July 15, 2014

Re-cap of argument in San Diego seawall appeal

By Re-cap of argument in San Diego seawall appeal

Yesterday, I argued Lynch v. California Coastal Commission, in the California Court of Appeal in San Diego.  As I explained last week, the appeal centers on the Commission’s refusal to allow two families to rebuild a shared, private staircase down to the beach, and its imposition of an arbitrary 20-year expiration date on a seawall (with a 75-year design life) that is necessary to protect their homes.

The three justices had plenty of good, thoughtful questions for me and my opponent.  The court has 90 days to render a decision, and we remain hopeful it will affirm the families’ rights.  Listen to my podcast for more discussion about yesterday’s argument.

The appeal—and what’s at stake—was widely covered by local media, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, and local TV affiliates for ABC and NBC.

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Lynch v. California Coastal Commission

The Lynch family sought permission from the California Coastal Commission to repair a storm-damaged seawall and stairway that led from their home at the top of a bluff down to the beach. The Commission permitted the seawall restoration with a condition that they seek an additional permit in the future, and denied the permit for the stairway. To protect their home, the Lynches accepted the conditioned permit under protest and repaired the seawall. PLF represents the Lynches, arguing that the seawall conditional permit and denial of the stairway permit violated their constitutional property rights. California’s appellate courts rejected the Lynch’s claims, and the California Supreme Court added insult to injury by holding that the Lynches forfeited their claims altogether by accepting the permit and repairing the seawall.

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