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L.B. homeowners to be warned

Published 11/20/2007 on Press-Telegram

LONG BEACH – The state Coastal Commission is preparing letters for about 30 peninsula homeowners, warning them to eliminate their alleged encroachments on public beaches along the peninsula, authorities said Monday.

Andrew Willis, an enforcement analyst at the commission's Long Beach-based South Coast Area Office, said he expects the letters to be mailed by the end of the month.

The Press-Telegram previously reported that the commission had launched a probe into the situation.

A survey of the peninsula properties identified alleged encroachments from 31 properties. The commission's investigation included an aerial analysis that identified at least two additional encroachment cases, according to Willis.

Assistant City Attorney Michael Mais has been working with the commission's staff.

Monday, he said that the commission's draft letter will be reviewed before it is sent to the peninsula homeowners.

Mais said he plans to seek voluntary removal of the encroachments. However, there could be either stiff penalties or removal of the encroachments if there is resistance to the warnings, he added.

"I'm hoping they'll … abide by the letter, and remove the encroachment," he said.

On the beach side of the peninsula, the commission found a variety of encroachments of ice-plants adjacent to patio areas. Some of the plants are considered to be part of a dune or dune-like mounds – designed to keep the dunes from eroding.

Mais said those areas will be examined and decisions about them will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Homeowners need a development permit for any encroachment because the city has a certified Local Coastal Program, according to the commission.

However, Willis has explained that homeowners most likely cannot get a development permit because the alleged encroachments violate the state Coastal Act and the city's LCP.

The commission has a mandate to protect access to the public beaches and bays. The commission has the authority to halt projects that impede or obstruct access to public recreational resources.

joe.segura@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1274

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