One meeting to go for Neighborhood Task Force

Illustration.

Antony Marchiando

Illustration.

MAC WALBY, Channels Staff

The Neighborhood Task Force met for the fourth of five meetings Thursday afternoon at City College.

The Task Force is made up of local residents, City College administration, City officials, and several Board of Trustees members.

With Santa Barbara Police Sergeant Riley Harwood getting back from a meeting with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the meeting focused on Poly’s handling of the similar problems City College is facing today.

In 1992 San Luis Obispo started the Student Neighborhood Assistance Program. SNAP recruits students from both Cal Poly and Cuesta College to mainly deal with noise and party complaints in the communities surrounding the schools.

Ben Partee, dean of student development at City College, calls it “restorative justice.”

When a complaint is made, SNAP officials will go out to the residence and give the noise-makers a warning citation. When a warning isn’t enough, police officers are sent out to deal with the second offense. First time offenders receive a $350 fine, with a second doubling to $700.

SNAP officers work Thursday through Saturday nights helping to free up police resources and give a more relatable face to code enforcement.

“Noise abatement is the priority,” said Partee.

Another big talking point was the housing situation in the area. With such a high demand for living space, and a lack of spaces to live in, the problem of finding a place to fit all the students and residents has become daunting.

“It may already be at the breaking point,” said George Buell, chief of Community Development for Santa Barbara.

A reoccurring complaint given to the Task Force centered on landlords. Local resident Beebe Longstreet calls them “absentee landlords.”

A landlord will rent out a property to some students, have them sign the lease, and never be heard from again. Without any repercussions, noise complaints continue to be an issue in the community.

While City College and the Task Force focuses on finding solutions, they find themselves up against numerous legal roadblocks that limit the ability of the college. With only one scheduled meeting left, the Task Force finds itself in a time crunch while looking for ways to institute the necessary changes in Santa Barbara.

The last meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 1 in the Administration Building.