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UCSB reaches settlement agreement on student housing

Matt Perko, UCSB

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Regents of the University of California and the City of Goleta approved a negotiated Settlement Agreement with the County of Santa Barbara this year to improve campus housing for students.

The new agreement requires 3,500 new student beds, $3.7 million to the County for community projects in Isla Vista and includes a potential penalty payment of $2 million if housing isn't built in the proposed timeframe.

This year's new agreement will replace a previous 2010 settlement after the County Board of Supervisors found UCSB wasn't meeting those demands, going so far as to initiate litigation against the school.

Of the 5,000 beds prescribed in the 2010 Agreement, only 1,500 have been constructed, according to the County of Santa Barbara.

Advanced development has begun construction on the additional 3,500 beds with the school's newest housing project San Benito announced last July, with hopes to complete construction by 2029.

The City of Goleta negotiated an additional $2.3 million paid by UCSB towards two capital improvements including the Goleta Train Depot and the San Jose Creek Multipurpose Path in the City's press release on the settlement.

The following information comes from a County of Santa Barbara press release:

The primary terms of the 2024 Agreement between the County and the University include:

  • Payment of $3.7 million to the County for direct community-facing projects that benefit the broader Isla Vista community and the University community;
  • Release of all claims by the County under the 2010 Agreement and dismissal of the County's present lawsuit against UC Santa Barbara;
  • Construction of 3,500 new student beds;
  • Two potential penalty payments to the County of $1 million each in the event that the university fails to commence construction of an initial student housing project by March 31, 2026 and a second student housing project providing the balance of 3,500 beds by March 31, 2028;
  • Construction of up to 1,874 University workforce housing units including the nearly completed 160-unit Ocean Walk development, over the next 8 years, dependent on future University demand;
  • Payment to the County of $500 per student over the cap of 25,000 students, based on a three-quarter average, in the event on-campus enrollment exceeds the cap, unless the increase is mandated by the California Legislature;
  • The 2024 Agreement supersedes and supplants the 2010 Agreement and includes all pertinent terms from such agreement, including obligations related to student housing, meet and confer obligations, faculty housing, and traffic;
  • The 2024 Agreement terminates upon adoption of a new LRDP, but: the student housing, meet and confer, and payment obligations would survive the termination;
  • The parties will meet and confer prior to adoption of a new LRDP to discuss any impacts or possible modifications to remaining terms of the settlement agreement;

Second District Supervisor Laura Capps mentioned the importance of this year's newest settlement.

“Affordable housing is the most vexing challenge facing our County. This Agreement acknowledges that UCSB’s struggles in meeting the needs of its campus community have had a cascading impact on us all.  We have forged a new chapter in actually delivering university housing and addressing impacts in Isla Vista – the home of one of the largest mass evictions in our history,” said Capps.

Article Topic Follows: News
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County board of supervisors
student housing

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