Although the man who owns beachfront property and the road that leads to Martin’s Beach won a legal victory last week, it likely won’t affect access for beachgoers.
California’s 1st District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of property owner Vinod Khosla who wants to lock the gate to the road on his property that leads to the beach.
This lawsuit, filed by the Friends of Martin’s Beach, argued the public had a right to use the road going through his property because previous property owners allowed it. But the court disagreed, noting previous owners charged a parking fee. Other news outlets have reported an appeal is in the works.
However, in a separate lawsuit, the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation was successful in arguing that Khosla needed a Coastal Development Permit to close the beach. This permit could only be acquired through the California Coastal Commission.
“Our lawsuit was successful in opening the beach and Martin's Beach road access to the coast,” Legal Director Angela Howe said in an email. “If Khosla would like to change the terms of access, he will have to go to the Coastal Commission for a permit.”
Regardless of the Friends of Martin’s Beach decision, Howe explained, “the precedent of the Surfrider Foundation case stands and requires public access at Martin's Beach unless or until the property owner obtains a Coastal Development Permit to change the terms of access."