Wednesday, December 13 , 2017, 4:26 am | Smoke 39º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara Council Upholds Approval of High-Density, Low-Income Senior Housing Project

The Santa Barbara City Council affirmed its support for a high-density, low-income senior housing project on Tuesday when it voted to deny an appeal filed against the project.

Concerns about the project’s setback from the Arroyo Burro Creek caused the Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council to appeal the 90-unit project slated for 251 S. Hope Ave.

The issue was raised during the Planning Commission review of the proposal, but that advisory committee recommended that the City Council approve the project.

The project proposed by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara would include 34 parking spaces, a trail between the building and the creek, and some amenities on site, according to Housing Authority executive director Rob Pearson.

The Gardens on Hope is meant to be a second Garden Court project, he said.

The creek in that area has a concrete channel now, and Santa Barbara has plans to restore the creek to its natural state.

This proposal has a conservation easement in place, meaning any work done within that area, including a trail, would be removed whenever the city does the restoration work.

A Creeks Council representative said the group wants assurances a full-scale Arroyo Burro Creek restoration will happen. While there is a need for low-income housing in the city, it’s not necessarily at this location near the creek, he said.

Pearson said no study shows the restoration project couldn’t happen with the 42-foot setback the project has now.

“I think on a policy level the city is sending mixed messages, and that is creating a significant number of problems,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.

There is no city policy requiring a 50-foot creek setback, and the Planning Commission was supportive of the Housing Authority concept when it moved forward more than a year ago, she said.

The City Council approved zoning changes that allow multi-family housing on that land, and voted 5-2, with Cathy Murillo and Harwood "Bendy" White opposed, to deny the appeal and approve the project.

The project still has to go through the design-review process, but the council’s approval asks the Housing Authority to increase the creek setback in the parking area to 50 feet, which means losing a few spots.

Pearson said the project can spare a few spots, and the plans will be redesigned around that change.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >