Bowman v. Cal. Coastal CommissionAnnotate this Case
This case stemmed from Walton Emmick's application to the County for a coastal development permit (CDP) to make improvements to his property. After Emmick died, the SDS Family Trust succeeded to the property. The County subsequently approved the CDP, which was conditioned upon SDS's offer to dedicate a lateral easement for public access along the shorefront portion of the property (CDP-1). SDS did not appeal. Nine months later, SDS applied for another CDP (CDP-2) and the application was approved. The Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, and two coastal commissioners appealed the County's approval of the CDP-2 to the Commission. The Commission determined that the easement condition contained in CDP-1 is permanent and binding on the landowner, and removal of the easement condition would violate the policy favoring public access to coastal resources. The Commission conditioned its permit on the implementation of the easement condition contained in CDP-1. The court reversed the judgment denying SDS's petition for a writ of administrative mandate to eliminate a public access condition from the permit where it could be inequitable to apply collateral estoppel to require a party to dedicate a coastal easement as a condition of obtaining a coastal development permit.