San Simeon CSD caught encroaching on a neighbor, again

February 1, 2023


San Simeon Community Services District officials are in hot water again, this time for constructing a staircase and a viewing area on property they do not own.

Decades ago, the San Simeon district built a staircase to the beach and a viewing area along with benches on the bluffs at the end of Pico Avenue, on land they claimed as their own. However, the land is owned by a trust overseen by a woman who lives out of the area, Marie Louise Paquet.

While aware of the encroachment, district staff applied for a $43,225 federal grant in 2017 to repair the staircase, falsely claiming the San Simeon district owned the property. The district completed the repairs in March 2017.

In a Jan. 9 cease and desist letter, Paquet ordered the district to restrict public access to the viewing area and staircase located on her property.

“This blockage and restrictions should remain in full force until such a time that the issues with the district are resolved in a mutually acceptable manner,” according to Paquet’s letter. “Should the district fail to do so, the trust will have no other alternative but to seek injunctive relief and take all necessary measures to hold the district liable for any and all claims of any nature whatsoever arising out of this encroachment.”

District staff then roped the area off using caution tape.

This is the third time in less than five years that a neighbor has discovered the San Simeon district encroached on their property.

Working to have drinkable water during dry spells, in 2015 the district constructed a water purification facility. In a rush to build the plant, district officials ignored reports they were building the facility on Hearst Conservation land.

After years of negotiations, the district recently agreed to pay the owners of the Hearst Ranch rent for the use of their property.

In addition, both the district’s office and the water purification facility are partially built in the Pico Avenue right-of-way. The district compensated for their error by installing gravel on a vacant lot owned by Ron Hurlbert, without his permission, to allow vehicles room to turn around.

Both the district and Hurlbert’s properties are zoned multi-family. Hurlbert, who has owned his lot for more than 35 years, had planned to build condominiums, though the construction of a water plant across the street is likely to diminish the value of the planned multi-family units.

Hurlbert is currently in negotiations with district officials.

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Sound like another opportunity for public tax dollars to fund a legal taking of private property. This county routinely engages in this practices. Millions of public tax dollars have been spent on the Steinbeck case where individuals are formally protecting their property rights and the gov doesn’t want that to happen, a subject that most are unaware of. Communism at your expense in our so called red-neck, right to farm, county.

Unfortunately for the landowner if you snooze you lose. …. The article said it all with…”decades ago”…

Adverse possession essentially allows a trespasser onto a piece of land to gain ownership of that land if the true owner fails to object within a certain period of time and if the trespasser pays faithful property taxes on the subject land.

The grey area here is does a CSD pay any property taxes? If they are smart they quietly did so, and now they technically own the property in question.


A prescriptive easement gives the legal right of use to someone other than the rightful property owner. But such use is only for a specific purpose, while adverse possession provides for the actual transfer of title and ownership interest of the real property.

Decades of not objecting to it puts the original owner at a disadvantage.

Lastly as the controlling “public entity” they could claim eminent domain and offer the owner a $1.

Not condoning, just saying…you snooze you probably lose.

This is more complex. The stairway, railings, and portions of the viewing area are outside of San Simeon CSD’s legally defined boundary lines. The district does not have parks and recreation authority. Years ago, the coastal commission required the district to get a dedication of this land which they did not. The list goes on. The new directors on the board have been left with a real mess.

Who is running this Sh– show anyway/ Isn’t the county inspectors supposed to review and approve any building also the Great Ruler Coastal Commission condemns all work next to ocean so where were they No one is going to file charges against the people in charge?

Seriously Camille? Why? What exactly is your problem? Public access to a public beach that doesn’t infringe on your view, your access, or your property worth. CASH GRAB! It’s literally at the end of a dead end road.

It’s her property and unless there is something saying she must allow access to beach then it’s her right to stop it but but can’t figure out how the staircase has been there for decades with them not knowing pretty lousy handling by the trust

I wonder if you would be saying this is you were sittting on the receiving end of a million dollar lawsuit because someone stubbed their toe on your property while accessing the beach.

The encroachment area is much larger than shown here, not just that area. That area is blocked off because it is unsafe. The stairway needs repair and a Coastal Development Permit for those repairs. A couple of months ago, a section of the top step fell through. The portion of the viewing area that is blocked off is sinking creating another hazard. There are liability issues here for the district and the Mouchawar Trust that is why the district blocked off this selected area.

“ While aware of the encroachment, district staff applied for a $43,225 federal grant in 2017 to repair the staircase, falsely claiming the San Simeon district owned the property. The district completed the repairs in March 2017.”

In other words, defrauding the federal government.

Or for Charlie Grace, just another typical day at the office, not that he even goes into a office.