New modifications to Santa Barbara County ordinances will go into effect on Feb. 10, adding and clarifying limitations to social gatherings in Isla Vista.

The Outdoor Festivals and Social Host/Nuisance Party ordinances — which address party-related issues in Isla Vista (I.V.) — now include sections pertaining to gatherings that require tickets or purchases, gatherings where alcohol is available for purchase, the number of people allowed to be present on residential properties and actions and events that authorize law enforcement to shut down social events.

The ordinances will now prohibit gatherings that require tickets or purchases, sell alcohol or are more than 250 people. Courtesy of Brandon Doherty.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved the revisions to the ordinances at an Oct. 10 Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) meeting. 

With the approved changes, Section 6-70.02(a) of the Outdoor Festivals ordinance states that outdoor gatherings that “require a ticket purchase, donation or fee are prohibited at all times in Isla Vista residential properties,” according to a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) press release. 

“Do not sell tickets for entry to a party, this is a violation of these sections and will result in citation or arrest, and collection of your music equipment,” the press release read.

Section 6-70.02(b) states that the sale of alcohol at any outdoor gathering, regardless of the size, is prohibited at all times in I.V. residential properties. A violation of the section is a misdemeanor and will result in a citation or arrest. 

Regarding the maximum size of outdoor gatherings in I.V., Section 6-70.01(b) states that “outdoor festivals (including concerts and DJs) with over 250 attendees are prohibited at all times on residential properties,” including “mixed-use buildings such as the Icon apartments.”

Hosting a gathering with more than 250 attendees will result in an infraction, potentially leading to a fine or community service work.

New modifications to the Social Host/Nuisance Party ordinance allow law enforcement to shut down a party if they observe certain activities or if various activities are connected with a party at a specific address. 

Actions that warrant law enforcement shutting down a party include battery on a non-police first responder, battery with serious bodily injury, sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, arson and attempted arson, willfully resisting/obstructing an officer or firefighter, committing lewd and lascivious acts, brandishing a weapon and furnishing alcohol to minors.

Law enforcement can also shut down a party if they observe a single instance of “throwing objects that may inflict injury or damage,” “stage diving or diving from balconies, rooftops, or raised structures,” partying on or allowing access to rooftops, climbing over or allowing people to access bluffs, charging fees for entrance to a party, selling alcohol or “preventing the free movement of vehicles and pedestrians.”

Any person violating these sections of the social host ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor, according to the press release.

SBSO clarified that “the owner, tenant, occupant, organizer, promoter, performer, or anyone who assisted in the act that caused a violation of these sections” can be held responsible for violations of these sections, and depending on the violation, can be subject to an infraction, citation or arrest.

The press release recommended that hosts of social gatherings closely monitor their parties to prevent violations of the outdoor festival and social host ordinances.

“Monitoring and policing your party will help in preventing violations,” the press release said. “You can always call the Isla Vista Foot Patrol and request assistance in removing guests if your party gets out of hand, reducing your chance of a violation of these sections.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Feb. 8, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at