San Mateo County Judge Rules Against Billionaire Vinod Khosla In Martin’s Beach Dispute

HALF MOON BAY (CBS SF) — A judge in San Mateo County Superior Court has ruled against a billionaire landowner who blocked acccess to a popular Peninsula beach, saying he violated the California Coastal Act.

In a decision handed down on Wednesday, Judge Barbara Mallach ruled in favor of the Surfrider Foundation and said Vinod Khosla’s failure to obtain a Coastal Development Permit before he closed off the only access road to the beach in 2011 was illegal.

The beach was open to the public for about 100 years. Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, bought the 53-acre parcel of land that included the access road in 2008.

“Today’s decision is a huge victory for all of the people of California. It affirms that great wealth cannot be used to circumvent and ignore the law. Everyone can again visit Martin’s Beach,” said attorney Joe Cotchett, who represented the plaintiffs.

A statement from Khosla’s Martin’s Beach LLC said, “We are disappointed with the Courts decision and will consider our options for appealing the ruling.”

“We will continue to seek protection of the constitutional rights of private property owners that are guaranteed by the US and California Constitutions and that have long been upheld by the United States and California Supreme Courts,” the statement read.

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