A court has ruled that hikers have to stay off a section of the popular Hastain hiking trail that runs onto private property in Beverly Crest that’s owned by megamansion builder Mohamed Hadid. The LA Times reports that this is the latest ruling (the first, in a lower court in 2012, was in favor of letting hikers continue to use the trail), and will not be the last: Friends of Hastain Trail, the group of hikers that filed the original lawsuit, plan to pursue a rehearing of the case.
Of the whole legal process, Hadid tells the Times, "This has been very costly for me, mentally and financially over the years. Now I can continue the process of development."
The Hastain Trail runs through Beverly Crest's public Franklin Canyon Park, as well as through private land owned by Hadid since 2002. Though Hadid’s approximately 100-acre property is zoned to hold up to 13 houses, he’s hoping to develop the land with four or five (likely enormous) homes that will "blend into the landscape,"
Hikers say that the Hastain Trail has been used as a popular hiking trail since at least the 1960s, including the part that cuts through Hadid’s land. But the court’s most recent ruling sides with Hadid’s lawyers, who argued that "just because people have been allowed to walk on the land doesn’t mean they should have a right to it."
Hadid says he plans to give some of the property to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (manager of Franklin Canyon Park) and to create an "alternate loop" that hikers can use instead of the current trail. But Friends of Hastain Trail is not impressed. Their attorney notes that the alternate loop proposed is at a lower elevation and only has west-facing lookouts—not quite the stellar views offered by the current trail.
Hadid is currently fighting other legal battles over a Bel Air mansion he’s building. He was hit with criminal misdemeanor charges for building without a permit and illegal land use, among others.
- Court supports real estate developer's right to keep hikers off his land [LAT]
- Builder Mohamed Hadid Could Go to Prison Over Bel Air's Most Illegal Megamansion [Curbed LA]