Malibu, CA; May 9, 2024: Last week, the California Supreme Court declined to review a recent California Court of Appeals decision which held that the City’s coastal policies do not prohibit homeowners from building attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs). 

“The City of Malibu went to extreme lengths to block a small ADU for an octogenarian woman, a project that enjoyed the support of all neighbors and was demonstrated to pose no negative environmental impact,” said David Deerson, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Fortunately, the California Court of Appeal held that Malibu must allow the project to proceed, and the California Supreme Court declined the City’s invitation to revisit that ruling.” 

In 2021, Malibu homeowners Jason and Elizabeth Riddick filed a lawsuit against the City after it rejected their request to construct an ADU on their property for Elizabeth’s octogenarian mother, who suffers from numerous ailments and is immunocompromised.  

The Los Angeles County Superior Court, where the lawsuit was filed, held that the City’s coastal policies do not prohibit homeowners from building ADUs that are attached to their primary residence. And by refusing to correctly process the permit, the City violated state law, which recognizes that property owners have a right to build ADUs. 

The City appealed to the California Court of Appeals, which agreed with the lower court and upheld the decision last February.  

Finally, the City filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court, but the Court declined to review the case, cementing the lower court ruling in favor of the Riddicks’ right to build an ADU on their property. 

The case is Riddick v. City of Malibu 


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