The Isla Vista Project Area Committee considered a proposed program to monitor parking on I.V. streets between 3 and 5 a.m. during last Wednesday’s meeting.
Community members and committee representatives discussed the potential implications of the plan, which would likely require residents of certain areas in I.V. to purchase overnight parking permits. Program manager Errin Briggs proposed the three-year “Night-Time Only Pilot Parking Program” in an effort to help manage vehicle overcrowding in the community.
Megan Shumate, Associated Students Chief of Staff to the External Vice President of Local Affairs, said the program could pose a burden to students and their overnight guests.
“I don’t disagree that there’s a parking problem in I.V. and that something needs to be done, but I want to make sure that all the concerns of students are on the table,” Shumate — who is also the A.S. representative to the I.V. PAC — said.
The Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency created the I.V. PAC in the 1990s to address the municipality’s deteriorating condition, redevelop its infrastructure and find solutions for issues such as impacted parking. The 2007 I.V. Master Plan and subsequent I.V. PAC reports estimate the area’s on-street parking is currently 97-98 percent saturated.
Joel Silverman, representative for the I.V. Property Owners Association, said addressing parking concerns is essential to the community’s development.
“Isla Vista will not move forward until we solve the parking problem,” Silverman said.
Deliberation over specific facets of the proposal may delay its approval, according to Scott Bull, a member of the Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation.
“The plan is moving in the right direction, but the devil is in the details,” Bull said.
The California Coastal Commission rejected an extensive parking plan in 2005 due to widespread opposition from Santa Barbara residents. According to Briggs, the current proposal will address the estimated 500 cars parked in I.V. without restricting access to coastal areas.
Bob Keats — founder of the Surfrider Foundation’s Santa Barbara chapter — said beach accessibility is vital for local surfing enthusiasts.
“Isla Vista has the most consistent surf from Summerland to Gaviota,” Keats said.
Additional issues involve the potential cost of permits and the plan’s effect on rent prices.
According to Briggs, the I.V. PAC aims to continue incorporating public input throughout the program’s development and will consult local interest groups. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1 in the Redevelopment Field Office at 970 Embarcadero Del Mar.
The County repeatedly try to bring back the parking plan, and the people of Isla Vista have said time and time again that they do not want it. Isla Vista has nothing to gain from this plan. It will just bring revenue to the county who has failed to represent Isla Vista by creating unjust laws like the Social Host Ordinance. Where will the revenue go? How much will the permits cost? What burden will this provide to community members? I want these questions answered.