Imperial Beach residents are displeased with the new "Private Property/No Trespassing/No Climbing/No Sitting on Rocks" signs that have appeared on the beach between the ocean and the Boca Rio condominiums that run from 1590 to 1690 Seacoast Drive.
The four metal signs bolted onto the boulders by the Boca Rio Homeowners Association within the past few weeks warn that violators will be prosecuted.
"I will sit on them anytime I damn well please," said Imperial Beach resident Jeff Wallis. "What's next," he wrote on Facebook, "Is the Boca Rio HOA going to try and limit beach access to the ocean in front of their cushy lil beach cottages?"
The Boca Rio homeowners' association has been installing the signs since May 19th, according to the agenda notes of their board meetings available online. On March 17th is the note "signs were purchased and will be installed to advise people to not trespass, not climb on the rocks," and "Mike Clegg and Cindy Killman will donate their time to install on the rocks. These signs will not be visible from the homeowners [sic] view."
Homeowners' association vice president Cindy Killman said she had not heard of any controversy about the signs but that the HOA does not talk to the media. "That's our stand," she said.
President Robin Clegg said no one in the association was authorized to talk to the press. "We would have no comment for the media," she said.
The seawall boulders on the beach are not public property, according to Imperial Beach city manager Andy Hall.
"The revetment [rocks] is on private property," he said via email. "The City was not notified that the signs would be installed. It is legal for property owners to place signs that indicate private ownership and no trespassing."
Meanwhile, local beachgoers are up in arms about both the look and the intent of the signs, with many under the impression that the seawall is public property.
"HOA just vandalized the rocks!" said Steve Gibbons on the recent social media forum.
"I'm thinking 50 or so of us should go sit on those rocks Saturday," wrote Patrick Thomas.
Some revetment was initially placed in front of what were then apartment buildings “around 1966-'67,” according to California Coastal Commission documents. The area has been the subject of easement issues in the past.
“It’s private property till you get to the base of the rocks,” said Imperial Beach City Council member Brian Pat Bilbray via social media, “after that the port owns it.”
John C.R. Jones contributed to this article.