In what appears to be a direct response to Floatopia, county officials are currently drafting an emergency ordinance to curb the beachside party.
Since the ordinance is not yet finalized, county officials refused to provide specific details but confirmed that the statute will target the upcoming Floatopia 2. The official language of the code will be released on either Thursday or Friday, and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will vote on the statute at its meeting on Tuesday, May 5 – just days prior to Floatopia 2, scheduled for May 9.
Officials and student representatives alike have speculated that the ordinance will ban the consumption of alcohol on Isla Vista beaches.
“I have not seen the staff report so I’m not exactly sure what is being proposed,” 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who will vote on the ordinance next week, said. “I did hear that alcohol was a part of this – but this is all second-hand talking to one person or another.”
According to Carbajal, an emergency ordinance is handled differently than other county measures. Carbajal said that if findings substantiate the urgent predicament of the situation, an ordinance can be put into effect immediately. Additionally, certain procedures, such as the customary revisions most ordinances undergo, can be bypassed.
“From my experience, the urgency aspect of ordinances fulfills certain legal requirements,” he said, “and enables certain actions to be taken that otherwise couldn’t be taken.”
Given the unusual circumstances, four out of the five board members will need to support the measure, as opposed to a simple majority, he said.
Liz Buda, a member of the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District board, said she thought that alcohol is likely to be the subject of the ordinance, but voiced concern over the lack of public input.
“I’m predicating it’ll focus on alcohol on the beach,” Buda said. “I think they’re trying to keep it on the down low, but it’s not a public process.”
In the past weeks, county officials have insisted that they are primarily concerned with the safety issues that arose from the last Floatopia. In an interview on Monday, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr said she had heard about the emergency ordinance, but knew no specifics.
“Public safety have been looking to ways in which they might be able to make the situation safer,” Farr, Isla Vista’s representative on the board, said. “They will post an emergency ordinance on May 5th. … They want to make sure there are safeguards in place and so we don’t have the same situation.”
Despite their concern, both Farr and Carbajal refused to take a stance on the ordinance, given that it has not yet been completed.
“I’m not in a position to react to it, good, bad or indifferent,” Carbajal said. “This is not in the 1st District, obviously all I would say is that based on what I have heard [Floatopia] does cause some concerns, both from a public safety standpoint and an environmental standpoint.”
See the finalized ordinance here.