With a ban on alcohol consumption without a permit about to be expanded to all Isla Vista Parks, several members of the community disagree with local goverment officials regarding the merits of such an ordinance.
On Dec. 7, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hear the first reading of an ordinance which proposes to extend the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District’s (IVRPD) existing alcohol permit plan to local parks owned by the county. IVRPD board member Diane Conn said the permit plan, if passed, would be applied to Pelican Park, Gaffney Park and all parks on the 6700 and 6800 blocks of Del Playa Drive. The plan would also include county-owned beach access points, Conn said.
Conn said the new ordinance would require people to purchase a $10 individual permit or a $35 group permit to drink alcohol in the parks. The permit would be valid for four hours, she said.
At the Nov. 17 meeting of the Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC), a coalition of local residents and business-owners voted to recommend the adoption of the permit plan to Santa Barbara County.
Todd Roberson, the Associated Students PAC/GPAC representative, spoke against endorsement of the plan at the Nov. 17 meeting. He said he thinks the new ordinance is equivalent to an overall ban on alcohol in I.V. parks.
“They’re trying to say that the fact that you can pay for a permit means it’s not a ban,” Roberson said. “But essentially it’s a ban on drinking because people are not going to want to go out and pay money for a permit just to drink.”
Derek Johnson, IVRPD general manager, said he disagrees with Roberson and said the proposed ordinance is not an unprecedented ban on alcohol. The IVRPD, he said, has been pushing similar plans for many years.
“This permit system has been something that’s been long in the works,” Johnson said. “The park district started a permit program back in the early ’90s at the request of local residents who were tired of going to local playgrounds and finding broken bottles and people drinking in the playgrounds.”
Johnson said the IVRPD and the Isla Vista Alcohol and Other Drug Council adopted a more comprehensive permitting plan for local parks approximately two years ago.
Johnson said the IVRPD extended the permit plan to all IVRPD-controlled parks in June 2004 and, at that point, recommended the county follow suit.
Frank LaRocque, who is homeless, said he spends most of his time in Anisq’ Oyo’ park when he is not recycling throughout I.V. He said he does not think the proposed ordinance will change anything for many of the people who frequent the parks.
“For most of us, finances are limited and if we had to buy a permit every time we drank, we’d probably wind up in jail or just getting tickets,” LaRocque said. “I’ve heard from some locals,