Beachfront access may have to come by means of eminent domain

The beach is a popular destination for both California residents and visitors. It doesn't really matter what season it is; even just a walk along the water's edge can be a relaxing experience. Many people have their favorite spots that they have visited for years. However, as property changes hands, it is possible that what was once one's favorite spot is no longer open for public use. Such a situation is a current topic with the State Lands Commission that is currently looking into ways such as eminent domain to open up such access for the public.

In 2008, tech billionaire Vinod Khosla acquired almost 90 acres in an area known as Martins Beach. According to report, this beachfront property had previously been open for public use. However, upon purchasing the property, Khosla apparently locked the gate and placed security guards on site to keep the public out. He claims that this part of the beach is now private property.

One state senator has recently introduced a bill that would allow the State Lands Commission to establish a fund to be used to acquire access to this part of the beach. Specifically, a little over 6 acres of land has been targeted. The use of eminent domain has been mentioned as one possible method.

Of particular concern in this situation and others like it is the conflict between a California land owner's rights and the public's right to continued access. When this happens, eminent domain is one method of resolving the problem. This is not a situation which will likely be easily resolved. In a situation such as this one, it is likely that the matter will make its way through the California legal system.

Source:, "California moving to seize public beach closed off by tech billionaire", Angela Hart, June 19, 2017

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