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California Coastal Commission to hear proposal to charge beach fees at Sonoma County parks

The California Coastal Commission will consider the state’s controversial proposal to expand the number of places on the Sonoma Coast where day-use fees would be charged at the commission’s April 15 meeting in San Rafael.

The state is seeking permission to install 15 self-pay machines at beaches on the Sonoma Coast and charge visitors $7 for parking.

The areas where the new fees would apply are Stump Beach, Russian Gulch, Goat Rock, Shell Beach, Portuguese Beach, Schoolhouse Beach, North and South Salmon Creek, Campbell Cove and Bodega Head. The state for decades has been charging a day-use fee at several Sonoma Coast parks, including Fort Ross, Bodega Dunes and Wrights Beach.

State Parks originally sought a coastal permit from Sonoma County to implement the new fees. Supervisors in June 2013 unanimously rejected the plan, mainly on the grounds that they felt the new fees would restrict access to the coast, particularly for low-income people and seniors.

The commission’s April 15 meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Marin County Board of Supervisors chambers in San Rafael.

More information about the meeting can be found at www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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