County Seeks Better Access to Park : Courts: Officials sue to bar a homeowners group in Laguna Niguel from restricting parking on street near Badlands.
County officials have filed suit in an effort to force a homeowners association to remove no-parking signs and red paint from curbs, which they contend illegally block the public from using a seven-acre county park with spectacular ocean views.
In its lawsuit filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, the county contends that Monarch Point Homeowners Assn., is preventing county residents from using a rugged ridgeline park known as Badlands by restricting use of Isle Vista Drive, the only dedicated public access.
According to allegations in the suit, the developer of the Monarch Point community in 1988 removed red paint from a curb along Isle Vista Drive and took down no-parking signs posted on the road in order to obtain a development permit under the State Coastal Act.
But then, the county suit says, about May or June of 1992, county officials discovered that “the red paint had been returned to the curb and no parking signs had been reinstated . . . .” The county says it has complained to the homeowners association, but to no avail.
Monarch Point Homeowners Assn. and its lawyer, William P. Hickey of Irvine, could not be reached Monday evening.
However, the lawsuit seeking a judicial restraining order that would force the association to remove the signs and red paint said the association denies that the public’s easement rights across Isle Vista Drive include the right to park cars next to Badlands Park.
The suit also contends that the homeowners association has illegally erected and maintained a locked gate along a portion of Isle Vista Drive, which obstructs public use of the park.
The county in its suit is requesting the court to levy a series of fines against the association, including $10,000 for each day the defendant may have been in violation of the Coastal Act.