Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Protest New "Master Plan"


July 14, 2006 (Bastille Day)


Six former elected officials in Isla Vista have lodged a protest against
plans by the County of Santa Barbara to add more people and traffic to the
seaside university town. The preferred option among six alternative
scenarios under study would build out all remaining vacant lots, adding
nearly 4,500 new residents to the already overcrowded town. The plan also
calls for the construction of a multi-storied parking garage in Isla Vista's
intimate downtown, which would absorb over half of the total funds available
in the next few years to "redevelop" the entire town.

The six requested that the County include for consideration a scenario of
dramatically reduced cars in Isla Vista, an approach that has long been
supported by Isla Vista residents in polls and advisory elections.

"Whenever elections or polls were held in Isla Vista, the majority of
residents voted to support, maintain and perpetuate certain common ideas of
what Isla Vista should be," said Fred Stang, an elected representative to
the Isla Vista Community Council (IVCC) in the mid-70s. "They include as a
central idea that alternative transportation should be encouraged rather
than the use of automobiles, especially to get around within I.V., which is
small enough that walking and bicycling are more appropriate and practical
means of transportation than driving."


"Isla Vista has always been on the cutting edge of environmental issues,"
says Carmen Lodise, a former elected representative to the IVCC and Isla
Vista Park Board. "Consider its strong support for controlled-growth
candidates through the years and pesticide-free parks since 1973 -- a
practice only recently adopted by the City of Santa Barbara. To further
commit the town to dependency on the automobile in this age of global
warming is profoundly inappropriate, especially considering how much such
policies cost."

Isla Vista is a one-half square mile town in the center of the University of
California, Santa Barbara campus, which is located on the mesa immediately
oceanside from the Santa Barbara Airport. The 2000 Census indicated that
roughly 20,000 people live in this small area, although most observers agree
that this is a significant undercount.

The town was left to private development when the UCSB campus moved to the
Isla Vista Mesa from the Santa Barbara foothills in the 1950s.
Developer-friendly building regulations created by the County and unopposed
by the university during the rapid development era in Isla Vista (primarily
1960-70) permitted higher densities, fewer parking spaces, and construction
closer to the ocean bluff than allowed anywhere else in the state. These
regulations led to a maximizing of profits for landowners and developers
with little regard for how these over-crowded conditions would impact
residents. This "misdevelopment" was soundly criticized by two independent
commissions examining the 1970 civil disturbances in Isla Vista (see the
attached Trow Report Summary).

"The County is considering alternative futures for Isla Vista based on two
fundamental misconceptions: that Isla Vista needs more parking and that it
needs additional housing," says Malcolm Gault-Williams, a former elected
representative to both the IVCC and Isla Vista Park Board.

Together, the former elected officials have requested that the County
consider the financial and environmental impacts of excluding all cars from
the downtown area of Isla Vista, with service provided to businesses and
housing units by existing east-west streets off two major north-south
thoroughfares -- Camino Pescadero Rd. in Isla Vista and Ocean Rd. on the
UCSB Main Campus. They also requested that UCSB limit automobile usage by
undergraduates -- as many major U.S. and U.K. universities already do -- and
that the County cul de sac the entire tier of 6600 blocks in the seaside

"This is Isla Vista's one chance to get it right, but a so-called Master
Plan that doesn't even consider substantially reducing cars in town totally
misses the mark," says Lodise.

These officials were responding to the Draft Environmental Impact Report on
the Isla Vista Master Plan, which had a Public Comment period ending July
14, 2006.

The DEIR can be found on the Internet at; the Draft Master Plan (2003) is at


The following Comments on the DEIR were submitted to the County by Carmen
Lodise and endorsed by former Isla Vista Community
Council members Marcus Borgman , Gina Fregosi
, Malcolm Gault-Williams , and
Fred Stang <>. These Comments were also
endorsed by Jeffrey Walsh , Isla Vista Park Board,
1980-84. Lodise's Isla Vista: A Citizen's History (1990), can be found at


  1. UCSB did oppose high densities in IV... in the 1950's. UCSB had data on car ownership and pressed the county to increase the parking/unit, but the developers, like Jack Schwartz, won. Chancellor Gould argued that areas around campus should not be allowed to become a ghetto.

    The latest push for density came from property owners, not the University.

    Only 13,500 residents are in the 0.6 square-mile area bounded by the ocean, El Colegio, Ocean Road, and Majorca. See the Wikipedia IV entry. Not 20,000. Many 0.6 square-mile areas in California are more dense than IV, including Chinatown in SF, Adams Point in Oakland and Wilshire Blvd. in LA.

    Unfortunately, the current residents of IV are not anti-car *at all*. They went berserk over possible parking fees in IV.. hundreds came to the public meetings. IV is filled with car-owning devotees to internal combustion these days... many of them moonlight as environmentalists, but darned few drop the car. Sad but true.

  2. I am a student who lives in IV and I first heard about the master plan about six months ago. I have several concerns with the objectives of the plan and the suspicion that only some of these objectives will be realized. I fear that a significant conflict of interest has occurred in the formation of the plan and that landowners and business owners will be the only ones to benefit, leaving students, long-term residents, and the environment to suffer. I will be attending the Planning Commission meetings in February to voice my concerns and am looking for some long term residents to accompany me. Please forward my contact info to anyone who may be interested.

    Thank you,

    Keith Russell
    VP of External Affairs
    SBCC Associated Students
    (805) 729-3458