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City News Service / NBC Southern California

CA - Here's LA County's Plan to Return Manhattan Beach Oceanfront Property to Descendants of Black Family

Since the parcels of land owned by the county and targeted for transfer are deed-restricted, the effort to return land to the Bruce family requires final approval of state legislation authorizing the move.

Moving another step forward in its effort to return oceanfront Manhattan Beach property to descendants of a Black family who were evicted from the property decades ago, Los Angeles County has released a detailed -- yet complex -- plan for transferring the property.

The plan, released Wednesday, walks through a series of steps for return the land to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce -- including assessment of the property's value, identifying the Bruces' legal heirs and figuring out what to do with a county lifeguard station on the property.

"When I first realized that the county owned the property that was once Willa and Charles Bruce's Beach Lodge, I knew that returning it to the Bruce family was the right thing to do. But this is the first time a government has done anything like this and there were a lot of questions about how it would work," Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.

"Now, this report outlines a clear pathway forward for us to transfer this land and addresses everything from identifying the rightful descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce, to the ongoing lifeguard operations at the site, to mitigating the tax burden for the Bruce family. I am committed to getting this done and setting an example for governments nationwide for how we can begin to right the historic injustices committed against African Americans in this country," Hahn said.

Since the parcels of land owned by the county and targeted for transfer are deed-restricted, the effort to return land to the Bruce family requires final approval of state legislation authorizing the move.

But there are local issues as well, including possible rezoning of the property that would need approval from local agencies including the California Coastal Commission.

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