La Jolla beach access battle heading back to court

The Kretowicz home seen from Princess Street beach. Photo: Tim Lucas
The Kretowicz home seen from Princess Street beach. Photo: Tim Lucas

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

La Jollan Ure Kretowicz will contest the Coastal Commission’s unanimous decision to protect the public’s ability to get to the ocean across his property at 7957 Princess St.

“I have decided not to accept the Coastal Commission’s position and will return to the court system for a resolution: We really have no alternative but to reject it,” he said.

In July, the commission also rejected Kretowicz’s offer to pay $3.3 million to fund improved access to other La Jolla beaches.

The controversy over whether the public has the right to cross the Princess Street blufftop property has persisted since the late ‘70s. An aging down to the beach is presently unusable, and locked gate now allows only emergency access by lifeguards.

Kretowicz had halted legal proceedings against the commission while they tried to reach a settlement. But commissioners did an about-face, rejecting a deal.

“So here we are, after working in good faith, going back to the courthouse again,” said Kretowicz adding, “We’re confident the Coastal Commission does not have the right to require a public-access easement on our property.”

Lee McEachern, district regulatory supervisor for the San Diego Coastal Commission, said Kretowicz sent a letter a couple of weeks ago indicating he would be reinstituting litigation but said the staff hasn’t had time to discuss the situation or decide what their next step will be.

“I’ll be bringing a report back to the commission in November on revised findings reflecting what they did, but it won’t change what happened,” McEachern said.

   
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