The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a new and faster system of acquiring land for sidewalk construction in a resolution Tuesday, and decided to allocate $395,000 toward constructing sidewalks in Isla Vista.
The money, in addition to the $100,00 allocated from last year’s budget, will go in part toward connecting sidewalks on Embarcadero Del Mar, Embarcadero Del Norte and Camino Pescadero.
The resolution established a set value for private property – $20 per square foot – which 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall said will save time by cutting out the “lengthy and expensive” process of separately appraising and assessing each property they hope to acquire by easements.
“This action will streamline the process and allow the taxpayers’ money to go directly into the project and not to paperwork. Building new sidewalks will hopefully lead to a safer community for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobiles,” she said.
The resolution was necessary, according to Marshall, because the installation of sidewalks was not required in the 1960s and ’70s, when many of the properties in I.V. were developed. Since easements to acquire those properties were not granted, the county formerly had to negotiate with each property owner individually. Now, they will pay $20 per square foot, which the resolution called a ‘reasonable level of compensation.'”
The resolution also called for these improvements to take place “without the use of eminent domain, wherever possible.”
Marshall said putting in sidewalks is a priority for the largely pedestrian town.
“This action is just one step toward making Isla Vista a safer place to live,” she said.