O.C. residents take sides on beach access

DANA POINT, Calif. The bluff top of /*Strand Vista Park*/ in /*Dana Point*/ is a popular spot for locals and visitors who love soaking up the ocean views. The park's trails lead down past multimillion dollar homes to white sandy beach.

"You can walk from the top of Strand all the way past through Salt Creek to the other end. It's one of the most beautiful beaches we have," said Dana Point resident Kathy Williams.

But with such open access, police say they've also had an increase in service calls, including /*vandalism/*. The city put up gates and signs restricting hours of access on a number of paths leading to /*Strand Beach*/.

The /*California Coastal Commission*/ told city officials they have to remove the signs and gates. The city's response was to sue the commission, saying that it does not have jurisdiction in the matter. City officials say a public nuisance exists in the area and the restrictions are needed for public safety.

Neither the city or police services would comment due to the pending litigation, but residents have plenty to say. Some residents are siding with the coastal commission.

"I think we should have access. It's a public beach, and I think people should have access all the time," said Dana Point resident Roberta Ross.

Others say that people should have access only during daytime hours.

"The public access goes right down to that home there to the beach. To allow people to be roaming down there until 11 or 12 o'clock at night, it would bother me," said another Dana Point resident Bob Grose.

"If I lived there, I would appreciate some privacy in the evening for safety reasons," said Dana Point resident Mark Blair.

Others want to keep things the way they are, and they wish there could be a better solution than a lawsuit.

"I think it takes up a lot of taxpayer dollars in the lawsuit," said Dana Point resident Kathy Williams.

Officials with the California Coastal Commission also denied comment on the pending litigation.

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