Some local residents are feeling slapped in the face by the county’s decision to drop plans for the purchase of undeveloped land on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive – as well they should.
Touted publicly by outgoing 3rd District staff members at last November’s PAC/GPAC meeting, the plan would have created the largest continuous piece of open space on the Isla Vista bluffs, between 6709 and 6741 DP.
The land – which currently features a tree, a park bench and, as rumor has it, an untold number of cat bones – was to be turned into a park.
Through grant funding and the sale of other county-owned property on DP, the county was to cover the roughly $2.5 million purchase price, thus protecting the land from development forever.
So what happened?
New 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said a “technicality” – the nature of which he said he cannot disclose because the county’s land acquisition dealings are conducted in private – forced him to shove over 10 years of effort into the round file.
Theoretically, the land’s private owners can now decide to sell the property to a developer, who most likely would not have open space or active recreation drawn into the blueprints of his apartment complex.
“Here you go,” said the county to Isla Vista, as it dangled a new park in front of the community. “Just kidding,” Firestone snapped, as he yanked it away without explanation.
Firestone needs to explain why he felt it prudent to axe the deal, or he should restart negotiations before it is too late. Ending publicly disclosed plans during a private meeting sounds nefarious at best – especially to a community that’s used to being jerked around.
When all the signs pointed to “yes” for the completion of a deal inked by his predecessor, why did Firestone say no? Hopefully he’ll let us know so students and residents can better judge his potential to positively effect change in Isla Vista.