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California lets family put up private property sign after four years of lawsuits

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(The Center Square) – California is finally allowing a couple to place a “private property” sign on their property after four years of claiming the sign is “unpermitted development.”

The Seider family owns a beachfront home in Malibu on a public beach, which means that the public is allowed up to the point between the water and the median high tide line. The Seiders put up a small “private beach sign” to stop beachgoers from entering their private side of the property line, but the California Coastal Commission, which must approve of construction in the coastal zone, said such a sign is “unpermitted development.”

Without the sign, individuals enter and even “hang out” on the Seiders’ property, leading the Seiders to seek a permit from the City of Malibu for another sign. Malibu told the Seiders the CCC prohibits them from giving them a permit for a sign that identifies a boundary between private property and public property.

As a result, the Seiders pursued a lawsuit against the CCC. After four years of litigation, the CCC has finally relented, and is allowing them to put up a sign.

“We are thrilled that after nearly four years of litigation, Dennis and Leah Seider may finally post a sign alerting the public where the Seiders’ private property along the beach begins,” said Chris Kieser, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the Seiders, to The Center Square. “The California Coastal Commission decided to permit the Seiders’ sign after settlement negotiations rather than continue to defend against the Seiders’ free speech lawsuit. We are hopeful that the settlement will ultimately allow more Malibu residents to post truthful signs describing the boundaries of their coastal property.”

The CCC has zoning and approval authority on all land within 1,000 yards of the ocean, giving it power over development of some of the state’s most sought-after real estate. Given that the state’s most populous cities are on the coastal zone, CCC approval and review adds significant time to everything from minor construction to housing development for a large number of Californians. In San Francisco, which is largely under CCC jurisdiction, it typically takes three years to get a building permit for housing.