Coastal Commission appeals ruling over vehicles on Oceano Dunes

August 11, 2023


The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday appealed a trial court ruling that the commission overstepped its authority when it voted to phase out off-road vehicle usage at the Oceano Dunes by 2025. The commission opposition to San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Tana Coates’ decision will head to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

In March 2021, the Coastal Commission voted unanimously to phase out off-road vehicle usage at the Oceano Dunes over three years and to close the Pier Avenue entrance by July 1, 2022. At the time, commissioners argued vehicle usage at the dunes harms the environment and does not comply with the California Coastal Act. The commissioners cited environmental justice as a justification for closing the park to vehicles.

Friends of Oceano Dunes, a nonprofit that represents approximately 28,000 supporters of off-road recreation, filed a suit arguing the commission overstepped its legislative authority and violated due process. The judge agreed and ordered the commission to vacate its order regarding vehicle use at the dunes at its next meeting.

“The court finds that in permanently prohibiting all off-highway vehicles in the Oceano Dunes State Recreational Area, the Coastal Communion acted ‘without, or in excess of its jurisdiction,’” Coates wrote in her ruling. “The court also finds the Coastal Commission violated CEQA by deciding to close the Pier Avenue entrance to the Oceano Dunes State Recreational Area without evaluating how it would impact vehicle miles traveled.”

Shortly before the start of the commission board meeting on Wednesday, Friends served the commission with a demand to vacate its decision.

However, a handful of SLO County residents asked the commission to appeal Judge Coats’ decision noting protection of wildlife, asserting driving on the dunes causes health issues and arguing for the protection of cultural rights. The commission then voted in closed session to appeal Judge Coats’ decision.

Driving on the dunes will continue while the appeal is heard, though it is likely to delay a January hearing regarding awarding attorney’s fees and court costs to Friends.

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Conveniently in closed session. The CC is not fond of push back against its absurdly draconian decrees and then having them reversed in court. Judge Coates followed the law and made the right decision except awarding the fees asked for by the plaintiff.

The judge needs to slap a cease and desist order on this unelected power hungry board…. this is approaching abusive litigation…. at the tax payers expense… my state tax dollars do not belong in the coastal commissions war chest… knock it off now….

The CCC is appointed by the governor and legislature, all Democrats, so blame the Republican Party for not running any legitimate candidates over the last several years. I mean, Larry Elder or Andy Caldwell, really? This is the best the Republicans can do? I weep for their colossal dysfunction. Bob Lagomarsino and Ronald Reagan are twisting in their graves.

Couldn’t agree more, the CA GOP has shown zero interest in winning a majority of California voters. Decades of Democratic mistakes and mismanagement and they’ve been totally unable to capitalize because they’re too used to losing. Winning would mean compromise, can’t do that!!!

See, right here; aren’t Democrats supposed to be liberal and let people do whatever they want, while Republicans are staunch in their conservative ways? Who is not compromising here?? Hmm

Blame ballot harvesting and a larger than necessary absentee balloting….

Blame facebook and the Myth of Voter Fraud.

Ya know, it’s funny; I don’t participate or pay much attention in/to politics… When I do I’ve often gotten Republican and Democrat confused and backwards ha. Each side says the same stuff about the other and both are guilty! Everyone would be better off paying more attention to the actual issues rather than meaningless labels. This country is a team effort not a versus situation!

ALL the cost for the CCC to file and take this to court should come from theur exsusting budget, no increase in funding, if they have to cut salaries to pay for it so be it.

The Costal Commission is funded by you and you will pay their job security as long as you let them. Just sayin the perspective as is.

Same clown council that just approved removing 50% of the undergrowth and 25% of the top growth of two long standing forests in Cambria via chainsaws, chippers, and fire in the name of “promoting forest growth”. It’s already grown and no one is going to do anything from preventing “invasive species” from coming right back anyways. This council LOVES to waste time, money, resources, and ironically enough destroy the environment.