Watch CBS News

Private Newport Beach Bridge May Swing Open

NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Residents of 24 houses on an island in Newport Bay may soon have to open their private access bridge to the outside world, it was reported Saturday.

The California Coastal Commission won the first round in a court battle over the footbridge to Bay Island, the Daily Pilot reported.

The bridge connects the island to the outside world and is gated at its landward end. The homeowners have asked permission to rebuild it so it will not collapse in an earthquake.

But since it spans publicly-owned tidewaters, the Coastal Commission ruled that the bridge itself must be open to the public.

Superior Court Judge Tam Nomoto also directed that a trial should be held to determine if the state will have to pay the homeowners if that meant seizing private property without paying for it, the newspaper reported.

The Coastal Commission argued that the bridge is placed on public property, and thus it would be impossible to hold that it is confiscating private property. The homeowners contend that they have a private easement across the public tidal lands under a title granted decades ago that allows only them to use the bridge.

The judge ordered the parties to try to negotiate a settlement or face a trial in May, the Daily Pilot reported.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.