California Land Conservancy Swindled My Grandparents

Hello everyone first time posting here, but I can here because I have a unique situation.

I recently acquired a property from my late grandpa. He first got this property many years ago. They were going to build a house on the California coast. However, the land conservancy decided to make building illegal there and everyone who owned land suddenly had worthless land.

The choice now is to sell the land at a significant loss of around 1k and it was purchased for much more, not sure how much.

I’m wondering if there is an alternative here and has anyone come across anything like this and thought to fight it somehow? Alternatively is the land worth more than 1k if it can’t be built on?

For reference the land is located near Morro Bay.

Without knowing almost anything about the details my initial suspicion is that the ship has sailed on your opportunity to fight something like this. Unless it happened very recently?

Sometimes grandfathering laws will apply in scenarios like this which could save you however the devil is very much in the details. Realistically the only way you’re going to get a firm answer on whether or not you have any options or what those options might be is to get a hold of a local attorney that specializes in land and do a consult. Good luck!


@eternalskye I feel your pain but tend to agree with JT, the ship likely has already sailed. There may have been no case, or the stature of limitations may have run, or you may not have standing. Your grandparents (but not you) may have at the time had a cause of action for compensation from an eminent domain taking for their loss of value. I suspect not. Probably worth an hour legal consult just to know for sure.

We suffered a similar loss when a change to the general plan downzoned a subdivision prospect we held to a five acre minimum. What might have been 12 paper lots at $60k each, instantly became one, with no possible recourse. Justified with some BS about ‘for the public good’.

Now you may just have your own county park in a beautiful spot. Put in a picnic table, fire pit and motorhome parking spot and enjoy the view. Then maybe put it on VRBO?

BTW it was probably Coastal Commission rules and not California Land Conservancy that barred development. Land Conservancy usually buys key properties or buys deed restrictions from owners to prevent development. Coastal Commission, a government agency, just does it by fiat.

@sean-markey ya was the coastal commission. Now I’m curious if I could even put an RV up? It was actually already graded.

@eternalskye I doubt it. Likely nothing permanent. But I do not know for sure. Have not dealt with them in half a dozen years (lucky me) and rules may be different in different places.

Someone at the County may know about what may work under their rules. The motorhome parking space is itinerant and pretty low key. Would likely fly under the radar with short term uses.

I like the VRBO/AirBnB idea… do like a non-permanent glamping site? At least get some cash out of it before they shut you down. Even the fines the county might give you wouldn’t compare to the cash flow some ocean front glamp site would bring.