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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 8:53 pm | Fair 54º


UC Santa Barbara to Pitch In Funding for Permanent Fencing Along Isla Vista Cliffs

The safety barrier will consist of a three-rail wooden pole fence covered with chain link on the side facing land to help prevent falls

Orange plastic mesh barriers went up at parks along the Isla Vista bluffs in May 2014 in an attempt to prevent sometimes-fatal falls from the cliffs.
Orange plastic mesh barriers went up at parks along the Isla Vista bluffs in May 2014 in an attempt to prevent sometimes-fatal falls from the cliffs. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk file photo)

Permanent protective fencing soon will go up along the bluffs in Isla Vista after UC Santa Barbara agreed to pitch in $70,000 to get the project done.

The fencing should be up by early May, about two months after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors accepts the university funding, which is expected to happen at Tuesday’s meeting, according to Chris Henson, chief of staff for Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who oversees Isla Vista.

UCSB will pay for construction, while the county and the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District will maintain the fence that will be built on six county-owned coastal parks along Del Playa Drive, protecting students from all-too-frequent (and sometimes fatal) cliff falls.

The 54-inch-tall safety fence — approved by the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission last October — will be a three-rail wooden pole fence covered with a small-space coated diamond chain link on the side facing land to prevent climbing or sitting on it.

The sturdier option will replace temporary orange construction fence that UCSB paid to put up in May 2014.

“This contribution is another example of the university’s longstanding and ongoing commitment to the Isla Vista community,” said John Longbrake, UCSB associate vice chancellor for public affairs and communications. “Students, parents, faculty and staff members and many Isla Vista residents have advocated for this project as a way to enhance community safety. We want to acknowledge their efforts and the work of the county in securing the permits and overseeing the community design process and construction of the fence. 

“We are also grateful to our donors who have contributed generously to support safety enhancements for our students in Isla Vista, as well as for Supervisor Doreen Farr’s commitment to this project. The fence will help protect not only our students who are residents of Isla Vista, but also the thousands of Santa Barbara City College students who live in Isla Vista, as well as visitors to the community.”

University officials expect the one-time funding to cover the entire estimated costs for fence installation. If it’s more than enough, the county could use the rest for maintenance. 

The contribution is one in a long line of continuing university support for the densely populated unincorporated area of the county, where many of its students call home.

UCSB committed $2 million toward future infrastructure improvements in IV as a part of its Long Range Development Plan, $220,000 to the county to for IV street lighting and sidewalk projects and $9,000 to install temporary video cameras during Deltopia.

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.

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