Reminds me of El Sol which is owned by the state, since 1974, but Disney has been fighting to prevent any access being constructed.
Worth making the effort to get across to it when the tides right.
Sun cofounder and billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has lost another legal battle over his efforts to shut off public access to a California beach – but still won't be required to let people onto it until a second lawsuit concludes. On Thursday, the California Court of Appeal agreed with the San Mateo Superior Court …
So the guy has enough money to fund lawyers until he dies. Um, okay. So can we stipulate that when all the lawsuits fail and the public win, that he gets buried on that beach? He walked over everybody else, it seems fair play for everybody and their dog to walk over him (until global warming flushes the turd out to sea)
It doesn't work that way.
The previous owners screwed up in letting the public have access including putting up a storefront without having given an easement to the city to allow public access.
Once an easement is granted, its very difficult to remove the easement. (Both parties have to agree.)
So that would have avoided any of this mess.
The other remedy would have been for the city to use eminent domain.
They could easily do this an force Khosla to sell at market value. (Since the city sets the property taxes, they assess the value of the property.) So had Khosla said 500K and the city 380K, the city would have bought at 500K. (The legal costs would have exceeded the difference)
In other states, when you have one property that is surrounded by another property where there is no viable access to the land, the other property owner has to grant you access.
So while the beach is public property, Khosla's property surrounds the access to the beach. So the courts should have forced Khosla to grant an easement. Since they haven't done this... I guess its not a law in California.
Khosla should have lost this by now, were it not for the political ambitions of the mayor who could have used eminent domain which the courts would have allowed.
How did the previous owner screw up? By having a storefront they didnt mind people having access. In fact they made it a business and sold the land onwards. The new owner is a douchebag with money who thinks he can do what he wants. However keeping things tied up legally shows he can do what he wants.
The previous owner is the one who could have granted the easement. For some reason he didn't.
The owner set up a shop and allowed access, however he didn't formally allow access so that when he sold the land, there is no reason why the next owner has to allow access to the beach.
The rights the previous owner gave were not permanent. So that Khosla could close it down.
Except that he couldn't due to the other laws outside of the property law. Which is what led to the lengthy legal battle.
<quote>How did the previous owner screw up?</quote>
By not making that access a matter of public record. They granted it verbally, and allowed access while they owned the property; but their decision isn't binding upon successive owners unless it is in the public records.
Since the Surfrider Foundation clearly has considerable funds at its disposal (they've already shelled out nearly half a million fighting him), if I were them I would set up a daily boat service from further down the coast, to Martin's Beach.
A service with one of those "party boats" which plays loud, banging music and is full of rowdy drunk people. With bars, drinks promotions and all-night parties on the beach itself.
May as well piss him off if he's insisting on tangling the matter in red tape for as long as possible.
If the California politicians treated this guy anywhere close to the way the treat others this would have been over before it started. The State of California has zero problems taking land (with or without buildings) away from citizens for things as meaningless as needing more parking yet this guy is given a pass.
This guy knew how the property operated before he purchased it, and continued to keep it the same until he didn't. CA should tell him the truth, which is the original zoning commission screwed the pooch by not ensuring a right of way was included, then give him some pittance that he could care less about while you change the zoning, and move on. He retains ownership but does not get to keep his ill gotten private beach.
(ill gotten "private beach," not land)
Clearly you're oblivious to the law.
I suggest you actually read up on Easements and rights of way. (Google can be your friend)
Once an easement is given, its hard to remove. (It can, but in this case... it wouldn't happen.)
The prior owner would have had to file for an easement that is then part of the property title. No easement, Khosla can be the grumpy old man yelling for the kids to get off his lawn.
The city screwed up because they could have used eminent domain at any time. It has nothing to do with changing zoning laws.
The fact that the mayor wants to be governor and doesn't want to piss off the ruling elite, that is the problem.
The state of California screwed up because there apparently isn't any law that forces someone who owns the property surrounding another one to be forced to grant an easement of access to that property. This does exist in other states. Or if the law does exist, why it wasn't used by the plaintiff's lawyers.
I wish he could be thrown in jail, but the underlying premise seems to be that there's currently no law forcing him to provide access, and his only issue was not requesting a permit before altering the access to the beach. Even if all the lawsuits eventually reach finality and he is forced to open the beach, he won't go to prison. Lawsuits don't result in jail time, they're civil. He clearly has the money to handle any outcomes not in his favor.
This is how the U.S. works. The rich do whatever they want, and if you complain, they drag the issues through the court systems until the plaintiffs or they themselves are dead.
