Landowners Restrict Access to California Beach

A homeowners group has successfully moved to severely limit public access to the beaches of Hollister Ranch, a 14,500-acre parcel to the west of Santa Barbara.

1 minute read

June 1, 2018, 8:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Point Dume

Tupungato / Shutterstock

In a blow for California coastal access advocates, the Hollister Ranch Owners Association has secured a settlement blocking most public access to a significant stretch of California coastline. Rosanna Xia writes, "The settlement — signed by the California State Coastal Conservancy and the state Coastal Commission on one side and the Hollister Ranch Owners Assn. on the other — grants the public a roughly three-quarter-mile section of beach, accessible only by ocean 'via surfboard, paddleboard, kayak or soft-bottom boat.'"

"The settlement comes at a time when high-powered interests across California are fighting the state's landmark Coastal Act, which declares that access to the beach is a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone." The Coastal Act has been under siege from real estate interests for many years.

Hollister Ranch landowners, Xia writes, have "infamously kept the public at bay with a guard shack, gates and security patrols." While advocates from organizations like the California Coastal Protection Network believe the public wasn't properly consulted prior to the settlement, "landowners have contended that letting the public in could spoil the ranch's coastline and undo years of effort to protect the environment."

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