California regulators weigh public access to gated beach - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

California regulators weigh public access to gated beach

(Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP). This Aug. 31, 2016, photo shows a staircase from Opal Cliffs Park that leads to Opal Cliffs Neighborhood Beach, more commonly known as Privates, in the Live Oak neighborhood of an unincorporated part of Santa Cru... (Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP). This Aug. 31, 2016, photo shows a staircase from Opal Cliffs Park that leads to Opal Cliffs Neighborhood Beach, more commonly known as Privates, in the Live Oak neighborhood of an unincorporated part of Santa Cru...
(Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP). This Aug. 31, 2016, photo shows the gate to Opal Cliffs Park that leads to Opal Cliffs Neighborhood Beach, more commonly known as Privates surf break, in the Live Oak neighborhood of an unincorporated part of San... (Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel via AP). This Aug. 31, 2016, photo shows the gate to Opal Cliffs Park that leads to Opal Cliffs Neighborhood Beach, more commonly known as Privates surf break, in the Live Oak neighborhood of an unincorporated part of San...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - The California Coastal Commission was set to decide Thursday whether access to a secluded beach can be restricted by a 9-foot iron fence, a locking gate with a $100 annual key fee and a gate attendant.

The commission will vote on whether the resident-run program that has regulated access to Privates Beach south of San Jose for more than 50 years is allowed to continue, the Los Angeles Times reported .

Santa Cruz County regulators first allowed residents of a winding road dotted with multimillion-dollar homes near the beach to install the gate and issued keys to control access to it in 1963.

But the commission now will take into account a new state law that asks it to consider not only environmental effects but also the impact of its decisions on underrepresented communities.

"It's like a private beach club," said Patrick Veesart, who oversees enforcement of the state's coastal law in Northern California. "You're using money to filter out people who are not local, who don't live in multimillion-dollar homes right by the ocean. . This is a case that could set really bad precedents."

The Opal Cliffs Recreation District rebuilt the wooden stairs leading to the secluded beach and cleaned trash and graffiti from the area that was a popular spot for parties.

The commission's decision comes as high-powered interests across the state are fighting to keep beaches to themselves.

At Hollister Ranch, the public was outraged that coastal officials quietly agreed to give up their only shot at public land access after a decades-long battle with wealthy owners. At Martins Beach, a Silicon Valley billionaire is trying to bring his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opal Cliffs residents say they have been unfairly lumped together with the billionaires as the commission focuses on environmental justice.

"They're chasing ghosts and fighting a problem that doesn't exist," said Mark Massara, a coastal advocate who fought against the Martins Beach owner and is now representing the Opal Cliffs Recreation District. "The commission has enormous social justice issues up and down the coast - this isn't one of them."

With the gate's future in limbo, the district has taken steps to appease its critics. It began opening the beach free of charge last year from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Judge, calm in court, takes hard line on splitting families

    Judge, calm in court, takes hard line on splitting families

    Sunday, July 22 2018 11:29 AM EDT2018-07-22 15:29:26 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 9:51 PM EDT2018-07-23 01:51:07 GMT
    U. S. District Judge Dana Sabraw went well beyond the American Civil Liberties Union's initial request to stop families from being separated at the border by imposing a deadline of Thursday to reunify more than...
    U. S. District Judge Dana Sabraw went well beyond the American Civil Liberties Union's initial request to stop families from being separated at the border by imposing a deadline of Thursday to reunify more than 2,500 children with their families.
  • Gunman in Trader Joe's standoff was feuding with grandmother

    Gunman in Trader Joe's standoff was feuding with grandmother

    Sunday, July 22 2018 8:49 AM EDT2018-07-22 12:49:27 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 9:50 PM EDT2018-07-23 01:50:29 GMT
    (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Los Angeles Police SWAT officers escort a group of people who were held for their safety by police across businesses surrounding a Trader Joe's supermarket, after a gunman held dozens of people hostage inside the store bef...(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes). Los Angeles Police SWAT officers escort a group of people who were held for their safety by police across businesses surrounding a Trader Joe's supermarket, after a gunman held dozens of people hostage inside the store bef...

    Police say they're trying to determine what prompted a man to shoot his grandmother and then run into a busy Los Angeles supermarket and hold dozens of people hostage for hours.

    Police say they're trying to determine what prompted a man to shoot his grandmother and then run into a busy Los Angeles supermarket and hold dozens of people hostage for hours.

  • Hawaii town hopes lava tourism will bring economic relief

    Hawaii town hopes lava tourism will bring economic relief

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:20 AM EDT2018-07-19 05:20:43 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 9:21 PM EDT2018-07-23 01:21:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File). FILE - This Sept. 8, 2014 file photo shows downtown Pahoa, Hawaii. The small, rural town of Pahoa is the gateway to the eruption pouring rivers of lava out of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano. Historic wooden buildings lining it...(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File). FILE - This Sept. 8, 2014 file photo shows downtown Pahoa, Hawaii. The small, rural town of Pahoa is the gateway to the eruption pouring rivers of lava out of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano. Historic wooden buildings lining it...
    Authorities in Hawaii want to set up a site where the public can view lava erupting from Kilauea volcano.
    Authorities in Hawaii want to set up a site where the public can view lava erupting from Kilauea volcano.
Powered by Frankly