BY MATTHEW NIKSA
Daily Post Correspondent
The gate to Martins Beach, south of Half Moon Bay, remains locked but people looking to enter it will not be cited for trespassing, a spokesman at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said yesterday (Aug. 18).
Billionaire Vinod Khosla bought a $37.5 million beachfront property surrounding the beach in 2008. The co-founder of Sun Microsystems has kept the beach closed from the public since September 2009, when he locked the gate to the only road to the shore and posted a “no trespassing” sign.
Sheriff’s Detective Salvador Zuno said that the sheriff’s office is not enforcing trespassing laws, which in most cases is charged as a misde- meanor offense in California, because people have a legal right to access the beach. “Until this matter is resolved in court, we will not be issuing trespassing (citations),” Zuno said.
The Surfrider Association, an environmental group, sued Khosla in San Mateo County Superior Court in 2014 for restricting public access to the beach.
The court ruled that the gate “must be unlocked and open to the same extent that it was unlocked and open at the time (Khosla) purchased the property.” Khosla appealed the decision. A state appeals court last week ordered Khosla to reopen the beach immediately.
Yet Khosla is keeping the gate to the beach locked apparently because he is taking the case to California Supreme Court, according to Eric Buescher, an attorney for the Surfrider Association.
Khosla has contended that his two beach management companies, Martins Beach 1 and Martins Beach 2, do not need to follow the court order while they are appealing the decision, according to Buescher.
Zuno said the sheriff’s office has not charged beachgoers with trespassing since last year, the same time the case was being heard in appeals court. He said he has not received any complaints from Khosla, Martins Beach 1 or Martins Beach 2.
“For now, we welcome access to the beach,” Zuno said. “All we ask is that people respect the surrounding property.”