The SB County Parks Dept. is planning to increase patrols and citations at Goleta Beach, targeting UCSB employees and students who illegally park there to avoid the fees and crowding of university lots.

Jim Isaac, park operations supervisor, said the boost in enforcement stems from complaints by community members about the lack of available parking in the 540-spot parking lot adjacent to the beach. Isaac said Goleta residents are competing for parking spots with university students, staff and faculty, who walk to the university from the lot. Isaac said those breaking the county ordinance prohibiting UCSB parking at the beach will be fined $30 per violation.

Terri Maus-Nisich, director of the Parks Dept., said another part of the problem is an increase in construction workers using the lot due to its proximity to UCSB’s construction sites on the east side of campus.

Maus-Nisich said during the day, between 175 and 200 cars are parked in the lot, while nowhere near that many people are actually using the beach.

“The majority of the west end of the lot is taken,” Maus-Nisich said. “We cannot tolerate inappropriate use of this lot, and there are signs that say that UCSB parking is against the code, and we will cite and tow.” Maus-Nisich said weather and construction have combined to compound the parking problems plaguing the park.

“A lot of construction people park at the beach because it is near the construction site – and people have been driving more because the weather has not been as nice,” she said.

Isaac said the problem of students parking at the lot and taking up the beach access spots has been around for years, but he said the recent spike in unauthorized parking has angered many Goleta residents.

“We are getting complaints from the general public, from people who wish to use the park,” Isaac said. “We’re just trying to keep the park and facilities open to the general public, and when UCSB people use it for parking, they infringe on the real users of the park.” The lot is patrolled periodically, Isaac said, and rangers have given out 10-15 citations in the past few weeks to those parked illegally. He said they plan to increase the patrols, and will continue stationing a park ranger at the entrance of the park to let motorists know that the lot is only for beach use.

“We have been citing UCSB people for a long time, but future enforcement will depend on the effectiveness of our efforts,” Isaac said.

Maus-Nisich said that although the rangers have previously been lax in ticketing students, they will be stepping up their efforts.

“We are going to enforce the county code,” Maus-Nisich said. “We will be far more stringent, and dramatically increase enforcement,” Maus-Nisich said the Parks Dept. does not want to start handing out more citations, but she said it has no other options at this point.

“We’re really not interested in causing additional hardship for the students, but the reality is that the lot was built for coastal access, and when we have 200 people parking in the lot, it infringes upon people’s ability [to have] free beach access,” Maus-Nisich said. “It is by no means a money-making venture, and it is an expense to have our rangers out there.”

Parks Dept. officials talked with the university about the parking situation and were informed that there is no shortage of parking on campus, and therefore no reason for cars to use Goleta Beach as an overflow lot, Maus-Nisich said.

She said she met with David Gonzales, assistant vice chancellor of Physical Facilities and Transportation & Parking Services, and discussed how best to warn UCSB drivers about the new enforcement efforts.

“The campus is trying to help out the county by letting people know that they will be cracking down and that the fines are pretty hefty at $30,” Gonzales said. “I advised the construction project managers to tell their contractors parking at Goleta Beach that they will be cited. They have parking in westside campus lots, with a shuttle that runs to the site.”