Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

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[Update by Chad Kelly]

I received an email from the California Coastal Commission that they have opened an investigation into this question of an attempt to limit public access to parking on public land on and adjacent to Fernald Point Lane at the intersection of Fernald Point Lane and Posilipo Lane. 


By Chad Kelly

On Tuesday I was alarmed by the appearance of new ‘No Parking’ signs on a street next to a beach my family and I frequent.

Fernald Point Lane is the parking adjacent to Fernald Point Beach at the Posilipo Lane Coastal Beach Access Point. I have parked here for many years to access this stretch of coast, including occasionally surfing at Shark’s Cove a short walk from the access point. However, upon returning to my car, I noticed brand new ‘No Parking’ signs added to Fernald Point Lane—fresh signs and metal posts, fresh metal shavings on the ground from the metal screws attaching the signs to the posts.

As I packed up my family I thought to myself, these signs were not here when we parked here two days ago—they must have gone up in the last 24-48 hours. Then, as if by script, my wife and I watched as one resident of the street sold to another resident a few fresh ‘No Parking’ signs. They greeted, chatted, and one resident passed to the other an envelope of money in exchange for a few signs. As the two residents talked, they gestured down the street at my family, and I very pointedly stared back at them. On the drive home I wondered to myself if in fact, the street was private all along if I and countless others had been in violation for many years. That scenario did not seem likely, however, given the Posilipo Lane Coastal Beach Access Point posted signs, the port-a-potty at the trailhead to the beach, the fact my friends and family had never been cited for parking, and so on.

Once home, I began researching the question, and I found the following on Santabarbara.com

Like other beaches in Montecito, there are no facilities at Fernald Point Beach. The closest access point to Fernald Point Beach (1/3rd of a mile) is at Posilipo Lane but parking is limited. Even areas on the public street where you are legally entitled to park, have No Parking signs installed by property owners. It is hard to tell what is a legally-enforceable sign and what is not, though they are different in appearance. There are spaces for about a dozen cars near Posilipo Lane. If you can't find a spot, consider parking on Eucalyptus Lane and walking 2/3rds of a mile past Miramar Beach to Fernald Point Beach.  

It would appear, then, that the street is public, and that the signs are posted illegally. I’ve decided to contact the local news organizations, the SB Surfrider Foundation, and the City of Santa Barbara in hopes of having the signs removed and, with any luck, the perpetrating residents chastened to stop illegally limiting public beach access. Since this issue is so entrenched and recurring, however—it’s described above in some detail on the Santabarbara.com website, for pity’s sake—I imagine people like you, me, and all Santa Barbara beach lovers will have to continue fighting for access. So, heads up, and keep a wary eye. 


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SBREADER Jul 15, 2020 09:46 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

You say you will contact the City of SB. That street is in the County. The best way to get a quick answer is to direct your info and inquiry to Das Williams' office. I used to live in Cito and there was a constant battle over parking. I personally discovered that for decades the Coral Casino had illegally claimed that the parking in the front of the Casino was private. It is not and I was responsible for getting the signs removed. The Biltmore is also supposed to not allow customers to park on Channel Drive. Good luck with that one! The same thing is happening at the Miramar. They coerced the County staff to allow them to basically privatize that entire stretch of. South Jamison. I know a legal gate was erected at the end of Fernald Point Lane probably 35 years ago. It will be interesting to hear what your latest research shows.

SBTownie Jul 15, 2020 10:30 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Good for you re: the Coral! I didn't know I could park there actually... I absolutely hate the privatization of existing public space. I don't have a problem with stuff that has always been private like Hollister Ranch, but the encroachment of private stuff onto public parking, etc. is very disturbing to me. I'm a regular at Miramar and I really hate what the energy at the beach has become. I usually camp out in an area that is almost always locals (I know because I literally see them there year round, all the time) but get the heebie jeebies walking past the resort guests. Not my people - and this from someone who loves nice places, etc. There's just something about that whole place that gives me weird vibes.

