Malibu Madness

Monday, January 22, 2018 by joe Schwartz

Did you know?  You may not be the only person who can use your property!

Your property may be subject to easements, which are the rights others have to use  the property. Easements can affect the property values and the usage of the land itself. Researching property easements is a very important aspect of the work Riverside does on behalf of our clients.

The following story was originally  reported in the LA Times (Click here for original story)

For decades, some Malibu property owners have made it hard for the public to reach public beaches. You can read the entire story here.

The California Coastal Commission fined two property owners for more than $5.1 million, for denying surfers, sand castle builders, kite flyers, sun bathers, yoga enthusiasts and other beachgoers access to the sand that is theirs by state law.

In one case, the Commission had battled a couple for nine years before unanimously approving Thursday’s cease-and-desist order for the couple and fining them about $4.2 million for diverting a public easement to private use at an expensive oceanfront rental they own at Las Flores Beach.

In the second action, commissioners approved an amicable settlement with the owners of the Malibu Beach Inn at Carbon Beach, which is known as “Billionaires’ Beach.”  

Under the agreement, owners Simon and Daniel Mani, who are West Hollywood real estate investors, must build two long-required stairways to the sand, install a $425,000 signalized crosswalk near the hotel, and pay $200,000 in fines, as well as $300,000 to a local conservation agency.

Agency officials say that 19 of 29 public easements for beach access in Malibu remain closed. Some property owners and residents have tried to deter the public from going to the beach by hiring security guards, putting up fake no-parking signs, painting curbs red and locking or blocking access ways.

According to commission records,  the Malibu Beach Inn involved the owner's’ failure to build two public stairways that was required by a coastal development permit issued in January 1988.

The permit allowed the original owners, Marlin Miser and Martin Cooper, to build the 47-room Malibu Beach Inn at 22878 Pacific Coast Highway at Carbon Beach near the Malibu Pier.

Records show that Miser and Cooper never built the stairway. Neither did Hollywood moguls David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg after they bought the inn in April 2005.

They received a violation notice from the commission in 2007 after applying for a coastal development permit to remodel the hotel.

Agency records show that the violations were not resolved by the time Geffen and Katzenberg sold the inn to the Mani Brothers Real Estate Group in May 2015 for $80 million.

When the commission learned of the sale, it advised the owners of the permit violations, and they and their attorneys worked with the agency to reach a settlement.


Examples of Common Easements

Exterior Easements

Two neighbors may share a driveway so each neighbor will have an easement to use the other's property.

Interior Easements

A telephone company may wish to rent space on a building to put up a cell tower. They will likely require an easement allowing them to use the stairs or elevator of the building so that they can access their cell tower for repairs and maintenance.

In the cases of the Malibu beach the easements gave the general public the right to cross private property in order to access the beach.

When purchasing a property it is important to have an experienced title agency like Riverside Abstract on your team so you can be informed of any easements and what rights they give to others. In addition a skilled title company may be able to help mitigate the easements or advise how to remove the easements.

Got questions about "Easements" or other Title topics? Click here to ask an expert and get the answers you need.


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