A proposed 22-unit housing project near downtown Santa Barbara earned support from a majority of the city Planning Commission, but at least two of the members want to see one more affordable unit.
“The community deserves more affordable units and, unfortunately, they have taken the low bar of the ADU process, which gives us less,” Commissioner John Baucke said. “I want more, not less.”
Crews plan to demolish the single-story structure to construct a mostly three-story, 22-unit apartment building.
The apartments would feature a mix of 14 two-bedroom, two-bathroom units; seven one-bedroom, one-bathroom units; and a single two-bedroom, one-bath unit. The units have an average square footage of 765 feet. Two of the units would be rented at below-market rates.
Although parking is not required, current plans call for 21 covered vehicle parking spaces located in a garage, and 22 spaces for bicycle parking.
Baucke said that up to 28 units could be built if the applicant, Craig Minus, applied under the state’s density bonus program, not the city’s AUD ordinance. His colleague, Donald DeLuccio, also voted against it because he wanted to see more discussion about the number of units.
“We are having a housing crisis in Santa Barbara, like everywhere else,” DeLuccio said, suggesting that the developer could add one more below-market unit.
The motion to give the feedback to the Historic Landmarks Commission passed 3-2 with members Sheila Lodge, Lesley Wiscomb and Ronda Bonderson voting yes, and Baucke and DeLuccio voting no.
Wiscomb said the applicant had complied with all the rules of the city’s AUD ordinance, and had already been to the Historic Landmarks Commission twice and that they were working through the system.
“The project is in a great location,” Wiscomb said. “We need units downtown.”
The commission also supported an increase in the height limit for the area. The project stands at 47.4 feet at its highest point; the maximum height for the area is 45 feet.
Minus has yet to submit a formal application project, but is seeking early design feedback from the HLC and the Planning Commission. The site, he said, is along a transportation corridor and near downtown, which makes it ideal for new housing.
“When we look at this site and location and the need in our community, I really do think this is the poster child for an AUD project,” Minus said. “We are proposing housing during an area when we need housing the most.”