Tonight’s meeting of the Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee will allow the public to help decide what issues will be addressed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Isla Vista Master Plan.

The Project Overview and Scoping Summary meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of Isla Vista Elementary School at 6875 El Colegio Road. The Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) is a 13-member group of community members, homeowners and local business owners. It was formed in September 2001 to advise the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on the creation and implementation of a redevelopment plan for Isla Vista.

“The meeting is an opportunity for the public and affected agencies to come and discuss what will be analyzed in the EIR,” said Jamie Goldstein, the Isla Vista Master Plan (IVMP) project manager for the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency. “The point isn’t so much to respond [to the Master Plan] than to take comments for further analysis and put them into the EIR.”

An EIR is required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The document addresses how new development will affect various environmental issues. Such topics of discussion include air quality, noise, wastewater, airport safety, public services, hazardous materials, fire and police protection, solid waste, visual resources and geology.

Goldstein said in addition to evaluating environmental impacts of new buildings and development, the document “…proposes appropriate litigation measures to reduce the environmental impacts.”

Jenna Endres, a planner for the project, said she and Goldstein will begin the meeting with a short staff presentation followed by a public comment session.

“There may be issues not included in the EIR that people will bring up,” Endres said.

“It’s a great opportunity if you’re concerned about the environment and the I.V. Master Plan,” Goldstein said.

Once the EIR is ready, in about a year, the master plan will go before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Goldstein said. If the board approves, the plan will then go to the California Coastal Commission for review. Some changes such as street and traffic improvements do not require approval from the coastal commission, Goldstein said.

The Isla Vista Master Plan aims to improve area problems related to traffic circulation, parking, housing and building aesthetics through a variety of construction projects and new programs.

To improve Pardall Road and make it more pedestrian and bike oriented the plan calls for widening the sidewalks and adding landscaping and street furniture. On Sueno Road, the plan proposes roundabouts and a bike boulevard to calm traffic.

Future plans also include a parking structure or lot, elimination of unnecessary red curbs and a new car-sharing program in which people can rent cars by the hour if they have errands to run.

“This is a program that is currently used in San Francisco and the Bay Area and has been successful,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein said he hopes the program will decrease I.V.’s traffic congestion and ensure that those without cars have a method of transportation.

The Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency will also be implementing a new parking program as early as next summer that will require parking permits for I.V. residents and the construction of parking meters on Pardall.

Housing improvement proposals include adding affordable housing opportunities and recommending the construction of homes in various space-saving and efficient designs.

Other suggestions include planting greenery and enhancing the wetlands at Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and other parks in Isla Vista in addition to making facade improvements on storefronts on Pardall Rd. and the Embarcadero Loop.

The community improvement project could be funded by future increases in property taxes, Goldstein said.

“[The Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency will] harness local tax dollars and keep them in the community,” Goldstein said.

Further information about the Isla Vista Master Plan and the EIR can be found at >.