April 2, 2024
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UC Santa Barbara, Goleta reach settlement agreement on student housing

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Goleta and the UC Regents have reached a settlement on the 2021 lawsuit in which the city alleged UC Santa Barbara was not building student and faculty housing as provided for in the university’s 2010 long range development plan.

Announced March 22, the city alleged that the lack of long range housing plans negatively impacted Goleta and its residents.

The new settlement agreement, which was approved by a majority of the Goleta City Council, includes UCSB committing to constructing an additional 3,500 student beds by Sept. 1, 2029, and will pursue the housing projects originally outlined in the 2010 LRDP.

UCSB will build housing at the facilities management site on the northwestern corner of the main campus and at the East Campus Infill and Redevelopment site, according to a press release.

“Affordable housing is the most vexing challenge facing our County. This Agreement acknowledges that UCSB’s struggles in meeting the needs of its campus community have had a cascading impact on us all.  We have forged a new chapter in actually delivering university housing and addressing impacts in Isla Vista — the home of one of the largest mass evictions in our history,” Second District Supervisor Laura Capps, whose district includes the community of Isla Vista neighboring the UCSB Campus, said in a press release.  

Moreover, the university will make a one-time payment of $2.3 million to the City of Goleta to support capital projects intended to serve the broader Goleta and campus communities.

UCSB also agreed to pay the city of Goleta $500 per student over the cap, based on a three-quarter average, in the event on-campus enrollment exceeds the cap, unless the increase is mandated by the California Legislature. 

In exchange, Goleta has agreed to waive housing and enrollment-related claims that it raised under the 2010 agreement and has agreed to dismiss their pending lawsuit with prejudice.

“The university is proud of its more than $2 billion direct and indirect annual contributions to the local economy.  Additional investments in capital projects that benefit our neighbors in Goleta and Santa Barbara County as well as our students, staff, and faculty are a better use of resources than legal costs,” Chuck Haines, UC Santa Barbara’s vice chancellor and chief financial officer, said in a press release.

“We have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the City of Goleta and with the County of Santa Barbara, including our direct contributions of more than $2 million a year in support of the Isla Vista community. We look forward to completing construction on our new on-campus student housing projects and working closely with the City and County on ways to support our local community.”  

email: jmercado@pacbiztimes.com