The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected two appeals Tuesday that attempted to block or restrict implementation of the Isla Vista parking plan.
The Surfrider Foundation filed an appeal opposed to the plan – which would require residents and visitors to obtain a permit before parking anywhere in I.V. – on the grounds that the plan restricts coastal access. Bruce Murdock, an I.V. resident, filed a second appeal requesting that the board divide I.V. into two separate parking zones to lesson the hardship on permanent residents of the area’s single family homes.
Mark Chaconas, executive assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall, said he was glad Surfrider contested the parking plans, despite the board’s rejection of the appeals.
“They raised some very important issues of costal access,” Chaconas said. “But the parking program is going to be positive for I.V.”
Chaconas said the board felt they could overturn the appeals because they are offering alternatives to having a car. There are over 100 free parking spots on Camino Majorca and the county is adding more public transportation to compensate for the limited coastal access. Along with increased bus services, the county plans to implement a car-sharing program, Chaconas said.
Car-sharing is a program that allows people to rent out cars by the hour. There are already car-sharing programs in several large cities including San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle. Chaconas said the board thinks I.V. is the perfect community to provide the service.
“The board felt that [the additional transportation] balanced out the appeal,” Chaconas said.
Scott Bull, of I.V. Surfrider, said he was not surprised the appeal was denied.
“I think the board of supervisors had already made up their minds,” Bull said.
Surfrider wants to see the parking problems in I.V. alleviated, Bull said, but the foundation is concerned the parking plan will limit public access to the coast.
“The Surfrider Foundation does support some change in I.V.,” Bull said. “But we also want to protect coastal access for the greater community.”
While Bull said he agrees the planned increase in public transportation would benefit I.V., he said the board of supervisors failed to consider the two years it would take to implement the additional services. Surfrider would like the board to hold off on initiating the permit plan until after the transportation programs are in effect, Bull said.
“If alternative transportation was working, they wouldn’t have to implement the plan,” Bull said. “There would be no need to have this extensive permit system, which the board agrees has a lot of flaws.”
Chaconas said the parking plan will take time to implement, and will not be enforced until fall 2005 at the earliest.
Bull said Surfrider is committed in its opposition to the parking plan, and said the foundation will next appeal the ruling to the California Coastal Commission.
Bull said he thought public interest was lacking at today’s meeting. He said there were only seven people at today’s board meeting in support of the Surfrider appeal, but he said today’s turnout was good in comparison to the one person who showed up in support of the parking plan.
Murdock’s appeal, which was also rejected, opposed the I.V. parking plan in its current form. He said the plan the board approved considered I.V. as just one district and implied that all of I.V. would be subject to the same level of enforcement of the parking plan.
Murdock’s appeal argued that Isla Vista consists of two districts that are divided by Camino Corto. Murdock said the district west of Camino Corto, known as the Single Family Restricted Overlay District, should not be subject to the same guidelines as those buildings east of Camino Corto.
“The intent of this district is to prevent the development of illegal second units and dormitory type units, and provide additional on-site parking,” Murdock stated in his appeal.
Murdock said he appealed the single zone ruling because residents who attended the planning meetings for the parking plan were told that there would be two zones.
“There were multiple committee meetings over multiple months,” Murdock said. “Throughout the entirety of the meetings there were always two zones. When Gail Marshall changed it to one zone, it blindsided everybody – it blindsided me. It obliterates all the public input.”
The board ruled against the two-zone program on the grounds that one zone will not cause a decline in the quality of the area, but will instead help to keep non-residents from parking on the streets in the single family district.