County officials delayed plans to rezone 6631 Del Playa Dr. – also known as “Volley Park” – into a residential property yesterday in order to give Isla Vistans more time to comment on the matter.
The Santa Barbara County Planning and Development committee postponed the decision at its meeting yesterday until Dec. 18, giving residents a chance to review proposed plans. The LM Property and Casualty Insurance Company, owner of the parcel, wants to develop a housing complex on the land as soon as it is rezoned.
However, students like senior Spanish and global studies major Brad Greenbaum prefer that the park remain as it is.
“I don’t think we need more housing; I’m for preserving a park, but not for more housing,” Greenbaum said. “Of the limited parks on Del Playa [Drive], Volley Park is the only one on the block that offers recreational facilities. If anything, we need more parks on the 6600 block.”
For more information, interested parties can visit www.sbcountyplanning.org to find out hours and location of the county planning and development office to view the plans, or can call the number provided.
Greenbaum said he attended the committee meeting to represent students opposed to the development and presented letters and signatures from them stating their discontent with the plan. Last year, a group of students organized hotdog gatherings and collected over 250 signatures for a petition to spare the land from development.
“I’d like it to stay a park,” Greenbaum said. “Hopefully in the future, students will have still have a park to look at instead of just another house.”
Jean LeSure and Victor Mezhvinsky, both 24-year-old San Francisco residents, bought the property last year from the county for $1.2 million. The proceeds from the sale went toward purchasing two vacant properties of land on the 6700 block of DP adjacent to the open space formerly known as Claire’s Park. The combined area is now known as Capps Park.
Aside from having the property rezoned, the owners must follow certain regulations to keep it safe from DP’s constantly receding bluffs, said Jamie Goldstein, Santa Barbara County Planning and Development project manager.
“We have to think about the environmental concerns,” Goldstein said. “The bluffs are eroding, but some parts of the bluffs are eroding at different rates than others.”
Greenbaum said Volley Park’s new owners tried to downplay the rate of bluff erosion at their property.
“They had a geologist come in, hired by their company,” Greenbaum said. “He said the cliff is only eroding at half-a-foot per year, but from my experience living on the block, it’s at least a foot per year.”
In addition to his concerns over open space in I.V., Greenbaum said that while the property will be zoned as a “single family” residence, students will most likely cram as many people into the house as possible.
“I know people in Isla Vista who live in closets and garages, because that’s what you have to do to be a student living by the ocean,” Greenbaum said.
Whether more complexes are built on the property in question or not, Goldstein said such cramped conditions show that the beachside town needs more room for its residents
“I.V. has had a housing shortage,” Goldstein said. “Isla Vista has a need for additional housing.”