Community members gathered at Francisco Torres Residence Hall on Wednesday night to discuss housing, a new cellular tower and the future aesthetics of Isla Vista.
Approximately 30 people attended the I.V. Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) meeting. UCSB’s long-range housing plan was the focus of a presentation given by Ray Pedroes of Urban Design Associates, who has been working with the university for the past four months to devise a new housing plan for campus properties.
Pedroes said his focus is on developing a supportive environment for the university.
“One of the things that makes a great university is a lively, active and diverse community that will support the university,” Pedroes said.
One of the suggestions made by Urban Design Associates is the construction of housing along Ocean Road that would primarily be used by faculty, staff and some graduate students.
The objective of the housing plan is to provide affordable housing in order to recruit faculty and staff, Pedroes said. Lengthy commutes and the occasional closing of Highway 101 are obstacles some staff and faculty face when driving to campus.
“If you have a large institution like a university and the people who are responsible for running it think that its staff can’t get there, you’ve got a serious problem,” Pedroes said.
PAC/GPAC business representative Lou Ventura said he is concerned the housing plan might lead more customers to shop on campus rather than in I.V.
“The business district which I represent is probably going to have a big sucking sound of people going on campus to some of the retail there,” Ventura said.
Other goals for the housing plan include architectural diversity, parking availability and bike paths.
The PAC/GPAC also voted to recommend the installation of a new Cingular and AT&T cellular tower to the county planning committee. However, certain conditions were placed on the recommendation.
The 50-foot tower, which was planned to be installed slightly west of the Santa Barbara Korean United Methodist Church, located at 892 Camino del Sur, is designed to look like a church spire. The PAC/GPAC’s conditions for the construction of the tower included a reduction in height and construction noise, as well as a shift in location of the tower toward the northeastern corner of the church. The vote was five-to-one, with two abstentions.
The meeting concluded with an informational presentation made by a design class from the College of Creative Studies on recommendations for downtown I.V. One of the suggestions was painting I.V. buildings in bold, bright and solid colors, similar to those used in coastal Mexican architecture. Other suggestions included widening I.V. sidewalks to allow more room for outdoor seating and increasing the utility and aesthetic quality of bike racks.