Beachfront homeowners in Malibu, California, have long fought to obscure public access to public beaches. California has laws ensuring the beaches remain a public resource and no one may own them. There are rich people up and down the coast who seem to like wasting money challenging this, but the California Coastal Commission has thus far not seen things their way.
Last week the CCC ruled that the two homeowners with properties hindering access to Escondido Beach will have to pay up, and construct easy-to-find and use access. The fight has been ongoing since the 1940s, and I'd expect the homeowners to continue their fight.
Reaching Escondido Beach has historically been difficult, after its former homeowners put in place obscured access ways, starting in the 1980s.
Legal action ensued for decades. As outlined in a staff report from the commission, the previous landowners — Marilyn and Roger Wolk and Ken and Jeannette Chiate — were first cited after wrongly recording the location of the easement with the commission more than 40 years ago.
The report describes various violations over the years, including performing "an unpermitted lot line adjustment," as well as installing a metal fence and paving driveways over the easement to keep beach access obscured.
For decades, the conservancy tried to open the public access easements. According to the report, both Mancuso and Wildman sued the conservancy under separate lawsuits in the late 1990s into the 2000s.
To access Escondido Beach, the public had to either pay an entrance fee to park at Paradise Cove a quarter-mile away or go through the restaurant Geoffrey's a half-mile away.