Illegal Parking Signs on Fernald Point Lane?
[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.
Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.