Coastal Commission denied unilateral power to impose fines and penalties

May 03, 2011 | By LUKE WAKE

P.J. O’Rourke once said that “giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” That seems to hold true with the California Coastal Commission, an agency already drunk with the illusion of a near limitless power over the California coast. We have long detailed the examples of their attempts to push the limits of the Constitution, at the expense of property owners in the coastal zone. But, recently we reported that there was a proposal to actually give the Commission more power and control over the lives of coastal residents.

SB 588 would have given the Coastal Commission unilateral power to assess fines and penalties, without having to go through the courts. This would have made it even easier for the Commission to carry out its vendetta against private property rights. But, we have now received word that the bill has been pulled. Though the Coastal Commission still wields great power in the coastal zone, landowners will at least have the protections of due process before fines and penalties are imposed. That should come as a relief to many coastal landowners.