The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla to weigh in on the long-running battle over Martins Beach in San Mateo County, turning down a case that could have rewritten coastal access laws in California and across the United States.
Khosla, in his petition for the nation’s highest court, had argued that the California Coastal Commission violated his property rights by requiring him to obtain a permit before he could legally padlock the gates to a private road to the beach south of Half Moon Bay.
Monday, after losing his fourth legal challenge on the issue, Khosla conceded he will apply for the permit. But he vowed further lawsuits if the commission does not rule in his favor.
Advocates for opening the beach rejoiced at Monday’s latest turn in a saga that has drawn national attention and tested the limits of California’s laws that protect the public’s right to access the state’s beaches.
“The most conservative and divided Supreme Court in my lifetime confirmed that even a billionaire, who refuses to acknowledge that the law applies to him, and retains the most expensive attorneys he can find, cannot create a private beach,” said attorney Joe Cotchett of Burlingame, who represents the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit group that has won lower cases forcing Khosla to keep the beach open.
“Beaches are public in California, and the immensely wealthy must comply with the Coastal Act just like everyone else.” See more...