SACRAMENTO – The California Coastal Commission, a state agency that regulates coastal development, is appealing a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s ruling that it violated the state constitution.
The appeal was filed in the Third District Court of Appeal this week.
The original ruling was handed down in April in a suit filed by the Marine Forests Society, which has experimented with artificial reefs off Newport Beach in an effort to attract sea life. The Coastal Commission ordered the group to halt the project in 1999 because it had not been issued a permit.
In his ruling, Judge Charles Kobayashi said the commission is in violation of the principle of checks and balances because it performs legislative, executive and judicial duties. Because the state Legislature appoints two-thirds of the commission, it should only have legislative powers, Kobayashi ruled.
Commission opponents say it must be reorganized to answer to voters, while supporters say its political freedom has helped it protect the coast.
If the decision is upheld, the commission would be forced to alter its powers to meet constitutional requirements.