Judge Issues Ruling Granting Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance Intervention in Hollister Ranch Public Access Settlement
Hearing on Fairness of Settlement Agreement Postponed until November 19, 2018 at 1:30 PM
SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Honorable Judge Colleen Sterne issued a ruling allowing community groups to intervene in the Hollister Ranch access case. (The SB Independent has the background story). The ruling states that “the court would benefit from having the participation of the GCTA in presenting views on fairness that are not now being presented by the State Defendants or by plaintiffs.” (Ruling, Pappas v. California Coastal Conservancy, Santa Barbara County Superior Court #1417388 for hearing on Monday August 27, 2018, page 8 of 9).
“The Court recognizes the importance of public access to the State’s lands by Hollister Ranch, and the role that community organizations have in advocating for these rights” explained Marc Chytilo, one of GCTA’s attorneys. “The public has a right to enjoy the wet sand beaches at Hollister Ranch as much as anyone else. These are rights that were reserved at statehood in 1848. Hollister residents and their chosen guests have enjoyed near-exclusive access to state tidelands and marine resources for nearly 40 years, but the public has an equal right to enjoy these state lands. The California Constitution guarantees public access to Hollister Ranch.”
The Court will finalize its ruling on GCTA’s intervention on Monday August 27 at 9:30 at a hearing in Judge Sterne’s courtroom in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. In the tentative ruling, the Judge identified a number of issues she wants the parties to provide argument on, and postponed the “Fairness Hearing” until November 19, 2018, at 1:30. Previously, that hearing was set for September 10.
Underlying the intervention is a proposed Settlement Agreement between the Hollister Ranch Owners Association, a class including all 578 owners of lands at Hollister Ranch, the California Coastal Commission and the State Coastal Conservancy. Under that proposed Settlement Agreement, the State would waive its rights under certain easements and/or licenses that exist from an Offer to Dedicate accessways from a 1982 Coastal permit issued to the YMCA of Los Angeles.
The proposed Settlement Agreement was approved by the State defendants privately in closed session, and when the terms were announced, an immediate public outcry arose. Nearly 2000 public comments have been submitted to the Coastal Commission objecting to the proposed settlement, but the only way to stop the Settlement is by intervening in the
The Alliance heeds the words of the Coastal Commission’s former Executive Director, Peter Douglas. “The coast is never saved. The coast is always being saved.”
Members of the public that support this effort are encouraged to visit the Gaviota Coast Conservancy website and make a contribution to achieve public access to Hollister Ranch.
For more info, please contact Marc Chytilo, Law Office of Marc Chytilo, 805-682-0585, Attorney to the Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance
Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance
Gaviota Coast Conservancy • Santa Barbara County Trails Council •
COASTWALK / California Coastal Trail Association • California Coastal Protection