Court will address the following issues:
Continue Reading California Supreme Court to Review Denial of Homeowner’s Private Beach Access

Barbara Lynch et al. v. California Coastal Commission (9/9/14, D064120)

To read an updated posting on this case, please click here.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District (Division One) has held that homeowners who accepted the benefit of a coastal development permit (“CDP”) for seawall reconstruction to protect  their bluff-top homes cannot subsequently challenge the terms upon which the CDP was conditioned, even though the homeowners complied with those conditions “under protest.”  The court held that: (1) the homeowners waived their right to challenge the CDP conditions when they voluntarily submitted to those conditions and accepted the benefit of the permit by moving forward with construction, (2) the California Coastal Commission (the “Commission”) lawfully limited the CDP to a 20-year term because the Commission was anticipating the seawall’s long-term impacts in light of the changing landscape of California’s coastline, and (3) the restriction on rebuilding the homeowners’ private beach access stairs was lawful in light of the state-wide phasing-out of private access to beaches over bluffs.  The court’s ruling highlights that, unless circumstances fit into one of two narrow exceptions, a permittee cannot accept a Commission-issued CDP “under protest.” The decision also reinforces the Commission policy disfavoring private access to beaches over bluff tops.Continue Reading Homeowners “Bluffed” Out Of Challenge To Coastal Permit To Rebuild Private Access Stairs