Longtime Coronado resident and lawyer Matthew Herron had his case dismissed in late October against the Coronado Yacht Club for not allowing public access to the facility that overlooks Glorietta Bay on Strand Way.
Herron represented himself in a suit filed earlier this year against the Coronado Yacht Club and the Port of San Diego, which manages the public property on the island.
Herron claims the Coronado Yacht Club is exclusivity at its finest, only allowing paid members onto the property to use their boat slips and other features on public land, and he wanted the property to be open to the public.
But San Diego County Superior Court Judge Matthew Braner ruled in favor of the Port of San Diego and the Coronado Yacht Club, and dismissed Herron’s claims.
Herron said he plans to appeal the ruling.
Herron: Yacht Club on public tidelands
Herron points to a California Coastal Commission ruling in March 2018 that says the Yacht Club “is located on public tidelands, yet has historically blocked any physical opportunity for the general public to access the site.”
While the Coastal Commission, a state agency with quasi-judicial control of land and public access along the state’s 1,100 miles of coastline, wants the club to provide public access to it, the Yacht Club has managed to avoid that for at least the last decade or so, Herron said.
“To get a long-term lease, you have to commit to a substantial improvement. In this instance, the improvement was a replacement of the clubhouse,” Herron said in an interview with The Coronado News. “And that’s when the Coastal Commission said it triggered the need to allow the public access, at least through the property.”
The Yacht Club entered into these leases with the Port of San Diego in order to avoid building a pathway that was open to the public, Herron says.
However, in the Port and Coronado Yacht Club’s legal response to Herron’s petition, it says, “Nowhere does the [San Diego Port District Act] state, or even suggest, that private operations on District Property must allow access to the “general public.””
Port officials said they had no comment other than what was mentioned in its legal filing.