Members of the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously voted yesterday for a proposal that could extend the city’s boundaries to include unincorporated areas of east Goleta.

The council amended the city’s general plan to include Las Positas Valley, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch and parts of the Northside to Highway 154 in the city’s “sphere of influence” – an outline of the city’s future boundaries that includes areas the city officials would like to ultimately annex. Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum said the city will determine the development standards and zoning requirements for the unincorporated areas and then the Local Agency Formation Commission, which determines the physical boundaries of the city, will decide whether to allow the city to annex those regions.

During the meeting, the council also met with approximately 350 Santa Barbara High School students who marched to City Hall to protest the immigration legislation that is currently before the U.S. Congress.

Blum said the council decided to amend the city’s general plan after receiving over 4,500 petitions from residents in the unincorporated area. She said the city’s reach would not extend to mobile home parks in the area because those settlements are under guaranteed rent control and, if they were incorporated into the city, they might lose it.

Council Member Das Williams said he is excited the city may soon represent the previously unincorporated areas.

“I feel like we did something really good today,” Williams said. “It’s an idea that I’ve advocated for the past couple of years.”

During the council’s meeting, high school students protesting immigration legislation marched from Santa Barbara High School on Milpas Street to City Hall, waving American and Mexican flags. According to a press release from the Santa Barbara Police Dept., the crowd spanned two blocks as protesters marched down the street. When the marchers arrived at City Hall, the protest leaders met with Blum.

Blum said the students were concerned with proposed legislation that would make illegal immigrants felons. Blum said the council listened to the students speak, but could not make an official comment on the issue because it was not on the meeting agenda.

“I’ll be happy to talk to them in the future,” Blum said. “They didn’t like what’s going on in Washington, and I understand.”

According to the press release, a few school administrators joined the march to help control the students’ behavior. There were no reported injuries, arrests or vandalism, but one unidentified student threw a bottle at the police escort who was accompanying the students.