Harmony Headlands State park will have 16 parking spaces

Correction: This story about Harmony Headlands state park incorrectly explained work to be done at the parking lot. Parking bumpers will be installed to define parking, but state parks will not pave the dirt lot or paint stripes to show parking spaces.

Harmony Headlands State Park will get a paved parking lot after all.

A proposal to pave the existing dirt parking area in a way that would create 16 marked spaces received the Board of Supervisors’ approval Tuesday.

Neighbors had opposed the lot, arguing some hikers who parked there have blocked access to the road that leads to their property. They said they feared more of the same as the park grew more popular.

Supervisors said they would add conditions to the paved lot approval, including “no parking” signs as well as bumpers and curbs.

Neighbors, represented by Los Osos attorney Marshall Ochylski, still objected to the paved lot. They said they want the state Department of Parks and Recreation to build a lot inside the entrance and on its own land. The current lot is on Caltrans property.

Until that happens, they said, there are going to be problems accessing the driveway that leads to their property.

Building the proposed lot would discourage the state from constructing a bigger lot on park property, away from their access road, Ochylski said.

However, Supervisors Adam Hill and Jim Patterson said that leaving the status quo meant that whatever problems exist now will continue to exist. Patterson said under the new proposal, state parks personnel would have enforcement powers to cite and even tow vehicles.

Ochylski said the property owners he represents “have issues with Caltrans” as well. He did not elaborate.

The 784-acre park, just south of Harmony on Highway 1, features a hiking trail to the coast and a bluff-top trail.

Parks Supervisor Nick Franco said Harmony Headlands State Park, opened in 2008, is becoming increasingly popular. “At some point, we’re going to have to find a way to accommodate more visitors,” he said.

But at the moment the state cannot afford the larger parking lot Ochylski suggested, he said.

Opponents included Dennis Schneider, best known for his 7-year legal struggle with the state Coastal Commission over his plans to build a luxury home on the Harmony bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

His fellow complainants were Sharon Harris, Sharyn Schrick, Denise Emmick McLaughlan, and Sandra Emmick Bowman.

Ochylski disputed rumors that Schneider was making an issue out of the parking lot because he was unhappy about the state park being approved.

“This is not about Harmony Headlands Park in any way, shape or form,” Ochylski said. “It’s about parking. There’s been obstruction."