Isla Vista residents will have to hide their kegs from passers-by but will not be penalized as severely for urinating in public as part of two ordinances the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed on Tuesday.
The board unanimously passed a party ordinance, which allows I.V. Foot Patrol officers to shut down parties they deem a “public nuisance.” Under the new ordinance, which is expected to take effect in July, a party is considered a “public nuisance” if deputies observe at least three violations of the law, including battery and vandalism.
Specific party infractions like throwing objects, stage-diving or having an open keg visible from the sidewalk are also considered to be part of the “three-strikes rule,” Sheriff’s Dept. Commander Deborah Linden said.
The I.V. Community Safety Working Group, a coalition of representatives from UCSB, Santa Barbara City College, I.V. Recreation and Parks District and Santa Barbara County, drafted the party ordinance in an effort to increase safety in Isla Vista.
“We’re accountable for the safety of students, guests and people who party in I.V.,” Sheriff Jim Thomas said. “We realize that there is more to the college experience than studying, and it is necessary for young people to accept responsibility.”
IVFP officers will issue citations carrying a $100 fine only to partygoers who refuse to leave a party a deputy has shut down. IVFP Lt. Russ Birchim said the hosts will not be fined.
“We don’t want to discourage hosts from calling us when their parties get out of hand. We’re not going to use [the ordinance] unless it’s necessary. If there are parties with a lot of people and they are well-mannered, we have no problem with that,” he said. “It’s designed to enhance the party hosts’ ability to hold a safe and sane party.”
Sophomore business economics major Pete Coughlin said the new ordinance gives the Foot Patrol another avenue to abuse its power
“It’s going to end up being an invasion of privacy,” he said. “It gives the Foot Patrol the ability to come into your house for almost any reason and break up a party. They say they will only target out-of-control parties, but it’s not like they are guaranteeing that.”
Third District Supervisor Gail Marshall said she thinks the ordinance was a good balance between citizens’ rights and public safety.
“While we are providing extra increments of safety, we are still respecting the rights of residents and visitors,” she said.
The board also passed an ordinance that gives judges the discretion to determine the penalty for urinating or defecating in public on a case-by-case basis. Previously, the citation was a hazardous waste violation that carried a $600 fine.
The board will hear a second reading of the ordinances Tuesday, June 4 at 9 a.m. on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, located at 105 East Anapamu St.
-Staff Writer Marisa Lagos also contributed to this story