Martins Beach Reopens After Five Years

Access to a popular stretch of San Mateo County beach that's been off limits to the public since 2010 is open for the summer season. The beach is public, but the only road to get there is private.

On Monday, the state will gather public input about Martin's Beach near Half Moon Bay. The aim of the meeting is to create a plan about the beach's visiting hours, parking fees, and other information.

Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay has been the subject of a lengthy lawsuit between the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation and property owner Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who is also a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

Khosla purchased the 53-acre property for $37.5 million in 2008. Two years later, he closed the gate on the only access road to the beach, which had previously been open to the public in exchange for a parking fee.

In the lawsuit, the Surfrider Foundation argued that the closure constituted a form of coastal development, or change, as defined by the California Coastal Act of 1976.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach agreed in September and upheld her decision upon appeal in December, ordering the gate to be reopened.

San Jose Mercury News noted that public access to the beach via the parking gate has been erratic since it opened, but the person collecting the $10 fee for parking told the publication that it should be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. "most days" this summer.

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