DANA POINT, Calif. (KABC) --Two gates at Strands Beach at Dana Point will be open to the public for extended hours after the tentative settlement of a lawsuit that ends a six-year legal battle.
The two gates were installed with city approval in 2010 at the multimillion-dollar home development The Strand at Headlands. But the gates are locked at 5 or 7 p.m., leaving many beachgoers frustrated with a much longer walk toward the next nearest access point.
That restricted access prompted lawsuits from the Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Commission, who argued that such limited access violates state law.
"When people come up and they find the gates locked, and their families can't get back up, and they have to walk way down that way and this way, it's frustrating," said Dana Point resident Derith Madden.
Homeowners and the developer noted that four other access points to the beach are unrestricted.
"The coastal staff is engaged in class warfare," said Sanford Edward, developer of the Headlands project. "They want to punish any wealthy person who wants to live at the beach."
Under the new settlement, the gates will remain open all the time, while the beach is closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The city will also pay $300,000 toward access and educational projects.
The agreement is set to go before the Coastal Commission for approval on April 15.