Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Manhattan Isla Vista?

A community post written by a rock-star reader:

We've just learned that the entire State housing mandate for unincorporated Santa Barbara County will be satisfied by new development of 1235 new dwellings in Isla Vista.

UCSB plans to add 4011 dwellings (page 21 of the LRDP) Will the Isla Vista and UCSB become South Coast's Manhattan? Will avaricious developers like Conquest, who evicted families from the Cedarwood Apartments and is now being sued by USC take over?

BTW, allegedly a Conquest official likened their company to Al-Qaeda, in the LA Times article. Is this all the consequence of Goleta's omission of IV from its Cityhood drive in 2001? Should the City of Santa Barbara, which shares a border with UCSB and IV along the airport boundaries, annex UCSB and IV?

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Anonymous GVG said...

Rock-star reader needs to get his/her facts straight.

The total number of housing units required in the unincorporated areas of the county to meet state housing mandates during the five year period of 2003-2008 was 6064.

Of that number, land needed to be rezoned in the unincorporated areas to accommodate 1235 units at densities of 20 units or more per acre.

The approval of the Isla Vista Master Plan accomplished the latter. Hence, Isla Vista did not take "the entire state housing mandate for unincorporated Santa Barbara county." Also, the 1235 unit number is not something that was forced upon the Isla Vista community. As a result of a six year community plan process that included extensive IV citizen input, over 1400 units will potentially be created there by rezoning at the higher densities. This would have happened regardless of state housing mandates. That it satisfied part of the mandate was a bonus.

The Isla Vista Master Plan update is part of a redevelopment agency effort that will take years and probably decades to fully implement.

9/06/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

I'm not sure if the new units could make it Manhattan-esque. It would take a massive shift in development of new and existing housing, the kind that would push students out. Even if it were all wealthy students, there is a limit to the type of housing they can afford. Lest there be other things involved, I'm not sure we could get more than the student and working-poor population that there is now.

But maybe the building heights could become greater, and the densities equally great? Some of the Census maps already have some corners and blocks at or near the highest categories for density. I could imagine extending the dark spots in the Census Tracts to the entire square mile.

With that in mind, what authority does the Coastal Commission have over any of these areas in IV? Can they say anything about the potential increases in housing and new development?

Is there enough parking? Enough bus service? Do Storke and Los Carneros roads at Hollister have enough capacity to deal with the increase in traffic? What about sewage, power, water and the like? Will property values, property taxes, and tax revenue rise to such an extent that police, fire, ambulance, education and other government services are paid for without a net drain on the County's finances?

I would hope that these question were asked and answered.

On the matter of annexation by the City of Santa Barbara, I say it would be a mistake. Not because of the students and the potential to change elections and the Council makeup (District Voting would take care of that real quick). Rather, I'm not sure, and this is a sad and harsh thing to say, that the City could afford to suddenly absorb so many low-income residents. We would instantly add 18,000 or so people, and thousands of those are potentially low-income residents. Of course, the City could buy cheaper land in IV and convert it to affordable housing, so it may be something to consider. But much of that housing would likely go to the people already living there.

I don't think, without reforming the City's finances and approach to housing, we could afford such an increase in population, low-income residents, and geographic area in need of services like police and fire. I wish it were different, but I don't think it is feasible.

9/06/2007 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Citizen Stringer said...

I am just shocked and offended that this blog host is saying the county government is Al-Qaeda Terrorists.

This blog is just a bunch of haters.

9/06/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus...there are no building height restrictions so they can build more Francisco Torres-style apartment towers now if they like with densities of 45 units/acre.

Just great! This is what the NIMBYS have foisted upon us. The Board of Supervisors has shown absolutely no leadership on this issue and basically dumped housing into IV to satisfy the state's RHNA quota.

And the result? No workforce housing near jobs, retail shops, transportation corridors or adequate alternative transportation or health care services. The textbook definition of a ghetto.

Why can't this county come together and elect some LEADERS for once rather than a scared bunch of politicos only concerned about their own fiefdoms or next elected office?

9/06/2007 10:59 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

...and I thought I was the only rock star here.

I've been yellin' here for months that this hole UCSB thing is gonna shock people when they realize 10,000 (or more) new people are coming to roost on this postage stamp piece of land. Whatever vacancy is created by student migration UCSB housing is going to be sucked up by the general demand...You gotta know that.

