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Public encouraged to attend workshop for Hollister Ranch coastal access plan

Planning is underway to open access to beaches on Hollister Ranch

The Central Coast community is invited to weigh in on a plan for opening access to 8.5 miles of shoreline located on privately-owned Hollister Ranch in Gaviota. An online public workshop is scheduled for October 14, 2021.

Hollister Ranch is a privately-owned, gated subdivision and cattle ranch located on the Gaviota coast. Currently, there is no public access to the six beaches by land except at low tide or with special permission from homeowners. But, in California, all beaches are public up to what’s called the ambulatory mean high tideline – a measurement used to define where land and water intersect

In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation AB 1680 (Limón) requiring an updated plan for public access to the beaches on Hollister Ranch.

“We’d like to hear from a lot of people, this affects at least the whole county and the greater Central Coast and the inland areas, people all deserve the right to come and use their state tidelands,” said Linda Locklin, California Coastal Commission.

Locklin is on the committee tasked with finding an equitable solution for public access, along with representatives from the Coastal Conservancy, Department of Parks and Recreation, and the State Lands Commission.

The committee presented a draft program in June that proposed phased-in access over time, starting with 100 guided visitors per day then increasing based on safety and environmental assessments. Transportation, trails, and infrastructure needs are detailed in the draft.

On October 14 at 9:00am, the committee will present the latest version of the program in an online workshop. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and offer feedback.

“We will do about a 30-minute presentation. The public, of course, will be invited to speak – that’s really what we want, to make sure that the public attends,” Locklin said.

Locklin said this workshop will not include a vote on the program. A vote will take place at a later date, most likely in early 2022.

For more information about the Hollister Ranch coastal access program workshop, go to the California Coastal Commission website. Speakers must register before 8:30am on October 14, 2021.

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She was a 2021 Data Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and has contributed to KQED's statewide radio show The California Report.
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