Failed retaining wall

Photo by Laurie Mueller

The RCLC Board is pleased to report that the lawsuit between Bower Limited Partnership, RCLC, and the California Coastal Commission was finally settled earlier this spring, allowing the building of the Gualala Bluff Trail to proceed after a two-year delay. The lawsuit was filed in early 2005 by Mr. John H. Bower, who contested the validity of the easement, which crosses his property behind Surf Super. After preliminary hearings upheld the validity of the easement and RCLC’s right to build the trail as planned, the lawsuit was settled.

Under terms of the settlement, the Coastal Commission and RCLC were reimbursed for attorney fees and court costs. The settlement also enforced, with a substantial fine, the Coastal Commission countersuit requiring Mr. Bower to rebuild the failed retaining wall behind Surf Super.

RCLC appreciates the important legal help by attorneys Rod Jones and Christiana Tiedemann, Deputy Attorney General, and the support of its members and our local community in defending the easement.

Completion of Trail May Be Delayed

Before RCLC can connect the trail segment at the end of Breakers Inn with the rest of the trail, the failed retaining wall behind the Surf Market must be repaired. The wall, which had been failing for some time, broke away in February 2005, taking part of the trail easement with it.

The settlement of the lawsuit between Mr. Bower, who owns the property, RCLC and the Coastal Commission earlier this spring enforced the requirement that Mr. Bower rebuild the wall. The Coastal Commission is currently considering what type of construction Mr. Bower will be allowed to build.

After Mr. Bower has his plans approved, he estimates it will take him three or four months to repair the wall. Since work must be done in the dry season, he may not be finished in time for RCLC to complete the trail before the rainy season.