SANTA CRUZ — A neighborhood group rejected a potential compromise that would have allowed public access to a gated beach popular with surfers and nudists that it charges a fee to use. The group said it's willing to take the fight to court instead.
Santa Cruz County officials first allowed the Opal Cliffs Recreation District to manage the beach that leads to a sandy cove in Opal Cliffs Park 69 years ago, and it put up a fence and began charging an entrance fee by 1963.
Elected volunteers who run the group have since installed a 9-foot iron fence, hired guards and charge $100 a year to enter so-called Privates Beach near a winding road dotted with multimillion-dollar homes.
The California Coastal Commission proposed changes in line with a new state law that asks it to consider not only environmental effects but also the impact of its decisions on underrepresented communities.
The neighborhood group on Wednesday withdrew an application for the commission to approve the gate and fee, saying it didn't agree with commission staffers' recommendations for free year-round access from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset and replacing the gate with a fence no taller than 6 feet, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.