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

dpheadlands.jpg
Keep off!
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.)

"We're 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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