Skip to comments.With Supreme Court challenge, tech billionaire could dismantle beach access rights...
Posted on 03/06/2018 12:45:18 PM PST by BenLurkin
The California Coastal Act for decades has... declared that access to the beach was a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone.
But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter of an all-out legal battle that began as a local dispute over a locked gate.
Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, bought the 89-acre property south of Half Moon Bay for $32.5 million.
A number of public interest groups have since sued Khosla. He, in turn, has sued the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission and San Mateo County, over what he considered an interference of his property rights.
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge, however, dismissed his case, stating that he had to go through the commission's permit process or enforcement proceedings before he could resort to a lawsuit.
The Surfrider lawsuit, now before the Supreme Court, had challenged Khosla on the grounds of not applying for the development permit required to change public access to the coastline. A state appeals court upheld a lower court decision that Khosla must unlock the gate while the dispute continues.
Khosla is skipping that step altogether and arguing that the requirement to seek a permit as well as the state court injunction to maintain the status quo of keeping the gate open while the matter is being decided violates his rights as a property owner.
"That's a pretty stunningly broad attack on state government," Faust said. "If he were to win on that and just get a declaration that the Coastal Act could not possibly be constitutionally interpreted to require a permit for that kind of development that would be just huge."
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Won’t happen, even with the current conservative leaning majority.
The Supreme Court has chipped away at property rights for decades, and according to the SC, city/county commissions have most of the power and legally the right to tell you what you can do with your property with some very limited exceptions.
Well, if a pig flies by he can have a ham sandwich on the fly. The Supreme Court is going to overturn public acccess to the coast like Im going to eat a light bulb. Just not going to happen.
But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter. . .
Intentionally, that very idea is an absurd invasion of property rights. You want to get to the beach? Great. Do what everyone else does. Make arrangements--of whatever kind--to whoever paid good money to own the valuable location you have decided you want to occupy.
Sound pretty cut and dry that when he “bought” the land, he bought only certain rights to the land. Seems that someone who had already owned the land when this Act was passed would have a good argument that the state had seized their property. Perhaps whoever sold him the land does. But when he bought the land, he knew (or should have known) that the state reserved access rights to the beach.
This is not uncommon. States, or other entities, typically reserve rights to water that falls on property, access to cables or pipes beneath land, access to airspace or even wiring above ground, even rights to transport cattle across the land.
He owns to the waterline.
The beach is the area within the very high tide zone and the water at any given moment.
He does not own the beach
Not directly related, but in Canada, anything below the high tide line (except that fronting leased piers/quays/waterfront and military) is considered public land, accessible to anyone that can get there without trespassing on surrounding properties.
And had there been restricted beach access, he would have had to pay alot more for the property
On the other hand, it also seems that he could win on a much narrower interpretation than what the Surfer Association is claiming it must be decided on.
When SCOTUS reverses optics here will be heinous and the release of Little Pink House could not be more timely.
The result will be that millionaires have strong property rights and little people like Suzanne Kelo lose their homes. Disgusting.
Yes, but the surfers are also apparently claiming that they should be able to cross his land to get to the beach... and they want him to maintain a road for them! That’s why I figure he COULD win on very narrow grounds.
This mega rich a-hole owns to the mean high water line and not any further.
They should argue that due to out of control man made Global Warming, all the Structures including any fences and gates need to be Torn Down to satisfy the Global Warming Gods before the Ocean swallows it all up from rising seas.
“He owns to the waterline.”
Gov’t is empowered to specify how land is identified for ownership, including what constitutes ownable “land”. That includes stating that any “land” below highest-tide belongs to the state/nation, and how that may be managed; anyone who can walk/swim/boat to it (without crossing private property without permission) may use it.
He does not own the beach but apparently he is legally responsible to maintain the parking lot, road and probably trails, with accompanying liability issues. I think the question might be whether the state can force the owner to maintain public conveniences at his own expense.
Big time Democrat donor. Born in India. Screws American workers at Sun Microsystems by abusing the H-1B visa program, now wants to cut Americans off from their own coastal border. F*ck him, hope he loses.
I’m not sure it’s as much as that. He probably cannot lock the gate, but I imagine he could put up an “at your own risk” sign, that as long as he’s not got nails sticking up out of the pathway, should protect him from liability. I don’t think it’s really big encroachment on “property rights” to state that whatever public access was provided to the beach when you bought the land served as an encumbrance that continues past the purchase date.
The issue isn’t the beach, it is access to the beach. He can’t do anything if someone wants to come to the beach by landing craft. The issue is whether he can stop folks from walking through his yard to get to the beach.
Public easements have been a recognized limit on property rights for hundreds of years going back to English common law.
The problem is that the state doesn’t hold an easement to the beach and instead is using a simple regulation to effect eminent domain without a hearing or compensation.
It is clearly a taking.
Let the state pay for an easement and let the state stop taxing the landowner on that portion of their property that they effectively don’t own.
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