The Goleta City Council has directed its attorneys to file a lawsuit against UCSB for failing to provide student housing for its burgeoning student population. The announcement was made at a public City meeting on Friday, November 5th.
City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte stated, “I am disappointed that it has come to this because the City of Goleta has always had a good relationship with UCSB. However, the failure of UCSB to meet its obligations under the 2010 Long Range Development Plan Settlement Agreement to provide housing has made us reach a breaking point.”
In 2010, the City of Goleta, County of Santa Barbara, and UCSB entered into the 2010 University of California, Santa Barbara Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) Mitigation Implementation and Settlement Agreement, which can be viewed here. The Agreement settled a dispute over the impacts of UCSB’s 2010 LRDP, which proposed a significant increase in student enrollment, with UCSB promising to build campus housing to mitigate this growth.
UCSB has breached the Settlement Agreement since 2015 by failing to provide sufficient housing for its students. This has had negative repercussions on the City, the most recent being UCSB’s placement of students in hotels in the City, depriving the City of critical tax revenues that are the mainstay of the City’s budget. UCSB students also take up housing in the City of Goleta, thereby decreasing housing supply and increasing housing costs for Goleta’s workforce, such as nurses, teachers, and public safety officers, who are forced to live elsewhere and have to commute to work in the City. Increased enrollment at UCSB also generates a greater demand on Goleta’s public resources and services. There is no foreseeable end in sight for these negative impacts on Goleta.
“UCSB’s currently proposed student housing project, Munger Hall, a 4,500-unit dorm, has recently received harsh scrutiny in the national press. In light of this, we, at the City, are concerned that there may be no certainty as to whether the needed student housing will be built in a reasonable time frame,” Mayor Perotte also said after Friday’s meeting.
After a decade of UCSB’s failure to satisfy its obligations and the negative repercussions on the City, the City has determined that it is necessary to file a lawsuit in order to preserve its rights and require UCSB to finally take meaningful responsibility for the impacts it has created.