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Fate Of Martins Beach In Judge’s Hands— Will Decide If Public Can Access Private Land

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(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

REDWOOD CITY (KCBS)— A San Mateo County Superior Court judge will decide the future of whether or not the public will be able to access a privately-owned beach that was bought in 2008 and eventually fenced off.

Attorneys gave their closing arguments Wednesday before the judge, Barbara Mallach, in the case where the Surfrider Foundation took on tech-billionaire and Martin’s Beach-owner, Vinod Khosla; saying he’s in violation of the California Coastal Act by closing off access to the popular beach, which he did in 2011.

Khosla believes that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects his rights as a property owner to do as he pleases with his land that sits just a few miles south of Half Moon Bay.

His attorneys argued his right is also affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court and that the California Coastal Commission and San Mateo County practiced “extortion” by attempting to dictate terms of public access.

Fate Of Martins Beach In Judge’s Hands— Will Decide If Public Can Access Private Land

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Surfrider Foundation lawyers told the judge that Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, must ask the Coastal Commission’s approval to close off the beach.

“Today I’m saying tear down that lock on that gate and let the public citizens go down as they have for 75 years,” said attorney Joseph Cotchett.

Khosla’s attorney Jeffrey Essner declined to make any statement to the media.

The judge could render her decision within 60 days.

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