Coastal Commission slapped with another lawsuit over the Oceano Dunes

By KAREN VELIE

The California Coastal Commission was slapped with another lawsuit this week  alleging the agency violated laws and exceeded its authority when it voted to stop off-road vehicle recreation at the Oceano Dunes.

Friends of the Oceano Dunes accuses the California Coastal Commission of violating environmental laws while claiming to be a lead agency when it is not, in a lawsuit filed Monday. The suit challenges the commission’s authority to ban off-road vehicle riding at the Oceano Dunes over the next three years.

Nearly 40 years ago, the Legislature gave State Parks the authority to create and manage state vehicle recreation areas, including the Oceano Dunes. The suit accuses the Coastal Commission of ignoring that limitation and conducting a power play.

Friends allege the Coastal Commission also broke state law by attempting to unilaterally change a permit authorizing off-road vehicle 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,” according to Friends. “The Coastal Commission falsely claimed that the 40-year old permit was only temporary.”

In addition, Friends accuses the Coastal Commission of ignoring their mandate to protect recreational resources in the coastal zone, including off-road vehicle recreation.

Friends of the Oceano Dunes is a nonprofit that represents approximately 28,000 supporters of off-road recreation. The organization has successfully sued state and local government agencies, including the Coastal Commission, over past regulatory actions related to the Oceano Dunes State Recreational Area.

In a pending lawsuit filed several weeks earlier, Friends accuses the Coastal Commission of violating environmental laws while claiming to be a lead agency when it is not

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