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Owners of private Newport Bay island to fight public access

August 18, 2011 | 11:17 am

http://www.dailypilot.com/media/photo/2011-02/59194805.jpg

The California Coastal Commission prevailed in its lawsuit to open Newport Harbor's Bay Island bridge to the public, but the island's residents will likely fight the judge's decision.

Last week, the attorney representing the residents filed court documents that could provide the basis for an appeal. At stake is access to the 130-foot span, which commission officials say should be available for all to use. If the residents lose the appeal, they may be able to retrofit the existing bridge and keep it private, or they could build a new bridge, in which case they would have to comply with the commission's order.

"They really want to do something right for the next generation," said John Briscoe of Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, the firm representing the Bay Island Club, an association of the secluded island's 24 homeowners.

The club applied to replace the bridge with one that would meet seismic standards and accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead of renovating the old one, Briscoe told the Daily Pilot his clients are "very likely" to appeal at this point.

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-- Michael Reicher, Times Community News

Photo: Bay Island. Credit: Times Community News

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