IV Beat Reporter
The Isla Vista Recreation and Parks Board of Directors convened at their monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, to review a new plan of internal improvements. Standing out among the evening’s business was a draft review of Ordinance No. 77-01, a new set of regulations governing parking policy for all Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD) property.
A motion to adopt the first draft passed with a unanimous vote. After a second reading, which will take place at the next scheduled meeting on Feb. 13, the board can approve the ordinance and pursue measures to implement policy.
According to the ordinance, no one can park on IVRPD property “except in areas specifically designated and conspicuously marked as parking areas.” These “restricted parking areas” will be marked with signs denoting “2 Hour Parking” or “Permit Parking Only,” and will be “strictly enforced by ticketing or towing.”
Though the draft’s wording suggests an extensive regulation of Isla Vista parking due to there being over a dozen IVRPD parks and open spaces, the intention of the ordinance is, in fact, much more limited.
IVRPD General Manager Rodney Gould indicated that the board was considering “a specific amount of parking spots in two IVRPD lots.”
“Street parking is not IVRPD property and would not be affected by the ordinance,” he continued.
Perfect Park is currently closed to the public, but six of the 12 parking lot spots will fall under the ordinance if and when it goes into effect. Six spots at Estero Park will also be affected—two will have a two-hour time limit, two will require a permit (for purchase from the IVRPD office), and two will be offered to Isla Vista Teen Center staff at a discounted rate.
Gould acknowledged that the Estero spots were traditionally free, but also contended, “the current reality is there are rarely any spots available for park users or the Teen Center due to long term parking by local residents.”
Karen and Robert McLangston, IV residents, penned an opinion letter titled “Wal-Mart Next” to the Santa Barbara Independent, citing their objections to the proposed ordinance.
“The last thing Isla Vista needs is to pay for what is now free parking,” the short piece reads. “Parking permits lead to parking meters and to Walmart, etc… The ugly gentrification of Isla Vista must end now and permanently.”
The letter also noted that the California Coastal Commission (CCC) had historically blocked passage of “this type of proposal.” A representative from the CCC could not be reached for comment.
For now, the ordinance only calls for permits and time restrictions on parking. Permits would be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, with stickers indicating a chosen a fee scale of Daily (15$), Weekly ($40), and Monthly (100$).
“Monthly will be the longest term available in IVRPD lots so the District has the flexibility of modifying or discontinuing the program if there are unforeseen impacts,” said Gould.
All branches of local police, including the IV Foot Patrol, California Highway Patrol, Campus Police, and the Santa Barbara Sheriffs Department, have the authority to enforce the ordinance. The board is considering submitting the license plate numbers of permitted parkers to the IV Foot Patrol to ensure the safety of vehicles and the efficacy of the program.
A first violation of the parking ordinance will carry with it a $37.50 fine, the same as a standard parking ticket in Isla Vista. The text of the ordinance notes, “repeat offenders, cars blocking right-of-ways, or violations that pose a safety hazard” will be subject to towing “at the owners expense.”
The revenue created from the permits will contribute to upcoming Isla Vista infrastructure projects.
“The bottom line is the IVRPD infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate to a really serious condition over the years and there are no funds to make needed repairs,” said Gould. “We are trying to be creative in both cost cutting measures in virtually every aspect of the operations and to generate funds from existing resources to enhance and maintain the parks and their facilities for the community. The parking program is a very small component of this overall effort.”
Though Gould acknowledged, “the amount raised will not come close to meeting the need”; 20 percent of the money “will go into a fund to build a new skate park in IV.”
The Anisq’Oyo Park bathrooms, set for demolition in the coming weeks, will also be renovated by funds partially generated from the parking program.