The Heritage Ridge Apartment development will be built on a 17.36-acre site north of Camino Vista and east of South Los Carneros Road.
The Heritage Ridge Apartment development will be built on a 17.36-acre site north of Camino Vista and east of South Los Carneros Road. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

The Goleta Planning Commission voted to move forward the proposed 332-unit Heritage Ridge apartment project Monday, following a public hearing where several environmentalist groups that were originally opposed to the development now showed their support after working with the applicants.

The apartment development — proposed as a collaboration between the Red Tail Multifamily Land Development, The Towbes Group, and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara — would be built on a 17.36-acre vacant site north of Camino Vista and east of South Los Carneros Road, serving as the third phase of the Willow Springs I and II development.

The proposed project would include 332 units, including 102 affordable units with two onsite manager units and 228 market rate units.

Of the 102 affordable units, 41 would be set aside as affordable units for seniors and 63 units would be dedicated for families in need of affordable housing, according to developers. 

A 2-acre public park is also part of the proposal, designed to include a playground, picnic area, fitness equipment stations, a perimeter walking and jogging path, a meadow with native grasses, and educational features of Chumash village renditions.

Because the project includes affordable units, a State Density Bonus Concession also allows the development to provide 494 parking spaces instead of the normally required 542 parking spaces for market rate units.

Since the project’s last Planning Commission hearing in April, the Heritage Ridge applicants have been working with the Environmental Defense Center to find a way to compromise in a way that would allow the EDC and its clients — The Goodland Coalition, Citizens Planning Association, the Sierra Club, Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, and the Santa Barbara Audubon Society — to support the development.

Environmentalist groups were originally opposed to the development due to the impact it would have on wildlife and the vegetation.

The development has been modified to reduce the environmental impact, including adding more locally native vegetation, new coastal sage scrub habitat, shifting and reducing building sizes, and providing a 100-foot Streamside Protection Area buffer for the Los Carneros Creek.

Other groups, such as the Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians and the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara, expressed support for the development for its inclusion of Chumash cultural features and the fact that 31% of the project will be affordable housing.

The Heritage Ridge Apartment development is now set to go in front of the Goleta City Council for review. The Planning Commission is recommending approval of the project.

More information on the project can be found in the staff report and presentations here.

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com.