The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC student favors safety over Del Playa oceanfront living

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Imagine coming home to a chunk of your apartment’s balcony lying in the ocean and being forced to find a new place to live because your home no longer feels safe.

That’s what happened to several students at City College and UCSB about three weeks ago at the 6600 block of Del Playa Dr. in Isla Vista. According to Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, their home’s collapse was due to high tides and surf, as well as persistent rainfall.

I couldn’t imagine being in their position, seeing part of a place that I once called home lying on the beach directly below me. I’d be overwhelmed with worry, hoping no one was injured.

Since the incident, the safety of the oceanfront homes has become a popular inquiry for many, especially for those who live or party on Del Playa.

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Students from City College and UCSB have been flocking to Isla Vista for housing and a place to relieve stress on the weekends for years. In particular, students seek out the popular street of Del Playa—where half of the houses have a resplendent view of the Pacific.

According to one of the students at City College who was affected by the collapse, sharing a room on Del Playa costs about $700 per month, and that doesn’t include the price for a student’s piece of mind.

Although I understand the allure of waking up to the ocean, breathing in the salty air and living where the social environment thrives, I wouldn’t be able to forget the fact that my home could abruptly collapse into the ocean any day. It would be a constant worry in the back of my mind as well as my parents’.

On top of the Del Playa safety issues, many of the homes are filthy. They have been lived in by many young, partying college residents who leave dishes piling up in the sink and food rotting on the counters. The floors have evolved into a much dirtier shade of what they used to be due to heavy foot traffic and people being unwilling to fully clean.

Although the cleanliness issue is a much easier fix, what would scare me the most is the fact that the bluff could give way at any moment: during a social gathering on a Friday night, enjoying a Sunday morning taking in the beauteous view, or in the case of a City College student, just as she came home from a regular day, minutes before sunset.

According to surveys, oceanfront homes residing on Del Playa have been experiencing erosion of roughly two to 14 inches per year, differing from house to house. This means that approximately 25 feet is expected to give way within the next 50 years, decimating valuable real estate.

All in all, the oceanfront homes on Del Playa Dr. are beautiful places to live and experience college, but this kind of luxury comes with a price that some are more willing to pay than others. Not many are able to say that they’ve lived in an oceanfront home, especially before their early twenties; some may never be able to say that at all.

I’m sure the lifestyle on Del Playa is incredible, but I’m content with being minutes away from the beach rather than seconds knowing that my home is clean and not in the Pacific.

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