July 22, 2024
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Our View: Everyone will benefit when UCSB builds more housing


UC Santa Barbara is caught between a housing mandate and the controversial ideas of a billionaire donor.

In a pair of moves that have provided plenty of fodder for headlines but little progress, Goleta announced plans to sue UC Santa Barbara, saying it has not fulfilled its pledge to provide housing for thousands of students and relieve pressure on the South Coast’s housing market. The county of Santa Barbara is in mediation with the university over the same issue.

The university made that pledge — to add 5,000 beds of student housing — in a 2010 long-range plan, and it needs to find a way to make good on it.

Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger’s idea to pack more students into a $1.5 billion dorm building with small bedrooms and few windows has the architectural community up in arms. An architect quit the UCSB Design Review Committee after he felt the design experts weren’t given any say in the project, and the local chapter of the American Institute for Architects has also released a statement blasting the dorm design.

With a design in hand, however controversial, and funding in place, prospects for Munger’s unconventional dorm, perhaps with some necessary modifications, seem to have been aided by the promised Goleta lawsuit. To build thousands of units of new housing on campus or near campus will take vision and innovation, which is why the Munger concept — though highly risky if it does not gain broad student acceptance — may have some staying power. However, Goleta noted in the news release announcing its plan to sue that the outcry over Munger’s design could make it even harder to build the new housing the university needs.

It would be foolish, time consuming and expensive for Goleta and UC Santa Barbara to continue to litigate over housing mandates. This is a time for bold thinking about land use, about permits and about finding a cure for a housing problem that makes the South Coast unaffordable.

Goleta is right to point out that students who crowd into conventional housing in and around the city are putting pressure on workers, many from UCSB’s own spinout companies, who are looking to find places to raise a family.
We would suggest that all bets are now off when it comes to building housing for the 21st century population of the South Coast. Santa Barbara County and even the city of Santa Barbara, whose territory stretches to the nearby airport, could be part of the solution.


We’ll take a few minutes during this Veteran’s Day week to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

The tri-county region benefits tremendously from the service of armed forces members at Naval Base Ventura County, at Vandenberg Space Force Base and at other installations in the region.

We also benefit from the contributions of our veterans to our businesses, local governments and nonprofits. We are fortunate to have the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, the Pierre Claeyssens Foundation and others who support our veterans.

Pacific Coast Business Times salutes them, too.