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Public Finally Gets Billionaires' Beach Access Point After Decade-Long Battle

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By definition, there's no one more selfish in the world than a billionaire, and the richies who own mansions along Billionaires' (aka Carbon) Beach in Malibu offer stunning illustration in their various decades-long battles to keep the public off of the public part of the beach. It takes a lot of time and taxpayer money, but they all fall eventually. The latest loser is Lisette Ackerberg, who was granted permits in the 1980s to build a house designed by Getty architect Richard Meier, a pool, a tennis court, and a sea wall, in exchange for including a 10-foot-wide access path for visitors to get to the beach (by state law, every California beach is public between the water and the mean high tide line). Ackerberg got her house and her pool, tennis court, and sea wall, but she really didn't want to have to give up that 10-foot path. About three decades later, it officially opens tomorrow.

The state didn't even bother trying to build anything at the Ackerbergs' for nearly two decades; finally, in 2003, it hired the group Access for All to create the path. When they showed up to get to work, they found "a concrete slab, generator, light posts, a 9-foot-high wall and other development" choking off the proposed easement, according to a 2011 AP story. The state told Ackerberg to move the stuff. She suggested the state build a pathway somewhere else, down the beach a little at the Malibu Outrigger condo complex, according to the LA Times. The state said "we're building both." An appellate judge agreed that was a good plan. Ackerberg tried to take the matter to the California Supreme Court. They declined.

Meanwhile, in 2009, Ackerberg made a little deal with Access for All, giving them $250,000 and attorneys fees if they'd stop trying to build the pathway at her house and instead help her sue the county. Finally, 10 years after construction attempts began, Ackerberg gave up the fight and agreed to pay $1.1 million "and to cover the cost of removing the impediments and building a paved, wheelchair-accessible pathway," reports the LAT; the access sits just about a half-mile up the beach from an access point blocked for decades by Hollywood mogul David Geffen. Ackerberg's lawyer says "She felt she was in essence being discriminated against."

The path next to 22466 Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu is open from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset. Meanwhile, the California Coastal Commission is still fighting the condo owners at the Malibu Outrigger complex. Their lawyer argues that an access point there "would pose risks to the public."
· Resistant Malibu homeowner finally opens pathway to 'Billionaires' Beach' [LAT]
· Beach Access Group Sold Out to Carbon Beach Richard Meier Owner [Curbed LA]