The Latest: Legal fight brewing over California beach access
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on access to a gated beach in Northern California (all times local):
A neighborhood group has rejected a plan by California regulators that sought to open up access to a gated beach south of San Jose that’s popular with surfers.
The Opal Cliffs Recreation District has regulated access to Privates Beach with a 9-foot iron fence and a $100 annual key fee for decades.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Thursday that California Coastal Commission staffers recommended free year-round access from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset and replacing the gate with a fence no taller than 6 feet.
Recreation district attorney Mark Massara says the commission is overreaching and the district will fight the plan in court if necessary.
The battle is one of many that have been waged in California over the public’s right to access the coast.
The California Coastal Commission will decide whether access to a secluded beach can be restricted by a 9-foot iron fence, a locking gate with a $100 annual key fee and a gate attendant.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the commission will vote Thursday on whether the resident-run program that has regulated access to Privates Beach south of San Jose for more than 50 years can continue.
Santa Cruz County regulators first allowed residents of a winding road dotted with multimillion-dollar homes near the beach to install the gate and issued keys controlling access to it in 1963.
But the commission now will take into account a new state law that asks it to consider not only environmental effects but also the impact on underrepresented communities.
A state official has argued that the area has become a private beach club.