The rules don't apply if you have the money to circumvent them.
Even if this were a criminal matter, you think he wouldn't just get parole?
He won't be thrown in jail.
He's buying time.
The solution is for the city to use eminent domain. He'll use his lawyers to drag it out for as long as possible. A good lawyer and a friendly judge could short circuit that as well as the appellate courts.
Kholsa knows he can drag it out and the case could languish for years.
Khosla doesn't care about being important or missed. He's got his money and his friends.
I agree that Khosla is going to lose in the end, but he's doing this out of spite.
And since this is no skin off his nose, he also doesn't care if he gets stuck with a Vexatious Litigant declaration. He can pay the other side's legal fees just as easily and knows the mayor doesn't want to tick off the VERY influential residents with a gubernatorial election coming up. The mayor can't take the most direct action while they have him by the short-and-danglies.
So which comic book did you read and found the ad to send $5.00 to get a JD degree?
I suggest that you actually learn the meaning of the term vexatious litigant.
Khosla is the one being sued. He's not the person using the law to harass others. In fact he does have some law in his favor .
Being forced to pay the opposing counsel's legal fees doesn't make you a vexatious litigant.
They sued him and the legal costs could be considered in part the damages that they could claim.
(It depends on the case and type of case whether or not you can collect for your legal fees.)
Because of the ramifications by naming someone a vexatious litigant, courts loathe to use that term and find someone to be a vexatious litigant.
The closest I've seen recently is a lawyer in Chicago who got in to a massive fight with his condo association over dogs, even to the point where his wife attacked a dog walker in an elevator and claimed she attacked her. You can find it in the Chicago Tribune. And yes I know some of the people involved.
Wealthy landowners and companies in my area for too long were allowed to cut off public access to the riverfront, which is by law supposed to be public land and environmentally protected. Putting up illegal fencing, cutting down protected trees, building lawns and parking lots right down to the water. Every few years for the last few decades someone has decided to fight in court rather than voluntarily make amends, and gets hit with a five or six figure fine for their trouble.
Things are getting better, but it took a lot of time. River's getting cleaner and more open in many places anyway.
You trespass and you first get a ticket. Then after a while, you go to jail.
You damage the property (e.g. knocking a gate down), you can be sued and also charged and go to jail.
What you need are a couple of boats, some very large speakers and a copy of Wagner.
Remember the beach is public property. What's to stop a group of people to show up at dawn coming in to the beach playing Ride of the Valkyrie and throwing a loud party?
Khosla can call the police, but they would still have to get to the beach...
If the city is sympathetic to the beach goers.. ;-)
So what you really need is an LST or a duck.
I wasn't being totally serious.
You could do this a couple of ways legally.
1) You could get a movie permit and film on the beach a remake of a scene from 'Surf Nazis Must Die' Or something along from the scene from 'Apocalypse Now'. Why? Because Khosla doesn't surf!. Just film it and put it up on YouTube.
2) You could do it and if they ask you to turn it down, you do so. The police can't just fine you without first asking you to turn it down. Then, after being caught, you have a different group of people who weren't present the first day to host a party. And so on...
3) You could get a permit to protest. Here there's the issue of your first amendment rights and your right to assembly as long as its peaceful. (Remember the beach is public property).
So if you have a sympathetic person at City Hall, you can do it. Even still... have a BLM protest... (Beach Lives Matter)
What an arsehole. Maybe he should ask Chris Christie for help, he's into abusing the law to obtain private beach access too! http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/03/politics/chris-christie-beach/index.html
It's a weird story to me though - I live surrounded by beaches, and can't think of any beach in the UK where this could ever be an issue. People simply don't / can't own beach-side property - there's no access to block. Beaches are just "there", linked by common land
The Crown owns all the land below the high-water mark, so it's only possible for anyone else to own the land above that.
There are quite a lot of private "upper beaches" in the UK.
The main difference is really the "public rights of way". There are very few UK beaches that don't have long-established public rights of way down to the high water mark.
The vast majority of those are older than the USA, and the Ramblers Assoc. fought a long legal battle a few decades aho to keep them.
I don't think you understand the issue with Chris Christie.
Because of budgets, there were no funding for the beaches so that they were closed.
The issue was that Christie being the Governor could still go out and enjoy the beach with his entourage at the taxpayer's expense while no one else could set foot on the beach.
To be clear, he was allowed to do what he did, however the optics were terrible.
That said, the budget impasse was resolved and then everyone else could use the beach. Note that not all beaches were closed, some were still open.
