“Fruitstands” Public Beach Access Restored
Local Surfrider activists have successfully restored public access to the beach near McGrath State Beach in Oxnard, CA. Surfers, fishermen, and beachgoers have accessed the “Fruitstands” surf break for decades by parking near the namesake fruit stand across the street. Over the years, this beach has remained relatively wild and uncrowded because of its anonymity and access – an increasingly rare commodity in Southern California. In May, 2012, Surfrider members reported that a new gate had been installed on the access road off Harbor boulevard. It turned out that Venoco oil company was drilling new wells near the beach and had installed fences to keep people out of the construction zone. Unfortunately, the renewed industrial activity had precluded public access to the beach. This limited access was compounded by the periodic closures of McGrath State Beach. Surfrider contacted the California Coastal Commission in 2012, and they issued a “Notice of Violation” of the California Coastal Act, stating, “the unpermitted fencing forms a new obstruction to potential public access to the beach.” The Ventura County Planning Division administers the Conditional Use Permit for the Venoco operations, and updated the permit this year. Surfrider wrote a letter and attended the public hearing on March 27th to ensure that public access provisions were accounted. In the end, the County allowed Veneco to simply remove the original yellow pipe gate and leave the new chain link gate in place. Although from the street it still appears to be blocked, pedestrian access is now possible around the gate.
So for now at least, we have restored coastal access at Fruit Stands!