The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to further postpone its decision on the proposed Isla Vista parking plan in order to work out several kinks.
The meeting, held downtown at the board’s hearing room, lasted approximately three hours, including a one-hour public comment period. Thirty-five people attended the meeting – less then half the number that attended the board’s last meeting on May 18. Ten people spoke against passing the plan and nine spoke in favor of it at the meeting, which was the last public comment session the board will hear on the issue. This is the second time the board has unanimously voted to postpone its decision on the plan, but it will try again for a final vote June 15.
The board delayed its decision in order to study several possible modifications to the plan. Board members discussed the possible implementation of unrestricted or free parking on weekends, making monthly or quarterly permits available, lowering the annual cost of the permit to as low as $100 and increasing the amount of coastal-access parking.
“Perhaps the best thing to do is continue this so I can work this out with the staff and find out what this means in dollars and cents,” 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall said.
Brooks Firestone, 3rd District supervisor-elect, who opposed passing the parking plan at the May 18 meeting, said he would be in favor of the parking plan if the cost of the permit is lowered to $100.
“Certainly, taking the fee below $100 is very meaningful, and with that we have a plan,” Firestone said. “I think the plan is here with the suggestions the Public Works Dept. has put forward.”
Marshall said she thinks the university should be more involved in the parking plan, as it is partly responsible for the parking problem in I.V.
“We would like to have a more formal response from UCSB as to what their role is,” Marshall said.
Harry Nelson, physics professor and co-chair of the I.V. Action Group, said to the board that the university is financially unable to subsidize the proposed I.V. parking plan, but will try to ease students’ reliance on cars.
“We could do a better job emphasizing to students that they really don’t need a car,” Nelson said.
During the meeting, no one spoke regarding the portion of the plan that would install parking meters in the downtown area of I.V., but Marshall said the extensive debate regarding the residential permit portion of the plan delayed the board’s decision.
“The whole goal of this project is to secure safe parking for the residents of Isla Vista,” she said. “This parking plan is part of the long-range plan to secure I.V. for the future.”