IVCSD approves updated festival ordinance, social host ordinance
The Isla Vista Community Services District approved amendments to the festival ordinance and social host ordinance at its meeting on Oct. 10 meeting.
Outdoor festivals — defined in the ordinance as musical events to be attended by 500 people or more to which the public is invited and held at a place not constructed for said activities — are already illegal on residential property under several laws. Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Garrett TeSlaa said the purpose of amending the festival ordinance is largely to clarify existing restrictions regarding such events and thus, prevent dangerous overcrowding and reduce criminal prosecution on residents and visitors.
The amendments were originally discussed in a working group that included IVCSD Directors Olivia Craig and Ela Schulz, IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud, UC Santa Barbara Associated Students (A.S.) External Vice President for Local Affairs Osaze Osayande, UCSB Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn and District 2 Representative Jordan Killebrew.
“The point is to bring it all in one place where we can show to the public in very clean language that this is legal and this is not,” TeSlaa said.
Specific changes brought to the ordinance are listing “Deltopia weekend,” the first week of spring quarter, as a permanent prohibition on outdoor festivals and reducing the number of prohibited attendees from 500 to 250 for outdoor festivals.
Paid parties are a major target of this ordinance update, according to IVCSD Director Spencer Brandt, and the ordinance enforces the reduction of said parties occurring.
“All of us on the board have heard loud and clear from the community that the vast majority of residents do not support these paid for parties,” Brandt said in an interview with the Nexus. “What we’ve heard from law enforcement is that in many cases, these paid parties come along with a lot of public safety hazards that need to be addressed.”
In a presentation to the IVCSD Board, TeSlaa identified areas of improvement as bluff and rooftop safety, public right of ways, infrastructure, along with generally limiting paid parties.
The board voted to support the recommendations to the festival ordinance, which will be brought to the Board of Supervisors by TeSlaa.
Alongside the festival ordinance, a social host ordinance was proposed, which outlined what constitutes a “public nuisance” for social gatherings and parties in I.V.
The bill proposes that social gatherings or parties will be deemed a “public nuisance” if the people in attendance commit three or more violations of the local or state law or ordinance at the site of the gathering or on adjacent public property. This ordinance will apply in I.V. bounded by El Colegio Road, Camino Majorca to Storke Road, Ocean Road to Stadium Road and the Pacific Ocean.
The proposed violations for the clause above are the following: unlawful entry into dwelling, trespassing, fighting in public, disturbing the peace, criminal threats, vandalism, minor in possession, keg registration, obstructing roadway, vandalism to vehicle, unlawful fireworks, fires, public nudity and public urination.
Furthermore, IVCSD proposed a list of violations that will deem a social gathering or party a public nuisance if one or more are committed in the sites outlined in the first clause. The violations are battery on a peace officer/firefighter/EMT, battery with serious bodily injury, sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, arson and attempted arson, willing resisting/obstructing an officer, committing lewd and lascivious acts and brandishing a weapon.
Public nuisance laws also apply when people in attendance of a gathering commit unsafe behaviors that could cause injury to people and property, including throwing objects, launching themselves into a crowd, climbing roofs and fencing and charging purchases for entry.
According to the proposal, a violation can result in an infraction and a fine of $500 for a first violation, $1,000 for a second violation within one year after the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation thereafter. A second violation within the same 24 hours of the first offense is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail for up to 30 days.
IVCSD addresses I.V. local business concerns around recycling
IVCSD addressed concerns from local businesses in Isla Vista regarding recycling after being deemed out of compliance with the recycling and littering regulations.
The Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act outlines regulations for establishing and maintaining sufficient recycling centers for consumers and requires businesses to be within 1 mile of a recycling center. However, because Isla Vista currently does not have a recycling center, I.V. businesses have had to provide their own recycling options to comply with the act, leading to individual high costs.
IVCSD staff have been directed to work with state and local representatives to find a “sustainable and viable solution,” but this issue will “take some time,” according to the staff report.
IVCSD discusses Capps’ bluff safety plan
IVCSD reviewed SB County District Supervisor Laura Capps’ bluff safety plan and opened the floor to public comment.
The eight-step plan comes after numerous deaths off of I.V. cliffs over the years, including Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) student Benjamin Schurmer this past Labor Day weekend. Capps’ plan includes precautionary measures such as high fences, warning signs, aggressive horticulture and better lighting around the bluffs.
The main concern raised by UCSB students during public comment was the lack of clarity in the eighth step of the plan — increasing enforcement of cliff safety.
“With the IVCSD, the Sheriff’s office and the community we are working to strengthen the tools they have to prevent unsafe situations from escalating into dangerous situations,” the safety plan reads.
A.S. Off-Campus Senator and third-year undeclared student Mikayla Martinez said many students are concerned about the lack of clarity in the plan and what exactly increased enforcement entails.
“This vagueness is worrying to many of the students that I call my constituents, especially those who are already targeted more heavily by Isla Vista law enforcement. I am here to urge the powers that be to be clear and transparent with their intentions to make these changes in the community,” Martinez said. “We will not stand by and watch the losses of these lives be used as stepping stones for more and more over policing of our streets.”
A.S. Off-Campus Senator and second-year political science major Micah Littlepage echoed similar concerns about how increased policing may result in certain groups being disproportionately targeted.
“Many students are rightfully hesitant about granting any more powers to local authorities to break up parties or other social gatherings,” Littlepage said. “In addition, granting additional policing power without fully consulting the community risks already increasing existing inequalities as well as contributing to the criminalization of many aspects of our I.V. community.”
The plan requires fencing for all public and private cliffside properties and also raises the minimum fencing height to six feet, to which I.V. residents also expressed their apprehension.
I.V. resident Janet Stitch said that fencing is not a realistic solution for every property owner to implement and that higher fences may prove to be a hazard for those who do inevitably choose to climb them.
“It is likely that for some of the 70 buildings on the bluff fencing may not be the best option or even feasible … that kind of reads as a one-size-fit[s]-all option. I would like to add the word ‘appropriate,’ so then it would say mainly to streamline this process for appropriate private property owners,” Stitch said.
“You want to have it at a height that is going to discourage climbing but not so high that when they fall on the bluff side they have no coordinated landing,” she continued.
The seventh step of the plan is creating a memorial for the victims of cliff accidents. Second-year undeclared SBCC student Grace Wilson said a memorial would be beneficial to the community in terms of educating and honoring cliff fall victims, including her good friend Benjamin Schurmer.
“I wanted to address the importance, I think, of putting the memorial up and putting funding towards that at Walter Capps Park — putting memorials for the 13 lives that were lost because I think that would also be an impactful way to inform students,” Wilson said.
A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Oct. 19, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.