Gov. Newsom signs bill to open pristine beaches, surf spots to the public
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Wednesday that would open Hollister Ranch, a 14,400-acre piece of private property in Santa Barbara County that includes about 8.5 miles of shoreline, to the public.
Before the passage of AB1680, the 8.5 miles of California coastline were accessible only to surfers and divers from the water. The new law requires the State Coastal Conservancy, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the State Lands Commission and property owners to work together to allow access to the beach from land by April 1, 2022.
Any attempt "by a private person or entity to impede, delay, or otherwise obstruct the implementation of the public access," is now, according to the law, a crime.
“No matter your ZIP Code, all Californians deserve a chance to enjoy our public parks and beaches. Hollister Ranch is no exception,” Assemblywoman Monique Limón, a Democrat representing Santa Barbara who wrote the bill, told the Los Angeles Times.
The fight to open Hollister Ranch dates back decades. According to the California Coastal Commission, there was a plan to open the beaches to the public, with daily caps on visitors, created back in 1982. However, the plan was never implemented.
Monte Ward, president of the Hollister Ranch Owners Association, told the Times the group plans to fight the law in court. He believe that it will ultimately be found unconstitutional.