Residents of Isla Vista and Goleta met at Isla Vista Elementary School last night to voice their concerns about the proposed Ellwood-Devereux Open Space Plan to representatives from the county’s Planning & Development agency.
Most residents said they were concerned about parking, the closing of recreational trails, the closing of the Ocean Meadows driving range, and the environmental impacts of the plan. All comments were recorded by county representatives to be addressed in the final draft of the plan, which is expected to be presented at a county meeting on June 23.
The plan, jointly managed by Santa Barbara County, the city of Goleta and UCSB, is a management plan for 338 acres of coastal open space for recreational use and habitat preservation, rather than housing development. The city of Goleta has already raised $13.3 million of the necessary $20.4 million necessary to purchase the property from private developer Comstock Homes in exchange for 36 acres near Santa Barbara Shores Park.
Hal Kopeikin, an I.V. resident, said he is worried the plan does not look out for nonstudent Isla Vistans. Kopeikin also said he is concerned about the existing coastal trails used by pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians that would be closed under the Open Space Plan. He said the planning commission is overlooking the amount of recreation the trails provide and their importance to community members.
“It’s one thing to hire people to look at the trails; it’s another to ask the people who use them,” Kopekin said.
Several I.V. residents said they were concerned that two proposed parking lots along Camino Majorca would only be available to recreational users.
According to federal law, all public land used for recreational purposes must be accompanied by sufficient parking. The plan includes seven parking lots in the Ellwood Mesa area, including the two on Camino Majorca.
County supervising planner Dave Ward said the parking lots would be unpaved and have no lighting in order to “preserve the rural feeling of the area.”
Ruth Bartz, an I.V. resident who has lived on the corner of Del Playa Drive and Camino Majorca for 39 years, said she is concerned about the parking lots, one of which would be located directly adjacent to her house. Bartz said the lot would create a lot of noise and there would be headlights constantly flashing through her bedroom. She said she was outraged when she found out the lots would not be paved.
“The parking lots are unpaved? So basically that means that I am going to have to deal with students doing doughnuts in the mud when it is raining in the middle of the night,” Bartz said.
Erica Thost, an I.V. resident for 17 years, said the construction of the lots would have a significant impact on I.V.
“We want to be more of a neighborhood, and less of a parking lot,” Thost said.
Ward said there would be a one-year monitoring period after the construction of the parking lots to determine how much parking enforcement is needed to ensure the parking lot will only be used for recreation.
John Olson, a Goleta resident and avid golfer, said his main concern with the plan is the closure of Ocean Meadows driving range.
“The loss of the driving range is a devastating impact for the community,” Olson said.
Peter Imhof, a supervising planner for the county, said all the comments and concerns voiced by members of the community were recorded at the meeting, but it will be two weeks before they can be addressed in the final draft of the plan.
“You can’t do everything for everyone,” Imhof said.
Anyone who wishes to contact the planning commission can submit their comments on or before 5 p.m. on Monday, May 17. Comments can be sent via e-mail to .