Silicon Valley Billionaire Takes Case Over Public Beach Access to U.S. Supreme Court

Pelican Rock marks the north end of Martins Beach on the San Mateo County coast.  (Amy Standen/KQED)

Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a California appeals court decision ordering him to open an access road to Martins Beach, a popular recreational spot near Half Moon Bay.

On Thursday the co-founder of Sun Microsystems asked the court to let him keep the gates to the beach closed to the public.

The appeal challenges state law guaranteeing public access to beaches.

Coastal activists are worried that if the current court, which has been protective of private property rights, accepts the case, it could dismantle the California Coastal Act.

As the San Jose Mercury News reports:

Whether the court takes up the case is a question, but the powerful venture capitalist has hired a high-profile legal team to turn the battle over a San Mateo County beach into a fight over the future of California’s coastal laws.

His 151-page legal filing calls the case a “textbook physical invasion of private property.” It describes the Coastal Act, which was approved by voters in 1972 to ensure public access to the shoreline, as “Orwellian” for requiring property owners to obtain permits when they want to build homes or businesses along the California coastline.

You can read the full Mercury News online here.

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Here's Khosla's petition to the court ...

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