MALIBU — Members of the powerful California Coastal Commission took the unusual step Thursday of visiting several exclusive beaches, including some that lack proper public access to the shore.
The commission took a four-hour bus tour around Malibu as part of its regular meeting in nearby Santa Monica.
The commission has long sought to mandate as much access to the beach as possible, sometimes against the wishes of wealthy homeowners who want to keep the sand to themselves.
One of the stops was the eastern end of Carbon Beach, which is dotted with mansions. From the Pacific Coast Highway, a cluster of development blocks the sea view.
“If you’re a visitor to this area, if you’re not familiar, you would have no idea there’s a beach on the other side,” coastal access program manager Linda Locklin said at the meeting.
Working with local groups, the commission was able to open a pathway in 2005, but many places along the coast still lack adequate access, Locklin said.
Locklin presented a report that found of the 111 beach accessways in Southern California acquired by the commission, only 67 have opened.
California’s Coastal Act of 1976 ensures beach access, but regulators have run into yearslong legal battles with homeowners in several cases.
The commission, created to plan and regulate the use of land and water along the coast, also has had to contend with some property owners who post fake “no parking” and “private beach” signs to keep out visitors.
Beach pathways along the state’s 1,100 miles of coast are typically managed by a patchwork of state and local agencies as well as nonprofits.