Starting today, drinking in all of Isla Vista’s parks, open spaces and beach access areas will require a permit, but local law enforcement is giving violators a grace period before they begin enforcement.
The permit plan is the product of an ordinance that takes effect today and was passed by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in December 2004. The new ordinance extends a 2004 alcohol permit program for parks owned by the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) to cover county-owned parks as well. Enforcement of the permit plan, which was slated to start today, is being delayed by I.V. Foot Patrol Lt. Sol Linver until he feels the community has been sufficiently notified.
Linver said the IVFP will not increase its patrols through the parks, but he said police will begin enforcing the ordinance by March 14 at the latest.
“I think it’s fair that we’ve got to [notify] the community,” Linver said. “Starting tomorrow, I am telling my men, ‘At minimum, tell violators to pour out what they’re drinking, and if they’re in the park beyond hours, then at minimum tell them to leave.'”
IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said alcohol permits for all I.V. parks will cost $10 for one person and $35 for groups of up to 10 people and will be sold Monday through Friday at the IVRPD office from 2 to 4 p.m. He said the permits will be limited to four-hour periods between 10 a.m. and midnight.
Linver said once enforcement starts, offenders will receive a citation for violating a county ordinance, which could be considered a misdemeanor but is usually filed as an infraction.
Diane Conn, an IVRPD director, said she questions the plan’s principle especially considering that fines will be about $100 per violation.
“People that aren’t causing a problem are going to get ticketed for having a drink in the park,” Conn said. “People that used to play football and have kegs and parties in the parks, they won’t be doing that anymore.”
Local homeless man Frank LaRocque, who has lived in I.V. for over a year, said the plan may be ignored by drinkers or could just shift the problem to the beaches.
“There’s still going to be cases where people just aren’t going to worry about the fine,” LaRocque said.
LaRocque said he planned to make the most of his last night of drinking freedom.
“I’m trying to get one more beer and go out there and have it while I can,” LaRocque said.