California Intent on Public Access for Beach in Ritzy Enclave

(CN) – In no uncertain terms, members of the California Coastal Commission put property owners in a wealthy enclave north of Los Angeles on notice that their days of blocking the public from accessing an 8-mile stretch of pristine coast will soon be over.

“In America and California, we have private property rights but we don’t have private areas that are set aside just for the elite to recreate,” said Commissioner Mark Vargas during a hearing in Newport Beach on Friday. “This coast belongs to everybody and this commission and this agency fully intends to restore public access.”

Hollister Ranch is an approximately 14,000-acre subdivision created in the early 1970s in Santa Barbara County, consisting of about 135 parcels of 100 acres each. The subdivision – which features several notable wealthy residents including James Cameron, Yvon Chouinard and Jackson Brown – has a robust security gate which not only prevents public access to the subdivision but blocks access to an 8-mile stretch of coastline adjacent to the ranch.

“This is the least accessible coastline in California,” said Sarah Christie, the legislative director for the California Coastal Commission, during the hearing.

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