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Ball playing, Frisbee tossing now allowed on L.A. County beaches

February 7, 2012 |  4:50 pm

A man runs into the surf while playing football with friends at Dan Blocker County Beach in Malibu. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

If you’ve ever tossed the pigskin around at a Los Angeles County beach, you’ve probably broken the law. 

Now, according to an overhaul of the rules governing the sand, beachgoers will only be allowed to pass a football or throw a Frisbee freely during the cold off-season, with a few exceptions.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the ordinance Tuesday. Its main thrust was to clarify the responsibilities of the fire chief and other public agencies, but it also refined old rules and restrictions like “Ball-playing” and “Nudity and disrobing.”

Under the old rules, there was a general prohibition against kicking, throwing or tossing any light objects on the beach other than inflated rubber balls larger than 10 inches in diameter.

The new ordinance allows beach balls and volleyballs while ruling out the rest, except if there is a designated area, the beachgoer has obtained a permit, it’s a water polo ball being used in the water, or if a person gets permission from the fire chief or an ocean lifeguard to play with any other object in the water.

But during the off-season, between Labor Day and Memorial Day, the ball-playing restrictions take a break.

“The rules are in place so that during a busy, crowded summer beach day, no one is put at risk by a spontaneous football game,” said L.A. County spokeswoman Carol Baker, who added that the ordinance had not been updated since the 1980s and now allows authorities to better enforce permitting rules.

Some criticized the action, saying the new rules will dissuade residents from using the beach.

“The County’s Beach ordinance is all punitive, restrictive and increases fines regarding our public beaches,” said Jon Nahhas of Playa del Rey, referring to the increase of some fines from $500 to $1,000.

“The county is looking to find more revenue,” he said.

The ordinance, which will be in effect well before the summer beach crunch begins, also clarifies rules on nudity. Officials eliminated a provision that had previously excluded those “engaged in a live theatrical performance in a theater, concert hall or similar establishment which is primarily devoted to theatrical performances.”

Smoking is still prohibited.


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-- Ari Bloomekatz at the Hall of Administration

Photo: A man runs into the surf while playing football with friends at Dan Blocker County Beach in Malibu. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times