Property owners for decades have fought to keep Hollister Ranch largely to themselves — and earlier this year it seemed they had won.
But mounting public outrage has fueled multiple new efforts to open one of California’s most pristine stretches of coastline.
A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge this week allowed a coalition of community groups to challenge the controversial settlement granting access to only a set number of supervised tours or those who can paddle two miles in. Coastal officials had failed to represent the public interest, the coalition successfully argued, when they agreed to these terms behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, a California lawmaker introduced legislation that would lay the foundation for more aggressive strategies, such as acquiring private land for public use through eminent domain.
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