Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


It Only Took 30 Years To Open This Public Path To Malibu's Billionaires' Beach

Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

There's a new access point to 'Billionaires' Beach,' allowing the public to finally enjoy the beautiful stretch of coast after decades of legal battles.

A new path to Carbon Beach, known as Billionaires' Beach, has just opened, the L.A. Times reports. This access point, known as Carbon Beach West, was the subject of a fight between property owner Lisette Ackerberg and the California Coastal Commission that went on for years. Though the beach is public, the pathways to get there were often blocked by wealthy property owners who fought to keep them closed.

Previously, two other access points existed: The Zonker Harris Accessway and Carbon Beach East, which opened in 2005 after entertainment mogul David Geffen lost a three-year legal battle and turned over the keys to the pathway's gate. This path has been called 'Hooray for Hollywood Moguls' Path. In 2007, the Commission agreed to sell Geffen a ten-foot buffer zone of beach butting up against his property. Carbon Beach West is in between these two points.

The battle over the path began about three decades ago. Lisette Ackerberg and her husband Norman Ackerberg, who died in 2004, were issued permits in the '80s to build their home so long as they also included a 10-foot-wide easement to allow access to the beach. However, it just wasn't done and no one seemed to check on this for about 20 years. In 2003, Access for All was approved by the state to build and manage the pathway. When the group went to go do just that, they found a 9-foot-wall and rocks blocking the area. In 2005, Ackerberg was ordered by the state to get rid of them. Instead, Ackerberg argued that the state should build a separate pathway nearby, stating that there was an area near Malibu Outrigger Condos already designated for such a purpose. The state decided to build both paths. Ackerberg's lawyer said at the time that Ackerberg felt like she was being "discriminated against."

Support for LAist comes from

In 2009, Access for All decided to switch sides. They went behind the state's back and agreed to work with Ackerberg on opening a different path. The Commission wasn't having that and in 2013, Ackerberg and the Commission finally game to an agreement. She'd pay $1.1 million, which would be largely donated to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and also cover the cost of getting rid of the wall and rocks, plus building a wheelchair-accessible path. As for that path by the condos, the Commission is still fighting for that one.

Activist Jenny Price is celebrating the new path, but knows the battle for beach access isn't over. She told ABC 7 that according to state guidelines, there should be an access point every 1,000 feet along the beach. That means 105 points in Malibu; however, only 20 exist.

Price worked on the development of an app called Our Malibu Beaches to help people find how to get to their public beaches. It's available for iOS here, and Android here.

Not everyone is celebrating Carbon Beach West. Tracy Park, who owns a home on Carbon Beach, complained to CBS LA that people are parking in front of her house and leaving trash behind every day. Others say that allowing the public to access the beach means further invasion into the lives of the celebrities who live there, people who already have people prying into their lives constantly.

However, one fact remains: It's a public beach.

Most Read