Nine years after he bought an 89-acre parcel near Martins Beach in San Mateo County, California, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla appears to have given up on his battle to block public access to the shore.
Khosla was found to be in violation of the California Coastal Act when, in 2009, he began locking a gate to a road that leads down to a parking lot on the beach. Khosla reportedly paid $ 37.5 million for a beach-adjacent property in 2008, and the path that provides access to Martins Beach passes through land he owns. Khosla, who runs his own firm, Khosla Ventures, and is a cofounder of Sun Microsystems, has an estimated net worth of $ 2.1 billion.
By ruling that Khosla must open Martins Beach to the public in August, California’s First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a 2014 ruling by the San Mateo County Superior Court. The Surfrider Foundation had originally filed suit against Khosla in March 2013.
According to The Mercury News, Khosla’s attorneys told the California Coastal Commission that the gate would be open for limited hours, or “certain days from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” in the words of commission spokesperson Noaki Schwartz. The commission had threatened to fine Khosla more than $ 11,000 a day if he did not comply.
Access to the beachfront parking lot has been blocked sporadically for years, but visitors have still been able to get onto the beach by walking around the locked gate. Now that you can drive down there — albeit during limited hours — beachgoers will get quite a treat. Here’s what it looks like:
Beach access is a hot topic in a culture as tied to the ocean as California, and Martins Beach is a particularly beloved spot.
The beach has long been a well-known fishing spot and family picnic destination.
It’s also popular within the surfing community. The surf team from a local high school once held their practices here, and Jeff Clark, the surfing pioneer known for discovering the giant waves now known as Mavericks, used to come here as a child.