Both the state Senate and Assembly approved and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown legislation that would create a Community Services District in Isla Vista funded by a utility users tax. Brown has until Oct. 11 to sign or veto the law -- or allow it to go into effect without a signature. With last minute amendments the CSD would include the rectangular box of Isla Vista bounded by UC Santa Barbara, El Colegio, Camino Majorca and the Pacific Ocean. UCSB housing along El Colegio would not be included nor would University owned property inside of Isla Vista proper be included in the district.
The University announced in early September that it would agree to provide the new CSD with $200,000 a year for seven years for “mutually agreed upon” projects in Isla Vista.
To protect the Isla Vista’s Park and Recreation District’s autonomy and power, the new CSD is barred from providing any type of recreational activity in Isla Vista. It also may not purchase or maintain parks. The IVPRD board and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing IVPRD employees, backed this effort.
A financial feasibility study on the CSD is expected to be released in early October and will spell out possible revenue sources and expenses the new district can consider.
If Brown signs the enabling legislation carried by Assembly Member Das Williams -- a UCSB alumnus who grew up in Isla Vista -- the residents of Isla Vista would vote in November 2016 to form the district, to assess a utility users’ tax between 5-8 percent and to elect five members to the CSD board. The legislation also calls on two other members of the board to be appointed by the UCSB Chancellor and the Third District Supervisor.
Recent bluff erosion at 6625 Del Playa in Isla Vista prompted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to call for a report from county engineers on possible long-term problems that might occur with an El Nino event this winter.
County staff told the Board that a 3-foot deep, 45-foot tall piece of the cliff broke off under the apartment at 6625 Del Playa, exposing the back patio area.
The owner of the property asked for an emergency permit that would allow him to demolish the rear 30 feet of the apartment so that it remained legally 15 feet from the bluff.
County staff reported that they routinely inspect the Del Playa bluffs after storms and expect to closely monitor the bluffs this winter. The cliff is 35-40 feet high and sluffs off up to a foot a year. During the last El Nino event in 1998 large portions of the cliff fell into the ocean.
UC Santa Barbara announced in early September that the UC system had purchased the Tropicana Gardens housing complex on Colegio Road for more than $150 million.
The purchase will add more than 1000 beds to the housing inventory controlled by the campus. It will be operated by the Housing and Residential Services office. The actual takeover of the Tropicana complex will not be official until July 1, 2016. Currently the complex houses UCSB students, mainly athletes, Santa Barbara City College students, and various camp attendees during the summer months.
The purchase caused some community controversy from critics who said the campus was taking property off the tax rolls and potentially off the special assessment of the Isla Vista Park and Recreation District. The campus has countered that as part of the Long Range Development Plan it must reimburse the county for property purchased in Isla Vista proper.
Two property sales in the last few weeks have netted profitable gains for owners. Chuck Eckert, president of the Isla Vista Property Owners Association, sold one of his many Isla Vista properties at 6565 Sabado Tarde for $5.79 million to Xenon Investment Corp.
The property was purchased in 1999 for $1.5 million, according to Redfin.The property has 19 units, including 13 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units.
A rental unit at 6781 Sueno Road in Isla Vista sold at the same time for $1 million. It was purchased in 2007 for $979,000 after being bought in 1999 for $385,000. According to real estate listings, it has nine tenants living in a five-bedroom house and a studio apartment.
According to local media reports, Craig Geyer, who sits on the Local Agency Formation Commission, sold one of his Isla Vista properties this summer at 6555 Pardall Road. The sale price of the business location was $750,000, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.
For the first time in its history, the community of Isla Vista has its own community resource deputy. Sheriff Bill Brown appointed senior deputy James McKarrell after a competitive process that included participation by UCSB students in the final selection. The position was made possible by the Board of Supervisors after an intense lobbying effort by Supervisor Doreen Farr and UCSB students.
McKarrell, who recently served as a court bailiff, is an eight-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department. He and his family live in Oxnard.