The California Coastal Commission: the real nuisance


Author:  Damien M. Schiff

This week, the City of Dana Point filed suit against the California Coastal Commission, alleging that the Commission has illegally asserted jurisdiction over the City’s nuisance abatement ordinance.  The controversy arises out of the City’s decision to close certain beach access paths late at night, owing to an increase in criminal activity.  The Commission contends that the City must get a coastal development permit first before it can close the paths.  The City’s lawsuit argues that, because the Coastal Act specifically reserves to local governments the power to declare and abate nuisances, the Commission therefore has no power to demand that the City obtain a permit to enforce the path closures.

PLF is raising the same point in its ongoing lawsuit against the Commission on behalf of the Citizens for a Better Eureka.  In that case, the Citizens argue that the Commission has no appellate jurisdiction over the City of Eureka’s nuisance abatement order directing a private landowner to cleanup a brownfield site located along Humboldt Bay.