Coastal Commission Issues Cease and Desist to Developer who Bulldozed Ecologically–Sensitive Dunes

Ecologicallysensitive dunes graded by Legado Companies

By Sam Catanzaro

The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is taking swift and forceful action after a developer bulldozed ecologically sensitive dunes in Playa del Rey.

“My staff has since confirmed that unpermitted development occurred on your property and that heavy construction equipment, including frontloaders and a bulldozer, were used to break the dunes located on your property apart and grade the dunes flat, and in doing so, removed sensitive dune habitat, which is considered an environmentally sensitive habitat area,” reads a cease and desist letter from the CCC to developer Legado Companies. “This is a very serious violation of the Coastal Act.”

Local residents contacted the councilmember’s office after noticing the developer using heavy machinery on the ecologically sensitive Playa del Rey dunes at Toes Beach. According to Bonin, his staff and residents on two occasions ordered crews to cease the clearing.

Top: the natural sand dunes at Toes Beach in Playa del Rey. Bottom: the flattened sand dunes. Photos: Heal the Bay.

Bonin says that the property owner, Legado Companies, was instructed to take down some rusty fencing surrounding the property, but does not believe permission was granted to grade the dunes.

“The property owner is claiming they were ordered or authorized to do the work. That’s bull. They were ordered to remove a rusty and sharp-edged fence that was a danger to kids at the beach. They were not directed or authorized to regrade the dunes and destroy sensitive habitat. We need restoration, remediation, and penalties,” Bonin said. 

CCC says their staff was alerted to the unpermitted development over the weekend of August 10-11 through news outlets, posts from City of Los Angeles Councilmember Bonin’s office and by members of the public. 

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