March 19, 2023
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Brown signs bill to establish Isla Vista community services district


Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Oct. 7 that seeks to establish a local government for the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County known as Isla Vista.

The bill would establish a community services district. AB 3 requires the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to submit an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission to review the district and then place the district and a tax created to support the new government on the 2016 general election ballot.

Under California law, a community services district is a form of government that can provide basic services to residents of unincorporated areas such as water, sewage, wastewater management and fire protection among others.

A new district can only be approved if a two-thirds majority of registered voters in the community vote for the district to be formed.

Santa Barbara County currently provides these same services to Isla Vista residents. If the district is formed, residents would pay taxes to the new government instead of the county.

Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, introduced the bill. The bill’s text said Isla Vista is a unique community because it is populated mostly by college students and because of its close proximity to UC Santa Barbara.

“Over the last year, the Isla Vista community has been faced with many challenges due to tragic events, including two violent sexual assaults, a riot, and a mass shooting that has brought focus to the unique needs of Isla Vista that can only be addressed by direct, local governance,” the bill said. “Following these events, a local coalition was formed to determine the best direction for Isla Vista self-governance and the community services district has garnered much local support.”

The bill said Isla Vista has an area of about 1,500 acres and is one of the largest urban areas not governed as a city. Many attempts have been made to give the area cityhood status, but the area’s transient student population and high percentage of renters means the area would not generate enough money to support a city government.

Weekly community meetings discussing the future of the district will be held from 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday in the conference room of the Isla Vista Clinic Building at 970 Embarcadero Del Mar in Goleta, according to news release.

• Contact Philip Joens at