Public Access at Hollister Ranch:
Please Email the Coastal Commission
Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association (HROA) and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) have formulated a wildly imperfect settlement that seeks to resolves a long-standing dispute about public access to a portion of the Ranch. It’s a very long story, stretching back to 1973 with a changing cast of characters, but always a firm resolve by the HROA to thwart the public’s ability to gain appropriate public access to the coastal portion of the Ranch.
The settlement has been agreed to by the HROA and the CCC, but awaits judicial approval that will involve a hearing in Santa Barbara Superior Court on July 23, 2018.
In the meantime, the CCC will accept public testimony about the settlement. This is your opportunity to express your opinion.
Please send a brief email by 5 pm on Friday, July 6,
to the CA Coastal Commission at Hollister@coastal.ca.gov
- The Commission should withdraw approval of the settlement as it fails to reflect the objectives of the Coastal Act and the desires of the broad public.
- Why has public access at Hollister Ranch, as clearly intended by the Legislature, been blocked for 35 years?
- The settlement disregards the interest of the general public. Those without the financial resources of an owner and/or the physical capacity to land on the beach from the ocean will be unable to make use of the beach.
- The settlement provides very limited access to the general public, i.e., access to the sand above the mean high tide to the bluff toe over the 3880 feet of Cuarto Beach. The public’s access to this “dry sand” is hazardous, as it is only accessible through the surf after of voyage of 2 miles from Gaviota State Park.
- The limited increase of a maximum of 480 individuals per year to Cuarto Beach through a Ranch-managed access program will be paid for by public funds earmarked for the realization of the CA Coastal Trail and beach access at the Ranch. The settlement allows for the inappropriate use of public money.
- The parties to this agreement (CA Coastal Commission and Hollister Ranch Owners Association) explicitly tried to exclude the public from commenting or participating in the settlement when it was clear that the public has a strong interest in the matter.
- An important easement for access across the first 3.5 miles of the Ranch will be waived in the settlement.
Please take our Hollister Ranch Survey
Here are the main elements of the settlement:
- Allows the public to use a 3,880 foot section of dry coastal sand (we already have the right to the wet sand) that can be accessed only by sea after a 2 mile voyage from Gaviota State Park, braving the gale force winds of Gaviota Canyon and the surf of the Ranch.
- Uses public money collected over decades that is intended to be spent on the Coastal Trail and coastal access, for Hollister Ranch expenses in bringing 480 school children and 400 underserved or disabled individuals per year onto the Ranch in a managed access program.
- Voids potential road access for up to 50 people/day to 3.5 miles of the Ranch access road.
- Creates a “poison pill” that eliminates the modest benefits of the settlement if condemnation is ever undertaken to secure an easement for the trail.
- Sets a very bad precedent.
Very little is gained by the public and much is precluded.
You can review the emails submitted a https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2018/7 to gain a sense of the broad statewide opposition to this settlement; scroll down a page to item #5 “Hollister Ranch” and click on “Correspondence”.
While on that web page if you click on “Hollister Ranch” you will find the staff report providing background and a summary of the settlement. The “Exhibits” page provides maps of the Ranch and photos of Cuarto Canyon, the site of the access under consideration.
You can attend the Coastal Commission meeting and speak directly to the Commissioners on Friday July 13, at the Scotts Valley Hilton, 6001 La Madrona Drive, in Scotts Valley. The item is first on the agenda and will be heard about 9:30.
You can view a real time video of the meeting at http://www.cal-span.org/.
This is an historic moment to inform the Commission of the public’s objection to a settlement that will void appropriate public access at Hollister Ranch, potentially forever.