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Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors sue UCSB over violation of 2010 Long Range Development Plan

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to enter into litigation with UC Santa Barbara for alleged violation of its 2010 Long Range Development Plan that requires the university to build more housing to keep up with the expanding student population, an action that the board does not "take lightly."

"The County of Santa Barbara remains steadfast in its ongoing assertions to UCSB to build the required housing and fulfill the terms of the agreement in order to provide for the needs of the students and reduce the impacts to the following community," the board said in a statement.

"While every opportunity has been afforded to the university of completing the construction, to date, UCSB has failed to construct all the beds needed."

In 2010, the university entered into a contract with the county and the city of Goleta in which the university committed to capping enrollment at 25,000 students through the year 2025, to build housing for the 5,000 students it planned on adding, and to construct about 1,800 new faculty and staff units. 

Despite numerous requests for a timeline related to the construction of new housing, the board said that "it's apparent that the required beds" will not be ready before the agreement expires in 2025.

While the county and UCSB have had a "longstanding relationship" to address the needs of shared constituents, the board said that, "unfortunately, at this time, very simply," the university has breached the settlement agreement by failing to provide the required housing.

"Despite numerous attempts by the county over many years to secure a reliable timeline as to when UCSB will build the required housing, there is no timeline or commitment by UCSB for when the requirement will be addressed," the board said.

"Litigation was the only act remaining to compel UCSB to act upon their obligation."

In response to the litigation, UCSB provided the following statement:

UC Santa Barbara has been involved in extensive good-faith discussions with the County over student housing since experiencing significant and unanticipated undergraduate enrollment increases several years ago at the behest of the State of California. The University and the County have a shared goal of providing more on-campus housing for our students. The University remains committed to building more affordable on-campus housing for our students, in addition to the recently completed projects that created an additional 1500 student housing beds.  We look forward to continuing our discussions with the County and are hopeful that any lawsuit does not result in needless and expensive litigation, instead of ongoing collaboration."

The city of Goleta also filed a lawsuit against the university for violating the 2010 Long Range Development Plan in December 2021.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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