Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay fined $1.6 million for violating public beach access

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is going to pay one of the biggest penalties ever for blocking public access to a beach. The hotel is right on Miramontes point road and has prime access to Cañada Verde Beach.

According to the California Coastal Commission, the hotel has not been providing public parking spaces nor have they been informing the public that coastal access exists on their property. This month, in San Diego, the California Coastal Commission approved a $1.6 million fine.

"You think about the families and local folks and visitors who have not been able to go to those beaches for almost a generation," said Commissioner Donnie Brownsey.

Surfrider Foundation has been following the issue since 2004 when the hotel faced its first violation of $50,000.

"We know that they were using the parking spaces that was supposed to be for the public. We know they've been blocking access," said Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager for Surfrider. "It's a real win for the public and how important the California Coastal Commission's enforcement staff is and how critical it is that they're able to do their job."

The hotel has agreed to add more public parking spaces on their property, train their staff to better inform the public about coastal access and put up more signage.

We reached out to Ritz Carlton for comment. They haven't called us back.
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