Earlier this week, the California Senate Judiciary Committee voted down Assembly Bill 2226, which would have amended the state’s government code to create a strong presumption that he who holds title is the beneficial owner of the property as well. The issue came up in the context of U2 bandmember David Evans’ (The Edge) attempt last June to obtain California Coastal Commission approval for the construction of five homes in the hills above Malibu. The Commission denied the permits in part because of the negative impacts that the developments would have in “environmentally sensitive habitat area.” The Coastal Act does allow the Commission to approve otherwise impermissible destruction of such habitat if refusing to do so would result in a taking of private property without just compensation. But the Commission found that denying the permits would not result in a taking, in part because the five lots should be treated as a single lot owned by the same person (The Edge). I suspect that AB2226 was designed to undercut this latter finding. It remains to be seen whether the bill’s sponsor (Assemblyman Hueso) will try again.