The A.S. Senate recently passed a resolution for revisions to the Isla Vista Master Plan, a 104-page guide to local development that was denied approval in 2007 and has since been gathering dust.
The County drafted the Master Plan from 2000 to 2007 with the help of UCSB Administration and community members in the Project Area Committee/General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC). In February 2012, Isla Vista development hit another wall when the joint committee was dissolved due to the California Supreme Court ruling California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, which upheld a law dissolving the state’s redevelopment agencies. As a result, all assets, liabilities and unfinished projects were transferred to the County, causing I.V. to not have a development code.
A.S. Off-Campus Senators Beatrice Contreras and Jimmy Villarreal, coauthors of the resolution to revitalize the Master Plan, called for a committee of students and residents to reevaluate the Master Plan line by line.
“The plan is to get more people that are really invested in Isla Vista involved, sitting down, collaborating and talking about what we want in our community,” Contreras said.
Villarreal said the resolution is especially prominent as the University increases enrollment and more people move into I.V.
“There’re new needs; there’s more people coming in. We have to figure out how to deal with that in a way that’s friendly to the people who live there already, to the environment,” Villarreal said. “That’s all part of the planning process. If we don’t plan, then things are going to go poorly.”
According to Contreras, the committee will consist of students, housing co-op members, permanent residents, local business owners, A.S. representatives and administrators from UCSB Student Affairs. The resolution is intended to gather community output, but not make any specific recommendations beyond that, Contreras said.
“This resolution isn’t intended to push a specific agenda for what we want in the Master Plan,” Contreras said. “All we said is that we want a master plan that incorporates significant community input, a master plan that is inclusive of a lot of identities, a master plan that emphasizes high-quality and affordable housing.”
With the rise of high-end apartment complexes such as The Loop, Contreras said it is essential that the new plan puts some emphasis on affordable housing. With more community input, goals such as this would be much easier to put into action, according to Contreras.
“The developing new Master Plan is intended to [not only] guide the development, but also help create a more collaborative feel for the decisions that are made in our community,” Contreras said.
The most recent housing project is the Nest, an apartment building with a proposed building site at Pardall and Embarcadero del Mar, where Dublin’s Sports Grill currently stands. With mostly single rooms and a supposed lack of affordability, the Nest and other projects like the Loop do not provide local student residents with the living standards they need, according to A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Alexander Moore.
“If you look at the pricing structure of buildings like the Loop and those things, it’s just not very affordable, not very community-friendly. It really changes the character of our Pardall, which is basically our downtown,” Moore said. “It’s a great, beautiful building, but in the wrong place.”
Since students make up the bulk of the Isla Vista community, Moore said they make up a significant voting bloc in the County which can exert a lot of positive influence on other areas of the County and even other local residents.
“It’s always nice that we can exercise our power to help others, too,” he said.
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.