Does beach curfew violate Coastal Act? Judge’s decision may open LA beaches to overnight use

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Photo by John Schreiber.

Lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office urged a judge Thursday to dismiss a legal challenge to Los Angeles’ 28-year-old overnight beach curfew, saying it conforms with the California Coastal Act, but attorneys for two opponents of the ordinance said the city should have submitted the law to the Coastal Commission for review before enacting it.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason did not immediately rule on the city’s motion, saying she would take the issues under submission and issue a decision soon. However, she did hand plaintiffs Jataun Valentine and Francesca De La Rosa a favorable ruling when she granted their motion to dismiss one of the city’s affirmative defenses: that the entire action was barred because the enactment and enforcement of the curfew was not the type of “development” that requires Coastal Commission approval.

The judge agreed with the plaintiffs’ attorneys that the law was a development because it amounted to a change in the intensity of the use of the land by limiting access to the water nightly from midnight to 5 a.m. on the city’s 11 miles of coastline.

“Your curfew blocks off the entire beach,” Bryant-Deason told Deputy City Attorney Sara Ugaz.

The judge further told Ugaz that while as a hard-working lawyer she may be in bed by 9 p.m., “there may be others who want to watch the moon move across the sky.”

Lawyers for the city maintain the ordinance is needed to limit vandalism and crime on the beach and that the curfew is exempt from the permit provisions of the Coastal Act. They also say the lawsuit should have been brought within three years of the curfew’s 1988 enactment. The complaint was brought in December 2015.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Shayla Myers said citizens are permitted to bring lawsuits requesting injunctions against laws that they believe violated the Coastal Act.

–City News Service

Does beach curfew violate Coastal Act? Judge’s decision may open LA beaches to overnight use was last modified: June 8th, 2017 by Liz Spear

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