Dana Point Sues State to Keep Gates Locked to Headlands' Public-Access Paths

Remember all that crap flowing about guaranteeing public access to the magnificent Dana Point Headlands while plans were winding through the city and state for a gated community of 118
multimillion-dollar homes atop the bluff?

The operative word above is “bluff.”

The city of Dana Point, on behalf of developer Headlands
Reserve LLC, is suing the
California Coastal Commission in an effort to keep locks and posted hours on gates leading to Headlands' access paths to the public coastline.

Tony Barboza of the Los Angeles Times has the scoop. (Irony alert: the Chandler family, which previously owned the Times, were partners in Headlands development.)

dismayed to see the city act in a manner which is clearly not in the
public interest, which would truly be served by maximizing public access
for Dana Point residents and for visitors,” Angela Howe, managing
attorney for the Surfrider Foundation, tells Barboza.

The Coastal Commission approved The
Strand at Headlands in 2004 after concessions were made by the developer to ensure access. But locks, gates and signs appeared late last year after oceanfront lots
started selling for as much as $12 million, he reports. One pathway
sign reads, “Coastal Access (Limited to
Sidewalk): 8 a.m. -5 p.m.”

In March, the Dana Point City Council approved a “nuisance abatement
ordinance” ordering the nighttime closure of trails to the beach because
of a supposed increase in criminal activities in Strand Vista Park.

Commission staff warned the city that gates and signs that went up without first getting Coastal Commission approval were in violation of the Coastal Act. Commissioners earlier this month directed the
city to take them down and then apply for a
permit if it wanted them back up.

The city, which filed the suit on Monday, contends that the state
panel iss overstepping its authority by directing the
pathways through the property be opened pending the outcome of the permitting process.

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