Map of the planned housing complex in Carpinteria.
Santa Barbara County plans to build a housing complex at the intersection of Pandanus Street and Bailard Avenue, across from Monte Vista Park in Carpinteria. Credit: Courtesy map

Santa Barbara County plans to add 173 housing units to a vacant site in Carpinteria — a move that is not popular among city residents.

Of the 173 housing units, 41 of them would be affordable housing units, and the remaining 132 would be market-rate units. 

Among the 41 affordable housing units, eight would be studios, 25 would be one-bedroom apartments and eight would be two-bedroom apartments.

Of the market-rate units, 60 would be one-bedroom and 72 would be two-bedroom apartments.

Since Santa Barbara County would be heading this housing project, the city would not receive any tax revenue for the housing.

 “I am [very] disappointed, given the location of the county’s housing sites directly adjacent to the city and the obvious implications that building this housing would have on city services, that there has been no effort to work collaboratively with the city to date,” Former Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura told

The site of the housing complex is at the intersection of Pandanus Street and Bailard Avenue, across from Monte Vista Park.

The site was previously intended to be a 350-student school. However, because of declining enrollment in the Carpinteria Unified School District, the site was deemed a designated surplus site by the district under the Surplus Lands Act.

Under the act, the site must be offered for the development of affordable housing. 

The conceptual planning review went to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Wednesday by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, the Carpinteria Unified School District and Red Tail Multifamily Land Development.

Carpinteria needs 901 housing units to support its population. However, only about 77 housing projects have been approved. Of the approved housing projects, 50 of them are designated for seniors. Additionally, the built sites are either not affordable or not for sale.

The aim of the plan is to create a mixed-income housing complex, with the rented rates comparable with Ventura and Oxnard housing markets. Additionally, the proposed project would reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled for commuters who work in the county but cannot afford to live in the county. 

The plan also claims that mental health services, life skills and health and wellness programs would be provided free of charge, and enough on-site parking would be created to mitigate the parking impacts in Carpinteria.