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Coastal Commission overstepped authority in Malibu, court rules

May 10, 2012 |  6:30 pm

Malibu
The California Coastal Commission overstepped its authority when it approved land-use policies for parkland in Malibu over the objections of the city and nearby residents, a state appeals court panel ruled Thursday.

The three-judge panel's ruling says the coastal panel "acted in excess of its jurisdiction" in 2009 when it approved plans by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, another state agency, to build facilities on four park properties it owns in the city, including picnic areas, trails, campsites and administrative offices at Ramirez Canyon Park, the former estate of Barbra Streisand.

In making its decision, the Coastal Commission invoked a provision of the Coastal Act that applies to energy facilities and public works projects. Malibu said the panel did not have the power to usurp local authority and filed suit along with the Ramirez Canyon Preservation Fund, a neighborhood group.

Thursday's ruling affirms a case the city won at trial in 2011 -- an outcome the commission appealed.

“This decision is a very big deal because it puts a limit on the commission’s ability to interfere with local planning decisions,” Malibu Mayor Laura Rosenthal said in a statement.

Coastal Commission Deputy Chief Counsel Christopher Pederson said his group "disagrees with the court’s conclusion, but we’re still evaluating the court’s decision and our options.”

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-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Malibu at dusk. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/ Los Angeles Times

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