UC Santa Barbara and county planners updated the community on faculty and county housing development — Ocean Walk and Ocean Meadows — in the Isla Vista area. 

The Ocean Walk project began in 2010 under the UC Regents to provide more affordable housing for UCSB faculty. Situated at North Campus, the project is now in its fifth and final phase, according to UCSB Media Relations Manager Kiki Reyes. 

Ocean Meadows and Ocean Walk both will reside adjacent to UCSB property. Courtesy of UC Santa Barbara

The development has added more than 100 units and, upon its completion in spring 2025, will add a total of 159 faculty housing units with 2-5 bedrooms. A collective total of 70 homes are to be completed.  

Ocean Walk is a “public-private partnership” with the University and William Hezmalhalch Architects (WHA) Inc., according to Reyes. WHA Inc. is responsible for the design of the new units. 

In collaboration with multiple environmental organizations, including the State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UCSB worked to restore Lot 1,  currently the North Campus Open Space (NCOS), back to its natural state. 

“The University, which is the steward of the North Campus Open Space, has been careful to protect the ongoing restoration work and to adhere to all the policies put forth in the [Long Range Development Plan] to address restoration and sensitive habitats,” Reyes said. 

Ocean Meadows, spearheaded by the county and Ocean Meadows Investors LLC, is a separate, private residential project originally proposed in 2020. The project will be constructed on two lots: Lot 2, adjacent to Sierra Madre Student Housing, and Lot 3, adjacent to the NCOS.

The University originally planned that the project be built on the border of the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course — a long-time course located on the North Campus Open Space that closed in 2013. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors divided the now vacant golf course into three lots in a 2012 motion: 63.91 acres in Lot 1, 5.87 acres in Lot 2 and 0.54 acres in Lot 3, making space for the Ocean Meadows project. 

Lot 1 — originally in the proposal — was sold by its owner to the Trust for Public Land, who then donated the lot to the University as the NCOS, according to Planning and Development Supervising Planner Nicole Lieu. 

“Because Lot 1 has been dedicated as open space, it will remain undeveloped,” Lieu continued. 

Ocean Meadows is planned to house 32 single-family homes and nine accessory dwelling units, alongside six condominium units, allotted for affordable housing. According to County Senior Planner Willow Brown, the project is currently working through compliance with permits and conditions since its approval by the County Planning Commision on Jan. 8, 2021. 

Upon environmental review, Ocean Meadows attained Mitigated Negative Declaration status, Brown said, meaning the project is not expected to have negative environmental impact. 

Ocean Meadows does not have an estimated timeline for completion, but Brown said the project will likely have their building permits approved in the next few months. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the Feb. 8, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

CORRECTION [2/14/2024, 3:11 p.m.]: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Ocean Walk project is sited on the former Ocean Meadows Golf Course. The article has since been corrected to reflect that change. 


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.