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Students, UCSB and Law Enforcement Prepare for Isla Vista’s Deltopia Event This Weekend

Officials are hopeful that the college community’s annual street party will continue its recent trend of mellowing out

Authorities are setting up checkpoints around Isla Vista for Deltopia weekend. Parking restrictions will be in place in Isla Vista, at UCSB and in nearby Goleta neighborhoods. Click to view larger
Authorities are setting up checkpoints around Isla Vista for Deltopia weekend. Parking restrictions will be in place in Isla Vista, at UCSB and in nearby Goleta neighborhoods.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

This week marks the first of UC Santa Barbara’s spring quarter, but for many UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students in Isla Vista, the spring break mindset will continue through the weekend.

Deltopia, the college community’s annual beach-themed day of parties and congregating on Del Playa Drive, is informally scheduled to return Saturday.

The university, student groups and law enforcement are all hopeful that the recent trend toward smaller, better-behaved celebrations will continue, though each is still taking no chances.

A popular alternative activity has been The Warm Up, the annual concert UCSB Associated Students is putting on Saturday night for UCSB students in the Events Center Thunderdome. Headlining it will be electronic artist RL Grime.

On Friday night, UCSB students can opt for food, music and roller-skating at the campus Recreation Center. According to the university, Isla Vista residents can also hang out at First Friday, a community-sanctioned cultural block party.

During the weekend, ​UCIV, an Associated Students-backed group, will be handing out water, giving revelers information on safety and applicable ordinances, and connecting students having an emergency to medical assistance.

The student group has been a popular and effective liaison between law enforcement and students, and offers warnings to partiers on the verge of violating an ordinance or law, most notably the Festival Ordinance, which bans music audible beyond a property after 6 p.m. this weekend.

“We're extremely grateful for the participation of UCIV student volunteers, and believe they’ve had a significant impact on the success of Deltopia and Halloween the past several years,” said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover. “There’s nothing like having a fellow student remind you of parking or music restrictions, and helping to stop problems before they start.”

UCSB announced that its Police Department will have 70 officers patrolling I.V. and the campus this weekend. Officers will also hold a driver’s license and sobriety checkpoint Friday night somewhere in the campus and Goleta area, and I.V. beaches will be temporarily closed.

In preparation for Deltopia, UCSB is barring overnight visitors in dorms and university apartments this weekend and restricting on-campus parking. Click to view larger
In preparation for Deltopia, UCSB is barring overnight visitors in dorms and university apartments this weekend and restricting on-campus parking.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Hoover couldn't comment on the number of sheriff's deputies who will be out, but said there will be fewer than past years. “But there will still be a strong law enforcement presence” to discourage partiers from violating laws and escalating incidents, she said.

While Deltopia 2014 saw crowds of 20,000 to 25,000 — and a violent riot — the 2016 event had attendance around 3,500 people, Hoover said.

Arrests and citations dropped by roughly three-quarters in that time, while law enforcement calls for service fell by nearly 50 percent, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“We're expecting to see what we've been seeing the past several years, which is a local and safer Deltopia weekend,” Hoover said.

Law enforcement, the university and students have credited Deltopia’s shrinking size and impact to both greater collaboration between those groups and a growing desire by the latter to keep the event local.

“The last two years have really demonstrated the impact of a shift in the culture in Isla Vista,” said Debbie Fleming, UCSB’s assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. “It is more and more a given that students will not invite out-of-town friends to visit and will keep their own celebrations low-key and private.”

UCSB, which has put on radio and social media campaigns urging students and out-of-towners to keep the event local, is bringing back its no-guest policy this weekend for students living in dorms and university-owned apartments.

That will be bolstered by tighter parking patrols for campus housing lots as well as checkpoints Friday and Saturday for roads leading into campus.

The 2016 Deltopia event in Isla Vista was a mostly calm affair, with smaller crowds and fewer arrests than prior years. Click to view larger
The 2016 Deltopia event in Isla Vista was a mostly calm affair, with smaller crowds and fewer arrests than prior years.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk file photo)

The City of Goleta is also restricting parking in neighborhoods near the community. Two parking permits were mailed to each household south of Hollister Avenue and between Storke Road and the cul-de-sacs on the west side of Cannon Green Drive.

Cars parked on those streets without a permit will be towed between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday, as well as between 3 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

Parking restrictions will also be in place along I.V. streets most impacted by the weekend’s foot traffic, including no driving at all on Del Playa Drive much of Saturday.

Deltopia will likely be an even mellower affair than expected if the chance of rain forecasted for Saturday pulls through and keeps partiers indoors.

Hoover said authorities are prepared if the event is pushed back a week, but added that many students are out of town for Easter weekend.

“We want to thank the students in advance for having pride in their community and for the continued cooperation we've seen the past several years,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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.

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