Santa Barbara County Approves Rezoning of 17 Sites for Over 5,000 Housing Units

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approves rezoning of 17 sites, including 9 county-owned properties, to accommodate over 5,000 housing units. The move aims to meet state requirements and update the county's housing element, addressing the critical issue of affordable housing.

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Rizwan Shah
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Santa Barbara County Approves Rezoning of 17 Sites for Over 5,000 Housing Units

Santa Barbara County Approves Rezoning of 17 Sites for Over 5,000 Housing Units

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has approved the rezoning of 17 sites, including 9 county-owned properties, on the South Coast to accommodate housing development. This move is part of the county's effort to meet state requirements and update its housing element, potentially producing over 5,000 housing units.

The approved sites have the potential to provide 119 lower-income units, 159 moderate-income units, and 42 above-moderate-income units. One of the larger properties is the conversion of the Glen Annie Golf Club near Dos Pueblos High School, which could accommodate around 1,000 units of various sizes and price ranges. Other sites include the former Juvenile Hall and Food Bank properties on Hollister Avenue, a vacant site off El Colegio in Isla Vista, and properties in the Carpinteria Valley.

Why this matters: The approval of these housing units addresses the critical issue of affordable housing in one of the most expensive counties in the United States, which has significant implications for the local economy and quality of life. Failure to comply with state housing requirements could lead to legal action and loss of future state assistance, exacerbating the existing housing crisis.

However, the rezoning has sparked concerns among residents and officials. Issues being addressed include housing densities, price ranges, traffic, fire department approvals, and components such as parks and open space. Goleta City Councilman James Kyriaco urged the board to "resist the temptation to put all the housing in one area because it is a lower-income area or because they are at their jobs." Supervisor Laura Capps noted that 75 percent of the proposed sites were in her district, concentrated in an area of just over three miles.

The housing increase is part of a state requirement across California, with Santa Barbara County being the sixth most expensive county in America. Rental costs have increased by over 30 percent while wages remained the same. Failure to comply with state requirements could lead to legal action and the loss of future state assistance in key areas, including grants and homeless funding.

Stanley Tzankov, a representative from the Santa Barbara Tenants Union, called on the board to"rebuild all south county sites and emphasize true affordability and prioritize the use of publicly owned land with 100 percent deed-restrictive affordable housing. "The county will continue to work on meeting its housing obligations while addressing concerns and issues raised by residents and stakeholders.

Key Takeaways

  • Santa Barbara County approves rezoning of 17 sites for housing development.
  • Over 5,000 new housing units could be built, including 119 low-income units.
  • Glen Annie Golf Club could be converted into 1,000 units of various sizes and prices.
  • Rezoning aims to address affordable housing crisis in one of the US's most expensive counties.
  • Concerns raised about housing densities, traffic, and fire department approvals.