I.V. Residents Raise Concerns at Noise Ordinance Town Hall

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Madeleine Lee
Campus Beat Reporter

Thursday evening’s town hall discussion, hosted by Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs Ashcon Minoiefar, was both a productive dialogue about the proposed noise ordinance amendment in Isla Vista and a reminder that the unincorporated territory of over 20,000 is home to more than just the young and inebriated

The initial amendment, proposed on Aug. 11, would bar residents from playing music or making noise after 10 p.m. on all days of the week, cutting the current Friday-Saturday midnight by two hours. Hundreds of students gathered to express outrage at a meeting on Aug. 16, and the amendment, originally put on the ballot for a countywide vote on Sep. 12, was moved off the agenda to allow time for further community discussion.

With the initial outrage extinguished, students and community members, with the help of IV Community Advisor Diana Collins Puente and Lieutenant Ruben Cintron, worked to pinpoint the cause of noise itself and how that noise may be perceived differently by each resident.

In order to demonstrate this, Puente handed attendees sticker sheets, and encouraged them to place color-coded stickers, representing noise level and residence, on a city wide map.

Red stickers, representing high noise levels, congregated predictably along the 65 and 66 blocks of Del Playa and Sabado Tarde, with several outliers on the 66 blocks of Segovia and Picasso. Green stickers were more prevalent along the 68 blocks and El Colegio.

However, the map revealed through a numbered 1-5 scale that noise level does not necessarily correlate with a resident’s level of happiness.

“I did place a red dot on the map, but I also labeled it with a one,” said third year political science major Samuel Seibel, referring to the one as his complete lack of disgruntlement over the high noise level. “I feel like we signed up for noise by living on the first four streets.”

Longtime Isla Vista resident Bruce Murdoch, who attended the meeting with his wife Bonnie, highlighted a further layer of complication.

“I think the real challenge is determining whether the nature of the noise is general or specific,” said Bruce Murdoch. “Is it a noisy block, or is it a problem house? In my case, I find it to be the latter.”

Community members also agreed when Bruce Murdoch noted the fluctuation in noise from year to year, citing the difference between neighbors throughout the decades.

As older, non-student residents voiced their concerns, fourth year history of public policy major Paola dela Cruz spoke on behalf Isla Vista’s youth community, which often struggles with even less visibility. Several middle school students interviewed about noise levels recently for KCSB’s “Inside Isla Vista” show reported seeing alcohol and drunk students every day. The middle schoolers recounted “waking up late and missing the bus because their neighbors create so much noise.”

For many UCSB students still eager to preserve and promote a healthy party culture, it became clear that the line between partying and keeping IV residents content is far thinner than many initially realized.

“The ultimate goal is not to ruin the party,” said Lieutenant Cintron as he cited the late-night crime rate, “but to ensure public safety for everyone.”

“Once the noise ordinance kicks in and those parties on DP end, all the out-of-towners —the Oxnard gangbangers, people from Oakland, Santa Maria—they’re forced out on the streets,” said Cintron. “That’s the primary demographic behind the late-night burglaries and street fights. Our hope is that by shifting the noise ordinance to an earlier time, it’ll keep those out-of-towners out. But of course there are no guarantees.”

At the meeting’s end, Bonnie Murdoch described the encounter she had with her neighbors last Friday, who came to her door with jam and handed her phone numbers, letting her know to call if things ever got too loud. That night at 12:30, Murdoch called twice, but with no success.

“The culture in the last several years has definitely changed for the better,” said Bonnie Murdoch. “Communication is a big part of that. It’s just something we definitely still have to work on.”

The next meeting to discuss noise ordinance enforcement will be held September 29.