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OC island fights to keep bridge private

August 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residents of a small private island in Orange County are disputing a state requirement to make the bridge that joins them to the mainland open to the public.Exclusive Bay Island now has a private bridge that is only open to the two dozen homeowners that live on the island. Now the residents want to build a new bridge, but the state is stepping in to require that it be open to the public.

The State Coastal Commission, which must approve the bridge, has ordered that it must be a public bridge because it crosses over public beach and water belonging to the city of Newport Beach.

The Newport Beach City Council sided with the residents because they don't believe the state should be attaching restrictions to city property.

Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Mike Henn said opening the bridge to the public would place a burden on the city.

"We are concerned that the opening up of that bridge would expose the city to more liability and the possibility of litigation," he said.

The residents of Bay Island are planning to bring a suit against the State Coastal Commission to be heard in September.