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Sea Ranch Ass'n v. California Coastal Comm'n

Citation: 12 ELR 20423
No. No. C-74-1320, 527 F. Supp. 390/16 ERC 1896/(N.D. Cal., 04/07/1981)

The district court upholds the California Coastal Commission's imposition of and method of enforcing coastal development permit conditions. Plaintiffs, individual lot owners and members of a residential development association, contended that two of the six conditions attached to their development permits, relating to public access and view easements, constituted a taking of their property without just compensation. Initially, the court concludes that public access to the coastline and protection of the coastline's scenic and visual qualities are areas within the Commission's regulatory authority under the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act and that the Act empowers the Commission to implement its goals through the permitting process. Therefore, the court holds that the conditions are valid and within the ambit of the Commission's regulatory power. Turning to the Commission's method of enforcing the permit conditions, the court rejects plaintiffs' contention that the conditions are invalid because an individual lot owner cannot individually comply with them, but must seek association compliance. The court finds that plaintiffs are not only individual lot owners, but are also members of the Sea Ranch Association and are subject to Association rules. Therefore, the court rules that the permit conditions do not constitute a taking of either an individual lot owner's property or the Association's property. Finally, the court upholds the validity of the four remaining conditions imposed by the Commission, which relate to water supply, septic tank systems, internal roadways, and site and design limitations.

[The decision by the district court was vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court, No. 81-335, 50 U.S.L.W. 3422 (Nov. 18, 1981) — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Robert M. Westberg, Reginald D. Steer
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
Standard Oil Bldg., 225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 983-1000

Counsel for Defendants
R. H. Connett, N. Gregory Taylor, Roderick Walston, Daniel J. Taaffe, Patricia S. Peterson
Office of the Attorney General
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 350, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 445-4334

Before DUNIWAY, Circuit Judge, and EAST and WILLIAMS, District Judges.