For a decade, there's been one, cranky billionaire refusing to allow a pathway to run through their property to provide more public access to the 1.5-mile Carbon Beach (aka "Billionaire's Beach"). Last Tuesday, that solo beach monger fell to the decision of the appeals court. The California Coastal Commission has announced that a third access point to the beach will be opened.
The newest pathway—"Carbon Beach West Pathway"—is a wheelchair-accessible entry point, courtesy of Lisette Ackerberg. In 2013, the court overturned her lawsuit against the Coastal Commission for creating another public entry and doled out $1.1 million in fines, a portion of which will go to the opening of the new pathway.
Homeowners on beach property have a long history of fighting laws creating more public beach space. Since the 1980s, they only successful way to coerce property owners into agreeing to the public access has been by offering building permits in exchange. This offer seems a little extravagant, considering all Californians have a constitutional right in accessing coastal lines under the California Coastal Act and a little thing called the state constitution. According to Mashable, the area's residents have even tried to block surfers from being in the surrounding waters.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.
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