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Isla Vista Still Looks for a Fence that Fits

By John Palminteri, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Senior Reporter, johnp1250@aol.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:08:28 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 11:33:53 PM CDT

A LARGE, ORANGE SAFETY FENCE ALONG THE ISLA VISTA BLUFFS COULD BE COMING DOWN SOON. COUNTY OFFICIALS ARE TRYING TO GET A PERMIT EXTENSION TO KEEP IT UP, BUT THEY MAY NOT GET IT.

ISLA VISTA, Calif -

One of the most dangerous coastal areas in California, Isla Vista, continues to have serious issues with people going over the 30 to 50 foot cliffs. Many deaths have occurred in recent years, and those that survived have serious injuries.

Many people believe, if residents and visitors did not go beyond posted warning signs, there would not be problems.  But that's not the case and hasn't been for years in Isla Vista.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr says she is working on a solution that would finally find a fence that fits the needs of the crowded community that has thousands of college students attending UC Santa Barbara nearby.

A small wooden fence currently in place  has not satisfied many people, and last month, an urgently approved "temporary" fence was installed along several park areas where cliffs are considered risky.  The California Coastal Commission is expected to be contacted again soon by the county for an extension on the one month permit for that "construction-style" plastic fence.

"Yes,  and it's going to have to be renewed or it will have to come down," said Supervisor Doreen Farr.

She says there's a wide range of fence ideas being considered, and there will be a public meeting soon to look at the options. "A few people want a fence that's really big and tall and quite the barricade. Then the people, particularly on the west end that are not necessarily interested in having any fence," said Farr.

Property owner Ed St. George says he doesn't want views to be obstructed.  He says a 42-inch high fence is adequate and even suggested that the wooden fence in place now, should have some slats added to it for safety purposes in case a child is nearby that could slip through the current spaces.

"The reason we have a park here, the reason you can't plant trees or anything else here is so you can see the  ocean.   Right now everyone else is going to be penalized for the stupidity of a few people who are actually going to take the time and jump over this fence and fall off.  It makes no sense," said St. George.   He also believes most of the people who end up on the wrong side of the fence or fall off the cliffs are not obeying the signs, and are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

(video for this story will be posted later.)

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