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Belvedere resident loses court appeal after years of fighting neighbor’s shoreline project

A rendering shows a controversial pier that David McCloskey sought to build at his Belvedere Avenue home, which sits uphill at center. Anthony Piazza, McCloskey’s shoreline neighbor to the east (near right), objected, leading to Planning Commission hearings, two City Council appeals, a lawsuit in Marin Superior Court and, most recently, an unsuccessful appeal of that ruling against him. (W.B. Clausen Structural Engineers 2018)

A California appellate court has ruled against a Belvedere Island resident who sued the city, accusing councilmembers of bias and of violating his constitutional rights when they approved construction of a neighbor’s pier over his objections in 2019.


In its 3-0 ruling Nov. 22, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco upheld an earlier Marin Superior Court decision, refusing to reverse the city’s project approval and ordering Anthony Piazza, who owns his waterfront property at 125 Belvedere Ave. as INJ LLC, to pay court and attorney fees in the case.


The case began in February 2018 when upslope neighbor David McCloskey of 121 Belvedere Ave. filed an application with the city to build a private pier with a hydraulic boat lift, access stairs, a hillevator and new backyard deck.


Piazza, McCloskey and two neighboring parcels each have beach access to a small cove below Belvedere Avenue, around a point beyond the southern end of West Shore Road. Piazza’s home and another sit on the shoreline at each end of the cove, facing inward, while the home of in-between neighbor McCloskey sits on the cliff above, closer to the road. Piazza asserted McCloskey’s proposed 120-foot pier extending into Richardson Bay would block his views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge, invade his privacy and harm his property values.

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