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Local News

8-Unit Apartment Project Proposed to Replace Single-Family Home in Santa Barbara

Anapamu Street development pitched to Architectural Board of Review under the Average Unit-Size Density incentive program

Plans call for a two-story, eight-unit housing project at 325 W. Anapamu Street. Click to view larger
Plans call for a two-story, eight-unit housing project at 325 W. Anapamu Street.  (The Cearnal Collective photo)

Eight apartments are planned for 325 West Anapamu St., at the site of where a single-family home currently stands.

Property owner Cynthia Howard and architectural firm The Cearnal Collective recently went before Santa Barbara’s Architectural Board of Review to pitch the project, which is proposed under the city’s Average Unit-Size Density incentive program.

Santa Barbara has approved nearly 400 high-density rental apartment projects since 2013. City leaders are trying to encourage developers to build rental housing by letting them have bonus density on sites where fewer units would typically be allowed.

Developers in Santa Barbara went more than three decades without building rental housing because it didn’t pencil out financially, but that all changed after the council approved the AUD program.

More than 100 rental apartments have been built, and The Marc 89-apartment project on Upper State Street was the first completed AUD project, where some three-bedroom units rent for $3,500 a month.

Projects big and small have flustered neighborhoods, whose residents say that the density hurts the area. Santa Barbara only requires AUD developers to build one off-street parking space per unit. Affordable housing advocates say Santa Barbara needs more rental housing.

The Anapamu Street plans call for demolishing the home, a detached garage, and shed totaling 4,390 square feet. In its place, the property owner wants to build a 4,812-square-foot, two-story residential apartment building with eight rental units.

The one-bedroom apartments would range in size from 557 to 693 square feet. In addition, the developer wants to build a carport with eight parking spaces, eight covered bicycle parking spaces, and a foot trash enclosure. The project would remove five trees.

Nearby resident Geoffrey Ravenhill said the project has come a long way since it was first proposed, but some of the recent changes are a backwards step.

“The trash right now has been moved back, right into my barbecue and kids playing area,” Ravenhill said. “It not only exists visually as an impact, but now the smell has (been) brought back on our side.”

ABR chairman Kirk Gradin disagreed.

“I don’t really know that a truly enclosed trash area is going to be presenting smelly problems to your neighbors,” Gradin said. “Everything gets put in bags and it’s enclosed. It’s got two doors on it. It’s in a carport. I don’t know that flipping it is going to make a difference. You are probably going to get more noise disturbance with the bikes than the trash.

“I don’t really see the detriment to the neighbor there,” he said.

The five members of the ABR who were present at the meeting, Amy Fitzgerald-Trip, Howard Wittausch, David Watkins, Kevin Moore and Gradin, all expressed varying levels of support for the project, only expressing concerns about the height of a porch, sizing and treatment of windows and look of the carport.

The ABR will tackle the matter again on Dec.18.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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