Revenge of the Sand Castle Builders

 

Major props to the California Coastal Commission or “C3” if you’re cool.

From the LATimes.

For decades, some Malibu property owners have made it hard for the public to reach public beaches.

On Thursday, the California Coastal Commission fined two of those property owners more than $5.1 million for denying surfers, sand castle builders, kite flyers, sun bathers, yoga enthusiasts and other beachgoers access to the sand that is theirs by state law.

In one of those decisions, the commission had battled for nine years with Dr. Warren M. Lent and his wife, Henny, before unanimously approving Thursday’s cease-and-desist order for the couple and fining them about $4.2 million for diverting a public easement to private use at an expensive oceanfront rental they own at Las Flores Beach.

Commissioners described the Lent case as “very egregious” and a “flagrant violation” of state law because the couple had long refused a commission request to remove an unauthorized gate, fence, stairway and deck that blocked an easement required by a coastal development permit issued to a previous owner. The fine was far more than the $950,000 recommended by the agency’s staff.

“This represents an attitude we often see in Malibu — that the shore is our private backyard,” said Commissioner Mark Vargas, who made the motion at Thursday’s hearing for a $4.185-million fine. “It’s clear that they are dragging this on as long as they can and damaging the public’s right to use the beach.”

In the second action, commissioners approved an amicable settlement with the owners of the Malibu Beach Inn at Carbon Beach, which is known as “Billionaires’ Beach.”

Under the agreement, owners Simon and Daniel Mani, who are West Hollywood real estate investors, must build two long-required stairways to the sand, install a $425,000 signalized crosswalk near the hotel and pay $200,000 in fines as well as $300,000 to a local conservation agency.

The penalties are the first that the powerful land use agency has imposed on property owners for violating beach access provisions of the California Coastal Act.

I just hope DByrnes doesn’t antagonize the Sand Castle Builders of O.C.

This is one of those situations where the joke almost writes itself. . . Dr. Warren M. and his wife will be giving up about $4.2m for Lent next spring. Power to the people.

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