A weeklong Isla Vista Master Plan Design workshop aimed at garnering constructive community ideas for the future of I.V. begins today.

The event, which is sponsored by Santa Barbara County, UCSB, and the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District, will hold an open design studio at UCSB Hillel, 781 Embarcadero Del Mar. The studio will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. everyday and will give interested I.V. residents and UCSB students an opportunity to talk to designers about the Master Plan.

The issues that have drawn the most concern in county meetings – including housing, recreation and open spaces, transportation, and downtown business development – will be discussed at issue-specific meetings throughout the week.

“People should pick and choose what meetings they want to go to. We would love people to be engaged for the whole week. But if not, people should choose to attend matters which are important to them,” said Mark Chaconas, assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall.

After a design competition sponsored by all three agencies last year, Opticos Design from Berkeley, Calif. – formerly Envision Design – was chosen to create the final design of the I.V. Master Plan. It has since worked with the community members of the Project Area Committee to emphasize the importance of developing a pedestrian-oriented design for I.V.

The PAC, which was created in accordance with redevelopment law as an advisory committee, is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by I.V. business owners concerned about the threat of eminent domain – the law which grants the county the right to purchase private property for redevelopment. In addition to the lawsuit, petitions were submitted to the county planning office in protest of the possibility of eminent domain.

“We took a look at everyone who signed the petition and sent them invitations to the workshop,” said Jamie Goldstein, the redevelopment project manager. “I think the petition asks us to close the door on several options and it’s critical the community goes to the workshop to look at them.”

Planners hope this stage in the redevelopment process, which has had relatively little input from the student community, will attract concerned students living in I.V.

“It’s this complaint about I.V. being a dump, but it’s the best dump in the world,” Goldstein said. “Students have an attachment to I.V. and it’s important that they be responsive to these plans. It would be nice to see more input.”