July 20, 2023 In News

SLO Judge Issues Landmark Ruling: Off-roading Can Continue at Oceano Dunes

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Off-roading at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area can continue beyond 2023, a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling, issued by Judge Tana Coates, signifies a massive shift for the future of the southern San Luis Obispo County region, which was preparing for the end of off-roading at the popular park.

Coates’ ruling says that the California Coastal Commission must vacate its March 2021 decision to effectively shut down off-roading at nearly the entire Oceano Dunes park by 2024.

That’s because she found the Coastal Commission acted “without, or in excess of (its) jurisdiction” when the agency unanimously voted to prohibit off-highway vehicle use at the Oceano Dunes.

The Coastal Commission also violated the California Environmental Quality Act in its March 2021 vote to close the Pier Avenue vehicle access entrance to the Oceano Dunes, the ruling said.

“Today, Friends of Oceano Dunes scored a huge victory for OHV recreation at Oceano Dunes,” the nonprofit’s president, Jim Suty, wrote in an email to The Tribune.