PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION
From: Patricia M. Lee
Sent: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:21 PM
Subject: PLF: Court Nixes Coastal Commission’s On Boaters’ “Right To A View”
Contact: J. David Breemer
Pacific Legal Foundation
COURT NIXES COASTAL COMMISSION’S ATTEMPT TO RESTRICT HOMES BASED ON BOATERS’
“RIGHT TO A VIEW”
Sacramento, CA; June 28, 2006: Today the Second District California Court of Appeal struck down the California Coastal Commission’s attempt to restrict homes that can be seen from ocean by a passing boater, kayaker, or surfer.
A property owner, Dennis Schneider, had sought to build a single home on the San Luis Obispo County coast. The Coastal Commission, adopting a new policy restricting construction that might impede views from the ocean, denied Schneider permission to build. Instead, the Commission demanded that he build in an area far from the bluff, that happened to be geologically unsound for construction. A Superior Court upheld the Commission’s decision, including its determination that view-from-the-ocean factors can prohibit construction.
Today, the Court of Appeal unanimously reversed that ruling, holding that the Commission lacks authority to scuttle projects simply because they might be seen, from the ocean, by “the occasional boater, kayaker, or surfer.” The appeal court was especially critical of the Coastal Commission’s executive director, Peter Douglas, and his attempt to justify the view-from-ocean policy based on the desires of the United States Sailing Association and practices in Maine.
“The Commission was attempting an outrageous power grab that would have put projects up and down the coast in jeopardy based on nothing more than the arbitrary aesthetic whims of Commission staffers and members,” said J. David Breemer, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents Schneider. “The Court of Appeal was right to hold that a boater’s “˜right to a view’ does not trump a property owner’s right to a home.”
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Founded in 1973, Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is the oldest, largest, and in the words of the Washington Post, “perhaps most influential” public interest legal organization dedicated to property rights protection, limited government, and individual rights. More information on PLF is available at www.pacificlegal.org.