The Isla Vista Foot Patrol will begin issuing citations for the Social Host Liability Ordinance in March, granting police the right to enter a residence if they suspect a minor is drinking alcohol on the premises.
The countywide regulation is meant to prevent underage drinking while holding residents and landlords accountable for guests’ actions. The County Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance in a 4-1 vote last June.
The ordinance defines a “host” as any person owning, renting or controlling a property and “party, gathering or event” as a group of five or more persons with at least one minor. Hosts cited for a first-time offense are required to pay a $500 fine in addition to serving a mandatory educational class. Subsequent offenses result in increased fines.
According to IVFP Lt. Ray Vuillemainroy, deputies have enforced an educational “grace period” thus far.
“We have not observed a lot of violations, but we have issued some warnings,” Vuillemainroy said. “We are going to begin giving out citations, but for the next few weeks we will continue to give out warnings.”
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr was the only supervisor to vote against the ordinance, citing implications the regulation would have in Isla Vista, where youths between 18 and 22 years of age often share households.
“I have been concerned with how this might be implemented when it comes down to it,” Farr said.
Fifth District Supervisor Joel Centeno proposed the ordinance after receiving requests from constituents in the Santa Ynez Valley area concerned about parent-condoned high school drinking parties.
According to third-year communication major and Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Tim Benson, the ordinance disproportionately affects the campus community.
“It was written for Santa Ynez Valley teenagers and Isla Vista is getting affected when it really was meant for another part of the county 30 to 45 minutes away,” Benson said.
UCSB Associated Student members have worked alongside county officials throughout the implementation and administrative process of the ordinance.
Benson said A.S. will accumulate case information for each issued citation and, if necessary, will provide appropriate legal action.
“[IVFP Lt. Vuillemainroy] will report all citations of the Social Host Ordinance, and we will have an appeal process with the people cited,” Benson said. “We will bring that information to the county and back to the lieutenant and show them what students are saying. There is also a formal appeals process for the county available to us and we have legal attorneys on staff. We are curious to see how this plays out once an actual citation is given.”