Billionaire blocks access to public beach in California

SFGate: "A San Mateo County judge allowed a wealthy oceanfront property owner [the beloved venture capitalist Vinod Khosla] to block public access to a beach that has been enjoyed for at least a century by fishermen, tourists, sunbathers, families and surfers. Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald ruled Thursday that a billionaire landowner can legally block the only road into the sandy Half Moon Bay haven known as Martins Beach." (Thanks, Matthew!)

Notable Replies

  1. Why bother being a billionaire if you can't press your judicial buddies into making it difficult for the hoi poloi to pollute your view?

  2. daneel says:

    Society shouldn't tolerate people like this. Private property laws are a joke. Take his house off him, turn him off his land and open it up to the public. Asshats shouldn't be allowed to hide behind the law. You should have to play nice with society or risk having your toys taken off you.

  3. Tim_W says:

    Sounds like an ideal location for a flash mob. OK internet, you know what to do...

  4. Easements are not a novel concept in US law, and almost always applies to situations where a lack of an easement would unduly burden a persons access to land to which they have the right to access. You are allowed to have private roads, but if that's the only realistic way for people to access land to which they have a right, you have to let them use it.

    This is pretty set in California law and wasn't in any way unknown to the guy when he bought the property. If you're buying property that blocks off the entirety of land based access to a public area, you have to create an easement that allows public access to their property. It does not necessarily need to be this specific road - if he wants to make THIS road private, fine. But he should need to create an easement elsewhere that can sustain the traffic of people desiring to use the beach if he wants to make this particular road private: Another group even volunteered to pay for and maintain the easement, so it's not like he has much of an excuse here.

    That he managed to weasel his way out of following the laws the rest of the people in this country have to follow isn't a reason to defend him by making spurious claims that those who expect the law to be upheld even when dealing with reach people simply "don't believe in private roads".

    This is about not letting assholes get away with establishing exclusive ownership over public land.

  5. IMB says:

    Eminent domain. This man's property is a blight to the common good of the rest of society and is a nuisance in blocking access to a public beach.

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