The long, hard battle to gain public access to Martin’s Beach is heating up of late as a bill introduced last year in the California State Senate gains steam. The bill, introduced last December by Sen. Jerry Hill, D- San Mateo, would allow State Lands Commission to direct $1 million into a new fund that will be used intentionally to gain back the land that was denied to the public by tech billionaire Vinod Khosla.
Back in 2008, Martin’s Beach was deemed inaccessible due to Khosla’s dramatic purchase of about 90 acres of beachfront property. The public and advocacy groups have filed numerous lawsuits, complaints and everything in between in an effort to restore public access to the beach. Vinod Khosla has fought back, asking a ridiculous $30 million from California for access to his private playground of coastal beauty.
Khosla had previously argued that the beach was private property, but no longer. If passed, the legislation would use eminent domain to take control of 6.4 acres in hopes to restore public access, so that beachgoers, fishermen, and surfers can enjoy the crystal beauty beach once again.
Currently, the State Lands Commission cannot use public funds under the auspices of the Land Bank Fund to expropriate private property with compensation for public use. SB 42 would create a “Martin’s Beach Subaccount” in the fund for the express purpose of creating public access to the beach. It would be supported by public, private, and non-profit donations.