The boulders arrived Tuesday morning, and it wasn’t long before fishermen and people expecting to sit in their cars and look at the view were questioning why they were being blocked from the popular parking lot at the end of Seaview Drive in Oakland Beach.
Robert Brown, a 40-year resident of Oakland Beach, says he wasn’t surprised. He’d heard that this might happen.
In a telephone interview Wednesday morning, Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis said the Oakland Beach Association has been working on a master plan, and in an effort to clean up the area as well as assess what should be done the rocks were placed there temporarily.
By Wednesday afternoon, she called back to report that the rocks would be removed until the association has the opportunity to conduct a public hearing to outline possible plans and get public feedback.
Brown has more than a passing interest in the lot. He can walk there from his home Hazard Avenue, so having a place to park isn’t an issue for him.
Brown has become the de facto caretaker of the lot. He installed trash barrels, but they disappeared within weeks. He then took it upon himself to fill potholes, a laborious job requiring leveling the earthen lot. He made some drainage improvements to rid the lot of large puddles. He planted grass and installed reflectors. He went a step further, cutting back brush, beach roses and brambles that had obscured guard rails separating the lot from the beach. He was asked what he was doing and says he was told that while the clearing was needed, he had best get a permit from Coastal Resources Management Council.
That bothered him, but nothing like the boulders.
With no parking on Seaview or Suburban, people are being denied easy access to a beach overlooking the mouth of Brush Neck Cove and Greenwich Bay. In addition to fishermen, Brown said many elderly and disabled people use the lot just to sit in their cars and watch the waves, the birds and the sunsets.
“I don’t like the idea of those who bought a water view who don’t want anybody else to view it for free,” he said.
Brown believes there should have been some sort of notice of what was going to happen as well as an explanation.
“I don’t think it is right that a small group of people is taking a nice place away from everybody else,” he said.
Travis is concerned by the trash at the lot.
“We know it’s not our people,” she said. “It’s the outsiders.”
Some years ago, a concerted effort was made to clean up the beach and the lot, and Travis believes that needs to happen again.
As for permanently closing the lot off, Travis said she could see both sides of the argument. She is hopeful the association will gain a clearer picture of what residents want at the public hearing. No date has been set for the hearing.