Now let's consider another 6000 more people over at Bishop Ranch.

That's half the city of COG added in the next 6-8 years...16,000...In the same 3 square miles no less.

Tell me how I'm wrong.

How does this benefit the majority of homeowners and long time residents?

Who told them they could do that kinda squeeze?

Seen the figures for mortgage defaults lately? Are we the next community to fall prey to the urban utopia fantasy like Miami, Vegas, San Diego, Ft. Meyers...

9/06/2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Can you imagine the budget busting load IV would be to the city? I'm more than sure the county would be happy to give up 50% of the taxes if SBC shouldered 100% of the cost. Those deals they love to make.

SBC should turn the AP over to COG so the people that are most affected can tax the heck out of all those noisy pocket rockets. I can't wait till everybody flies in for the Big "O" love fest.

Mess with their toys and you really get their attention...

9/06/2007 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its interesting to think of the city of Santa Barbara annexing UCSB considering its state land, and if you are going to complain perhaps another point. The current civic piracy that the city of SB already does with the airport. Its Goletas roads and infrastructure that gets worked over but they dont get repaid for it...

9/07/2007 3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have any of you seen the IV Redevelopment plan or are you basing your comments on what you think IV is going to look like?

9/07/2007 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gvg is right, i think IV is merely taking the entire mandate for `southern' Santa Barbara County. All the other units in the 6064 are in the North County.

nice to see the County is so proud of its planning an execution of development in IV that it wants to put even more housing there.

what a nice vision for planning on the south coast... hundreds of children walk in the middle of the street to IV school every day, becase the sidewalks have never been finished in IV. Now the kids can dodge the 2000 or so new cars introduced by the 1200 or so new units in IV.

last time a kid was hit while walking to IV school, the local media didn't even report it.

9/07/2007 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To say the Board of Supervisors has shown no leadership is simply bogus. The Isla Vista Master Plan is representative of a community plan process. It was not "foisted" on them - they chose it themselves.

Get your facts straight.

9/07/2007 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

The density of Isla Vista was settled in the late 60s. Even by then, it was no longer the bucolic, wind-swept blufftop where Aldous Huxley penned his utopian novel Island. So we are basically stuck with a very densely packed and highly populated little community out in Isla Vista. I recommend that we make omletes from these broken eggs. The best we can do is clean the place up, improve the public amenities and infrastructure, provide enhanced and efficient public transportation and perhaps some kind of secure parking facility. I feel sorry for the residents of western Isla Vista who are clinging to the ideal of Huxley's isolated beach enclave. But Isla Vista has long become a densely populated beachside ghetto. Let's spruce it up and live with it.

9/07/2007 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IV-Manahattan, West? Sounds great to me. I went to college in Manhattan and if IV could have some of the benefits that come with urbanization it would be to everyone's benefit: book stores, art galleries, a movie theatre (as there used to be) not just the UCSB-owned and dominated dormitory offshoot it is now.

9/07/2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Board of Supervisors have shown ZERO leadership on this issue. IV had a deliberative process and came up with a plan--great. But how does a mix of studio and 1 bedroom apartments satisfy any other demographic than the student population. It doesn't. This has been nothing more than a shell game with numbers, and at the end of the day, does zippo for rest of the community.

9/07/2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

Dear Citizen Stringer,

This blog is not "just a bunch of haters", but there are definitely a few posters and bloggers who seem unable to make a point without exaggeration, character defamation, and excessive verbiage.

You could do do a service for this blog by letting us know whenever you see any of that objectionable behavior that lowers the level of discussion here.

9/07/2007 9:51 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

If IV "chose" it, it was probably under the "anything is better than what we have now" motive.

The real question is what voice does the surrounding area have?

Nobody seems to care about the impact to the few roads we have, Fairview, Los Caneros, Storke, Hollister or the impact to the open space that has been and will be wiped out by this self interested "cram it down their throats" UCSB plan.

I ask someone to explain what Goleta gets out of all this besides more needy students, low income housing, 5 story building blights and an overcrowded environment.

We're about to lose the one thing that made Goleta Valley a unique So Cal costal community...low density and small town feel.

As I've said before...We're screwed.

9/07/2007 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This rocks!


