Property owners can block a pedestrian pathway joining two southwest Bakersfield neighborhoods, an appeals court ruled this morning.
The decision reverses a local judge’s ruling that the public had a right to cross private property to pass between the Amberton and Stockdale neighborhoods.
The pedestrian path connects two cul-de-sacs but it crosses property owned by father and son Dan and Michael Hansen.
The Hansens built a wall across the path in 2013 after their house was twice burglarized.
Neighbors sued, claiming there was a common law right to passage.
During a 2015 Bakersfield trial, a representative of the developer said intended for a walkway to link the two neighborhoods, but said the access never was officially registered with the city.
Judge David Lampe agreed with the neighbors and ordered the Hansens to remove the wall.
He ruled that decades of public use created an implied public permission to use the path.
But while the case was pending, the California Supreme Court ruled in a similar case. Although Lampe’s decision was correct when he made it, the 5th District Court of Appeal said, the subsequent high court ruling changed things in favor of the Hansens.
Attorneys in the case were not immediately available for comment.
The case is Keri Mikkelsen, et al v. Michael Hansen, et al, http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F072990.PDF