Martin's Beach
 Court battles over the ultimate fate of access to Martin's Beach continue. Land owner Vinod Khosla won a skirmish on Monday. Review file photo

California’s 1st District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a billionaire who closed public access to Martin’s Beach because the road to get there ran through his private property on Monday.

The Friends of Martin’s Beach sued Vinod Khosla in 2012, arguing the public had a right to use the road that is on his property. The group provided multiple witnesses who said they visited Martin’s Beach many times by using the road before Khosla bought the property.

The court’s opinion detailed that the Friends of Martin’s Beach argued the area had an implied dedication to public use because previous owners allowed beachgoers to access it. But the court disagreed, citing the previous owners’ parking fee.

The conflict has been ongoing for years, starting almost immediately after the land was purchased, and the Friends of Martin’s Beach lawsuit wasn’t the only legal battle commenced during the last decade.

The Surfrider Foundation also sued, reasoning if the property owner wanted to block beach access, he would need a Coastal Development Permit. Khosla said this infringed on his property rights, as reported by other news outlets.

Khosla appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Surfrider Foundation’s case against him, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The appellate court’s ruling requires Khosla to obtain a permit to block beach access.

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