Proposal Would Set 2020 Deadline for Public Beach Access Plan at Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County

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Hollister Ranch is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Hollister Ranch is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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A state lawmaker is applying new pressure on coastal officials and Hollister Ranch owners to provide access to some of California’s most coveted beaches and surf breaks — a promise to the public that has been in limbo for decades as legal battles and stalemates dragged on.

A bill unveiled Tuesday would set a deadline of April 1, 2020, for coastal officials to come up with a comprehensive public access plan at Hollister Ranch. Failure to do so would trigger a number of procedures that would hold the state accountable.

“Multiple barriers have prevented the public from accessing and enjoying an 8.5-mile stretch of the coast at Hollister Ranch in the County of Santa Barbara for over 36 years,” the bill declares, thwarting legal guarantees for public access.

“There has to be a deadline. And if we don’t meet the deadline, there has to be consequences,” said Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), who has been pushing for legislation since hundreds of people called on her office last year to ensure that California’s beaches are open to everyone.

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