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Access to U.S. Beaches, Waterways, Vary Significantly from State to State

John Watson/Fay Ranches.  Access to U.S. coastal beaches, waterways and non-navigable rivers and streams vary considerably from state to state.  For instance, Oregon has some of the most public friendly river access laws while states like Wyoming and Texas maintain more protective private property rights in favor of the landowner.  The San Mateo, California coastal property, which is the subject of this article from Private Wealth/Financial Advisor Magazine, came with a Spanish Land Grant dated over 150 years ago and long before California became a state or passed laws stating that access to the ocean was a public right.  The state of California is considering an eminent domain action while the owner maintains that the beach is privately owned, there is no easement for the public to use the area, and development permits required by coastal regulations don’t apply to him.

California Backs Surfers In Battle With Billionaire

JANUARY 23, 2015 • 

The state is threatening to step in to ensure Californians’ God-given right to surf.

The State Lands Commission may use powers never employed in its 77-year history, seizing private land for public use to end a battle between surfers and billionaire venture-capital investor Vinod Khosla, who has been locking a gate at his beach property along California’s Pacific Coast.

“This is the route he’s chosen, and it’s unfortunate because certainly this is a property that hopefully can be available for those who want to come and enjoy it,” said Betty Yee, California’s controller and a commission member who would help make the eminent-domain decision. “My hope is that it can get resolved through negotiations.”

Khosla’s campaign to keep the public off the 89 acres he owns on the crescent-shaped coastline marks the latest salvo in an income-inequality battle in which long-time residents are being priced out by the San Francisco Bay Area’s technology elite. The influx of highly paid tech workers and wealthy executives has generated resentment among those already worried about the area’s soaring cost of living. “I live here, and I want to be able to bring my kids here,” said Krishneil Maharaj, a 35-year-old information technology project manager who recalled scattering his grandmother’s ashes at a family ceremony at the beach a decade ago. “I don’t think one man should be able to cut off access to this beautiful spot.”

No Easement Khosla, 59, has argued in court filings that the beach is privately owned, that there is no easement for the public to use the area and that development permits required by coastal regulations don’t apply to him. He wants to stop public access because it’s not economically
feasible to pay an attendant to collect parking fees and tend the beach, according to a 2009 filing with the San Mateo County Superior Court. Khosla, founder of a Menlo Park, California-based venture-capital firm, declined to comment on the possiblity of state action.

Jeff Essner and Dori Yob, attorneys at Hopkins & Carley representing Khosla in the beach dispute, didn’t return calls seeking comment. To try to resolve the impasse, officials last month invited Khosla to begin talks to sell the state a right of way on his $32.5 million property providing public access to and along Martins Beach, a popular surf spot about 33 miles (53 kilometers) south of San Francisco.


This entry was posted in colorado land, Farmland, Fay Ranches, Financial Advisor, Forestland, Private Wealth, Public Lands, Ranches, Recreational Land, Republic Ranches, Texas, Timberland, U.S. Farmland, Uncategorized, Water, Water rights, Wyoming. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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