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Montecito area will have more parking limits ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Parking signs
County of Santa Barbara
New time limit signs are going up in the Montecito area around hiking trails and streets close to beaches.
Montecito fire parking
John Palminteri
New time limit signs are going up in the Montecito area around hiking trails and streets close to beaches.
Montecito Fire paramedic
John Palminteri
New time limit signs are going up in the Montecito area around hiking trails and streets close to beaches to control crowds and help with emergency access. (Photo: John Palminteri)

MONTECITO, Calif. -- After several weeks of complaints from area residents, the Montecito beaches and hiking trails will have new parking limits.

The action came from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, following an outcry from residents who have been snarled by cars and people even during the "stay well at home" order by Governor Gavin Newsom.

There's also been a complaint about excessive trash and disregard for environmental care.

"We want to be able to protect the public's access," said Supervisor Das Williams who has been urging people to keep recreating even during the COVID-19 crisis. Williams has frequently checked out the beaches and trails and if they are full, Williams has gone to new areas.

Williams says two-hour parking limits are in effect at Hot Springs Trailhead, Riven Rock Road, and on Humphrey Road and Miramar Avenue where they cross Eucalyptus.

The rules will begin Friday through Memorial Day.

They will continue every weekend, along with holidays, to prevent overcrowding in parking and protect distancing at popular destinations.

Parking, access, spacing and other issues are also a concern for emergency responders.

"Access for our fire engines if there is a fire is critically important. So I ask the public to keep that in mind when they park their cars," said Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor.

For the fire department, "it's been challenging," said Taylor.

At times, getting through Channel Drive at Butterfly Beach engines have had to straddle the center lane because cars are parked on both sides of the road.

On her way to the beach resident and returning college student Dela Hatfield said she has been able to get in and out without major issues.

"I haven't had trouble parking except for that weekend three weeks ago when I think people were coming from out of town to go to our beaches because ours were the only ones open," said Hatfield.

She was lucky enough to get a perfect parking spot at Butterfly Friday afternoon and a spot with social distancing.

That may not be the case for everyone over the Memorial Day weekend.

Watch for more information tonight on KEYT NewsChannel3, KCOY NewsChannel 12, KKFX Fox 11.

Fire / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara- S County

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.

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