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UCSB’s Long-Range Plans Get Scrutiny Opportunity in Near Term

Local agencies are lining up to weigh in on the university blueprint's recirculated environmental document.

Under UCSB's Long-Range Development Plan, the campus entrance from Pardall Road is a bustling community.
Under UCSB’s Long-Range Development Plan, the campus entrance from Pardall Road is a bustling community. (UCSB rendering)

With UCSB’s Long-Range Development Plan promising to bring more people and expansion over the next 20 years, local agencies are gearing up to respond to the document.

The LRDP’s recirculated Environmental Impact Report is currently being reviewed by the city of Goleta, the Goleta Water District, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and the Metropolitan Transit District. The parties are scheduled to comment on the report and how it affects their jurisdictions.

“UCSB is such an important and integral part of our community. With the university’s plan to add over 10,000 new residents on the South Coast and development about six times the size of the Camino Real (Marketplace) shopping center, we have a lot to talk about,” said UCSB professor Richard Flacks, who chairs the Sustainable University Now coalition, a watchdog group monitoring the university’s development plans. The SUN Coalition is affiliated with the Santa Barbara County Action Network, or SB CAN.

UCSB’s long-range plan is a development blueprint that reorganizes buildings on campus, and also makes room for the additional students the university wants to enroll. Physical development, say UCSB officials, will be contained on campus, as the university endeavors to supply housing and amenities for its new residents. Much of the development will also include greener standards, according to the plan. The project’s Environmental Impact Report discusses what effects the development is estimated on the environment and surrounding community.

UCSB is one of the region’s largest employers. While school officials estimate a 1 percent per year population increase on campus, for a total of an additional 5,000 students, Flacks said the 10,000 number is an estimate that also includes increases in faculty, staff and family that will also be coming to the area.

The university is also the Goleta Water District’s single largest customer. It has been determined that the district will not be able to supply the demand that the population increase will create and UCSB will have to procure water through other agencies.

UCSB plans to reorganize its campus to take better advantage of its viewsheds and environmental improvements.
UCSB plans to reorganize its campus to take better advantage of its viewsheds and environmental improvements. (UCSB rendering)
The city of Goleta has also raised concerns that the increased population will have a significant impact on local streets and municipal services, as the university campus is surrounded almost entirely by Goleta. Isla Vista, a county jurisdiction and popular student enclave, also stands to see a higher population density.

“Obviously, to get into UCSB and Isla Vista you have to go through Goleta,” said Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves. His hope, he said, is for people to comment on the recirculated EIR, so the city can incorporate their views in the city’s final comment to the university.

The following meetings are scheduled:

» Goleta Water Board — 7 p.m. Tuesday, Goleta Water District, 4699 Hollister Ave.

» Goleta City Council — 6 p.m. March 17, Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive.

» MTD — 8:30 a.m. March 24, MTD, 505 Olive St.

» Board of Supervisors — 9 a.m. March 24, County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

» UCSB has also scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Thursday at Santa Catalina Hall (formerly Francisco Torres), 6850 El Colegio Road, in the Linda Vista Room.

Public comment on the EIR ends March 30. Click here for more information, to download documents and comment online.

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