Court rules against Coastal Commission in El Granada case, large agricultural easement ruled ” disproportionate”

A San Mateo Superior Court judge has ruled against the Coastal Commission in a controversial case involving one hundred and forty-two acres of land in El Granada. The owners of the property want to build a 6000 square foot house on the land, and possibility additional houses in the future. The Coastal Commission required the family to set aside all but 10,000 square feet of their land as agricultural land to prevent additional development.

In the short ruling Judge George Miram wrote:

“While the Commission may have jurisdiction to impose an affirmative agricultural easement under the Local Coastal Plan, the imposition of the easement here constitutes an unconstitutional taking, as it is disproportionate to the public impact of the house proposed. Further, the required nexus between the public impact and the affirmative agricultural easement has not been adequately substantiated.”

The court did not offer any guidance on what sort of easement would be proportionate to the impact of the house.

The California Coastal Commission, created in 1972 by voter initiative and made permanent by the California legislature via the Coastal Act, has the option of appealing this lower court ruling.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a property-rights group who litigated the case on behalf of the homeowners, has a detailed page about the case from their perspective along with a video.

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