The Isla Vista Foot Patrol will suspend action to implement earlier quiet hours on weekends after receiving swift disapproval at a community town hall Tuesday.
The current noise ordinance restricts “any loud and unreasonable noise” after midnight on Friday and Saturday, and students from UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College who live in I.V. have long butted heads with its strict enforcement.
The IVFP proposed last week that quiet hours would be shifted to 10 p.m. on weekends and received immediate criticism from dozens of residents. After hearing over two hours of public comment at student-lead town hall Tuesday, the IVFP decided to delay the final approval from Sep. 13 to a later date that is yet to be determined.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is implementing the change throughout the county to align unincorporated areas with their surrounding cities, which already abide by a 10 p.m. weekend ordinance. Isla Vistans, however, insist that the town requires a specifically tailored approach.
The ordinance would affect all unincorporated areas in Santa Barbara county, including I.V., Hope Ranch, Montecito and the “Noleta” area between Goleta and Santa Barbara.
IVFP Lieutenant Ruben Cintron presented the change on August 11 at a monthly public meeting. But on Tuesday, Sirapat Cupradinan, a fourth-year chemistry major, claimed “most of us in this room did not hear about this until less than 48 hours ago.”
His sentiment echoed several other speakers; this was not the first time that locals have felt blindsided by important changes in I.V. In early June, parents and students gathered at a public town hall hosted by the university to speak out against construction at the intersection of El Colegio Road and Storke Road.
“We were just as surprised as everyone else that nobody knew about this,” responded Kelly Moore, a commander of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. He attributed the late notice to personnel changes, saying he and Cintron were newly assigned to the case.
Supporting the new ordinance, he claimed it would increase safety in the town by targeting “what happens as a result of parties.” Crime continues in the summer when UCSB and SBCC students are not present, he said, and sexual assaults are a recurring problem.
Dwayne Moseby, UCIV liaison for the A.S. Public Safety Commission, countered that there has been a 20 percent decrease in crime from 2013 to 2015, citing an April report from the county district attorney office. He said I.V. experienced record-low crime rates on days “alternative programs” like UCIV were active.
“By having this new ordinance, it’s almost hindering, or say, a slap to the face, for these programs which have been developing the whole time,” he said.
Several locals are also concerned that the change will hurt I.V. businesses that cater to a late-night crowd. Miguel Aceves and Sara Cho, who work at I.V. Deli Mart, say the business will suffer if students begin ending their nights early. The grocery store and fast-food joint closes at 3 a.m. during the school year, and Cho says “rush hour” begins around 12:20 a.m. every night.
The IVFP has not looked into the ordinance’s effect on local businesses, but Moore said “economics takes second hand to safety” when considering how laws will interact with residents over an extended period of time.
A burgeoning self-governance movement in I.V. hopes to close the gap between Isla Vistans and law enforcement. Darcel Elliott, campaign manager for the Yes on E & F self-governance campaign, says similar miscommunications have “happened continuously” in her time in I.V. and the Community Services District (CSD) could increase regular communication.
The “disturbing the peace” law in California allows the IVFP to shut down loud parties only after receiving a police report from another resident. If quiet hours have begun, however, they can put an end to any gathering that is producing noise 100 feet from its property line.
“We’re not saying don’t party,” Moore said. “We’re just asking you to do it quietly.”
The ordinance, if passed, has the potential to change music, nightlife and college culture in I.V., but not all residents are convinced that the law is a pressing issue.
UCSB student Jordan Mitchell said many of the “entitled-ass” audience members were worrying about their nightlife rather than what he considers more pressing issues, such as the death of a student last year or “racism that’s been happening on campus.”
“There a lot of things that need to be changed,” he said. “Y’all now decide to get together?”