James and Marilyn Nollan (plaintiffs) owned beachfront property in California. When they attempted to rebuild a home that was located on the property, the California Coastal Commission (defendant) granted their building permit, with the condition that the Nollans create an easement for the public to pass over their property to get to a public beach. The Commission found that the condition was necessary to offset the psychological barrier to beach use caused by a developed beachfront area, to protect the public's ability to see the beach, and to prevent beach congestion. The Nollans brought suit to challenge the condition. The trial court ordered that the condition be struck. The Commission appealed to the California Court of Appeal, which ruled that the condition was valid. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.