On October 24th, 2013, Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald ruled that a billionaire land owner can legally block the only road into the Half Moon Bay sanction of Martin’s Beach. Although the public is still allowed to use the stretch of land, they must now get there by boat. The ruling marks a huge setback for the beach access movement.
Martin’s 5: Battle For The Beach is a short film created by The Inertia to join Surfrider Foundation‘s fight for public beach access at a gem surf spot in Northern California. Check out the documentary for more information:
Imagery provided by Jim Patterson Photography.
“The California Constitution specifically states that owners of beachfront property shall not prevent the public from having access to the beach … (but) that provision was swept to the side,” Redenbacher said. “I got an e-mail today from someone saying that now any rich guy can go and buy up all the land around a beach and exclude us poor people. That is, of course, what happened.”
The pyramid shaped rock at Martins Beach is an iconic symbol for Northern Californians. Photo: Martin’s 5: Battle For the Beach.
Judge Gerald Buchwald claims that the decision was based off of unusual circumstances, rooted in the land’s history that dates back to the 19th century. Because there was no public easement attached to the property when the United States acquired California from Mexico, the judge ruled that the California Constitution does not apply. A lot of complicated history and jargon led to one conclusion: The Supreme Court exempted the Martins Beach property from the California Law.
This battle is far from over. Surfrider is still waiting on their trial, slated for this spring, which contends that Khosla never sought or received the proper permits needed to block the road off of Highway 1.
Visit Surfrider Foundation to learn how to join the fight!