Martins Beach ownership facts: A brief history

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  • Martins Beach 1 and 2, LLC’s ownership of the property originates from a Mexican Land Grant.
  • In 1838, the governor of Spanish Mexico granted an 8,905 parcel of property known as Rancho Canada de Verde y Arroyo de la Purisima to Jose Maria Alviso, who subsequently conveyed that interest to his brother, Jose Antonio Alviso.
  • The present Martins Beach property was part of the larger 8,905 acre Rancho.
  • A decade later, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (which formally ended the Mexican-American war) resulted in Mexico ceding a region of the present day Southwestern United States, including California, to the United States. The Treaty required that the United States honor pre-existing Mexican land grants and protect the rights of Mexican landowners living in the areas that became part of the United States.
  • To fulfill its obligations under the Treaty and to provide for an orderly settlement of Mexican land claims, Congress passed the California Land Act of March 3, 1851, to provide for the orderly settlement of Mexican land claims.
  • Under the terms of the Act, a Board of Land Commissioners was established with the power to decide the rights of ³each and every person claiming lands in California by virtue of any right or title derived from the Spanish or Mexican government….² The Board was to decide the validity of any claim, while parties before the Board had the right to appeal to the District Court for a de novo determination of their rights, and to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Claimants were required to present their claims within two years, or have their claims barred. The final decision of the Board, or any patent issued under the Act, was also a conclusive adjudication of the rights of the claimant.
  • Jose Antonio Alviso followed this process all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  In 1859, the United States Supreme Court issued a published opinion confirming Alviso¹s right to the Rancho free and clear of any claim of the United States.
  • A land patent issued by the Board of Land Commissioners is a quitclaim deed from the government of the United States to the claimant based on the then surveyed description of the property.
  • Alviso’s patent has been handed down to private property owners over the generations including Martins Beach 1 and 2, free of all public rights to the property, including beach access rights established under the public trust doctrine in the California Constitution, which was first drafted in 1879.
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