This way to the beach: Supreme Court won’t hear billionaire’s appeal to close beach path

Vinod Khosla will now have to apply for permit to prevent access

Vinod Khosla and the California coast (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Vinod Khosla and the California coast (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court has refused to hear a tech billionaire’s appeal to overturn a ruling that gives public access to a path running through his coastal property.

Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, will now have to apply for a permit to close the road leading to Martin’s Beach, a popular surfing spot, according to the New York Times. Khosla has said he never actually wanted to win this court battle but was only fighting the case on principle to make a point about private property rights.

“If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I’d be depressed about it,” he previously said. “I support the Coastal Act; I don’t want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important.”

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California’s 1976 Coastal Act made public beach access a right in the state.

Khosla bought a 53-acre hillside with about 47 cottages on the Northern California coast soon after 2008, and decided not to leave the gate to Martin’s Beach open, unlike the previous owners. This sparked a lengthy battle, including the arrest of five surfers in 2012.

Dori Yob Kilmer, Khosla’s lawyer, told the Times in a statement that the ruling was still an intrusion on the rights of a private business owner. They will apply for a permit now, but the issue may not be totally settled.

“If denied, we will start this process over again,” she said. [NYT]  – Eddie Small