Skip to Content

Isla Vista bluff erosion measurements now required twice a year

Measuring erosion required twice a year along Isla Vista apartment buildings along the bluffs

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-Santa Barbara County is adding a new safety measure along the Isla Vista cliffs where a number of students and alumni have fallen and died.

The Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department is now requiring more measurements as part of the Isla Vista Bluff Policy.

The measurements must be taken twice a year by licensed surveyors or engineers.

Property owners with properties that have at least 20 feet of bluff edge are now required to submit the measured distance between the buildings to the edge of the bluff twice a year.

Planning Director Lisa Plowman said the measurements submitted to the county will help her staff monitor erosion and decide if more action needs to be taken.

Many students moving out after a busy graduation weekend called it a good idea.

"I think it would be safer because they would have a better idea of how unstable the cliffs are and they can tell people, hey, your cliff is unstable don't have 200 people out there tonight," said UCSB student John Henry.

Henry spent the recent school year living in a property on the 6600 block of Del Playa Dr.

Isla Vista Community Services District Director Spencer Brandt said UCSB students did a study that recommended more monitoring like this.

"This police is a really big deal and will save lives it is really imp that property owners comply with this. These are some of the most valuable properties in the entire world, and we know, I have spoken with family members of those that we have lost, folks that have stepped over the fence onto what they thought was solid ground but had actually been eroded underneath,said Brandt, " So, I really think this measure will save life."

Earlier in the year the county updated it fence height requirement to 6 feet along the Isla Vista bluffs.

One property owner is concerned the county is implementing changes without consulting with the California Coastal Commission.

County officials said they have been in touch with the California Coastal Commission about fence heights and stated they do not need to submit a Local Coastal Programs (LCP) amendment.

They county said at least 5 properties on Del Playa are in the permitting process to raise fence heights.

They will be able to take advantage of permit fee waivers the county is covering.

Other property owners have not yet submitted formal permit applications. j

Coastal Commission Legislative Director Sarah Christie issued the following statement:

"The Coastal Commission fully understands the need to improve public safety along these bluffs. We have met with the County Planning Director and staff and are aware that they are working on developing new design standards to address this, including height limits and designs that would be difficult to climb while remaining visually permeable to minimize adverse impacts to public coastal views. We are more than willing to continue working with the County's staff, but as far as we can tell they haven’t submitted any details to us, so we are unable to comment on the specifics of the current proposal."

Summertime gives property owners time to make improvements while fewer students are in town.

Article Topic Follows: Safety

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Tracy Lehr

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


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content