And Khosla doesn't own the beach.
Just the property surrounding the beach.
So if you can get to the beach you can surf.
I agree that there should be a statute in California law that would force Khosla to grant access.
But there isn't.
The city could use eminent domain.
Khosla could sue if he believes that the price is too low. And he could keep it tied up in court for as long as he wants to, unless the city gets a sympathetic judge. The mayor didn't use eminent domain because he has poltiical aspirations and someone with a couple of billion dollars can buy influence to shut him down.
Note: If I have miles of coast line and the first 500 feet of shore is public land, its the 501st foot that starts the private property. Of course one person couldn't buy all that land. However if its a cove, then its possible.
I went back and looked. There are actually a couple.
Even still, there's some wiggle room that would allow Khosla to fight it and depending on the judges, he could win until the city decided on using eminent domain.
Even there. Khosla is setting himself up for a bigger headache. Imagine if the land was worth 10 million an acre. If his taxes were assessed at that rate, then he would see his taxes jump 25x his current tax rate until he appealed it.
Who is volunteering to pay his legal costs when someone "falls" on that pathway? You can bet they'll file a six-figure injury lawsuit against him because he's "rich." Falling on that pathway could become a cottage industry.
Why does the owner of a piece of private property owe ANYONE free travel across it just because they were allowed by a previous owner? Everyone freely admits the land carried no such covenants or restrictions on the deed. He isn't claiming ownership of the beach; he is saying to go around his land to get there. If someone wants to take a shortcut through your yard to reach the block behind you, you have to allow them? What if that shortcut was in your front door and out the back door? Don't you dare lock it - those people want to reach the beach!
This is precisely the point of property ownership. Just because it would make people feel warm and fuzzy shouldn't mean he should be compelled to allow them onto his land. "Feelings" and "laws" are separate things. Property ownership means you can do more than just admire it from afar. If you don't want strangers traipsing across it, it's YOUR gate to close!
California's state motto should be "What's Yours Is Mine" so naturally the socialists there are quick to demand that the mean ol' rich guy stop blocking those poor hippies from their salt water paradise. People are simply unable to separate their "big guy picking on the little guy" feelings from hard, legal facts. It sounds like the judge in that case was unable to do this as well.
The problem is that there is no access to the beach "around" his land. There should have been a right-of-way on his land, or more specifically, there was a historic right-of-way, but the state failed to inform him of the existence of that right-of-way in the documents he received when he purchased the land. And so the normal way in which this kind of matter is resolved is that he is monetarily compensated for the inadvertent fraud the state's bureau of land titles committed against him - and the right of way is opened.
A right of way doesn't disappear simply because the land's previous owners forgot to tell the current owner about it.
Here's the thing. This is the complicated part.
Khosla is correct in that there is no easement.
So, specifically, the prior owner did not grant an easement to the city (public) which would have ended this issue when Khosla bought the property.
There is no fraud on the part of the city, county or even state. There is no 'right of way' document. This is why Khosla has legal standing not to allow people to trespass on his property. If we were only dealing with an issue of an easement... Khosla would win. But there's more to it...
There is a law however that forces Khosla to grant access to the beach because he has 'land locked' a piece of public land. (Actually there are a couple of laws which force him to grant access.)
Khosla is also correct in that he faces unknown downside in terms of potential liability if someone is hurt on his property.
The issue is that you have a couple of different laws at work and there is a conflict in how the laws are being interpreted. (Hence you either hash it out in a room full of lawyers or you go to court.) Khosla wants to keep people off the beach, so he's not going to cave. We know his position.
The simple solution would be for Khosla to sell a strip of land to the beach. He could be forced to sell via eminent domain, however the mayor has political aspirations. Note that city offered $380,000 for the land, Khosla said it was worth 10 million. (He should be careful in what he asked... )
What is being set up is that the city will use eminent domain, and Khosla will sue because he will claim the city is not giving him fair market value. Thus tying it up in court for a few more years.
Here's where it gets interesting. 90 acres sold in 2008 for 32.5 million is $361,100.00 an acre. While I haven't seen the map, it sounds like the city wants to buy one acre for the access for $380,000.00 .
On the surface it seems reasonable, given the price he paid. Even if you were to double it... its still far short of the $10 million Khosla countered with.
IMHO if the city were to offer him $500,000.00 for the acre it would pass muster. (Meaning its over the fair market value. )
Of course, here's the downside for Khosla.
