The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday will examine objectives to develop housing in the Carrillo Commuter Lot.
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara met with the council May 7 and asked to pursue an affordable housing development in the lot, on the northwest corner of Carrillo and Castillo streets. The city’s General Plan policies are supportive of the council taking action to use the lot for downtown housing.
The lot has 140 parking spaces and generates approximately $72,960 in gross revenue annually. The lot is also home to New Beginnings’ overnight parking program, which houses 12 family units in cars and RVs overnight, as well as two during the day.
The lot was originally purchased by the city Redevelopment Agency, which was dissolved in 2011. It was transferred to the city through a state agreement to be used for “government purposes.” The City Attorney’s Office has determined the property can be used for housing for the purpose of filling city plans and policies. In addition, creating downtown workforce housing fulfills the same purpose as commuter parking — providing employees with increased access to downtown, the staff report reads.
City-sponsored housing projects typically involve a request for proposal from developers to obtain the best qualifications and costs, though city staff believes Housing Authority is the most “qualified entity to manage a project of this nature and in this location,” the staff report states.
An important element of the project will be parking. By limiting parking, the city could maximize the number of housing units and minimize costs, while still accommodating some parking for downtown commuters or tenants, according to the staff report.
The proposed project objectives include: prioritizing the project for moderate=income households (80 to 120 percent of area median income); maximizing housing density by providing smaller units; provide little to no parking for the housing units while being sensitive to the adjacent neighborhood; retaining ownership of the property so that revenues can be revisited for additional downtown priorities; creating a buffer for Mission Creek and retaining a portion of the buffer for parking and preservation of existing mature trees; engaging the neighborhood for project design’ feedback and residential parking permit availability; prioritizing housing for public employees and New Beginnings clients; and incorporating design standards to address air quality for development near Highway 101.
A draft agreement with the Housing Authority will likely include some type of funding commitment for the project, according to the staff report.
In other business Tuesday, the council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendations on proposed amendments to the Average Unit-Size Density Incentive Program. The council held a joint work session with the Planning Commission Nov. 14 to discuss changes to the AUD Program. City officials noted there was “significant progress” at the November meeting, but the discussion was continued to address specific details within the recommendations.
Some of the changes discussed during the November meeting were: adding high density and priority overlay designations in the Central Business District; adding priority overlay along State Street from Arrellaga to Mission and removing priority overlay from the Milpas Street corridor; evaluating allowing higher densities on upper State and De la Vina streets; adjusting parking requirements in the Central Business District; eliminating open yard requirements on lots located between Anacapa and Chapala streets in the Central Business District; establishing limits to building sizes related to lot area; and extending the initial AUD Program duration, according to the staff report.
Other amendments yet to be discussed include: increasing the standard maximum building height limit by 3 feet in certain zones; implementing additional residential protections; increasing the Planning Commission’s decision-making authority; eliminating existing or potential historic districts from the program map; studying incentives for condominium development; and implementing stronger controls on the redevelopment of mobile home parks.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.