The Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee (PAC/GPAC) will meet tonight to discuss the financial fate of the Isla Vista Community Center, improvements to I.V. bus stops and funding for the I.V. Master Plan.
PAC/GPAC member Bryan Brown said the PAC/GPAC will decide whether to recommend that County Redevelopment Agency give $90,000 to fund a feasibility study for the Isla Vista Community Center at its meeting, held at 6:30 p.m. at the University Religious Center at 777 Camino Pescadero. The committee will also discuss possible improvements to several I.V. bus stops in need of repair, and county officials will speak about the board of supervisor’s recent decision to relocate implementation of the I.V. Master Plan from the Office of Planning and Development’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) — which manages funds for the Master Plan — to the County Administrator’s Office.
Brown said the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) requested money from the PAC/GPAC to fund an assessment of the viability of the plan for the I.V. Community Center, which will be built in Estero Park. He said the assessment will analyze whether it will be financially or physically possible to build the community center as planned, and he said the money would also fund an environmental impact report and traffic study for the center. He said the newest plan for the center is smaller, after the IVRPD terminated its agreement with OneGeneration, an intergenerational research group that had agreed to help fund the project.
“[The community center] has become a little bit smaller,” Brown said. “This money will be used to complete a total feasibility study and see if we can build this thing.”
PAC/GPAC member Lou Ventura said the PAC/GPAC will hear from the IVRPD’s community center task force at the meeting and decide whether to recommend the use of redevelopment funds for the feasibility study. He said he supports funding the community center but said he is worried the IVRPD will try to include funding for separate park projects in the request.
“I guess [the IVRPD’s] plan has a redesigned park too,” Ventura said. “I support funding of the center, but there are other means of funding a park. I think it should be separate.”
Brown said he is not sure whether the PAC/GPAC will support the funding request.
“My sense is that there’s support for it,” Brown said. “[But] there is some opposition, some feeling that we should spend our money on projects that will increase the tax increment.” Jamie Goldstein, project manager for the Santa Barbara County Office of Planning and Development, said PAC/GPAC will also hear a presentation from the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) about the need for improvements to I.V.’s bus stops. He said people have complained about the rundown appearance of several local bus stops, like the one at the intersection of Los Carneros Road and El Colegio Road, PAC/GPAC will offer a recommendation to the MTD regarding which bus stops should be renovated after it takes public comment on the issue, he said.
“There’s been some conversations about bus stops in I.V. that don’t look great,” Goldstein said. “PAC/GPAC is going to find out information on what stops should be improved and how.”
Goldstein said he encourages people to attend the meeting to provide the MTD with input on which bus stops they think need renovation.
“My guess is that the PAC/GPAC will just make recommendations for the MTD, but they might say it makes sense for the RDA to kick in some money,” Goldstein said. “If somebody has a particular bus stop they want improved, they should come to the meeting and talk about it.”
PAC/GPAC will also hear the details surrounding the County Board of Supervisor’s decision on April 12, 2005 to transfer control of implementation for the Isla Vista Master Plan from the Office of Planning and Development to the County Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) Office.
“The strategy in moving to the County CEO’s Office is an effort to move the RDA into more project implementation mode and coordinate between the various county offices,” Goldstein said. “It’s happened and no one has had a chance to talk about it yet.”
Ventura said he is unsure about the county’s motivation for transferring the control of the Master Plan.
“I’m not sure what’s behind the transfer,” Ventura said. “The county’s going to do what the county’s going to do and, we’ll just roll with the punches.”