A controversial issue directly affecting the lives of the students, families and property owners of Isla Vista will be debated at tonight’s town hall meeting.

County officials are working on a proposal that would implement mandatory housing inspections to more than 4,600 Isla Vista apartments. Building and Safety Division officials said the proposal is necessary to ensure I.V.’s housing provides adequate safety and living conditions for its tenants. The cost of the inspections would be $30 per unit, per year, to be paid by the building owner.

The proposal is still in the planning stages and will not be ready to present to the board of supervisors for a few weeks, Isla Vista Housing Inspector Kevin Green said.

“If the proposal meets county approval, there will be a mandatory inspection plan,” he said. “It will affect the owners of multiple rental unit buildings and will be inspected once every five years. We will be looking for basic housing habitability. Basically, just making sure it is a clean, safe place to live.”

The age and upkeep of many apartment buildings is the main concern for the county, Green added.

“I believe this inspection plan has been proposed because a lot of structures are coming to the age where they need special attention,” he said. “It is especially necessary because of the heavy use they experience and their lack of maintenance.”

This is not the first time the plan has been proposed, said Mark Chaconas, executive director for 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall.

“In the meeting we will talk about the potential expansion of this program from a complaint-driven inspection to mandatory inspections,” he said. “When this proposal was presented before, we could only get enough votes at the board of supervisors for complaint-driven inspections [in late 1997].”

Chaconas said the town hall meeting will be an opportunity for the community to have an open dialogue on the proposal.

“We plan on listening to landlord and resident concerns,” he said. “We want to tailor a program to improve the housing stock in Isla Vista.”

The monthly town hall meeting will be held at the University Religious Center (URC) and begin at 6:30.

– Kim Sadler