9/07/2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IV Master Plan is a wonderful thing – for Isla Vista. It’s lousy to try to turn this into an answer for the south coast’s work force housing. Which is what Mike Brown did when he sent the letter to the state saying “we’re done” we did our bit for housing. And it's lousy for Santa Maria/Orcutt too. According to the staff report – the IV rezone went 180 units over what they had to do! Imagine that! Ummmmmm – I guess that means that there won’t be a problem letting the people who bought Rice Ranch from building the approved/required 146 affordable units there (Janet Wolf is the only Supervisor that has even questioned that request so far), they still have capacity elsewhere… - oh yeah – lets put them in IV too….

The rich get richer, the poor get more crowded, and the middle class moves away.

9/07/2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, Sara, are you at least going to give the NEWSPRESS credit for getting the FIRESTONE story on line first?

9/07/2007 2:17 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

sa1: You're probably way more screwed by your new City Council than you are by the IV Master Plan. Did you vote for the current Council? Are you whinging about them as much as you are about how the County Supes are planning to "ruin" your precious Goleta Valley?

Also, did you enagage yourself in the IV-PAC/GPAC meetings over the past half decade or more?

9/07/2007 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firestone not running is a disaster for county taxpayers.

9/07/2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City of Santa Barbara has already done enough for affordable housing. It has plently and does not even count all the illegal units flying under the radar all over the place.

The city has no further duty or moral obligation to provide any more. And it is high time the city council sent city staff a very different message or a new city council is necessary.

City staff is granting every modification, screwing every parking requirement, and gobbling up every bit of set back just to keep cramming in more housing. This is how our city is being lost. Death by a thuosand little wounds.

All because the current city council is telling staff to approve anything, anywhere that lets them cram in totally inappropriate housing doing endrun around the zoning ordinance, acting as if there was not even one they took an oath to uphold.

This city council thinks city voters will reward them at the ballot box because they created affordable housing, everywhere except in the neighborhoods where they live. But they are wrong, because there are far more angry residents that they screwed in the neighborhoods than there are occupants in the cheap housing they dropped in their midst.

They blew it and luckily they will not be around in a few more months to keep doing any more damage. And city staff will finally be getting an entirely different message: PROTECT THE EXISITING NEIGHBORHOODS!!!

9/07/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice try, 2:17. But the Santa Maria Times had the Firestone story at 12:27 p.m. ( The News-Press didn't have the story until almost an hour later, at 1:14 p.m.

9/07/2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

woo-hoo, Conquest housing will take over (just as Harlan and other toughs took over in IV's halcyon days of development) and community infrastructure for IV somehow or another will be left by the wayside. The County's real plan is to take whatever money would be spent on IV infrastructure and spend it near Mike Brown's house.

Students these days are quite rich, guys. They spend lots of money in Goleta and downtown.

9/07/2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody seems to care about the impact to the few roads we have, Fairview, Los Caneros, Storke, Hollister or the impact to the open space that has been and will be wiped out by this self interested "cram it down their throats" UCSB plan.

Given how Goleta has treated Isla Vista, its nice to see them get a taste of their own medicine.

9/07/2007 8:46 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Given how Goleta has treated Isla Vista, its nice to see them get a taste of their own medicine."

How have they treated IV?

COG has no jurisdiction over IV or especially UC and the State.

Seems more correct to say "Given how the County/State has treated IV" (and Goleta).

So my questions are:

What did we do to deserve the medicine?

Why are 30 year old concepts and visions of campus plans relevent to todays reality?

9/08/2007 12:26 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"sa1: You're probably way more screwed by your new City Council than you are by the IV Master Plan."

Me specifically?... No.

UCSB is planning to start construction anytime now which directly impacts me.

The County has decision making in IV, not COG. Why does Orcutt get to say no and Goleta doesn't?

Oh yeah...the North County controlled BOS.

My argument was well represented at the IV meetings so it's irrelevent whether I attended. It's the responsibility now of the "deciders" to have done the right thing...I don't think they did. Simple as that.

9/08/2007 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sa1... at the hearings that led to the formation of the City of Goleta, the proponents of the COG were really nasty toward the 2,000 or so folks in IV who argued for inclusion of IV in the COG.

LAFCO pulled a bunch of really dirty tricks to exclude IV.

If the COG wanted influence on IV, they kissed that influence goodbye during the 2001 LAFCO hearings.

9/08/2007 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great and sets an example for others to follow. I hope the City of Santa Barbara takes note. We need to build up and in, and affordable too!

9/08/2007 4:41 PM  

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