West Coast
Locals Feud with Miramar Over Beach Access

LOCALS FEUD WITH MIRAMAR OVER BEACH ACCESS

Local residents and Miramar Resort have engaged in productive conversations after a video showed resort staff kicking local families off the beach.

John Abraham Powell, founder of the Bucket Brigade that helped numerous Montecito residents return to their homes following the deadly Montecito mud flow last year, posted a video on Facebook about the event that took place on June 6.

Two men in dark suits appear to be telling local beachgoers not to encroach on Miramar Resort's beach property. Powell followed up the next day posting the following open letter to Miramar:

Dear Miramar Hotel,

When you reopened, we were happy to hear the community-friendly message you expressed. This community showed considerable flexibility in allowing the size and scale of your operation on our public beach. The one thing we all have been very clear about from the start is that the beach belongs to the community. We are happy to share Miramar Beach with you and your guests. It is, and has always been, our intention to be excellent neighbors.

In fact, yesterday a group of parents took our kids down to the beach after the Montecito Union School sixth grade graduation. We wanted to start the summer right with a swim and hopefully a delicious snack from the new hotel on the beach. But when the men in dark suits came out to greet us, they did not want to take our order. They wanted to order us off of our own beach.

Honestly, this really surprised us and many of the parents were simply dumbfounded. I am sure this was some kind of mistake.

To be clear, we were below the mean high tide line with credit cards and hungry graduates. We were ready to support the Miramar Hotel by bringing our families and buying food and beverages. At that moment there were exactly zero Miramar guests on that beach. That means we were the only potential commerce opportunity on that beach at the time.

How about we try this again? People make mistakes. Let’s have a redo.

We want to play nice and share this lovely beach with everyone. When you moved in, you said you did too. To demonstrate good faith, I have the following suggestion:

Please take that weird black rope that says “Guests Only” down. It is on public property. We will stay on the public side of the mean high tide line and smile and wave at employees and tourists alike. You can sell us food and tasty beverages and maybe make some money and your staff can earn some tips. Maybe we could even have a locals’ night at the Miramar once a month? That would be good for business and the community.

Bottom line: It was wrong for the Miramar to ask us to leave our own beach yesterday and it definitely upset our kids. They want to know that this beach is still for everyone. We need to show our entire community that it is and will remain so.

I am reaching out to you as a friend and neighbor and asking you to make this right.

Later that day, Powell posted an update stating he had a productive meeting with Miramar leadership and expressed concerns about beach access. Powell stated, "they assured me that kids and families are 100% welcome on the public beach and in the hotel restaurant - now and always."

Miramar Resort's Managing Director, Sean Carney, also released a statement following the meeting:

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for the tremendous support we have received since opening our doors just over three months ago. We are humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response.

Yesterday, a group of local families were visiting the beach in front of the hotel and expressed concern over the stanchioned area on the beach. We did not ask the group to leave the beach, we were simply trying to maintain compliance with our government approvals. We are sorry that the group was upset and have already had productive conversations to ensure that they feel welcomed.

We wanted to take this opportunity to share why stanchions are in place. Our license requires us to clearly define the area where food and beverage is served with rope and stanchions when the beachfront food and beverage outlets are operating. This requirement is to ensure that individuals do not take beverages outside the designated area, which is consistent with government approvals for the hotel.

We take great pride in being part of this special community. Since our opening, we have embraced our neighbors and welcomed neighbors and visitors alike to visit, explore, and experience Rosewood Miramar Beach resort. All of our seven restaurants and bars located throughout the property are open to the public.

Please know that our team will always make itself available to discuss any questions surrounding the property. We look forward to making Rosewood Miramar Beach resort a treasured destination for community members to visit and create memories.

Should you have any further questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact my office directly at (805) 900 - 8388.

See EdHat article . . .