LAUREL CANYON—Over the last few years I and neighbors have complained that homeowners are moving into the neighborhood and putting up fences, gates and barriers to trailheads all over the Santa Monica Mountains. Recently there was a hearing where the MRCA testified that their preliminary review disclosed property on Mulholland Terrace encroached on park property.
In anticipation of the hearing I drove up Mulholland Terrace and saw “No Trespassing” signs and “Private Property” postings. The signs were posted to discourage people from using the trailhead entrance just south of there property. In fact, on Google maps the property and several surrounding homes look like they are smack dab inside the park.
I recounted what happened at this hearing to a neighbor. I asked if he had ever hiked any trails around there. He said sure. They called it “The Daisy Trail” because it was dotted with Valley Sunflowers which look like daisies.
The same thing has happened on the entrance to the Betty Dearing Trail from a few doors down on Mulholland Terrace. Everyone used this route until a few years ago when a neighbor put up a fence topped by razor wire, and placed a trailer up against the fence.
The neighbors all discussed this. I contacted the MRCA and made an inquiry. I was told that there was no MRCA formal easement or ownership over which the trail obstruction had been installed.
So now I have learned that the same shenanigans have been going on in Malibu where homeowners go so far as to build false garage doors to obstruct beach access. So if the behavior in Malibu is not right, we, like they, should have access to our local trailheads. What should we do?
The law explains that “easements restrict private…and land development…to protect natural resources, such as wildlife,…water and open space.
“Easements are helpful for providing pathways across…pieces of property…An easement is considered as a property right in itself at common law and is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions.”
A writer spent a year tracking down those beach access routes. How They Kept Us off Malibu Beaches. They used the internet to collect information and developed an APP.
We have a court case that was recently decided ruling that a trail over private property can be historic and an owner can not put up a fence and keep the public from using the old trail. The Judge ruled:
“A Los Angeles real estate developer must allow hikers to use the popular Hastain Trail across his private property in Franklin Canyon.
Mohamed Hadid, who has designed and built more than a dozen Ritz-Carlton hotels and many Beverly Hills mega-mansions, has been ordered to stop “interfering with the public recreational use” of the trail.”
What we need to start collecting information about where trails have been obstructed to keep us from getting to them.
SEND AN EMAIL with:
1. The address of the blocked easement
2. A note that you used it for ___ (years)
3. Your contact information along with a note: “Pls keep confidential” if you like.
To: MCRA c/o Paul Edelman firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Paul Koretz c/o District Director Joan.Pelico@lacity.org
Councilman Tom LaBonge c/o Chief Land Use Planknjg Renee.Weitzer@lacity.org
Bel Air/ Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, Executive Director, Heather Rozman council@BABCNC.org.
LAClaw an organization committed to protecting the quality of life in the hills Info@LAClaw.org.
By Joann Deutch