The Isla Vista Master Plan entered its final stages of development Tuesday afternoon as the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors hired an outside business to complete the plans and decided to sponsor a University of California study on the impact of substance abuse prevention.
The board hired P & D Consultants — a California-based consulting firm that specializes in community development — to finalize the adoption of the I.V. Master Plan. Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Project Manager Jamie Goldstein said the board’s decision signals the beginning of the final phase of planning before the project’s implementation. Board members also voted to sponsor a study, which will be funded by the Regents of the University of California, on the effectiveness of alcohol and drug-use prevention programs in the UC system.
According to the meeting’s agenda, P & D Consultants received $201,800 to coordinate completion of the final documents and public hearings necessary for the board to implement the Master Plan — a long-term program designed to improve infrastructure and facilities in I.V.
Goldstein said implementation of the Master Plan could begin within the next 11 months, unless the California Coastal Commission — the government agency responsible for approving all legislative plans that affect the use of all coastal lands — delays the process.
“The Coastal Commission has the final say,” Goldstein said. “We anticipate that the Coastal Commission’s approval process will take 6 to 18 months.”
Goldstein said the Master Plan, which has been in development for roughly five years, just needs to be polished before the RDA and the board of supervisors can implement it. He said the plan will affect many local policies and procedures, including the area’s zoning laws.
“This is the final nuts and bolts of the process,” Goldstein said. “The Master Plan includes regulatory changes as part of a countywide general plan and a zoning plan for I.V.”
The board also approved a study to examine the effectiveness of alcohol and drug prevention programs on all UC campuses. Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said UC Berkeley will conduct the study to determine whether or not the universities’ various efforts to curb alcohol and drug use are working.
UC Berkeley is the best choice to conduct the study, Firestone said. He said he thinks the board’s approval of the study is the first step in improving UCSB’s alcohol and drug prevention programs and could help curb the amount of partying in I.V. He said he does not want to see the party scene completely silenced, but he thinks the study might help the university discourage people from drinking in public.
“Isla Vista has a party reputation, and we’re trying to make that less of a reputation without spoiling the parties,” Firestone said. “My earnest hope is that people will do a little less public drinking.”