Silicon Valley Billionaire Vinod Khosla Challenges Judge's Order to Open Gate to Martins Beach

The sandy saga over Martins Beach now has a new legal fight brewing, as a Silicon Valley billionaire fight a judge's order that he open a gate blocking access to the beach.

Lawyers for Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, asked the court Tuesday for a new trial, saying Khosla still maintains the right to close the road during severe weather.

This comes after Judge Barbara Mallach ruled earlier this month that Khosla must open the gate, upholding her Sept. 24 tentative ruling that found Khosla's effort to limit public access to the beach amounted to coastal development under a 1976 state law and later court decisions.

The tentative ruling had found that the companies created by Khosla to manage his coastal property must obtain a development permit from the California Coastal Commission before changing public access to the beach.

The final ruling took the order a step further, however, by specifying that a gate across the only access road to the beach must be reopened.

"The gate across Martins Beach Road must be unlocked and open to the same extent that it was unlocked and open at the time defendants purchased the property," Mallach wrote.

In a letter to Khosla's property manager, the California Coastal Commission said that if the gate is not opened within two weeks, he may face a daily fine of $11,000.

Khosla bought the property near Half Moon Bay in 2008. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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