VENTURA : Officials Want Beach Volleyball to Stay

The Ventura City Council has instructed the city's Parks and Recreation Commission to come up with a compromise that would allow volleyball courts to remain on San Buenaventura State Beach.

The council was responding to a controversy that began June 5, when city employees removed two privately built volleyball courts from the city-owned strip of beach at the end of Bath and Weymouth lanes. State park officials further infuriated Pierpont neighborhood players on Wednesday by removing four more volleyball nets on a portion of the beach owned by the state.

City and state officials said they removed the nets because they violate a public policy prohibiting permanent private-owned structures on public beaches.

Since then, the area's volleyball players have gathered about 700 signatures on petitions calling the volleyball courts' removal "devious and abusive." On Monday night, about a dozen protesters went to the City Council meeting to present the signatures and express their grievances.

"This issue is not just about a bunch of beach bums and surfers and volleyball players," said Andrew Koenig, who lives by the beach. "This is about how the citizens of Ventura care about their beaches."

Several council members suggested that the problem could be solved by installing "temporary" courts to replace the "permanent" ones, while leaving the definition of both terms purposely vague.

"As far as I'm concerned, anything that's left on a beach is temporary," Councilman James Monahan said.

The volleyball players seem satisfied with such a compromise.

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