If the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. gets its way, Del Playa Drive parties may become invitation-only.
A new ordinance, which the County Board of Supervisors will review on May 28, would give the Isla Vista Foot Patrol the right to declare a party a public nuisance, break it up and fine the offending party a minimum of $100 if any one of a number of regulations is violated.
Officers could declare a party a public nuisance if three or more people in attendance are arrested for charges such as battery, disturbing the peace or vandalism. “Unsafe” behavior such as throwing objects, rough body contact, and general rowdiness could cause a party to be deemed a public nuisance as well.
The ordinance would also prohibit any open keg of beer from being in public view.
Sheriff’s Dept. Commander Deborah Linden said safety is the chief motivator behind the public nuisance ordinance, as the I.V. Foot Patrol cited or arrested more than 3,900 people in 2001.
Most of the arrests occurred on Del Playa and Sabado Tarde Road and were usually associated with parties along these streets, according to the Foot Patrol.
“This was a long effort to really take a look at what we together feel will be effective in increasing the safety and increasing the responsibility in Isla Vista,” Linden said. “It is not an effort to discourage people from having good, safe, controlled parties.”
The Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District decided not to support the ordinance at last Thursday’s board meeting. Board member Ariana Katovich said it was unfair to vote on the controversial proposal since the community has not been well informed.
“Not a whole lot of residents even know about this. People need to be more aware of it and understand that decisions will be made,” Katovich said. “Yes, there are situations here that not everybody loves, but it is, in my opinion, unfair for the county to target Isla Vista.”
IVFP Lieutenant Russ Birchim said the Sheriff’s Dept. and County don’t want to “ruin anyone’s fun.”
“It’s not our intention to stop partying in Isla Vista,” he said. “I would like to see the hosts of these parties have control, and I think this ordinance will help them do that.”
Sociology major Jean Sugihara said IVFP officers broke up a party at her house last Saturday, which she felt was unnecessary and invasive.
“I think IVFP abuses their power and should not be given any more,” she said.
The IVRPD did vote to support an ordinance which would make defecating or urinating in public an independent offense.
Currently, offenders are cited for a toxic waste violation, which makes the punishment a non-negotiable $600 fine.
If passed by the County Board of Supervisors at the May 28 meeting, fines and community service for violators would be issued on a case-by-case basis instead.
Birchim said public urination is a large problem in I.V., but the $600 fine is excessive.
“The port-o-potties we put out for Halloween almost always get tipped over,” Birchim said. “The lack of public restrooms throughout Isla Vista compounds the problem.”