The California Coastal Commission delivered the bureaucratic equivalent of a body slam to the Rosewood Miramar Beach for illegally blocking public beach access in front of the luxury resort.
In a strongly worded 10-page letter sent to Miramar Managing Director Seán Carney, Commission Enforcement Officer Tina Segura demanded the resort discontinue the use of security guards and ropes and stanchions that function to “discourage and restrict” public access along the waterfront. She cited site visits by Commission staff that confirmed complaints to the agency from Montecito residents. Her letter also referenced news reports as well as statements from Carney published by the Santa Barbara Independent.
“The use of security guards on the beach effectively privatizes beach areas where the public has the right to be,” Segura wrote. “Further, ropes and posts have been placed on the beach and have remained on the beach on a consistent basis, which give the appearance that the entire beach is private. Public access is protected under the Coastal Act, and protecting such access is a high priority of the Commission.”
The Miramar’s private beach area runs the width of the property and extends only 60 feet from the edge of the boardwalk toward the ocean. If the tide gets high enough, the 60-foot limit line moves inland to accommodate a 20-foot strip of public access between the Miramar’s private beach and the ocean.
Segura said the Commission expected immediate compliance from the Miramar along with a written confirmation sent to its offices no later than June 28. Otherwise, Segura said, the Commission would consider levying up to $30,000 in fines every day the violations occur.
“Providing hotel guests who can afford the $700+ per night room rates exclusive use of the beach that legally may be used by the general public is inconsistent with the environmental justice provisions of the Coastal Act,” she wrote. Segura noted the hotel is still permitted to put out its lounge chairs and umbrellas as long as they are placed behind the 60-foot line and removed every evening.
Read the full letter below.