SBCountyLocal Jul 15, 2020 10:05 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Call the Coastal Commission @ 805-585-1800. They have much more power here because of their purview over coastal access and what sounds like residents joining forces to prevent it. You will get faster action with the CC.

sacjon Jul 15, 2020 11:29 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

They were posting the full comments for a while in the penalty box. It would be nice to be able to see them. We're all adults, we can take it ;)

a-1594838420 Jul 15, 2020 11:40 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

I hope edhat or another outlet does some investigative reporting and gets results. This is the kind of stuff that matters to the day-to-day local, and it is a slippery slope to effectively give up that public parking to some entitled residents. I fear if this isn't taken care of ASAP, these nimbys will win. Don't let them! Protect public beach access! We all pay the taxes for that road and the right to park on it.

PitMix Jul 15, 2020 11:52 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

This is what happens when newspapers disappear- their public info service also goes away. No way the NewsPress would look into this, given McCaw's fight with the Coastal Commission over her required coastal access.

sbdotcom Jul 15, 2020 12:25 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

There are a dozen messages in my inbox asking me to comment, so here goes. While developing an all-new Beaches Guide for an all-new SantaBarbara.com, the day arrived when it was time to document the stretch of sand and ocean that is the subject of this thread. Unable to find parking spot, I was stopped in front of No Parking sign but hadn't actually parked yet because I wasn't sure if I was allowed to. Then a kind gentleman walked out of a nearby gated property and told me it was OK to park there. He said that many signs were installed by property owners/managers that were not legally enforceable including the one next to my car. We then walked around a bit and he showed me a legitimate No Parking sign and pointed out the difference between it and the others. The design of the real No Parking sign did look a bit different then the Home Depot variety and I think it had a code number that the others lacked.

Minibeast Jul 15, 2020 12:30 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

This is what happens when world population explodes and then people who bought homes right on the beach or near the trailheads feel encroached upon by ever more "visitors." This battle to keep floods of visitors, campers, and trash (utterly shameful) from encroaching on "local" beaches and other recreational access points is taking place now all over the world. In Santa Barbara, think Tunnel Rd. trailhead and Butterfly Beach. Two prime examples of local spots which were once nice, relatively quiet areas to live, with a good balance of visitors and local residents. What a drag now for those homeowners/residents, having to deal with more and more and **more** people. No-one should be installing illegal "No Parking" signs. Sadly for them, those who struggle to maintain a bit of what once was are fighting a losing battle.

Alexblue Jul 15, 2020 01:11 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

This has been happening in Malibu for years. The shenanigans that the homeowners have gone through to keep people out are quite impressive, including illegally posting fake no parking signs, illegally painting curbs red, creating fake "driveway entries", hiring of jackbooted thugs to patrol beach areas and harass people--golly, I wonder how many of the Fernald people who are doing this are Los Angeles transplants.

Anyway, I have a lot of time on my hands these days, so I guess I'll have to head on down to Fernald and police this on my own, which is to say "clean up" the trash (illegal signs and posts) which have been left on my property (i.e., public property which MY TAXES MAINTAIN).

bad427 Jul 15, 2020 01:13 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

The city limits end at olive mill road. i think its the calif. hwy patrols responsibilty for traffic enforcement at fernald point. 805-967-1234 hp phone number.

ZeroHawk Jul 16, 2020 03:02 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

yeah and the CHP just loves to exit the freeway to write a parking citation to some guy and his kids for parking at the beach. doubtful that will happen.

tubeshark Jul 15, 2020 04:03 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

My family has had a property on Fernald Point ln for over 50 years. We are not rich, just longtime locals. There have been no parking signs there for that ENTIRE TIME. Over the years some have been removed illegally. The road is entirely too narrow for cars to park there and retain a wide enough road for cars to pass safely. In the last 20 years, as our population increases, more and more people have been using the Polsilipo access. In the last 5 months the parking down there has been crazy. I don't want to the limit access to the beach, everyone deserves a right to access, but the county needs to do something about the parking. There are days a firetruck could not make it down the road, because people are parking like idiots. The county should also address the tons of trash located behind the seawall in Sharks Cove, all left by underage drinkers playing beer pong on the beach.

