In four weeks, the Isla Vista community will celebrate Deltopia, the annual spring quarter street festival set to take place on the first Saturday of April. 

The Nexus spoke with Isla Vista community officials ahead of the upcoming Deltopia to evaluate updated safety procedures. Photo Courtesy Brandon Doherty

The Nexus spoke with I.V. community officials to evaluate how the social ordinances, ongoing cliff safety measures and the temporary suspension of the Restorative Justice Program will affect Deltopia, along with what resources will be available to the community.

Social ordinance

New changes to the I.V. social ordinance went into effect on Feb. 10, including a ban on parties selling tickets or alcohol as well as parties with over 250 guests present.

Last year’s Deltopia saw a rise in the commercialization of parties by companies such as Poppin — an app that markets social events. The new ordinance rules prohibit the sale of tickets to residential parties, essentially driving out party-hosting companies. I.V. Foot Patrol (IVFP) Lieutenant Garrett TeSlaa clarified that a large part of the ordinance is to keep such companies from profiting off of students and the I.V. community.

“I have no desire to kill the music scene in Isla Vista … That’s not what this is about. It’s really about the dangerous atmosphere that was created with profiteering companies would come in, and it’s not just 30 or 40, 50, 60 people who are friends of the people who live there who are having a party. It’s now hacking all these people into a property to make the most money they possibly can off of an event, and that’s what creates a really dangerous situation,” TeSlaa said.

TeSlaa said IVFP has been communicating with local organizations including bands, fraternities and party promoters to push community education efforts regarding the reach of the ordinance.

TeSlaa and the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) encourage party hosts to make use of commercial spaces such as the Isla Vista Community Center, the UCSB University Center and the newly opened Giovanni’s Pizza to hold fundraising events in order to comply with the ordinances and avoid potential citations. 

“I’ve met directly with most of the promoters that work here profiteering and utilizing the residential properties. I’ve met with some of the bands, some of the fraternities and sororities to make sure they understand what the laws are. So I think people have a really good sense of what is now expected. We are seeing a lot of compliance,” TeSlaa said.

Cliff safety 

In November 2023, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved Laura Capps’ eight-point bluff safety plan, implementing higher fences, cliff-side lighting and bathrooms along Del Playa (DP) Drive to avert people from the bluff edges. The plan, so far, has implemented several new public restrooms along DP.

The plan follows several yearly cliffside casualties and incidents. One Feb. 24, a female student fell from the cliff and was rescued by the Santa Barbara County (SBC) Fire Department.

The SBC Fire Department has increased its staff in light of medical emergency calls over past Deltopias, according to Public Information Officer Scott Safechuck. He said that festivalgoers drinking irresponsibly and subsequently requiring medical attention “takes away services from other people in the county” who might be having a major medical emergency.

“If you see something, say something,” Safechuck said. “If you see people near the bluffs, remind them to get away from the bluffs. If decks are overcrowded, it’s important that partygoers are instructed by the residents there or the host of the party to ensure that those decks are not overcrowded. That collapse could be catastrophic.”

Shale on areas of the bluffs have a tendency to slough off over the year, Safechuck said. Following damage and erosion from the February storm, the risk may have increased. 

Safechuck also recommends festival attendees who may go down to the beach — which will be locked down by IVFP during the festival — to avoid sitting at the base of the bluffs, as pieces of the bluffs have been breaking off due to storm damage causing warnings and evacuations for multiple DP properties.

“We’ve been involved in many of the tragic deaths that have happened out there and debilitating injuries. We’re huge advocates in trying to make it safer out there,” Safechuck said. 

Restorative justice

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office will suspend the restorative justice program for a 24-hour period starting Saturday, April 6 at 6 a.m., meaning all citations given out during that time will result in financial or punitive repercussions.

TeSlaa said IVFP remains committed to the message “keep it local” and plans to suspend the program partly due to major increases in the crowd and citations from last year’s Deltopia. TeSlaa also reasoned that only 10% of the citations issued last year were eligible for the program.

“There’s been messaging about keeping it local. And I think we need to go a step further with ‘keep it inside’ because of what we saw last year. And there is a direct line from what is typically a [restorative justice] eligible offense to the larger issues … it’s only a few offenses that are allowed to be [restorative justice] eligible in the first place,” TeSlaa said.

TeSlaa believes that the temporary suspension is the best way to highlight the severity of the crimes and medical emergencies that typically take place during Deltopia.

“There’s this assumption from a lot of citizens that like, ‘Oh, it’s no big deal because the first one is going to be [restorative justice] anyway, or maybe the second one or the third one. And I get out of it scot free.’ So there’s no consequence to the action,” TeSlaa said.

“The second part of it is to drive home to people and to provoke conversation and awareness to the fact that we are taking this seriously. And that we are going back to that kind of standard process because that particular day is so dangerous,” he continued.

TeSlaa said that in the case of a violation to the social ordinance, the hosts of the parties will be given a warning and be prompted to shut the party down before the Sheriff’s Office steps in to hand out citations and confiscate property.

Safechuck said that community leaders plan on convening in the coming weeks to discuss specifics regarding crowd mitigation and other details.

Deltopia weekend resources

The IVCSD is continuing its efforts to avert festival-goers from Del Playa Drive and increase safety with its Spring Festival in Little Acorn Park. The Spring Festival will have free food trucks and local bands. 

“Our contribution is driving people away from DP and providing restrooms so that people don’t have to use the parks or the cliffs to use the restroom,” IVCSD general manager Jonathan Abboud said.

The Community Center parking lot will house 22 public bathrooms and several others will be available at the intersections of Sabado Tarde Road and Camino Pescadero as well as Sabado Tarde Road and Camino del Sur, according to IVCSD Community Spaces Program Manager Myah Mashhadialireza.

Several EMT tents will also be stationed near the Spring Festival for festival-goers to get medical assistance away from the crowds on Del Playa. 

“I think there’s way less citations today than there ever were before the pandemic. But medical emergencies are going up, and that’s a big problem,” Abboud said.

The Nexus will continue reporting on this topic as more information becomes available.

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the March 7, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Lizzy Rager
Lizzy Rager (she/her) is the Lead News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. She can be reached at
Anushka Ghosh Dastidar
Anushka Ghosh Dastidar (she/her) is the Lead News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. Previously, Ghosh Dastidar was the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2023-24 school year and the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. She can be reached at or