OCEANSIDE — There’s no more free rides for surf camps and fitness groups using Oceanside parks and beaches. City Council gave final approval to require a special operations permit and $1 million liability insurance for commercial use of outdoor recreation areas on Feb 18.
Groups that plan to use city parks and beaches can start signing up for a permit March 23.
Applicants must fill out a form with city business licensing, then put in a location and time request with Parks and Recreation Administration office.
Park and recreation staff said questions are already pouring in on how to complete the new process.
The City Council decided to require a use permit to ensure group instruction does not interfere with public access to parks and beaches.
“We just want to make sure the people who are trying to use the parks, and the beach, and the amphitheater for personal use still have access to it,” Peter Weiss, city consulting assistant, said at an earlier meeting.
The permit process will lock down requested dates, times, location and number of participants. This allows the city to regulate use. It also helps the city head off potential schedule conflicts between group instruction and one-time special events.
Oceanside was seen an increased use of its beaches by fitness groups and surf camps after neighboring beach cities adopted regulations. Encinitas requires commercial use groups to have a business license and $250 annual use permit. The city of Del Mar and Carlsbad state parks require groups to submit a request for proposal. Solana Beach prohibits private commercial use of its parks and beaches.
Weiss described Oceanside’s approach as minimal regulations. He added city staff would work with groups.
City Council discussed limiting surf camps to four total because they take up a large portion of the beach with surfboards and shade tents. Designated beach locations for surf camps will be determined with input from applicants.
Fitness and surf instructors, who addressed the City Council since discussions began in December 2014, have been in favor of regulations, and a safer experience for students.