As a result of public comments, members of the Isla Vista Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) passed two motions regarding the future design of the Estero Park community center.
At a Wednesday night meeting at Francisco Torres Residence Hall, PAC/GPAC members urged community center architects to consider the inclusion of a library in the community center plans, as well as the possibility of shrinking the recreational field area that the current plan designates. The committee also recommended the center be placed at the southern end of Estero Park, rather then the eastern end.
The PAC/GPAC also discussed an Isla Vista car-sharing program and passed a motion – with some controversy – that would provide a $30,000 one-time funding allocation to pay the current Isla Vista building code enforcement officer. The county usually pays the officer, who identifies building code violations in I.V.
PAC/GPAC member Lou Ventura said he saw this funding allocation as an attempt by the county to siphon money from I.V.
“Stop stealing from us because you can’t manage your budget,” Ventura said. “I.V. is in a state of blight because they stole from us for 20 years. It’s time for money to come back to I.V.”
The motion passed with only Ventura and PAC/GPAC member Mike Foley voting against it.
Oscar Gil, a UCSB graduate student in sociology, introduced the possibility of including a community library in the Estero Park plan, which is part of the overall Isla Vista Master Plan.
“I hope the board can think critically about the possibility of a library being introduced into the I.V. Master Plan,” Gil said. “I have hundreds of signatures and interest is growing.”
The PAC/GPAC agreed that a library would serve a positive function in the community and passed a motion urging the contractors from Michael Dennis & Associates (MDA) Johnson Favaro to consider including a library in the community center plans. The center’s design currently is restricted to areas for daycare and multipurpose rooms.
The PAC/GPAC passed a second motion directing MDA Johnson, Favaro to study the creation of a smaller-sized playing field rather than the regulation-sized soccer field that is currently in the works.
“We proposed that they not make the play field regulation-sized like the professionals use, so that it will be neighborhood-sized for neighborhood use,” said Jamie Goldstein, head county planner on the I.V. Master Plan project.
The PAC/GPAC also recommended that the contractors look into a southern placement of the community center, as opposed to the eastern position that had previously been favored. The PAC/GPAC felt that the southern option was the most effective use of the large open spaces that Estero Park offers.
The contractors came to the PAC/GPAC meeting in order to gain more perspective on what Isla Vista residents need in the community center.
“We want recommendations on what the priorities are for the existing parts of the park, as well as the placement of the community center within the park and about whatever parking situations may arise,” said Jim Favaro, a partner at MDA Johnson, Favaro.
County planner Jenna Endres presented a timetable for the proposed car-sharing program currently being designed.
“We’re in the early phases of implementing a car-share program for Isla Vista. We have a potential partnership with UCSB so that the program will be available not only for students, but for Isla Vista residents,” Endres said. “We’ll be doing a selection process in early March of national car-share companies and will hopefully have it implemented by fall of 2004 or early 2005.”