California Sues Silicon Valley Billionaire Over Public Access to San Mateo County Beach

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Martin's Beach in Half Moon Bay is seen in a photo from September 19, 2018. (Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Martin’s Beach in Half Moon Bay is seen in a photo from September 19, 2018. (Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

California officials on Monday sued a Silicon Valley billionaire who has fought for more than a decade to keep a popular beach to himself — a move to end one of the most intense and high-profile public access battles in the state.

Vinod Khosla’s attempts to control access at Martins Beach, a picturesque stretch of sand in San Mateo County, has become a cause célèbre for beachgoers across California and prompted a spate of lawsuits over the years by nonprofits and local groups that grabbed national headlines.

Now, the state is suing. The California State Lands Commission and Coastal Commission contend that, without court orders, Khosla will “continue to deny, impair and obstruct” the public’s right to use Martins Beach. The stakes are high and could set the stage for how other wealthy oceanfront owners across the state might fight to make a beach private.

“This case goes to the heart of California’s public access mandate,” said Steve Padilla, who chairs the Coastal Commission. “We cannot allow this to be chipped away each time someone purchases beachfront property — it’s a dangerous precedent for the future of public access in California.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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