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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Judge Upholds CCC Carbon Beach Accessway

• Ruling Involves Order to Remove Encroachments on Easement

BY BILL KOENEKER

Judge James Chalfant this week upheld a California Coastal Commission cease and desist order, which directed Carbon Beach homeowner Lisette Ackerberg to allow opening up a public accessway from Pacific Coast Highway to the beach.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge also ordered that unpermitted items blocking the accessway, including large rocks, wall, concrete slab, a generator, fence, railing planter and landscaping, which was all located directly on the accessway, also be removed, according to a Coastal Commission press release.
“For more than twenty-six years, this property owner has enjoyed the benefits of the coastal permit while the public has been denied its lawful rights of beach access,” CCC executive director Peter Douglas is quoted as stating.
The condition of a vertical accessway was a requirement of the coastal development permit issued in the early ’80s for Ackerberg to construct the oceanfront mansion.
The commission press release states that the CCC staff had attempted to work with Ackerberg for years to “come to a mutual resolution of the Coastal Act violations, but these efforts were rebuffed by Ackerberg.”
According to the press release, in the early 1980s the commission issued two permits for development on two beach-front lots in the Carbon Beach area of Malibu.
The permits authorized construction of a large house, pool, and tennis court, and a 140-foot long seawall.
As a requirement of the permits, the property owner recorded two public access easements across the property: one vertical accessway from Pacific Coast Highway to the beach and one lateral accessway across the property from the mean high tide line to the seawall.
Over the last several years Ackerberg placed and maintained the unpermitted development within both public access areas making it impossible for the opening and use of the easement areas.
On numerous occasions the commission attempted to work with Ackerberg to come to a mutual resolution of the Coastal Act violations, but these efforts were rebuffed by Ackerberg.
The judge also dismissed Ackerberg’s attempt to extinguish the public access easement from her property by entering into a private settlement with another party.
The judge's ruling concluded, “[Ackerberg] has avoided her obligations with respect to the easement for 26 years.”

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