Thank you. I’ve repeatedly tried to explain this case here on BoingBoing, but they just keep repeating the same old spin-doctored “privatizing public beach” version.
But one more time, just for the record, and quoting myself from a previous instance (since nothing significant in the case has changed since then):
As the court’s decision clearly says,
"It is undisputed that Martins Beach is private property. "
This is a complicated case, in part because the undivided parcel’s title dates back to the original Spanish land grant, which alters the usual “mean-high-tide” equation, which only applies to land entitled under US California state law. (And, no, children, that is not some irrelevant technicality.) But that was not a factor in the current decision.
The property’s previous owners had allowed public access to their private beach in return for payment of a parking fee. Khosla, as the new owner, closed this access.
And this ruling is even trickier than it looks, because it basically turns on the principle that locking a gate and painting over a sign constitutes ‘development’ under California law, because it changes the intensity of public use of the beach, and therefore requires a Coastal Development Permit - which Khosla didn’t apply for.
The Coastal Act requires a Coastal Development Permit for any development that changes the intensity of public use of the beach. And Spanish land-grant titles don’t exempt you from that.
The only news in the present story is that a higher court has now affirmed the lower court’s decision that closing the road is "unpermitted development*, and therefore illegal without a CDP, a Coastal Deveopment Permit.
It’s still a private road across private property to a private beach.
There is no public beach, and no easement exists.
Khosla could, theoretically, still get a CDP, but he has to apply to the Coastal Commission to get one, and he hasn’t done that.