May 10, 2013

VICTORY! California Coastal Commission "checks out," scales back its demands on the Marshall Tavern renovation

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

Yesterday, the California Coastal Commission voted to amend the permit to renovate the Marshall Tavern, reducing project-killing conditions that had no connection to the renovation plan.  PLF is representing the owners of Marshall Tavern, Daniel Altman and Avi Atid, in their constitutional challenge to the conditions imposed on their original permit.

Daniel and Avi want to renovate the historic Marshall Tavern and convert the structure into a bed and breakfast.  Despite the historic importance of the building to the community, the structure fell into disrepair before Daniel and Avi purchased it.  They want to return the property to productive use and provide an opportunity for people to visit and enjoy Tomales Bay.  But this work requires a permit from the California Coastal Commission.  In exchange for this permit, the Commission demanded that they construct a large and expensive pier, provide 24-hour public access across their property, surrender their rights to the neighboring parcel, and remove – at great cost and risk to the environment – pilings from their property that have been in the bay since the 19th century.

PLF filed a suit on behalf of Daniel and Avi, challenging the constitutionality of these conditions.  After the suit was filed, the Commission began to listen to the owners’ concerns and agreed to reconsider the conditions.  The new, amended permit is a compromise which significantly scales back the burdensome piling removal requirement and will enable Daniel and Avi to proceed with the project.  The Commission also will allow Daniel and Avi to retain the neighboring parcel and construct a deck on the existing pilings.

Daniel and Avi credit the lawsuit with making this outcome possible.  In the video below, Avi explains the importance of having an organization that will represent, for free, people suffering from government bureaucracy.

What to read next