New Policies Enacted to Regulate Deltopia, Prevent Local Violence


Kelsey Knorp
Isla Vista Beat Reporter

In anticipation of the upcoming Deltopia weekend, an array of regulations and programs will be enacted during the first two weekends of April as part of efforts by local law enforcement, Santa Barbara County, and the University of California, Santa Barbara to prevent the violence of last year’s event.

Two key county ordinances to be enforced by law enforcement are designed to limit “unsanctioned festivals,” according to a public message issued by UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. One of these, designated by section 6-70 of the county municipal code, defines such a festival as including live or prerecorded music, attracting 500 or more attendees, and occurring anywhere without a “permanent installation constructed for the purpose of conducting such activities.”

Isla Vista Foot Patrol lieutenant Rob Plastino cautions against interpreting this legislation too literally, as usually his officers will have to eyeball the size of a party rather than attempt to count heads. He advises party hosts to take measures such as hiring security to ensure that they are making an effort to control their events.

“There’s no such thing as a law that states that you can’t have an open party, but there are nuances to that,” he said. “If juveniles are going in, let’s say, and they’re drinking alcohol, now that party, an open party, is in violation of the law because they’re serving alcohol to minors. So, it’s not so much that the party is open, it’s more that the open environment has gone and broken the law.”

The festival ordinance, traditionally invoked during Halloween weekend, prohibits any music between the hours of 6 PM and 7 AM on designated nights, with a penalty of up to $500 in administrative fees and a misdemeanor charge per violation. A recent amendment updated the ordinance to prohibit such activity from Friday, April 3, to Sunday, April 5, and Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, in addition to the already-specified last weekend in October and first weekend in November.

A second important ordinance, listed under section 28A-1 of the code, prohibits unpermitted events that draw crowds which obstruct right-of-way, with a penalty of up to $500 per violation. This indicates that both the host of an event and its participants are liable to receive citations should officials deem the event to be blocking the street adjacent to it.

According to information disseminated by the UCSB Office of Student Life, music will be allowed during the day, between the hours of 7 AM and 6 PM, permitted that “it is not loud enough to create crowds in front of the property or is targeting the street,” in compliance with the county right-of-way ordinance. Plastino confirmed that this will be the case, though his officers will expect that music be played at a lower volume than is typically heard on a Friday or Saturday night.

“People that live in IV deserve a chance to party responsibly during the day if they want to do so, but in order to curb it, you still can’t play to the crowds [or] play your music to the masses—it’s got to be a small party,” Plastino said. “That music has got to be at a level that cannot be heard out on the street. If it’s heard out on the street, it’s going to be in violation.”

Unlike in previous years, extensive parking restrictions will be effected in the area surrounding Del Playa Drive. Those UCSB students forced to move their cars as a result of these restrictions may purchase a pass from UCSB Transportation and Parking Services permitting them to park on campus from 11 AM on Friday, April 3, to 7:30 AM on Monday, April 6. Paper permits dispensed in campus parking lots will not be honored.

Parking restrictions will mirror those enforced during Halloween, prohibiting all street parking on the 6500, 6600, and 6700 blocks of Del Playa as well as on the sections of Camino Del Sur and Camino Pescadero extending between Del Playa and Trigo Road. Additionally, there will be no parking allowed on the 6500 block of Trigo or on El Embarcadero between Del Playa and the top of the loop that splits the road in two.

Residents of the 6500 block of El Nido Lane and the 6500, 6600, and 6700 blocks of Sabado Tarde Road will not be required to move their cars off the street, but should plan not to enter or exit the restricted area during the event. Police roadblocks will enforce these parking restrictions from 9 AM on April 4, to 7 AM on April 5.

To discourage visitors from out of town, the city of Goleta has also prohibited street parking in all neighborhoods between Hollister Road and the borders of IV, with the exception of residents who obtain a special permit from the city.

According to Yang’s message to the public, the UC Police Department will station more than 100 officers from both UCSB and its sister campuses in Isla Vista to aid with enforcement of these regulations. Santa Barbara County will provide approximately 200 officers in addition to these, which will bring police staffing to a level on par with that seen during Halloween, Plastino said. The county will also provide emergency first aid, similar to that offered during Halloween, at the Embarcadero loop and the corner of Camino Pescadero and Trigo Road from 12 PM on April 4 to 2 AM on April 5.

University efforts to deter visitors have been supplemented by a no-guest policy in all residence halls, effective throughout the weekend. The chancellor’s office has also approved several new programs, put on by various campus organizations and designed exclusively for UCSB students, as alternatives to house parties in Isla Vista. Associate Dean of Student Life Katya Armistead has been working closely with these groups to put together the events.

“[Students] just want something fun to do,” she said. “They don’t necessarily want to tear the town apart and be completely reckless… and if we say, ‘Well, you can’t do that, but we’re not going to give you any alternatives,’ then what can we expect? I felt like Halloween weekend was just so telling… I stood outside the Thunderdome as students were leaving, and they were just so joyful, saying, ‘Thank you so much; I hope you do that every year.’”

The largest of these university efforts is The Warm Up, a series of scheduled on-campus events planned by a variety of student organizations. During the day of April 4, there will be a street fair in Lot 27, which will include local bands, food trucks, and a rock climbing wall, among other activities. The UCSB Recreation Center will offer additional activities at that time, including free workout classes and rollerblading. That evening, the University Center HUB will present “Sharkfest,” a screening of back-to-back shark-themed movies. Later in the night, there will be a concert in the Thunderdome featuring DJ/producer Sweater Beats and synthpop duo Purity Ring, presented by AS Program Board.

“I think what’s helpful is seeing our students self-regulate each other,” Armistead said. “Because if anything’s going to change, it’s really the students deciding what kind of community they like, that they want to have.”