SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (KPIX 5) — A turf war is heating up in Santa Cruz County over a huge piece of seaside property up for sale that includes a gorgeous secluded beach that’s nearly impossible for the public to reach.
KPIX 5 reporter Devin Fehely was able to get a bird’s eye view of the 175-acre Coastside Ranch with Skydrone 5.
It is probably the most beautiful beach you’ve never heard of and almost certainly have never stepped foot on.
“It’s the last private beach in the county,” said Executive Director to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County Stephen Slade. “And no matter how many beaches we have, the public wants greater access because they love the beach. They love to surf.”
The problem is the route from Highway 1 to the beach requires crossing 175-acres of private farmland. The limited access makes the Red White and Blue Beach as it’s known a secluded and secret gem.
“The ocean and the beach is something I feel that everyone should be able to access. It’s America and people have rights,” said tourist Sarah Townley
The property is currently for sale on the Sotheby’s website for $35 million.
The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County wants to buy the property and has made an offer of roughly half the current asking price. But the land trust is worried it could be snapped up by a private investor for whom public access is simply not a priority.
“The notion that you can have a private beach and build any fantasy house you want is not really true in California,” said Slade.
One of the owners of the property initially agreed to and later declined a request for an interview, concerned with the potential for a public backlash over a breathtaking stretch of beach simultaneously so close and yet so far away.
“I feel like we can always strike a balance where people’s property is respected and yet the public can have access to what we all have a right to have access to,” said another tourist.
The land is owned by several members of the same family. The courts have appointed a mediator to help guide them through the sale. The Coastal Commission would likely have to weigh in on any future developments on the site.