City of Goleta Settlement Agreement with UCSB

The City of Goleta (“City”) and the Regents of the University of California (“UC Regents”) reached a settlement on a lawsuit that the City brought in 2021 alleging that the University of California, Santa Barbara (“UCSB”) was not building student and faculty housing as provided for in UCSB’s 2010 Long Range Development Plan (“LRDP”). The City alleged that the UC Regents were not meeting the terms of a 2010 settlement agreement that addressed UCSB’s growth, thereby negatively impacting the City and its residents.

In the current settlement agreement, which was approved by a majority of the City Council, UCSB commits to constructing an additional 3,500 student beds by September 1, 2029, and will pursue the housing projects originally outlined in the 2010 LRDP. This commitment meets the City’s primary goal of the lawsuit, which was to ensure that UCSB was on track to build the necessary units within a set timeframe. 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.

Both entities can now move past litigation, which can be costly and unpredictable. In March 2022, three months after the City filed its lawsuit, the legal landscape changed. In a similar case involving the University of California, Berkeley (“UC Berkeley”), the trial court ordered UC Berkeley to cap its enrollment due to noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. UC Berkeley quickly appealed this decision to the California Supreme Court, which decided not to take the appeal. However, about two weeks later, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 118 (“SB 118”), a new law that eliminated all existing University of California enrollment caps by court order.

The impact of SB 118 on the City’s lawsuit was to render the City’s requested remedy of capping enrollment to be highly implausible to be ordered by the court. The City’s other remedy was monetary. To this end, the City negotiated $2.3 million to be paid by UCSB towards two important capital improvement projects, namely the Goleta Train Depot and San Jose Creek Multipurpose Path, both of which will also benefit UCSB students and faculty.

The City looks forward to working with UCSB to fulfill its plans to provide campus housing and being a good neighbor and partner in other regional issues.