Bacara tries to close access to Haskell Beach at night

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Bacara stopped putting this notice on cars after the town of Goleta said closing beach access in this way would require a permit from the Coastal Commission.

Haskell Beach, next to the Bacara resort, will close for Labor Day weekend, along with other beaches in Santa Barbara County, but the resort, now run by the Ritz-Carlton, may have -to be taken the step. On Tuesday evening, Mary Johnson found a note on her car stating that it was parked illegally, that her license plate was registered and that her car would be towed and impounded if she did not move it immediately. “All the cars in the parking lot got notices,” she said, including that of her friend Paula Bagalio.

None of them were going to take the warning. Longtime residents of the area, they were aware of the battle to maintain public access to Haskell’s Beach when the resort was under development and public parking was a concession Bacara had accepted. “Surfrider worked long and hard to keep this beach open,” recalls Bagalio, who she said was accessible 24/7. They contacted supervisor Gregg Hart, the mayor and Goleta City Council and the Coastal Commission.


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“They can’t restrict parking,” admitted Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte on the Bacara limits. “They have to go through the Coastal Commission and get permission,” she said, a fact Perotte knew because the city needed to do the same to close the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve parking lot, which will also be closed until Labor Day. the weekend is over. A member of Hart’s staff confirmed to Johnson that Bacara needed to stop his warnings because his coastal license did not contain parking restriction provisions.

Bacara, however, still plans to close the door at night. “The parking lot will be closed starting tonight for Labor Day weekend,” said Ritz-Carlton security staff member Marcel Marta. “And going forward, it will be closed at dusk like other beaches in California.” The reason was not just COVID, he said, but incidents of drinking, dumping trash and overnighting in the lot. They stopped distributing the flyers, he said, because of the unrest it caused. Hotel management did not immediately return calls for comment.

According to the mayor, city staff will hold a summit with Bacara’s general manager next week. And at the Coast Commission, a staff member responded to inquiries, saying they were still reviewing the original agreement with Bacara to determine the exact terms of parking hours.


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