South Orange County

Strands Beach Access

Victory |

Beach Access

Strands Gate

In March 2010, the Dana Point City Council voted to maintain limited public access hours to the mid-Strands Vista gated accessway between 8am-5pm. South Orange County Surfrider supports the California Coastal Commission’s view that these hours are unnecessarily strict and violate the California Coastal Act.

In June 2011, the Superior Court of San Diego ruled that the City of Dana Point’s reasons for limiting access hours were unfounded. They were ordered to take down the gates and apply for a coastal development permit. A 14 day Writ of Mandate was formally served to the city on August 9th, 2011. The city continued to ignore the public’s interest in regard to beach access, not to mention expended several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees.

Then on Thursday, June 20th, 2013 the Honorable Terry O’Rourke and Cynthia Aaron of the Appellate Court concluded that the Coastal Commission has the authority for oversight of beach access at Strands Beach. This effectively means that if the City of Dana Point continues to fail to open the locked gates and expand the restrictive access hours for Strands Beach, the Coastal Commission can take an enforcement action.

Since the rulings the City of Dana Point has tried to hide these facts from public knowledge, while the gate continues limited hours, restricting public access to the beach. We urge residents of Dana Point and the surrounding area to voice their opposition to limited access hours by signing the petition and contacting council members directly. Come to the Dana Point City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 16th at 6 p.m. and speak to the council directly. You can also join the Strandgate page on Facebook! Share this with your friends and neighbors!

Finally, in April 2016, the City and Coastal Commission reached a settlement agreement to end the six years of litigation on this issue and open ample beach access at the Strand once and for all.  The terms of the Settlement Agreement provide the ample beach access that Surfrider has been requesting throughout this battle.  The agreement settles the hours and gates on the controversial Central and Mid-Strands access ways. The settlement ensures that there will be access from 5am until 10pm on the Mid-Strand and Central Strand accessways, which were at the heart of the controversy.  Also, the gate at the Mid-Strand accessway must be either removed altogether or locked open 24 hours per day.  Other access areas must be open 24 hours per day. In addition, the City has agreed to up to $300,000 worth of mitigation to settle the years of Coastal Act violations that this beach access issue has implicated. 

Beach Access

Our beaches mean so much to us. They are where we live, where we work, and where we come to play. Our beaches are the entryway to our ocean and we believe that beaches should be accessible to everyone. This is why our network of staff experts, volunteers, and members are determined to keep our beaches accessible for all to enjoy.

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