The Los Angeles Times reports:
One of California’s priciest beachfronts may become a little less exclusive after a judge sided with state coastal regulators fighting to build a public pathway next to an oceanfront Malibu mansion.
In a ruling made public last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant upheld a 2009 California Coastal Commission order telling Lisette Ackerberg to clear the way for a public walkway to Carbon Beach along the edge of her property.
The decision also revealed a private settlement between Ackerberg and Access for All, a nonprofit group that works to secure public beach access. In a deal that enraged coastal regulators, the nonprofit group agreed to abandon plans to open the pathway through her property in exchange for $250,000 in payments and attorneys’ fees.
The Ackerberg compound is on Malibu’s Carbon Beach, a ritzy stretch of coastline where the rich and famous have long resisted attempts to open public pathways alongside their multimillion-dollar homes.
The Ackerberg mansion, which includes a swimming pool and tennis court and extends over two lots, is about half a mile up the coast from music mogul David Geffen’s beachfront compound. In 2005, Geffen handed over the keys to a walkway along his property after a protracted dispute, allowing some visitors access to the sand for the first time. [See Beach Finally Public at Geffen Mansion, Associated Press 2005.] . . .
State coastal officials have argued that their longstanding policy is to maximize coastal access, not trade one potential pathway for another.
The judge agreed, ruling that no matter how much Ackerberg argues that the county-owned pathway is better, “the public is entitled to both.”
The City Project has long fought to keep California’s beaches and coastal zone public for all. See Robert García and Erica Flores Baltodano, Free the Beach! Public Access, Equal Justice, and the California Coast, 2 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 143 (2005).
Learn more about the Free the Beach! campaign.