New Carbon Beach accessway closes in Malibu

POOF! The brand-new accessway on Carbon Beach at 21950 PCH–-the one that a homeowner volunteered to open next to his house–-is now officially closed. It lasted 3 weeks. Here’s hoping you had a chance to use it.

That’s unlikely, however, since someone apparently was coming along and closing the gate when it was supposed to be open.

The dry-sand public easements remain abundant on that stretch–-most of the properties have them–-and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the brief life of this accessway than by using and enjoying them. They’re just a 5-10-minute walk down the coast from the Hooray for Geffen accessway at 22140 PCH. (Click here for a list.) Have a picnic. Sing, play, and dance.

The homeowners giveth–-usually after a court battle, though–and the homeowners taketh away. Why did this homeowner, Peter Kleidman, lock the gate after working for months and months with the Coastal Commission and the state parks agency MRCA to open it? Oddly, he’s declined to explain why he opened or closed it. Were his motives pure or not? Was he in fact mostly interested in providing public access? Did he shy from the resulting attention? Did he not want to deal with inevitable lawsuits? Was he pressured to close it? Was it, as the Malibu reportage has hinted, an elaborate act of revenge in a spat with his neighbors–-who happen to include real-estate mogul and civic leader Eli Broad?

It doesn’t really matter, since every one of these scenarios speaks volumes about the problems with public access to these essential public beaches. By state law, private development cannot impede access to the public tidelands. We should enjoy a public accessway every 1000 feet–-not fewer than 1 per mile-–and beachfront homeowners, whose properties front public lands, should be more than accustomed to sharing these beaches.

A new accessway should not be extraordinary. It should not be a media event. It should not generate angst and panic. It should not bestir lawyers. Above all, it should not be seen as, or even posited to be, the worst thing a homeowner can possibly do to the neighbors.

Will the accessway ever reopen? Well, Kleidman hasn’t said so one way or another. So perhaps. We have a dream. In the meantime, RIP, 21950. You were such a source of joy and promise.

(Click for parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Malibu Beaches Owners Manual).

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