Drawing line in sand


I would like to take issue respectfully with some of the assertions in Mr. York’s recycled editorial, “Shootout at the Broad Beach Corral.” First, he states that “. . .some of those private property signs (on Broad Beach) are misleading or perhaps downright fraudulent and some are clearly on land that has public easements.” If he has any evidence that this is so, the Broad Beach homeowners would like to see it, since the association goes to some pains and expense to make sure that the lines are surveyed and periodically recalibrated to be as accurate as possible.

He goes on to say that the homeowners could very well win a legal battle, because “the law is murky enough,” implying, I can only guess, that crafty lawyers will take advantage of an ambiguous legalism buried in some dark corner of the law. Actually, the law is pretty clear. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled as illegal the efforts of the California Coastal Commission to extract “offers to dedicate” private property for public use as the price of their approval for a remodeling or building permit.

Note that “offers to dedicate” property for public use are not the same as easements. Virtually all of these 43 patches of land he refers to are only offers to dedicate, and these offers do not become easements until accepted by an agency such as the California State Lands Commission. Until such time as the California Coastal Commission finds a way to evade the Court”s ruling, the land above the mean high tide line remains private property.

I find it difficult to believe that Mr. York is arguing that the state ought to take private property from homeowners without due compensation (which is what the Coastal Commission has been trying to do) . And I honestly don’t believe that he thinks the principle of eminent domain applies to Broad Beach homeowners.

Hopefully, Mr. York will wait for another time to launch his “Free Sara Wan Movement.” I was present during her staged confrontation, and heard her assert that there was a 25-foot easement on the lot in question. She then proceeded to plump herself down well above the 25-foot line to pose for photographs of herself trespassing on private property. Having made her point, however dubiously, she promptly left. I checked this morning and she is no longer here.

Finally, the beach security personnel are specifically instructed that Broad Beach is a not a “private beach.” I can be sure about this, since I’m the one who instructs them. They are asked to inform people who, inadvertently for the most part, have strayed too far on to somebody’s property. The issue is, as it has always been, not access to the beach but access to private property. Fortunately, most of the thousands of visitors who come to Broad Beach peacefully every year through its two open public access ways, are able to enjoy this lovely area unburdened by any social or political agenda.

Marshall Lumsden