It was December when Rick Stears found out it was no longer legal to park on his street all night.
“No Parking” signs went up on part of Harbour Island Lane in Oxnard’s Seabridge community late last year, but some residents are trying to get the city to reverse the decision.
“The main problem is that now, instead of allowing people to park inside the gate, you have to park a half-mile away and walk all the way to the house,” Stears said. “Some people have teenage daughters who are walking at night to their house, and it’s very dangerous.”
Stears, an electrician who wants to park his truck in front of his house, said the Seabridge Master Homeowners Association asked the city to put up the signs that restrict street parking between midnight and 7 a.m.
Harbor Island Lane intersects with Victoria Avenue and includes homes that are part of the exclusive oceanfront community but are outside the locked gate.
At least 10 of the 14 homeowners or renters on the street don’t support the signs, according to a poll Stears took.
Scott Bernstein, vice president of the homeowners association, said the community’s regulations, which all residents agree to when purchasing a home, don’t allow street parking. For most of the six years since the community was built, those regulations have been enforced only inside the gates, and the portion of Harbor Island Lane outside the gate was left virtually unregulated by either the city or the association, he said.
But, after noticing congestion on the street caused by parking, the association board of directors asked the city to start managing the area, Bernstein said.
“This (community) was built as a gem, if you will, and our regulations are intended maintain that aesthetically,” he said. “I have six cars, but I don’t park them on the street — I store some of those cars — because I realize that it’s against the regulations to park them on the street.”
When the signs first went up, residents put black plastic bags over them, in an effort to get the city to ignore them, said Harvey Kallen, who rents out four homes in the neighborhood and lives in one.
Kallen asked the City Council on Feb. 5 to consider taking down the signs.
“We just all want to get along and we want the best for the community,” he said in an interview last month. “Our (homeowners association) board members aren’t listening to anything that the community wants.”
Bernstein said the association board members, who were elected by majority vote, didn’t need to get the community’s approval to ask the city to put up the signs, because the Seabridge regulations already restrict street parking.
“Just because a bunch of the neighbors may have signed an improper petition doesn’t constitute good cause to change the rules and regulations,” he said.
Bernstein said he’s told the group that the board is willing to form a committee to change the association’s governing documents, but that’s got to be done properly.
Oxnard Interim City Manager Karen Burnham told Kallen she’s working on addressing the issue and has decided to not issue parking tickets on the street until at least March 15, Kallen said. Burnham did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
The city’s public information officer, Christina Aerenlund, said she was also unable to comment on the issue because Burnham had not briefed her on it.
Jason Samote, Oxnard traffic engineer, said he couldn’t comment on what may happen with the signs because it’s being handled by the city manager’s office, but he did confirm that they had created tension in the neighborhood.
“I’m limited on what I can answer because this has become somewhat of a contentious issue between the neighbors,” he said.
“Basically, Harbor Island Lane is a public street which is completely encompassed by the Seabridge Homeowners Association and there were some parking restriction signs that were put up on request from the Seabridge” association, Samote said.
Many of the homes on the street have four or five bedrooms and a two-car garage, but oftentimes that’s not enough parking for all the people who live in the house, particularly families with teenagers, Kallen said.
Stears said he disagrees with the idea that having strict parking rules on the street will boost property values.
“When we purchased our house and moved to Harbor Island Lane four years ago, the Realtors all said it’s a public street,” he said. “I don’t know that I would have bought it if it wasn’t.”