June 15, 2017

Supreme Court applies statutory restriction on implied dedication to noncoastal property used for nonrecreational purposes

The Supreme Court today delivers bad news to two Topanga Canyon residents who want to access their property by driving on roadways that cross their neighbors’ land.  In Scher v. Burke, the court holds that a statutory restriction on finding dedications of property to the public applies to noncoastal property regardless of whether the property is being used for recreational or nonrecreational purposes.

The statute was enacted in response to a 1970 Supreme Court decision that found coastal property owners who allowed the public to use the property for recreational purposes could be determined to have impliedly dedicated property rights to the public.  By its terms, the statute applies to both coastal and noncoastal property, and the court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Leondra Kruger concludes that the legislation makes no distinction between recreational and nonrecreational uses of noncoastal property.

The court affirms the Second District, Division Three, Court of Appeal.  It disapproves 2015 and 2004 Third District Court of Appeal opinions and a 2002 opinion by the Fourth District, Division One.

Leave a Reply