California Judge Rules in Favor of SEMA, EcoLogic to Protect Motorized Recreation at Oceano Dunes
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (July 20, 2023) -- The California Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County ruled that the California Coastal Commission does not have the authority to prohibit motorized recreational and overnight camping access at Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA).
The Honorable Judge Tana Coates ruled in favor of the Specialty Equipment Market Association, EcoLogic Partners -- a legal collaboration between the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), American Sand Association (ASA), and American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) District 37 -- and Friends of Oceano Dunes, ruling that the Coastal Commission abused its discretion by unilaterally ordering the elimination of off-highway vehicle (OHV) use at the Oceano Dunes SVRA.
“Today’s ruling is a huge win for SEMA, ORBA, ASA, and AMA District 37 in the fight to protect motorized recreation access in California and across the United States,” announced Mike Spagnola, President & CEO of SEMA. "The Coastal Commission's efforts to stop off-road access at Oceano Dunes were unreasonable and set a dangerous precedent. This is a hard-fought victory for the motorized recreation community and the millions of enthusiasts who recreate at Oceano Dunes each year. SEMA is proud to have supported this lawsuit and is committed to protecting the right to responsibly recreate on coast and public lands throughout the country."
The court determined that San Luis Obispo County’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) governs activities at the SVRA under the Coastal Act. The LCP expressly allows OHV use at the Oceano Dunes SVRA. Under the Coastal Act, the county of San Luis Obispo has exclusive authority to enforce and manage the LCP. The Coastal Commission, acting on its own, has no power to take any action inconsistent with the LCP.
Oceano Dunes SVRA is a premier destination for motorized recreation enthusiasts and tourists alike as the only off-road park in the state offering direct access to the Pacific Ocean. For decades, recreationists and off-roaders have enjoyed riding all types of motorized vehicles, from trucks and SUVs to dune buggies and quads, on the California beach, which was threatened by the Commission's March 2021 amendments to Coastal Development Permit 4-82-300 that demanded the California Department of Parks and Recreation phase out OHV access to Oceano Dunes SVRA by 2024.
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $51.8 billion specialty-automotive industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. Association resources include market research, legislative advocacy, training and product development support, as well as leading trade shows such as the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nev., and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information, visit www.sema.org, www.semashow.com, www.performanceracing.com.