If he were to claim that the property was worth $10 million, and the city did pay that... then his other property (89 acres) would also be worth 10 million. So he should be taxed at that level. I don't know what the property taxes are in California, but you can bet he'll be seeing red for a while.
If Khosla was smart, he would sell the land and be done with it. He has no upside.
Ah, although he has land locked public land, there is no specific path across his property that has been made a right of way to that land. I can see how that would make it complicated.
In some jurisdictions, rights of way are determined from common law, and so if a certain path across the property had been in use by the public since time immemorial, it would be a right of way without the need for a agovernment body to have created a right of way by legislative or administrative act.
Also, if a court has ordered him to allow access, that should settle it: either he does so, posthaste, or he will be found in contempt, which tends to lead to jail time.
The idea that one can have a legal obligation, and yet dilly-dally about fulfilling it without consequences seems strange. It should not matter how much money you have; no one is above the law.
Many places have sidewalks which the property owner is required to maintain, keep unobstructed, and clear of ice, snow, mud and debris.
An easement to the beach is quite similar. The property owner only has liability if they fail to maintain the easement.
Yes, it cost money to maintain. Yes, it infringes upon some idea of absolute ownership and privacy. That's part of the deal when living as part of society.
A Right of Passage Easement likely does not have to be insured or explicitly maintained. If it's just an unimproved parking area and path to the ocean, there isn't anything to be maintained as is was unimproved to start with. Liability really gets lawyers hot and bothered when there is improved land and somebody gets hurt. Even if the person was trespassing and the site was obviously derelict.
What did the Bard say about lawyers?
You're right, there is nothing in the law that says that an easement has to be maintained, it just deals with granting passage.
However... there's this thing called liability. Someone crosses your property and steps in a hole and twists an ankle, guess what? You will be sued. Improved or unimproved... you will still get sued.
Even if you go to court and win, it still costs you money.
Even if you improve the land... you will be sued.
Which is why he would be better off selling the land to the city.
I believe the landowner should either be continuously compensated for use of his property(As in rent for use of his property as access to the beach, as well any needed maintenance, etc for the use of the property.), or the state should build an alternate route to the beach in question. There. Problem solved!
Public rights of way in the UK do not require rent or repair, frankly I think this is a better system than applies in the case we are discussing. Compulsory purchase a wide strip across the land for peanuts (its worth little as its not farm land), build a road, footpaths and a large multistory car park. Clearly a positive environmental impact because this tosser will move.
"Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom killed that proposal out of fear that upsetting Silicon Valley billionaires would damage his chances to win the Californian governorship in 2018"
This corrupt politician should be forced to resign immediately. The American voter's corruption tolerance is now so high their scumbags think they can get away with anything. Sadly I think that might be true.
Technically, that's not corruption. Corruption is when you secretly take bribes. If you openly follow policies that favor big business, in hopes that they may make contributions to your campaign, that's just politics. Voters can always vote for the other fellow.
It is failing to act in the interests of the people in general. That, however, is properly left to the voters to punish because that is subjective. Maybe what's good for billionaires is good for the U.S.A..
Other people have suggested "just run a ferry service" or similar suggestions.
This is California. It's effectively impossible to do that. Even if you were willing to do the extensive paperwork, any proposed service could be blocked for decades by the environmental impact court battles. Even replacing existing diesel commuter trains with electric, an unambiguous improvement, has been blocked by endless environmental impact court battles. The people in wealthy communities along the tracks freely admit they are doing it to block improvements rather than a concern for the environment, but that clear misuse of the law doesn't bother the court system.
>Although the surfing beach is public property, getting to it involves walking over part of a 90-acre plot of land that Khosla bought for $32.5m back in 2008.
Careful now....that implies he's completely preventing access to the beach rather than simply obstructing one of many public thoroughfares.
Only a problem if you are charging money for the idea really.
I was thinking more along the lines of having the surfer dudes run their membership up the beach by hovercraft, first having a noisy and sandblasty trip up and down the sand to make sure it is not mined or full of saltwater crocodiles.
Ten or twelve passes each time should make all the annoying pests move out.
FYI: Hovercraft have an air cushion, not air jets. The first greenie lawsuit would be thrown out on a technical technicality.
It would be great if the state did a compulsory purchase of a chunk of land right next to his house for a multi lane road, footpath and beach side car park (multi-story for preference).
Serve the egit right.
I suspect it would be trivial and more humane for him to have sorted a suitable access for those wanting to get to the public beach. Just because he has managed to acquire some money doesn't give him the right to be a richard cranium or biological digested product outlet
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