After nearly 10 years in the works, the Goleta City Council approved the 332-unit Heritage Ridge apartment development on Tuesday evening, pushing forward a project that will add over 100 affordable housing units.
The Heritage Ridge development was initially proposed in 2014, but Red Tail Multifamily Land Development took over the project from the Towbes Group in 2019.
Red Tail is now collaborating with the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara on the development that serves as the third and final phase of the Willow Springs residential development.
The project, located on a 17.36-acre site north of Camino Vista and east of South Los Carneros Road, is set to include 102 affordable housing units — 40 for low-income seniors and 62 for low-income families, plus two manager units — and 228 market-rate units, as well as a 2-acre public park that will be a “celebration of Chumash cultural heritage and history.”
The Housing Authority will be purchasing and managing the two lots reserved for affordable housing, which makes up 31% of the project total.
John Polanskey, the Housing Authority’s director of housing development, said that of the 102 affordable units, it is anticipated that 32 units will be at the low-income level and 70 units will be at the very low-income level.
“I’m proud to support this project because it prioritizes people and planet over profit,” councilmember James Kyriaco said.
“(The amount of affordable units) would mean achieving essentially 19% of our RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) goals for very low-income housing just between this project and Buena Tierra, the former Super 8 site. Before we even have a certified housing element, we’ll be one-fifth of the way there in a very difficult-to-accomplish category.”
Polanskey also said that the Housing Authority has secured about $12 million for the project, and other funding availability is expected to be released as soon as next month.
The city of Goleta will be contributing a total of about $4 million, with a $1 million forgivable loan for the affordable housing and approximately $3 million worth of fee waivers.
The City Council voted unanimously during its meeting Tuesday to pass several resolutions that certified the final environmental impact report, approved the vesting tentative map, and other matters needed to approve the project to go forward.
“Goleta’s doing its part to really address the housing challenges that we all face, and in many ways, this is really the model for how to do this,” councilmember Luz Reyes-Martín said.
“This is how various interests come together, work together, hash things out, negotiate, and have that willingness and open mind to get to yes, and results in really thoughtful planning that takes into consideration many different issues, that respects the work of our General Plan, and achieves significant community benefit.”
The applicants worked with the Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians to develop the park design centered around the theme of the Chumash culture, including educational features, such as Chumash village renditions, animal tracks, and more, and an ethnobotanical garden. The park will also have a grassy lawn area, playground and tot lot, and 10 fitness equipment stations.
“We believe that the park is an important contribution to our community and will play a vital role in providing a safe, welcoming space for children, individuals, and families to come together and enjoy the outdoors,” said Barbara Lopez, councilmember for the Barbareño Band of Chumash Indians.
“It honors the cultural history and heritage of our people. The Chumash village is an educational feature in the play area that will be a place of wonder.”
Red Tail also worked with environmental groups represented by the Environmental Defense Center — the Goodland Coalition, Citizens Planning Association, the Sierra Club, Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, and the Santa Barbara Audubon Society — to ensure the environment and wildlife would be protected, with elements such as a 100-foot setback from the Los Carneros Creek Streambed Protection Area, wildlife corridors, and native plants.