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Monday, December 17 , 2018, 11:42 am |


Controversial Vacation Rental Project Faces Santa Barbara City Council Appeal

Opponents say project at Anacapa and Gutierrez streets will further stress the neighborhood, which already has a shortage of parking

House in Santa Barbara Click to view larger
An appeal to the City Council has been filed regarding a plan to convert this home at Anacapa and Gutierrez streets in Santa Barbara to a short-term vacation rental. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

A three-bedroom home in Santa Barbara that sleeps up to 11 people is set to become a short-term vacation rental — with only two off-street parking spaces.

The Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review approved the vacation rental conversion for the site on the corner of Anacapa and Gutierrez streets. The ABR said the project only needs two off-street parking places because the home is in the “zone of benefit,” near city parking lots.

The ABR approved the project 5-1 at its April 9 meeting. Community activist Anna Marie Gott plans to appeal the project to the Santa Barbara City Council.

“We want residential units downtown,” Gott said. “We want people to live closer to where they work This is the perfect opportunity.for this particular project but yet (they) want to turn this into a short-term vacation rental, which sleeps 11 people.”

Gott crowdsourced the $505 fee from nearby residents and others to file the appeal.

A consistent voice against the conversion of residential units into short-term vacation rentals, Gott said the home at 402 Anacapa St. could be the site of an Average Unit-Sized Density Incentive Program project or an Accessory Dwelling Unit, instead of “three short-term vacation rentals.”

She said a vacation rental will further stress the neighborhood, which already has a shortage of parking. People aren’t going to park in nearby city lots because it would cost $24 to $26 to park the vehicle overnight.

"We are losing this house if it is turned into a short-term vacation rental," Gott said.

Short-term vacation rentals have been at the center of a firestorm of controversy in recent years. The city banned the them in residential areas, but they are still allowed in zones where hotels are permitted.

With Santa Barbara facing an affordable housing shortage, many activists are pushing back on vacation rental conversions because they are taking away from the city's housing stock. 

In addition, vacation rentals typically house large groups, who often drive or rent cars that they park on the streets, in residential and commercial zones. 

The existing development on the site consists of a two-story, 1,508 square foot, two-bedroom single residential unit with two uncovered parking spaces.

Members of the ABR said the site was ideal for a short-term vacation rental.

“I have driven by this place many times,” said ABR member Howard Wittausch. “It is a charming house in the middle of an area that is in change. It is a little place of refuge actually. So i think this is an appropriate use for the neighborhood.”

ABR member Kevin Moore agreed.

“It is an urban location, and parking is difficult no matter what the project is,” he said.

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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