Sand Dune Park

Sand Dune Park sees some changes

by John Tawa

Despite stating support for strict use restrictions to the dune at Sand Dune Park, the Manhattan Beach City Council Tuesday decided against adopting the access limitations developed by a Parks and Recreation Commission subcommittee, saying they were unenforceable.

The subcommittee, comprised of two Commission members, members of the Sand Dune Park Neighborhood Association, local park users and city staffers, had recommended that the dune be divided in two, with half being used for children to play on and half for exercise use. On the exercise portion, no more than 45 people would be allowed to use the dune at any one time.

The council recognized that the recommendations were forged from compromise, but most councilmembers did not see how they could be enforced.

"I don't think we should pass anything we can't enforce," councilmember Steve Napolitano said.

The council did agree to other suggested changes for a three-month trial period, such as cutting park hours to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and placing a staff person at the park to maintain quiet hours in the early morning and evening hours and enforce the park's existing policies. The council also authorized the staffer to place cones on the dune indicating that one side was for play and the other for exercise. The four public parking spaces south of the tot lot will be replaced with parking for handicapped and service vehicles.

Many councilmembers said they were prepared to consider more drastic alternatives if the changes proved ineffective. Napolitano suggested fencing the dune, while Mayor Linda Wilson appeared receptive to the notion of closing the dune for some time to try and break the pattern of use.

In other news, the council voted 4-0 (Napolitano abstaining) to conduct a Manhattan Beach Open beach volleyball event Aug. 25-27 in cooperation with the Association of Volleyball Professionals in the same small-scale fashion and on substantially the same terms as last year.

Finally, the council voted unanimously to approve pay increase for the city manager and city attorney. City manager Joe Dolan will now receive $133,671, an increase of five percent, and a one-time $5,000 bonus in recognition of his service to the city. City attorney Bob Wadden, Jr. will be paid $155,646, an eight percent raise. ER