- A large former ranch on the California coast is being transferred to state and federal ownership, officials say.

The state Coastal Commission approved an agreement Thursday to preserve the former Coast Dairies ranch, the Los Angeles Times reported. The tract, one of the largest pieces of private property on the coast south of San Francisco, includes 7 1/2 miles of oceanfront and extends inland for several miles.

"This is important: an incredible part of the Central California coast that's going to be retained in the form it was years and years ago," said Dan Carl, Central Coast District director for the commission. "It's something you don't see a lot in California as development moves and marches forward."

The property was acquired in the 1860s by Swiss farmers. In 1998, the Trust for Public Land bought it to keep it from developers.

Plans for the area include opening most of the tract to the public. Some parts are to be preserved for farming.