After recent car club gatherings at Granda Beach snarled traffic and blocked access to beach parking lots, city officials are looking into how to deal with unpermitted events at city beaches.

Pictures of vehicles packed into the beach parking lot, cars on the sand, traffic backed up onto a one-lane stretch of Ocean Boulevard and what appeared to be a person urinating into some bushes were part of the evidence that Councilmember Kristina Duggan included with her request for the city to crack down on unpermitted events in the future.

Duggan, who represents the council district that includes Granada Beach, said her office has received numerous complaints from residents about parking problems, loud music and trash strewn about in the wake of the unsanctioned gatherings.

Numerous cars are shown parked close together in a beach parking lot. Some are parked in the sand and others have little room to move.
A screenshot from Councilmember Kristina Duggan’s council memo showing cars boxed in at Granada Beach during a recent car club meetup.

Duggan also showed a screenshot from an Instagram story post where a local car club organizer was alerting attendees that the city might be enforcing the rules on their event.

“@Longbeachspecial events had something to say! Let’s show these [f—s] who’s city this is!” the post said.

Typically, large events have to seek a permit from the city, which can cost hundreds of dollars, require proof of insurance and needs organizers to spell out how city facilities will be used. This has not been the case at the Granada Beach lot in Belmont Shore, which Duggan said has become a magnet for unpermitted events.

“I think safety is the big picture here,” Duggan said.

Council members were supportive of Duggan’s request but said that the focus should stay on the beach lots and not result in a citywide ordinance.

“There’s a fine line here, an opportunity to address the big events that are happening at beaches and parks that are disruptive,” said Councilmember Al Austin. “But we want to continue our traditions in our neighborhoods.”

Austin pointed to events like First Fridays in Bixby Knolls and concerts in the park as events that made him initially hesitant to support the item.

Ultimately, though, the council voted unanimously to move forward. City staff will now look at how it can rein in disruptive events.

Mayor Rex Richardson said it was important to remember that the city needs to maintain access to the beach and that the city can’t over-police one type of group over any other. However, he said, groups should be educated and comply with city rules, meaning parking spots can’t be blocked off and city rules regulating noise and alcohol use should be followed.

“At the end of the day, the average person should be able to go to our beaches, take one parking spot, pay and get access to the beach,” Richardson said.

Duggan said she doesn’t want to criminalize these types of events but she does want organizers to pay for the required permits. A proposal for how the city could deal with these types of events going forward is expected back in front of the council in the next 90 days.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.