|Description||The Coastal Commission’s March hearing took place in Santa Cruz at the Hilton Scotts Valley on Wednesday, March 11 through Friday, March 13. The meeting agenda was a little lighter than usual and resulted in one vote chart - the Santa Cruz Beach Management Plan. The City of Santa Cruz also presented the state of their sea level rise planning efforts in an informational presentation. Please also see this important message from the Coastal Commission Chair about the March meeting with an important coronavirus update.|
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|Santa Cruz Beach Curfew|| The City of Santa Cruz sought, as part of its beach management plan, a curfew at its Main Beach from midnight to 5 a.m. The adjacent beach, Cowell’s, already has a similar curfew, which the City asked to continue.
In its application, the City listed “narcotic use, alcohol consumption and abuse, littering and trash, fires, water quality, camping, vendor storage and drug paraphernalia” as the reasons this curfew is necessary. Since most of what was listed is already illegal, opponents to the curfew argued that disallowing people on the beach would criminalize sleeping, sitting, generally hanging out and otherwise merely existing on the beach outside of the wet sand. (The curfew would exempt the wet sand in order to allow for surfing, swimming and walking along water’s edge.)
The City of Santa Cruz also stated that despite the nighttime access restriction on Cowell Beach, “criminal activity has been persistent and ongoing during the nighttime hours at Cowell Beach.” The City notes that the police department is too understaffed to effectively patrol the beach for existing crime, all of which raised the question of how the police will have enough staffing to enforce an extended curfew.
Commissioners approved the curfew in a split vote.