Long Beach Gated Community Must Provide Public Access

The development never fulfilled its mandate to build a public walkway through its property. Now, the Coastal Commission wants it to open its gates.

July 1, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

After the discovery that a decades-old agreement to provide public access through the gated Bay Harbour community in Long Beach was never fulfilled, the neighborhood may be forced to finally build walkways. As Anthony Pignataro reports in the Long Beach Post, "public access was to be in the form of 10-foot-wide pathways through the property that would allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic to move through the neighborhood to both Jack Nichol Park and the Los Cerritos Channel." More than 40 years later, "the state agency tasked with ensuring public access through the development is trying to get the walkways built."

"Since its founding in 1972, a key mission of the California Coastal Commission has been to maximize public access to and along the shoreline." When the Commission approved Bay Harbour's construction(then named Costa del Sol) in 1977, one of the conditions for approval "required that a public easement traverse the 'greenbelt' of grass and trees that ran through the development like a plus-sign." But the California Coastal Conservancy, the agency that was tasked with administering the easement, did not enforce compliance and discovered, in 2019, that the neighborhood's gates prevent public access. 

"[T]he Conservancy is currently working with the Coastal Commission and Bay Harbour 'to find a solution that provides for public access and is agreeable to everyone,'" said Conservancy project manager Joel Gerwein. Meanwhile, the city is "working with the HOA on 'minor, small enhancements' that can be made around the community and at nearby Jack Nichol Park to ensure better public access." 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Long Beach Post

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