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Isla Vista balcony partially collapses into ocean over Easter weekend

Kinsley Sahlin

ISLA VISTA, Calif - While most students were away during Easter weekend, about half of a tiled deck at one Isla Vista property collapsed into the ocean.

"When I saw that half the backyard was missing, I was like, there goes all the fun in the backyard," said Kinsley Sahlin, a UCSB student who lives at the property in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive. 

Sahlin said she was not surprised half the balcony collapsed because another section collapsed about a month ago during the last rainstorm. 

"It wasn't a surprise when it was stormy that it started happening again."

Sahlin said when the first section of the balcony collapsed about a month ago, a crew came out to put up a wooden fence. On Monday, another crew came out to move the wooden fence away from the damaged edge and closer to the apartment building. 

"It's only a matter of time before it moves all the way up to the house and now we're inches away from the house."

Sahlin and the other residents on the property tell your News Channel that they have not heard from their landlord since the balcony collapsed Easter weekend. 

"Nobody has come by. Nobody has checked up on us. The only people that have came are the people to put up the fence," said Sahlin.

Sahlin said the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was called out and was told a building inspector from the County of Santa Barbara would come by and inspect the property.

As of Monday evening, Sahlin said she has not seen a building inspector on the property. 

The County of Santa Barbara confirmed on Tuesday that a building inspector has been to the property and has deemed the property safe.

Deltopia, the annual unsanctioned event hosted in Isla Vista after Spring Break for local students, is anticipated to happen this weekend and Sahlin said she wouldn't be surprised if another balcony fell into the ocean. 

"It's only a matter of time ... I feel like regardless of if it's not our backyard, it's going to be somebody's backyard."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office recently issued safety tips ahead of Deltopia weekend.

One tip warns people that the bluffs along Del Playa are dangerous to stand on and people near the bluff should remain on the proper side of all fencing and railings near the bluff's edge to prevent injury. 

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Laura Capps, who represents Isla Vista, issued a statement highlighting the need for more safety along the bluffs.

"This latest patio collapse is yet another example of how volatile our I.V. bluffs can be— and why my team and I are working hard on a safety plan. I’m extremely concerned, especially in the days leading up to Deltopia, where balconies and patios will be overcrowded during this unsanctioned event. This is an urgent call for property owners, residents and the community to exercise extreme caution this weekend and always about bluff safety."

In November 2023, Capps has been working on her eight-point safety plan to build higher fencing, improve lighting and signage along the bluff, and push for more public restrooms along Del Playa Drive.

This past February, a balcony at an apartment building on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive eroded into the ocean forcing at least 45 people to evacuate

Santa Barbara City College student, Benjamin "Benny" Schurmer of Ojai, fell to his death over Labor Day weekend last year in Isla Vista.

Sahlin and her roommates said they plan to move out of the property in a couple months.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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