Overnight curfew set for Santa Cruz’s popular Main Beach

SANTA CRUZ — For the first time, Main Beach users will need to cut short their late-night visits to the popular boardwalk-adjacent city attraction as a new overnight curfew goes into effect this week.

Citing “nuisance conditions” related to the more than 40 tents housing homeless individuals lining the beach from the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf to the San Lorenzo River mouth, the Santa Cruz City Council approved the new beach curfew, plus an overnight ban on “unpermitted temporary storage structures,” Tuesday night in a 6-1 vote. Prior to the contentious decision, the council received extensive community support expressed in hundreds of letters. The number of tents has rapidly increased in the past three weeks, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Tony Elliot.

Santa Cruz native Jake Eitel is one of the homeless people living in a pitched tent on Main Beach who will be given a 72-hour notice to vacate. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

“What that literally looks like in the morning when our team goes out to sift the beach, sift the sand and kind of comb the beach, we’re dodging all the camps on the beach,” Elliot said. “In order to have camps move temporarily so we can sift those areas and clean the area, we have to have a uniformed officer out there to accompany us to help through that process.”

Elliot listed other nuisance conditions as including a spike in County Environmental Health reported fecal bacteria counts at Cowell Beach, potential fire hazard at the wharf and fears of increased discarded hypodermic syringes, trash and “retaliatory” destruction of nearby bathrooms.

Curfew Concerns

Several community speakers, including some members of the city’s Community Advisory Committee on Homelessness, urged city officials to base their decision on statistical analysis rather than anecdote and to accompany the curfew with homelessness-mitigating solutions.

Councilman Drew Glover, the lone “no” vote on the beach curfew implementation, said he was at a “moral crossroads” on the curfew. Glover predicted that the council would be discussing homeless encampments again within a month and that Tuesday’s discussion mirrored earlier council talks about the homeless camp near the Gateway Plaza and its Ross Dress For Less store.

“I’m really torn on this decision because if I vote no, then people are going to say I’m for trashing beaches and that I don’t care about kids’ safety,” Glover said. “If I vote yes, then I’m going to displace or

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle


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