Associated Students / News

A.S. Senate Debates Isla Vista Housing, A.S. Restructuring, Sexual Assault

Senators at Wednesday night’s Associated Students Senate meeting engaged in discussion with the architect of a potential new housing development in Isla Vista, spoke with a representative from the UC Police Department regarding sexual assault, passed a revised bill limiting A.S. food expenditures and debated the proposed restructuring of A.S.

The proposed housing development will be called Nest and is to be placed on the corner of Pardall and Embarcadero del Norte. Its architect, Jeff Shelton, came during Public Forum to discuss the proposed plans with senators and shed light on the development process.

Shelton approached senators in order to explain the development process for the Nest, which has already garnered student criticism. He also sought to relay his desires as an architect to create a space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional for I.V. residents.

According to Shelton, the building has been in the works for a significant amount of time and is part of the Isla Vista Master Plan, a project designed to complement the Countywide Comprehensive Plan and Goleta Community Plan and meant to address improvements to housing, transportation, infrastructure and other aspects within the I.V. community.

“The planning department wants it denser in Isla Vista,” Shelton said. “They want to get more housing — more variety of housing — and the Master Plan shows this area being built up … It happens to be at probably the best corner of town here.”

Shelton said the Nest will provide affordable single unit housing, rentable hotel space and commercial space in a way that fits with the existing community while also living up to environmentally-friendly ideals. Furthermore, Shelton said he sees this task as part of his duty to the community to keep the space lively and exciting.

“My goal as an architect is to try to make it work in the community,” Shelton said. “Now, the community is not all built up yet, so you kind of have to look ahead to make it work … I’ve got to keep it livable and interesting for the community at that street.”

Senators expressed concern about the way the proposed development would affect property values and local businesses. However, Shelton was unable to fully respond to these concerns since his involvement lies solely within the architectural designing aspect of the building development.

Following Shelton, Public Relations Specialist for UCPD Ariel Bournes came to update Senators on the steps the police department are currently undertaking in order to address both the sexual assault and general safety concerns in Isla Vista. Bournes cited increased video surveillance, increased staffing and patrolling, increased presence of Community Service Officers and continuing conversations with Chancellor Henry T. Yang about how to best protect UCSB students.

“It’s an all hands on deck situation at the police department,” Bournes said.

Later in the meeting, Community Affairs Board (C.A.B.) Co-Chair Kaitlyn Christianson expressed her thoughts on the revised food bill. She said she felt satisfaction toward the revisions incorporated; however, she hopes that in the future the Senators will take a more inclusive approach toward the campus Boards, Commissions and Committees (BCCs).

Christianson said much of her discontentment with the previous version of the bill was because it attempted to limit the amount of money each BCC spends on food yet did not initially take into account the different sizes of BCCs and the ways in which the groups use food differently, amongst other issues.

“It’s very easy for Senate to figure out what Senate needs,” Christianson said. “But BCCs are so diverse … and we’re considered from the outside, which is the biggest problem I think. If somebody would have come to me first and said ‘Hey C.A.B., I know you’re a huge BCC … what would you want?’ I would say, ‘Okay, this seems like a fair policy.’”

Senators unanimously passed the revised food bill.

Christianson had similar complaints with the process of devising the A.S. restructure plan, arguing that it was not inclusive enough of BCCs and non-senators in general. When A.S. President Jonathan Abboud presented, he refuted those claims, asserting that he had made an effort to reach out to BCCs. However, Abboud said he recommends that Senators table the resolution.

“I went to a lot of BCCs’ meetings [with people] who were upset, and I explained it to them … and we sent a lot of emails out … some people didn’t contact me and now they’re in a rut because they waited until five hours before the Senate meeting to read it,” Abboud said. “I would say table it anyways just so that we cannot upset people.”

After some deliberation, Senators came to an agreement to table the resolution for one more week.

 

 

This story appeared as an online exclusive on Friday, March 7, 2014.

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One Comment

  1. I appreciate that this architect made a presentation on a controversial project to the A.S. Senators. However, everyone should be aware that the so-called Master Plan has never been officially approved, was developed under controversial conditions (its board was not elected), and all Master Plans were voided when redevelopment agencies were dissolved by state mandate. So, move forward cautiously and without intimidation in this discussion remembering that the tall building at the top of Isla Vista’s loop was approved with 105 beds and only 17 parking spaces.

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