Some people think they can make their own rules when they live on the beach.
Well, guess what beaches....you can't!
Last year, a bunch of homeowners on Peninsula Point on the Balboa Peninsula asked the city to allow them to extend their property 15 feet onto the beach. The city thought the request was reasonable and went to the Coastal Commission to grant permission for the homeowners to legally do so.
The Costal Commission unanimously said, 'Nope.' In fact, at the time, Costal Commissioner Linda Escalante said:
"It's like squatting by the rich."
Well, it seems that some of those homeowners didn't like being told 'No,' so, they decided to squat anyway, and created their own yards, complete with hedges, grass, sprinkler systems, and fences. Some of these yards extended more than 80 feet onto the public beach.
Really people? You already live ON the beach....do you really need more?
Well, what they did violates two big parts of the 1976 Coastal Act: public access to the beach and environmental preservation, specifically the preservation of the snowy plover, a cute little chubby bird which happens to be a threatened species, that nests in the area's dunes in the winter.
So now the Coastal Commission has recommended a BUNCH of fines, according to the Daily Breeze:
"Nearly three dozen Newport Beach homeowners who built yards that illegally extend onto the public beach have agreed to a combined $1.7 million in fines as well as to the city restoring the encroachments to their natural state."
The fines for the homeowners range from about $6,000 to $130,000.
So, why is the city forking out more than $500,000 of its money to restore the encroachments to their natural state? The city says that the encroached areas involve a relatively small portion of a rather large beach, and they fully intended to push for them to be legalized, but in the meantime, they 'may' have led some homeowners to believe that what they were doing was perfectly fine. So they're going to take the hit on restoring them to their natural state.
The deal on the fines should be approved at a Coastal Commission meeting on June 11th, and it will take a few months to finalize plans for the restoration, so work to restore the beach is expected to begin in 2021.
Take that, beaches!
Photo: Dave Court on Unsplash