Approximately 30 long-term Isla Vista residents and a handful of students met in the Linda Vista room of Francisco Torres Residence Hall yesterday to discuss the recently released I.V. Master Plan’s Draft Environmental Impact Report.
During last night’s open forum, a number of audience members voiced their opinions about the Master Plan. One of the most controversial issues discussed was a provision in one alternative of the Master Plan to significantly increase I.V.’s population.
A second open forum will be held June 8 at the same location and time.
I.V. Recreation and Park District Director Kelly Burns said she was most concerned with population density in I.V.
“I’m concerned about the impact of density, but I think that there are some good things in the Master Plan – the community center is the most important thing that needs to be built,” Burns said.
According to the EIR, one version of the Master Plan could make up to 1,447 new housing units available and bring 4,355 new residents to I.V. However, the report also proposes less drastic alternatives that promote moderate growth and increased community projects like more soccer fields and a community center.
Last night, the Associated Students Legislative Council voted to support the EIR’s second alternative, which would allow 904 new residential units, and would change a zoning law to allow three-story buildings to be constructed on Pardall Road.
Project Area Committee and General Plan Advisory Committee Board Member Lou Ventura said the zoning in I.V. should not be changed. He said changing zoning laws is unnecessary and that removing current zoning laws would actually do more to promote growth.
Meanwhile, Kelly Pritchard, a long-time resident of I.V., said she was worried that many portions of Anisq’ Oyo’ Park would be ruined if the plan takes effect. She said the plan would remove the park’s amphitheatre and destroy the pond.
However, board members denied that the pond would be filled in, much to the dismay of another attendee who wanted the “mosquito breeding ground” eliminated.
Burns said many audience members misunderstood the EIR and Master Plan because sufficient time was not devoted at the meeting for an explanation. She said Anisq’ Oyo’ Park was not in danger of being ruined.
“There is no way we’re going to get rid of the amphitheatre,” Burns said. “And we can’t get rid of the pond. … We can’t legally get rid of the pond because it’s [an environmentally sensitive habitat].”
Two students spoke at the meeting. Carleigh O’Donnell, a second-year global studies major, said she thought more students should have attended.
“I feel that I.V. is defined by the people who live there,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell challenged the board to make the student community more aware of the EIR and the Master Plan and draw more current students to next week’s meeting.