of the contested strip
of shoulder in front of Lafferty Park
Photos and analysis by Bruce Hagen, September 17, 2002
Lafferty neighbors Peter Pfendler (on the left) and Al Bettman (on the right) claim to own enough of that strip to block access to Lafferty Park, which Pfendler's lawyers have done for nearly ten years.
Shot #1: Looking at the gate across the bend in Sonoma Mountain Road. About 30 feet of gravel and dirt separate the travel lane from the gate. The gate sits well inside the actual property line, which is at the front edge of the nearest clump of weeds, making the property substantially overlap with the road right of way defined by the two County arrow signs. This would indicate there is no barrier between public right of way and the public Lafferty property. (Note the way the County road arrows seem to suggest, as does Supervisor Kerns, "go left or right, but don't go in!")
Shot #2: Looking at the same area from inside. That's Al Bettman's field on the left, with John Saemann's house and vineyard beyond, in the upper left. According to historical maps, the road right of way comes clearly and well onto the Lafferty property, here in the lower left, before heading off to the left. The pavement, along with fencelines, have migrated over the years.
Shot #3: Same view as #2, but from 100 feet further back. It's clear from this photo that that tiny strip can be of no value to Mr. Pfendler or Mr. Bettman beyond blocking public access to Lafferty Park. In the upper left, to the left of the oak trees, you can see Mt. Tamalpais and the mouth of the Petaluma River (photographic proof that spectacular views are available from immediately inside the gate.)
See also these historical maps showing how the Lafferty Ranch property has been clearly accessed from Sonoma Mountain Road for 125 years.