SANTA PAULA : Alcohol-Use Law for Parks Advances

The Santa Paula City Council has given tentative approval to an ordinance that would restrict the use of alcohol in certain parks, including Teague Park where nearby residents have complained of violence and alcohol abuse.

An initial version of the ordinance banned alcohol at the city's eight parks, prohibited removing recyclables from park bins and banned baseball except on designated playing fields.

But under the revised version of the ordinance approved Monday, alcohol is banned at any location designated by the council. The ordinance also prohibits alcohol at Harding Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Teague Park, Obregon Park and Las Piedras Park.

Richard Barnett, who has lived near Teague Park for nine years, welcomed the restrictions. "It's a start in the right direction," Barnett said. "It's a good compromise."

The six-acre park, bordered by Harvard Boulevard, Laurie Lane, and Steckel and Santa Anna streets, has turned into a hangout for rowdy youths, soccer fans, and men who drink and urinate in public, residents have complained. In February, city officials agreed to erect a fence along the southern border of Teague Park to curb parking on residential Santa Anna Street.

The ordinance also bans golf and powered model airplanes from all city parks and requires pet owners to properly dispose of animal waste. Baseball is prohibited at any location designated by the City Council. The ordinance bans baseball only at Obregon Park, where foul balls have broken nearby windows.

"You could hook a foul ball off the left-hand side of the field and theoretically hit a person," said Norman S. Wilkinson, public works director and city engineer.

A final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for April 6.

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