Ontario Ridge Trail Cease and Desist Order

From ActCoastal

Month July
Year 2014
Summary The Commission heard a Cease and Desist Order regarding illegal fencing, gates, and no trespassing signs blocking public access at Ontario Ridge Trail. This heavily visited hiking trail on the San Luis Obispo County coast, has been used for over 50 years to access a popular beach cove and a county park. The Ontario Ridge Trail transverses a private property, yet the trail has “prescriptive rights” dating back to the 1960s. Currently there are only two ways to access the beach—either drive to County Park lot, or hike along the Ontario Ridge Trail. The County of San Luis Obispo acquired two easements to facilitate public access and codify prescriptive rights. Some of the unpermitted fencing is located directly on the County easement. Despite the public having the clear right to utilize the trail, the fences are illegally keeping the public off the beach.
Outcome Green Dot.png
Outcome Description The private landowners claimed they constructed the fences to improve public safety. Responding to this claim, Commissioner Shallenberger emphasized the public's prescriptive rights to access the beach and made this poignant remark: “It’s not up to private property owners to decide what is safe, or not safe, for the public.” The entire Commission rejected the safety argument and unanimously directed the homeowners to remove all unpermitted fences, gates, and signs. The Commission largely based their decision on the fact that the fencing not only violates the Coastal Act, but also circumvents the Local Coastal Plan (LCP), since structures cannot obstruct views or impede access to tidelands.
Why You Should Care Coastal access is a core value of the Coastal Act. Both the County and the Commission have repeatedly notified the landowners that their barriers violated the law and needed to be removed. Despite these warnings, the landowners flagrantly dismissed the law (again) and erected more barriers and signs. Commissioner Howell surmised the egregious actions by saying: “Violations like this are exactly why we need the Coastal Commission.”
Image Ontario-ridge-2-300x168.jpg
Decision Type Cease and Desist Order
Staff Recommendation Issue Cease and Desist Order
Staff Report
Lobbyist/Agent Gregory Sanders of Nossaman LLP and Dave Watson
Opposition to Project
Coastal Act Policies 30001.5, 30210, 30211, 30251, 30530-31 LCP Polices: Chapter 23.10

Voting Detail for Ontario Ridge Trail Cease and Desist Order

Individual vote detail for Issue: Ontario Ridge Trail Cease and Desist Order
Jana ZimmerGood Vote
Erik HowellGood Vote
Wendy MitchellGood Vote
Carole GroomGood Vote
Steve KinseyGood Vote
Martha McClureGood Vote
Effie Turnbull-SandersGood Vote
Greg CoxGood Vote
Mark VargasGood Vote
Mary K. ShallenbergerGood Vote
Dayna BochcoGood Vote by Alternate
Dr. Robert GarciaGood Vote by Alternate

Meeting Page

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