Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fight over parking at state beaches heats up

By
From page A2 | May 19, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sunbathers flocking to Southern California beaches are used to feeding the meter or paying a parking attendant. Not so along the less developed north coast where it’s customary to ditch cars on the shoulder of Highway 1 to surf, swim or picnic.

That sandy line that long defined the state’s disparate beach culture may soon fade.

In search of new revenue, the state parks system is eyeing parking fees for parts of the Northern California shoreline where none existed or considering hiking rates to visit popular beaches south of Los Angeles during peak periods.

The need to raise money is facing resistance from state coastal regulators worried about eroding beach access and from environmentalists, who, while sympathetic to state parks’ plight, say it’s akin to monetizing the coast. And with beach season just weeks away, the issue is heating up.

Out of California’s 1,100 miles of beach, a third is controlled by the state Department of Parks and Recreation. Officials say they’re under legislative orders to seek new sources of revenue and that a revamp of the parking payment structure is necessary to keep beaches open and to fund deferred maintenance.

During a legislative hearing in February, state parks director Anthony Jackson said Southern California beaches are operating in the black and are partly subsidizing less profitable state beaches.

The agency is taking a hard look at “adjusting fees where appropriate and necessary and in places where fees may not have been historically collected,” said the ex-Marine who was hired to turn around the department after a financial mismanagement scandal.

Some local officials, state lawmakers and coastal commissioners have questioned whether the money would be used for its intended purpose.

Earlier this year, a proposal to charge more during certain holidays at several Orange County and San Diego County beaches was yanked from the California Coastal Commission’s agenda as the two sides worked behind-the-scenes to hammer out a deal.

Even before state parks sought to squeeze more out of revenue-generating beaches, it looked northward where excursions to the Pacific traditionally have been free. Save for a few lots that charge, the rugged Sonoma coast north of San Francisco has long been a spot where visitors pull over on the highway to dip in the ocean.

So when state parks wanted to install 15 self-pay machines that would collect $8 per vehicle, the Sonoma County zoning board shot it down at the behest of residents. The state protested and the county board of supervisors will hear the appeal next month.

“We’re not Southern California,” said Cea Higgins, a volunteer coordinator with the Surfrider Foundation’s Sonoma coast chapter. “We’re used to having free parking.”

Park officials contend they should be allowed to charge fees in sections along the Sonoma coast where there are restrooms, garbage cans and picnic tables to maintain. A similar effort last year to charge for parking at some Mendocino County beaches was also met with local opposition.

Coastal regulators in February were set to vote on state parks’ plan to charge a flat $20 fee — up from $15 — during Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and special events at several Southern California beaches. Commission staff — and environmental groups like Surfrider — wanted an hourly option so that daytrippers can still afford to head seaward during the busiest times.

Brian Ketterer, superintendent of the state parks’ Orange Coast District, said it doesn’t make business sense to offer an hourly rate during prime holidays. Families can still enjoy the beach during less busy times, he said.

“No one wants to keep people out” of state beaches, Ketterer said. “It’s a matter of ensuring that we’re sustainable in the future.”

Though the coastal commission and state parks have publicly pledged to work together to balance each other’s missions, the two sides have yet to reconcile their differences. The commission hopes to hear the issue in June.

“We’re still fine-tuning” the details, said commission executive director Charles Lester, adding that his priority is making sure any new or higher fees “don’t unnecessarily restrict or impact public access.”

It’s the latest clash of dueling missions.

The coastal panel recently butted heads with Southern California’s clean-air agency over the ubiquitous fire rings that dot the Orange County coastal city of Newport Beach. Commission staff favored keeping bonfires lit because they provide inexpensive family recreation.

Luke Carlson, who avoids surfing along the Orange County coast during holidays since it is hard to catch a good wave in crowded waters, said he understands others may not have the same luxury and fears higher parking fees will deter them from getting on their boards.

Carlson, a lawyer, said there’s no reason why Northern California beachgoers can’t pay to park like their Southern California brethren.

“We already pay,” he said. “For us to pay even more, that doesn’t seem reasonable.”

————

By Alicia Chang. Follow Alicia Chang at http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8