A crowd of about 100 people gathered at a the Goleta City Council meeting Monday night to express their concerns regarding alleged parking and coastal access problems at the Bacara Resort & Spa.

Frequent users of Haskell’s Beach claim that by chaining off a road and parking lot near the coast after sunset, Bacara is limiting their beach access.

Goleta City Manager Frederick Stouder said the road was originally marked with signs stating it was for emergency vehicles only, but when the signs were removed by unknown persons, the road was chained.

A representative from the fire department who attended the meeting said they have no problem with the public using the parking lot, as long as fire engines can still use the space in an emergency.

Stouder said that attorneys representing Bacara told him that while the beach is open 24 hours a day, the parking lot is only open from dawn until dusk, like with many other public facilities.

However, the majority of over a dozen local citizens and organizations who spoke during the meeting’s opportunity for public comment said they had a right to completely unrestricted, 24-hour access to both the beach and parking lot.

Several of the organizations represented included the Surfrider Foundation, Gaviota Coast Conservancy and the Santa Barbara Kayakers Association.

Representatives of Bacara were not present.

Jack Hawxhurst, the mayor of Goleta, said he was pleased that so many people came to comment on the issue, and reminded the audience that the council was there to help the public.

As part of the evening’s discussion, council members and the public proposed several ideas to resolve the coastal access issue. One proposal included the use of a shuttle to transport people between the beach and a parking lot located further away than Bacara’s current lot.

Hawxhurst said the coastal access issue at Bacara is not likely to be fully resolved before this summer.