July 14, 2011

Coastal Commission deals blow to Lawson's Landing community

By Coastal Commission deals blow to Lawson's Landing community

Author: Paul J. Beard II

Once again, California taxpayer money is hard at work destroying lives, communities, and jobs.

The California Coastal Commission voted last night to uproot over 200 families who own private trailers at Lawson's Landing, a popular fishing and boating resort and campground, situated at the mouth of Tomales Bay, in Northern California. The ill-reputed agency's decision came after over seven hours of testimony and deliberations on an application by Lawson's Landing owners to upgrade and bring into permit compliance operations at their 900+ acre site.

Of course, we all know that Commission bureaucrats know best how private property should be used and how businesses should be run.  So it is extorting from the campground owners a conservation easement, rendering over half of the property utterly useless.  And, as alluded to above, the agency is forcing the owners to kick out their long-time lessors in five years, after which they will be required to run a transient-visitor campsite for the general public on the lots where the trailers now sit.  The campground has been a place for generations of families to escape the heat from the State's inland regions and enjoy the Pacific Ocean.  Some had planned their entire lives to retire at Lawson's Landing, but have just seen those dreams dashed.

The Commission justified its decision on the need to protect the interests of frogs, birds, sand dunes, and other allegedly "environmentally sensitive habitat."  It also made clear its disdain for the notion that a privately run business on private land be allowed to operate for the benefit of private, as opposed to general-public, use.

The Commission's final vote came after an earlier vote to have the families removed after just three years and, in the meantime, place unprecedented conditions on their leaseholds.  The trailer owners would have been limited to occupying their trailers for a maximum of 90 days (only 30 days during the peak summer season) and would have been forced to rent out their trailers to members of the public for the remainder of the year.  When Lawson's Landing expressed concern that the Commission's decision would threaten the viability of their business and be too burdensome on their lessors, a "compromise" with Commission staff was reached to postpone the families' expulsion by two additional years and to remove the onerous rental scheme. 

A group representing the trailer owners, Save Lawson's Landing, has more background information on the Lawson's Landing saga. 

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