A new Associated Students representative, President Chrystine Lawson, sat on the PAC/GPAC committee Thursday night when it met to discuss housing options in Isla Vista once the I.V. Master Plan is implemented.
The plan proposes additional units, affordable housing programs, increased for-sale housing and improvements to existing units.
Under the proposal to create additional housing in I.V., an amendment was added to encourage developers to promote energy efficiency and to use sustainable construction materials and building techniques.
“If we do something like that we should put it as ‘encourage’ rather than a mandate,” committee member Joel Silverman said. He noted that an environmentally friendly policy could potentially conflict with affordability.
One of the first items on the agenda for the meeting was an introduction of the new A.S. representative on the committee, President Chrystine Lawson. A.S. External Vice President Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones recently removed Scott McDowell from the position, claiming that McDowell has not been adequately representing the student interest.
“It’s my job to make sure that students are represented and to appoint people in the best degree of the interest of the students. I wasn’t feeling like that was happening,” Kavanaugh-Jones said.
An A.S. bylaw amendment passed in Fall Quarter extended the job duties of the EVPLA to include serving as the official A.S. representative on the PAC/GPAC committee. The amendment, Kavanaugh-Jones said, allows her the ability to unilaterally appoint or remove A.S. representatives from almost a dozen local boards and committees, including the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, as well as the PAC/GPAC committee.
“Though Scott McDowell and I have been working together, I just feel from his presence at the meetings, I feel he wasn’t being the active voice that I was looking for. I needed somebody who was going to be out there and really speaking loudly on behalf of the students,” Kavanaugh-Jones said.
McDowell said he believes his removal from the committee is unconstitutional. As an appointed member of the committee, his removal would have to be a legislative action. Such an action, according to McDowell, did not occur. Until the A.S. Judicial Council meets, the constitutionality of the amended bylaw cannot be decided.
“I have sat on the board for the past 13 months. [Chrystine] comes maybe once every three months. I have a lot of respect for her because she sits on so many committees. [But] I was one of the ones who developed this plan,” McDowell said.
Lawson said she does not believe her other responsibilities will interfere with her ability to represent A.S. on the PAC/GPAC committee. She said that she is up to speed on the impact of PAC/GPAC decisions and that she and Kavanaugh-Jones work to keep each other informed about the relevant issues.
“I have a lot of commitments, but the IVPAC is higher in priority. It’s been a priority all year long. [It’s] something that affects all students,” Lawson said.
In the last meeting, the committee discussed the possibility of creating permanent affordable housing units. I.V. Master Plan Project Manager Jaime Goldstein and his staff researched a similar program implemented by the city of Davis and reported their findings on Thursday night.
Chairperson Holly Jo Sparks recommended the committee further investigate Davis’ program and its restrictions. Some members of the public expressed concern that permanent affordability would take away the incentive for upgrading and maintaining property.
“By building permanent affordable housing we could be building slums, for lack of a better term,” Goldstein said.