Rent Seeking Coastal Commission

Lloyd Billingsley: California’s Coastal Commission does a fine job of preventing California’s working people from living near the Pacific Ocean but is now taking things to a new level. The CCC now wants to limit the amount of time coastal residents can live in their own dwelling, and mandate that they rent the place when barred from their own turf.

The case involves Lawson’s Landing a privately owned resort in Marin County near Point Reyes. The decades-old resort rents space to trailers, whose owners may bear the brunt of a CCC staff proposal that would allow trailer owners such as Jeannette Galvan of Sacramento to stay in her own dwelling only 30 days between Memorial Day and Labor day. The rest of the time, Lawson would be forced to rent her trailer like a hotel room. Galvan told the Sacramento Bee that “To mandate when people can and cannot live in their homes is stretching their rights.” Lawson’s Landing owners say that if they don’t implement the CCC changes, they would be forced to shut down.

The Coastal Commission is an unelected body dating from 1973 and since 1985 has been run by Peter Douglas, a regulatory zealot hostile to property rights. The Commission wields enormous power but at a recent Sacramento conference Douglas and CCC supporters appealed for more money, more staff, and more power, including the ability to bypass the courts and impose fines directly.

Paul Beard of the Pacific Legal Foundation told CalWatchdog that “It’s not the not the type of agency you would want to give that power to. It’s precisely the kind that would abuse that power.” Beard also said that CCC staff were “particularly difficult to deal with,” which Lawson’s Landing residents are finding out. According to news reports, some are planning to leave if the CCC plan is approved.

JULY 14, 2011

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