Architect’s rendition of an affordable housing project proposed for  220 N. La Cumbre Road in Santa Barbara.
An affordable housing project at 220 N. La Cumbre Road in Santa Barbara got a warm reception from the city Architectural Board of Review at a recent meeting. (Contributed photo)

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is proposing a 48-unit apartment project — an all-affordable development — in the outer State Street area. 

The project is proposed for 220 N. La Cumbre Road.

“This is a very important development for the community as so much affordable housing is needed in Santa Barbara,” said Rob Fredericks, executive director of the Santa Barbara Housing Authority. “While of late there has been a recognized need and emphasis on the provision of moderate-income housing, there is a great deal of affordable housing needed for low-income households.”

Commercial office buildings currently sit at the site. The building is proposed for four stories with a height, in parts, at 53 feet. About 76 vehicle parking spaces are proposed, including 12 designated for guests, along with 48 bicycle parking spaces. Part of the garage would be underground.

The project is headed to the city’s Architectural Board of Review for a concept review on Monday.

Fredericks said the project would be primarily funded through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. The Housing Authority would target very low-income households and below. 

Santa Barbara city officials have approved hundreds of new housing units in recent years, but most of those have been market-rate units. The Housing Authority project would be designed for families who earn well below the area median income.

The city’s Housing Authority has funded projects such as the 124-unit El Carrillo and the 64-unit Artisan Court. 

“We are very excited about this development,” Fredericks said. “While we have focused new developments over the last several years to serve special-needs populations and senior citizens, given the proximity to several schools, proximity to shopping and the close major transit corridor on State Street, we believe this is an ideal location for a family-oriented development — families with children.”

Fredericks said the site has two one-story office buildings and surface parking lots, used for medical and dental offices. None of the tenants would be displaced until the leases expire with commercial tenants.

The homes, Fredericks said, would help the city meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation, adding that the city has built only 291 of the 1,663 units recommended under the allocation. 

“We must not forget about our lower-income families who are a part of our community,” Fredericks said. “If we do, then we will end up further gentrifying Santa Barbara and forcing these hardworking members of our community out, leaving them with no choice other than to leave their workplace, friends and other family members.” 

Fredericks said he hopes Santa Barbara residents can get behind a vision of having a community where families and individuals have access to affordable housing and pathways to self-sufficiency.

“If we are going to have an inclusive, diverse, equitable and vibrant community, we must provide the necessary housing that is affordable to all income groups, including low-income and moderate-income households,” Fredericks said. 

The homes are being decided by the Cearnal Collective.

“We were excited about this site as an ideal location to serve low-income families because of its proximity to excellent schools, shopping and a transit corridor,” said Christine Pierron, a partner with Cearnal Collective. “As a family-oriented project, we’ve provided a high percentage of two- and three-bedroom apartments, outdoor play areas and lots of green space.

“It is important for our community that we create housing for low-income families and that we create a project that enriches the neighborhood. We are all better for having a blend of people with different backgrounds and income levels living together in our community.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.