MALIBU—Malibu residents Graham and Brenda Revell are being asked to make good on a promise made by the former owners of their beachfront estate. On Monday, July 9, the California Coastal Commission ruled that the couple must build two separate staircases near their property to allow public access between the El Matador and El Pescador state beaches.
The staircases would not only allow beachgoers to travel between the beaches, but would also grant them access to a promontory that has until now been available only to the property owners, in spite of the fact that it is public land.
“The staircases should be built,” Malibu resident Thomas Biglow said, “We’re talking about public property which should be available to the public.” Biglow has lived in Malibu for the past 6 years and added that the Revells should not be able to escape a promise that has taken 27 years to be kept.
But not all Malibu residents agree. Zoe Nystrom, a sophomore at Pepperdine University, stated that she felt the situation was unfair. Nystrom said, “I understand that it is public domain, but if the Commission wants the staircases built, then they should pay for it.”
According to the Revell’s attorney the project would cost the Revell’s an excess of $1 million to complete.
The Revell’s attorney argued that due to the natural erosion of the caves in the area in question, the need for public staircases has been eliminated. The Commission did not agree. However, it appears that the Commission has left the ruling open for negotiations, if the Revells can offer the people of California something in exchange for not building the staircases. As of now, no such offer has been made.
Though the residents of Malibu seem undecided on the issue, the city has given no opinion in either direction.
“This decision is up to the Coastal Commission,” Malibu Councilmember and former Mayor Ken Kearsley said, “It’s all their ballgame.”
Kearsley added that once a decision is made, and if it is made in favor of the California Coastal Commission, the only role the city of Malibu will play will be issuing a building and coastal development permit.