Saturday, February 13 , 2016, 7:23 am | Fog 49º

UCSB Students, County Collaborate to Finish Fence Along Del Playa Drive Cliffs

Stretch at Walter Capps Park is the only remaining public area along Del Playa without a barrier

UCSB students have teamed up with Santa Barbara County to complete a safety fence at Walter Capps Park in Isla Vista.
UCSB students have teamed up with Santa Barbara County to complete a safety fence at Walter Capps Park in Isla Vista.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

UC Santa Barbara senior Rhandy Siordia has one wish before he graduates this spring, and that is to keep the students who will follow him safe.

Siordia, Associated Students external vice president of local affairs, is the lead student voice in an effort to construct fencing along 390 feet that borders the Del Playa Drive cliffs at Walter Capps Park.

He and other students has been working since September with Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol to block the bluff edge of the property at 6731 Del Playa Drive — the only remaining public park along Del Playa without a fence.

College students and Isla Vista revelers have been known to tumble from the cliffs, especially at night, causing injury or even death.

Last November, 21-year-old UCSB student David Propp died from a cliff fall. Officers discovered his body on the beach the next morning below the 6500 block of Del Playa.

“People fall off the cliffs from time to time, and much of the time it’s fatal,” Siordia said this week. “Why isn’t there protection along all parts of the cliff?”

Siordia said his research hasn’t turned up any specific falling incidents at the park, but he’s hopeful a fence could be erected as a sort of memorial for all those who have fallen, not to mention save someone in the future.

The project, which has an estimated cost of $6,500, would extend small, 36-inch-high wooden fencing along the entire park, similar to barriers on other public and private areas, he said. Completion is tentatively scheduled for June.

“I think a lot of people know that the cliffs are dangerous,” Siordia said. “It’s a very big deal. Sometimes people are just so drunk that they end up on the other side somehow.”

Farr, whose district includes Isla Vista, told Noozhawk this week that she is optimistic the project could be finished in the next several months.

Funding is expected to be a collaborative effort.

“The design, planning and permitting for the fence have already been completed, and we are making positive progress partnering together to find the necessary funding,” Farr said. “All the other parks have had their fencing completed, so this is a very high priority project for me to see completed as quickly as possible. We are doing all we can to prevent any more falls from the top of the bluff. But, despite these precautions, residents and visitors to IV should always be extra careful when anywhere near the bluff edge, whether playing in the parks or partying in the residences.”

She noted that the rest of Del Playa is private property, which is under the care of its owners.

Siordia said the groups are trying to gather project funding, hopefully limiting the pinch on students’ pockets.

“This is a basic safety right,” he said. “I’d really like to see students see these recurrences, fatalities, injuries, and embrace a sense of responsibility.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 02.08.13 @ 02:06 AM

The self-entitled got their way. I betcha this will not prevent injuries and deaths.

» on 02.08.13 @ 10:23 AM

I also think we should put fences around every tree so people don’t climb them, and we should probably only make 1-story buildings so people don’t fall off the 2nd floor balconies, and while we are at it, let’s require that all hard surfaces that any of the students encounter be resurfaced with rubber and put airbags at the bottom of the cliffs.

Its sad that David Propp died. But what was his blood alcohol level? If kids are going to party beyond the point of having clear judgement, then whether there is a cliff, or a car, a broken bottle or a bathtub, the probability of them hurting themselves and possibly dying will always be there. We can’t fence off the world nor should we try. Quit trying to save people from themselves. Start addressing the real issue: Students in Isla Vista party beyond belief and stupid things happen more often.

» on 02.08.13 @ 12:35 PM

“It’s a very big deal. Sometimes people are just so drunk that they end up on the other side somehow.”

Whatever happened to common sense?  How about you don’t get drunk and tumble off the cliff?  Oh, wait, that would be assuming responsibility for one’s actions and that doesn’t happen anymore.

» on 02.09.13 @ 01:27 PM

This story proves that UCSB Mafia and the County can collaborate when they want to.
Now it’s time for them to cooperate to end the disgusting practice of dumping UCSB’s, IV’s, Goleta’s and Santa Barbara’s daily defecations into Goleta Bay.
With UCSB Mafia’s many ivory towers overlooking the Goleta Bay crime scene, it’s puzzling how all of the PhDs contained within those towers can ignore the submerged poo poo pipe constantly conveying the dark matter into the Bay.
When I become the next UC President, UCSB Mafia will have run out of time. If they can’t show me an action plan to end the dumping, I will order them closed until they can.

» on 02.09.13 @ 04:05 PM

Woo Woo (the king of off topic commentators),

First this is a story about drunken idiots falling to their death because the nanny state didn’t build a wall to protect them.

Second the sewage treatment plant outfall pipe is a mile offshore, hardly in the bay.

Third, the poo poo is taken out at primary treatment and not dumped in the outfall pipe.

Fourth, unless you are crapping in some ones bushes, like and animal, you are part of the problem.

And finally, if you don’t like where treated sewage is dumped where would you suggest they do it, your front lawn?

» on 02.09.13 @ 08:43 PM

It’s a story about UCSB Mafia and County collaboration. It’s not off topic.

5000 feet out is still Goleta Bay. And even then, the incoming tide brings it to shore as indicated by the weakened kelp due to secondary chlorination that leads to shore erosion and the hugely expensive beach restoration.
Both primary and secondary treatment should be converted to 100% composting with zero introduction of human feces into the sea.
Elitist UCSB Mafia PhD poseurs have known for decades that the current process was unacceptable without ever once proposing an alternative system.
The morning land breeze wafts the most foul fume over on to the them and they still remain mute.
As the next UC President, I ensure everyone that UCSB Mafia complacency to the unacceptable will end pronto. I’ll shut them down immediately if they can’t show a responsible action plan for ending the disgraceful and odious dumping of human waste into Goleta Bay.

» on 03.01.13 @ 03:51 PM

I think that what Rhandy Siordia is doing is commendable.  He is trying to make a difference and if the fence serves to save even one person’s life then it is worth it. I would like to see it go a step further, and for memorials to be put up along the fence where accidents happened, so that people will had a secondary reason to think twice before doing something foolish.

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