Editor, Daily Nexus,
As a longtime resident of Isla Vista, I am very disturbed by UCSB’s acquisition of the former Bank of America building for conversion into the new Embarcadero lecture hall. A week ago, when UCSB attempted to move its extension program within the city of Goleta, it was met with a demand for traffic studies, change of use permits and other normal requirements. In other words, “No, you will not impact our city with impunity and will seek permission as would any other business.”
Why is it that Santa Barbara County stands by while the university makes changes to Isla Vista that have a far-reaching impact on parking, businesses and traffic? Indeed, Gail Marshall’s special housing inspector was told to take a hike when he attempted to red tag the project – an obvious violation – because this was a “university project” and not subject to the county permitting process. If this is not the case in the city of Goleta, then why is it so in the county? Moreover, if they are sincere participants in Isla Vista redevelopment, why would UCSB lease a former pub and turn it into a lecture hall with no public input whatsoever?
I recently spoke with the owner-operator of The Cantina, who informed me that the parking behind her shop is now packed with cars that prevent lunchtime regulars from reaching her restaurant. As a result, she is already looking to relocate The Cantina elsewhere. UCSB eliminates yet another Isla Vista institution. Never fear, a pasteurized “UC Burrito” stand will undoubtedly replace her shop – with bicycle parking only, of course.
This insult to our town must be stopped. The city of Goleta set an example last week that is long overdue in Isla Vista. I sincerely hope that Gail Marshall will take Goleta’s example seriously and start holding UCSB accountable for its actions. She can start by requiring a permit for Embarcadero Hall.