Bird Jul 16, 2020 03:20 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

If the signs were not placed there by the County, then they were there illegally, unless the property owners can show that the road is a private road. (Btw, anyone who owns property on Fernald Point is by definition "rich", given the land values there. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but just like for almost everyone who's lived in SB and especially, Montecito, for a while, things change and what was a pleasant small town of locals is that no longer.)

Basicinfo805 Jul 15, 2020 09:42 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Interesting discussion. Thanks for your efforts Chad. I've parked down there on Posilipo on and off for years. Usually there's like one or two cars. I don't think it's even an issue, but I believe based on the story you presented and the immediate response from a Fernald point homeowner that those who are putting up the sings just want to keep as many people out as possible. I bet they'd love to see zero beach access there. I bet they can't stand the presence of the trash can and outhouse there too. And I think we all should keep on using the beach there respectfully, as always. There's a good reason we have a public access trail there. Thanks to all who are working support our public beach access.

a-1595371104 Jul 21, 2020 03:38 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

There were many No Parking signs on Fernald Point Lane when I moved here 15 years ago. At that time, we had workers at our home, and I asked about parking for them on the street. I was told to apply for a month-long permit for them; when that expired, I was to re-apply for another 30 days. I did so, and some of the workers were still ticketed!

Fast forward to this summer, when under these same No Parking signs, I see what must be about 80 cars parked nose-to-tail along the road. The original comments for this conversation quoted the SB site: "There are spaces for about a dozen cars near Posilipo". So how does a dozen turn into 80?

I've seen tickets on windshields once in the last month. A parking ticket at the end of the day was not fun for our workers, and is not a fun way to end a day at the beach. When I asked the County was is allowable, the reply was that yes, Fernald Point Lane has many "No Parking" signs, But enforcement is at the deputies' discretion. As there are just two county deputies, they can decide whether or not to spend their time ticketing.

Fernald has the only public access to the beach for quite a stretch. I think the next closest is at Eucalyptus. Personally, I think it's great to have a nice public access, and I'm proud it is supported. Ours has a proper porta-potty, poop bag dispenser, trash cans ~ as it should be! In these important ways, public use of the beach is well supported and responsibly enjoyed. (May I digress for a moment to remind everyone bringing a dog for more than a short visit ~ please remember a bowl & drinking water for your pup!)

There are two main issues I see on Fernald. First~ the road is too narrow to create a traffic-safe environment. A parked vehicle takes up half of one of the two existing lanes. A family loading or unloading needs the full lane. The road is often busy with kids and dogs; people chat in the road. Electric cars coming up behind them are not audible. How can large work trucks and indeed fire engines navigate all this, much less make the wide turn they need into a driveway? This is not a beach access issue; it is a traffic safety issue.

Second, there just is not enough parking for everyone who wants to come. Even if we could make Fernald wider and safer, and could jam in 100 cars, what happens to beach-goer #101? Isn't that party's beach access now blocked? So now questions are being raised ~ should parking be timed? Metered? Two hour limits so more people could enjoy? Sounds like more signs, more tickets, & tow trucks!

Beach and ocean lovers have tons of creative energy and dedication to the cause. We need to get creative! Let's brainstorm some solutions ~
- Could we get a "Beach Train" to stop at every public access between downtown SB and some point south? Beach-goers could park at the SB train station or the farthest point south on the route. They could make an adventure of the train ride, try different beaches, enjoy all the beach communities. Carp has a great boardwalk to wander!
- Could we get the existing shuttle buses to create a similar "Beach Bus" for delivering people close to public access points?
- Could locals use Uber & Lyft to the beach? This would be a great way to support people who are working on the days others are lucky enough to be going to the beach. I checked Sunday ~ $8 each way. I understand both services are requiring masks, so beach goers would just mask up, bring along their wipes & sanitizer, and give themselves a day at the beach worry/parking/ticket-free. Those coming to Fernald could be dropped off & picked on Jameson, and have the short walk to the access.

