Sheriff's Office to once again enforce vehicle code on private roads of Bolinas


Sheriff’s deputies will soon enforce state and county vehicle regulations on the privately maintained roads in Bolinas, following a discovery a year ago that they did not have the power to do so, despite longstanding practice. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that designates a long list of roads—primarily the unpaved ones on the Big Mesa—as subject to the provisions of the state vehicle code. The change takes effect in 30 days. The county’s deputy zoning administrator approved the ordinance’s associated coastal permit in late September, and notified Bolinas residents of the impending shift. The primary concerns from homeowners, as well as from the Bolinas utility and fire districts, was safety. Deputies could not address parked vehicles blocking driveways or obstructing traffic lanes, or failing to be moved at least every 72 hours—a particularly pertinent law in a town where many have taken up residence in vehicles, to the distress of neighbors. The vehicle code regulates a wide spectrum of laws, including the registration and titling of vehicles, speeding, parking, driver’s license procedures and processes, traffic laws, some towing and loading rules and safety regulations. Addressing the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, resident Philip Butler said the increased authority of law enforcement might be exploited by his neighbors or else interfere with their ability to resolve issues informally. Yet the Bolinas fire chief, Anita Tyrrell-Brown, said Mr. Butler’s neighborhood was an exception; many other streets saw more conflicts around vehicle habitation, she said. She reminded the room that the last year-plus has been an exception to the standard over her 30 years at the district, when deputies enforced vehicle code throughout Bolinas. Rick Hall, another resident, chimed in that there have been repeated offenses by a man stationed in his vehicle on his street; he argued the need for law enforcement. The board approved the resolution unanimously. For a full list of the roads that are part of the new ordinance, visit the Board of Supervisors page at and click on the agenda for Dec. 4.