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Cliff erosion town hall held in Isla Vista

Cliff dangers discusses at community town hall in Isla Vista

ISLA VISTA, Calif.-People concerned about deadly portions of the cliffs in Isla Vista attended a Town Hall meeting at the Isla Vista Community Center.

Members of the community and the Isla Vista Community Services District had a chance to ask Santa Barbara County Planning and Development staff about the structures impacted by recent storms and ongoing erosion.

“During heavy storm events, the department provides notice to residents in structures we monitor on the bluff due to their proximity to the Bluff edge. The notice advises them not to go on the bluffs during the event. We monitor all the properties closely and when necessary we add properties to that noticing list.  Because of the recent sluffing of the bluff at 6745 Del Playa, the properties at 6741, 6743, 6745 and 6747 will be added to the list.  The tenants of 6745 were asked to leave the structure temporarily while it was confirmed the patio was still stable. The students were allowed back in in the afternoon.  Additional fencing was added to ensure the safety of the residents.”

Santa Barbara County Planning Director Lisa Plowman Statement submitted on Feb. 16, 2024

But a district official who works at the University of California, Santa Barbara said the campus has about 200 rooms available if repairs could be done sooner.

Over Labor Day weekend last September, a 19 year old City College student from Ojai fell 40- feet to his death from a balcony during party near Walter Capps Park.

People are still mourning Benjamin "Benny" Schurmer and a dozen others who have fallen to their deaths between 1994 and 2023.

One of them was the son of former Irvine Mayor Beth Krom. Noah Krom fell to his death in 2009 right before graduation.

She worked with students to improve fencing but it wasn't enough to prevent the six deaths that have followed.

Supervisor Laura Capps helped initiate the Town Hall.

"Thirteen deaths along the Isla Visa bluffs, I think is 13 too many, we are trying to do what we can to prevent it, with coastal erosion it's has become even more of a dangerous place for thousands of students to hang out."

UCSB graduate Tara Robinson studied the erosion and said she hopes students from both her alma mater and Santa Barbara City college will be informed, especially if they rent homes overlooking the ocean.

A sign at the center reads "Don't Be The Next To Die."

Article Topic Follows: Safety

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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