In any of these ways, people could see all the beautiful beaches and enjoy each one. More exploring, enjoying; less driving, searching for parking, risking a ticket.

Does anyone out there have any other ideas? Who could help us get something useful going?
We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Let's make sure it stays the cleanest, most peaceful, happiest, healthiest place imaginable. Thank you!

SB_Since_2014 Jul 16, 2020 08:00 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

I am under the impression that in Montecito, on-street parking is only legal when specified as such. Otherwise, it’s a ticket-able offense. Parking on this stretch of road does result in tickets from time to time, but it’s just not enforced consistently. I don’t park there because I’ve seen tickets being written.

a-1594926437 Jul 16, 2020 12:07 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

NO, this is incredibly wrong. Unless it is a private road, of which there are actually not that many in Montecito, it is all County (public) property. Just make sure you get your wheels off the pavement if there isn't a parking lane.

Hammonds Hound Jul 16, 2020 09:29 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

I too have frequented this area over the years, and I’ve noticed even early in the morning it’s pretty crazy there. I thought maybe because of Covid, and the local beaches around have become more crowded, it’s pushing people out further.
I lived on Humphrey Road during the 70s before the meadow was developed. this area has become equally bad if not worse.
I put part of the blame on social media, as I have read that a lot of local spots have become overrun and ruined as they become exposed to social media.

a-1594926362 Jul 16, 2020 12:06 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Okay, but, so what? I have zero compassion for these entitled residents that are putting up these signs. These people purchased property knowing there was public beach access, and population has been growing rapidly in the area since the beginning. It's no surprise at all the public parking is utilized more these days. They made their bed and they must sleep in it, or move. This is the risk you take when you purchase property near public beach access, public hiking trails, schools, etc.

ZeroHawk Jul 16, 2020 03:00 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

362 i'm totally with you and honestly sick of the 1%ers trying to make up their own laws and ordinances. I parked there last weekend and will be there this saturday for some fishing with my friends. My family has lived here and fished THERE longer than those people have lived in those homes. Here's a solution, if you don't like people going to the beach near your home, move to the mountains (and whine when we chose to hike there instead of going to the beach).

Minibeast Jul 21, 2020 04:26 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Yes. I am forever telling my nature-loving housemates to please stop posting their favorite "secret spots" on Google. It's like pissing into the wind . . . Ah, Hammond's Meadow. One time we picked enough blackberries there to make two pies . . .Those were the days.

ZeroHawk Jul 16, 2020 02:57 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

its not enforced... i just called the city. It's out of city boundaries, so maybe the sheriff department may patrol it on occasion, but they aren't really into writing a small parking infraction citation. Chances are they will simply drive by slowly and that's it.

SBREADER Jul 16, 2020 07:10 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Between advocacy from the Miramar and the residents who pay substantial property taxes, enforcement there has stepped up. Since the Miramar opened I have seen regular citations on vehicles.

oceandrew Jul 16, 2020 03:19 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Chad Kelly, got a question for you. On what side of the road were these signs being placed? North or south side? It clearly looks like parking can be accommodated on the north side, closest to the RR track, but not the south or side where the homes are and existing NP signs are on the homes side.

Gtownie Jul 17, 2020 08:01 AM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Chad why were you parked there for two days? I am all for beach visitors on a day use basis but multiple nights seems excessive and disrespectful to the residents.

CPlocal Jul 21, 2020 04:31 PM
Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?

Thank you, Chad. I frequent this location, & I appreciate that you made this public; otherwise I would have never known that the residents had placed these bogus signs there in an effort to keep us away.

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