A legislative push to force the billionaire owner of Martin’s Beach to reopen public access to the strip of beach or face eminent domain is likely getting some local support by county supervisors at the urging of Supervisor Don Horsley whose district includes the controversial site south of Half Moon Bay.
At Tuesday morning’s board meeting, Horsley will introduce a resolution supporting a bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, that requires the State Lands Commission to negotiate with owner Vinod Khosla over reopening the public access road. If no deal is met by Jan. 1, 2016, the state could grab a piece of the property through eminent domain for a public road, according to Hill’s bill.
At the same time local supervisors are weighing support of Hill’s bill, the proposed legislation is being heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
In his report to fellow board members, Horsley cites Hill’s saying that “the public and local residents have been deprived of this national treasure for long enough.”
The board’s anticipated approval carries no legal weight but adds a showing of support to the bill which is already backed by the Surfrider Foundation, the Committee for Green Foothills and the California Coastal Commission.
Horsley and members of these groups joined Hill in February at Martin’s Beach Road to announce his proposed Senate Bill 968.
Hill contends the state constitution guarantees public access to thousands of miles of coastline include Martin’s Beach.
Khosla bought the 53-acre parcel in 2008 and closed Martin’s Beach to the public, sparking national news when a group of surfers were cited for trespassing and became advocates for coastal access. Prior to the purchase, the family owning the land charged visitors $5 for access and parking at the beach.
Two lawsuits stemming from the Martin’s Beach closure are pending.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 8 in Board Chambers, 400 County Government Center, Redwood City.