Temporary fencing around the flattened dunes

A month after local developer the Legado Co. bulldozed ecologically sensitive beach dunes in Playa del Rey — and weeks after a homeless man set up camp on the flattened remains — a restoration effort is finally beginning to take shape.

Last week the California Coastal Commission approved a plan submitted by Legado to install fencing around the habitat, commission spokeswoman Noaki Schwartz said. On Monday, Playa del Rey residents noticed white plastic bollards and yellow rope cordoning off the area; by Tuesday “Dune Restoration in Progress – No Trespassing” signs had gone up with them. Sturdier fencing is expected to go up before the end of the week, with the commission “monitoring the situation closely for noncompliance,” Schwartz said.

The commission also requires Legado to conduct interim erosion control and remedial grading to allow the dunes to begin to recover, with a state-approved specialist monitoring the effort.

As for reports of beach visitors lounging and even grilling on the flattened dunes, “People are going to do that type of thing. You can’t hold my client responsible for that,” said Benjamin Reznik, an attorney representing Legado.

Legado is suing the city for rejecting a controversial development proposal for the vacant triangular lot at Culver Boulevard and Vista Del Mar, also among the company’s land holdings. A large contingent of locals involved in that battle see the dune demolition as an affront to their neighborhood.

“I think [the Coastal Commission] should have someone monitoring the dunes more closely. I don’t think [Legado] wants to preserve that habitat,” resident Suzanne Napoleon said. “It’s going to be a constant battle with them, but we always look out for our community.”

— Gary Walker

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