Appellate Brief Filed in Surfrider Foundation’s Lawsuit to Restore Public Access to Martins Beach

Today, in the Surfrider Foundation’s litigation against the owner of Martins Beach, CPM filed its response brief in the appeal phase of the case.  After a full trial in 2014, Judge Barbara Mallach found the owner had violated the Coastal Act by blocking the public’s access to the popular surf spot just south of Half Moon Bay.

Surfrider argued, and Judge Mallach agreed, that the owner’s actions in attempting to close the beach to the public and block the public’s access constitute “development” under the Coastal Act’s plain language because they change the “intensity of use” of the beach as well as the “public’s access” to the water.  The owner appealed that decision raising a host of constitutional arguments about why they are not required to comply with the law.  Surfrider’s brief, available here, contends the constitutional and takings concerns raised by the owner are both unsupported by the law and premature because there has been no government act that qualifies as a taking due to the owner’s refusal to participate in the regulatory process and apply for a Coastal Development Permit.