Pink and Parked : Neighborhoods: Balboa Island residents wish bus turned motor home would hit the road. But officials say it’s legal for the vehicle to sit at their curbs.


It weighs seven tons, takes up two parking spaces and is pink all over.

And the residents of Balboa Island who have spotted this vehicular monster parked near their homes want to get rid of it.

“It is a grayish-pink and it is big,” said City Councilwoman Jean H. Watt, who has fielded complaints from residents in her district, which includes the island. The owner “moves it and moves it and moves it. . . . It is an eyesore.”

But Scott Skibicki, who owns this behemoth--a 1961 Ford that resembles a mutant school bus and was once an Air Force transport vehicle--defended its right to exist.


“I have as much right to park it on the street as any other car, only that it is a little pinker,” said the 32-year-old Balboa resident. “It is my only vehicle and it is totally legal.”

His bus was first sighted three months ago parked on Abalone Avenue on the little Balboa Island. Since then, Skibicki has moved it to vacant curbs all over the island to avoid parking tickets, each time causing a new round of complaints.

To comply with parking restrictions, Skibicki must move the vehicle every 72 hours, and on Tuesdays to make way for street sweepers. Since February, he has lapsed only once in this routine, which cost him a $20 parking fine.

Both parking enforcement officers and Traffic Department personnel have measured the bus, checking its dimensions to see if it fits the city code’s definition of an oversize vehicle, thus making it illegal to park on the street. The standard is 95 inches wide.

No such luck. The machine isn’t quite that wide.

Officials also resorted to asking the city attorney’s office to review the oversize-vehicle ordinance to see if it could be changed just enough to outlaw the pink vehicle.

That probably won’t happen, though, because officials figure that reworking city laws just to get one bus off the street probably isn’t worth the effort.


Meanwhile, Newport Beach police have logged about a dozen calls in the last month from residents upset by the size and appearance of the bus, Sgt. Andy Gonis said. Watt and the Traffic Department have also received complaints.

“Everywhere I go, the police get a lot of phone calls from people all over the island who think it is ugly. . . . The neighbors have even offered to paint it white,” said Skibicki, who rarely drives the bus, opting instead to walk to the restaurant he manages on Balboa Island. “It needs a new paint job, I admit, but it is not ugly.”

Despite the parking hassle, Skibicki is reluctant to give up his enormous machine. The former military vehicle once had the capacity to seat 27 Air Force pilots but now contains a refrigerator, a stove, dining table, bathroom and enough room for a large bed. It gets eight miles per gallon.

Skibicki and his girlfriend, Yvette Ritchot, bought it last summer in Washington state. They lived in it on and off for six months before driving it down the coast earlier this year. Skibicki said he will commit the bus to storage during the peak summer months when island parking is tough to find. He and Ritchot may take it to South America sometime next year or whenever they save enough gas money.

Skibicki does receive some sympathy, although not much.

“It is not as ugly as people say it is,” said resident Bart Genovese, who lives almost in the shadow of the bus. “(Skibicki) has got his hands full parking a thing like this. Hell, I respect him for having it.”