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Friends of Oceano Dunes Files Second Lawsuit Against Coastal Commission for Illegally Attempting to Close Oceano Dunes

Friends of Oceano Dunes

Today, Friends of Oceano Dunes (Friends) filed a second lawsuit challenging the Coastal Commission’s March 18, 2021 action attempting to close Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) to all OHV recreation, beach driving and camping.  Friends previously filed a lawsuit on March 12th claiming that the Coastal Commission’s action violated the California Environmental Quality Act.

In the new lawsuit, Friends alleges that the Coastal Commission violated the Coastal Act which expressly forbids the Commission from decreasing, duplicating or superseding the authority of State Parks.

The Legislature granted State Parks the authority to create and manage SVRAs including Oceano Dunes.  The Coastal Commission ignored that limitation and ordered State Parks to do something that Parks’ statutory mandate doesn’t allow.

Friends alleges that the Coastal Commission also broke state law by attempting to unilaterally change a permit authorizing OHV recreation and camping that the Coastal Commission granted to State Parks nearly 40 years ago.  Once the permit was issued, State Parks and the public had a right to rely on that permit, and they have done so for 40 years and have invested tens of millions of dollars in reliance on that permit.  The Coastal Commission falsely claimed that the 40-year old permit was only “temporary.”  

Friends also argues that the Coastal Commission ignored the Coastal Act’s mandate to protect recreational resources in the coastal zone, and those protected resources include OHV recreational opportunities.

Friends of Oceano Dunes is a 501(C)(3) California not-for-profit corporation expressly created in 2001 to preserve camping and off-highway vehicle recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (ODSVRA).  Friends is a grass root volunteer organization which represents approximately 28,000 members and users of the Oceano Dunes SVRA.

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