Thursday, March 14, 2013

Surfrider files lawsuit against Martin's Beach owner, two views

Silicon Valley Mercury News/Aaron Kinney, 3/13/13. "Martin's Beach owner sued on behalf of surfer group."

Public access to the beach

Privately owned road, no easement
"HALF MOON BAY -- The heavyweight law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy joined the fight Tuesday over public access to Martin's Beach, filing a lawsuit to force the property's secretive owner to reopen the road to the shore.

The suit, brought on behalf of the Surfrider Foundation, claims property owner Martins Beach LLC broke the law by not getting a coastal development permit before locking a gate off state Highway 101 and closing off public access to the shore. A separate suit to restore access to the beach was filed in October. Martins Beach LLC purchased the property in 2008 for $37.5 million. The owner is widely presumed to be venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who has neither confirmed nor denied the assertion.

Joan Gallo, attorney for Martins Beach LLC, said the owner welcomes the suit. The issue is not a locked gate, Gallo said, but whether the public has the right to access a private road.  "We believe very strongly that the constitutional rights for Martins Beach LLC will prevail," Gallo said."

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 3/13/13. "Surfrider files suit against Martin's Beach, move is latest effort to open beach"

Gate at Martin's Beach private road
The lawsuit alleges the gate is illegal because it was installed without getting proper permits. The lawsuit is the third court case questioning whether the public should still have a right to access the secluded beach.   The suit also argues the beach-property owners never had the right to paint over a billboard directing motorists down to the beach.

"An off-road gate barring access down to Martin’s Beach has been the site for protests, vandalism and many acts of trespassing. Now a new lawsuit being put forward by the Surfrider Foundation and activist attorney Mark Massara specifically takes aim at the gate.

Under normal circumstances property owners are required to apply for Coastal Development Permits for modifying the landscape or structures. After Martin’s Beach was sold, the new owner locked the gate, allowing only tenants to travel down the private road. San Mateo County Planning officials warned the beach owner they considered this to be development under the California Coastal Act, and as such, he needed a permit. The owner never applied for a permit for the gate, and county planners have since refused to review other permits for grading work at the property.

The new case follows a similar civil suit last year on behalf of “Friends of Martin’s Beach” that also targets public access at the beach. That case is set for a pre-trial conference next month.
Separately, last month a county superior court judge dismissed a trespassing case against five men who hopped the gate to surf in an act of civil disobedience."

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

People don't want to respect private property. They all think it belongs to the State and they always want to come up with public easement.

Grow up go and buy your property!

Anonymous said...

Come to Linda Mar Beach! Better hurry and get here before the plovers take over.