Isla Vista residents and property owners got a chance to voice their opinions on the I.V. Master Plan at a meeting held Wednesday night in the Isla Vista Elementary School multipurpose room.
The I.V. PAC/GPAC is a group of residents, property owners and business owners from the project area that advises the Redevelopment Agency on initiating the I.V. Master Plan.
PAC member Jamie Goldstein said the purpose of the meeting was to help determine the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and to identify the actions and mitigation measures to be analyzed in the EIR. An EIR is a document required for any community development project in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
“CEQA has been a powerful tool over the past thirty years in identifying significant impacts of potential projects, and helpful in avoiding those impacts when feasible,” Goldstein said. “Companies and agencies can come and look at what we’ve chosen for the EIR and decide what they think should be added or changed, and suggest appropriate mitigation measures.”
Goldstein said PAC/GPAC would prepare the EIR within the next six months to be approved one year from now. GPAC member Jenna Endres said the EIR would discuss such issues as noise, public services, housing and traffic in I.V.
“We want to bring everyone together to comment on the EIR,” Endres said.
One goal of the master plan is to increase the population density in I.V. over the next 20 years by building smaller housing units. Many community members said they were concerned with the resulting traffic and parking issues.
I.V. property owner Tim Werner said he was concerned about new zoning that expects students will leave their cars at home.
“We’ve been working on that basis for thirty years and still have too many cars,” Werner said.
Property owner Bruce Murdock said increased density would result in an increase in cars and traffic.
“We’re already very densely populated. When I.V. was first developed, the mantra was that students don’t have cars. Well guess what? That’s changed,” Murdock said. “I don’t see how more people are going to improve the quality of life in I.V.”
PAC member Joy Hufschmid said I.V. currently has a ratio of 3.8 people to every single unit of housing. Hufschmid said the master plan predicts a 15 to 30 percent population increase and an additional 700 to 1,450 housing units.
Property owner Steve Johnson said new zoning for smaller housing units and greater bedroom density will not work.
“There’s no disincentive for building a five-bedroom house instead of a one-bedroom house,” Johnson said. “As a contractor, I can tell you that it’s cheaper to do so because you only have to build one kitchen as opposed to five kitchens. I personally recommend that zoning allow no more than a three-bedroom unit.”
Senior environmental studies major Laura Stump said she is concerned that an increase in density will result in an increase in storm water runoff to the ocean.
Heather Maine, a senior environmental science major and I.V. resident, said she conducted a survey in which she asked students’ opinions on traffic and parking concerns due to increasing population.
“Students suggested metered parking and/or parking permits as a way of reducing parking problems in Isla Vista,” Maine said.
Logan Green, a junior business economics major and Associated Students vice president for local affairs, said a shared car program is the solution to I.V. traffic congestion and pollution.
Under the shared car program, fifty cars will be scattered throughout I.V. and UCSB. Students would receive a membership card when they sign up for an account. Once swiped in a designated car, the card will activate an internal global positioning system (GPS) to track the car. The driver would be charged an hourly rate for use of the car.
UCSB physics Professor Harry Nelson said vehicular traffic should not be the only concern for PAC members.
“I hope the EIR does a good study of nonautomobile traffic in I.V.,” Nelson said. “It’s hard to park your bicycle downtown.”
I.V. property owner Norma Geyer said increased density would also have an impact on housing in I.V., especially the heavily populated Del Playa Drive.
“South Del Playa has been left out of the redevelopment act,” Geyer said. “While the rest of I.V. will be upgraded, south Del Playa will remain the same throughout the coming years and will look like a ghetto area.”