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Ocean Harbor House Homeowners Ass'n v. California Coastal Comm'n

Citation: 38 ELR 20128
No. No. H031129, (Cal. App. 4th Dist., 05/23/2008)

A California appellate court upheld the dismissal of a homeowners association's claim against the California Coastal Commission for requiring it to pay an in-lieu mitigation fee as a condition of a permit to build a seawall. The seawall would cause passive erosion that would eventually eliminate an acre of beach in front of the complex. Because beach erosion was inevitable and unavoidable, the commission imposed an in-lieu mitigation fee so that beach property could be purchased and protected elsewhere. The fee is not an unconstitutional taking. There is a clear nexus between the purpose of the mitigation fee and the projected impact of the seawall. In addition, the mitigation fee is roughly proportional to the extent of the loss of an acre of beach and recreational use. In addition, the fee is supported by substantial evidence, and the commission was authorized to impose a fee as a condition to the permit.