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Do-it-yourself parking bans in Malibu

The California Coastal Commission fights a losing battle against homeowners who post illegal 'No Parking' signs. Some look so official that even authorities are misled.

November 10, 2011|By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

Others are clearly counterfeit, made with laminated paper or thin sheet metal and tacked to fences or staked into front lawns with flimsy wooden posts. "No Parking Except for Bob," reads one posted in front of a white stucco house with blue trim on Broad Beach Road.

A woman who identified herself as Bob's wife said the sign is part protest and part joke. But the couple's complaints about the surfers, swimmers and visitors who park in front of their home are genuine. They sometimes shoo beachgoers away and when they're expecting visitors, she said, they put out an orange traffic cone to save a spot.

"I don't mind people coming to use the beach, but protect our property," the woman said. "We have a right to complain."

Martha Lefkovits, an interior designer who lives across the street from a public stairway to Lechuza Beach, has used cones too, frustrated with beachgoers parking next to her driveway and the walkway leading to her front door. A neighbor has erected homemade "No Parking" signs.

"I've thought about being like the people next door and putting a sign up," Lefkovits said.

Malibu Mayor John Sibert said the temptation is understandable in a city with narrow, winding roads, few sidewalks and no parking meters. Homeowners are protective of their streets and without more public parking lots for the city's 13-million annual beach visitors, he said, "they are going to be parking on residential streets and there are going to be some problems."

In the neighborhood above Lechuza Beach, homeowners have hired security guards to block off parking spaces with traffic cones on Fourth of July weekend, one of the busiest times of the year. In 2006, the problem was big enough that the mayor at the time personally requested that they be removed.

Veering off Pacific Coast Highway, Veesart turns his Jeep into a neighborhood atop Point Dume, the picturesque coastal promontory that forms the upper lip of Santa Monica Bay.

He pulls to the roadside on Cliffside Drive, where mansions with tennis courts and pools give way to open brush and trails with views of the ocean and the rugged, sandy beach below. The parking signs, apparently genuine, say visitors are limited to two hours.

"A day at the beach?" Veesart asks. "Forget it."

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