The City Council, Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board will meet today to review conceptual plans for a three-story mixed-use development in Carpinteria’s downtown core that would include apartments, commercial space and covered parking.
Staff is recommending the three bodies receive public comment and provide conceptual review and comments on the proposed mixed-use development for a 0.87-acre lot at 4745 Carpinteria Ave. currently occupied by Sun Coast Rentals.
The council, commission and board will meet at City Hall, starting at 5:30 p.m.
“The purpose of the conceptual review process is to allow an applicant to submit tentative plans in order to receive advisory comments and suggestions from the city’s decision makers,” staff said. “These advisory comments shall constitute a conceptual review only. A conceptual review and recommendation are not binding upon the Planning Commission or City Council as to any further determinations to be made with respect to the project.
“The city decision makers shall be wholly free to render a different determination and/or decision upon formal review of the project.”
Upon completion of the conceptual review process, the next step for the applicant would be to submit a formal application for the project. Once the city has deemed the application complete, environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act would be conducted, followed by formal review by the Architectural Review Board and Planning Commission, appealable to the City Council.
The proposed concept contemplates a commercial-residential mixed use development on the western edge of the city’s downtown core in place of an existing equipment rental business. The project represents an opportunity for higher density infill development, including both expanded visitor-serving commercial leasable space and one- and two-bedroom workforce rental housing, including a number of income-restricted affordable units, on an under-utilized site on the Carpinteria Avenue corridor.
“Downtown mixed-use developments that provide opportunities for both new/expanded commercial development in the downtown and desperately needed new workforce housing … concentrate (such) housing near job centers and existing businesses, and in close proximity to essential services (including, but not limited to, transit),” staff said. “Higher density mixed use developments also help to foster a more lively and vital downtown district by introducing additional year-round residents to the area to supplement seasonal tourism.
“The redevelopment of the site with a multi-story mixed use building creates an opportunity to gain additional utility out of a rare large, but under-developed site in the city’s Downtown ‘T’ district.
“While three-story construction has been controversial in the city in the past, the contemplated proposal may offer a means of preserving a two-story façade along Carpinteria Avenue, while also providing a meaningful number of new housing units and meeting the project’s required parking (as adjusted by Density Bonus Law) in a manner that reflects the (desired) character for the downtown Carpinteria Avenue corridor (i.e., transitioning Carpinteria Avenue into an integrated downtown street similar to Linden Avenue),” staff said.
The project site is presently occupied by a long-time tenant operating an equipment rental business with a large outdoor yard devoted to the storage and parking of various equipment, machinery and/or vehicles available for hire.
“Arguably, the existing use provides an important service to the community, but caters more to residents than visitors despite the property’s (partial) visitor-serving commercial designations,” staff said.
The proposed mixed use concept includes 6,000 square feet of commercial leasable space, situated along the site’s Carpinteria Avenue frontage, and distributed between two floors. The ground floor would be 3,800 square feet in area and oriented directly to the sidewalk on Carpinteria Avenue. The second floor would contain an additional 2,200 square feet of commercial space and a 650 square-foot-patio space overlooking Carpinteria Avenue.
“Cumulatively, this new square footage would provide expanded opportunities for new visitor-serving commercial development to be introduced at the west end of the downtown core, and present an opportunity to activate or reinvigorate commercial activity in this part of the downtown,” staff said. “In order to maintain consistency with the intent of these policies, future commercial tenants would need to be visitor-serving in nature.”
The proposed mixed use development would be composed of a 24-unit, 26,400-square foot, two-story apartment complex built atop a ground-level 22,500-foot-concrete parking podium, and the 6,000 square-foot, two-story commercial building fronting Carpinteria Avenue. All existing site improvements would be removed to facilitate the proposed development.
Cumulative square footage for the proposed project would total approximately 54,900 square feet. Maximum building height to the top of the proposed three-story element would be approximately 36 feet.
The contemplated two-level, 24-unit apartment building would be composed of 13 one-bedroom units and 11 two-bedroom units.
The lower level of the apartment complex would house 15 units total, each of which would be approximately 960 square feet in size. The upper level of the apartment complex would be occupied by the remaining nine units. Four of the units on the upper level would be 960 square feet each in size. The remaining units on this upper level would be larger in size at 1,632 square feet.
The contemplated concept calls for utilizing the state’s Density Bonus Law to allow for the inclusion of additional dwelling units beyond what the city’s maximum density would allow for under the current zoning designation in exchange for designating a certain number of the apartment units as income-restricted rentals.
More specifically, the project calls for setting aside 10 units for households that fall within the moderate-income level (80% to 120% of the area median income) in exchange for a density bonus for six additional units.
Pursuant to Density Bonus Law, the concept proposal also requests the use of incentives or concessions from the local jurisdiction’s development standards in order to facilitate the construction of the project and/or to accommodate the increased density. In this case, the project proposes to utilize three incentives or concessions to reduce required parking, allow for increased building height beyond the maximum allowed by the city, and allow for building lot coverage in excess of city zoning requirements for the Planned Residential Development zoned portion of the property.