On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council will be recommended to authorize an application for a $40,000 certified local government grant for an African American/Black Historic Context Statement, which would allow designation of places representing African American and black culture as historic landmarks.
The decision follows nearly 700 written letters from the community in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death requesting the prioritization of this representation and designation.
“There is a lack of recognition and understanding about the history and contributions of the African American/black community to the city,” the staff report reads. “As a certified local government and a designated Preserve America community, Santa Barbara must continue to expand its historic preservation program and identify historic resources important to the African American/black community to guide future planning and preservation efforts.”
If passed, the city’s architectural historian will partner with qualified historic preservation consultants and community liaisons and representatives of the black community to create a context statement that will historically document and recognize the community’s history in Santa Barbara. The $40,000 in grant funds would be used to fund a consultant and their local community liaison to execute the context study, according to the staff report.
The council will also consider a request from council member Eric Friedman and Mayor Pro Tempore Oscar Gutierrez to pass a resolution of the council condemning the acts of racism and violence against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and recognizing their contributions to the city and country.
“It is important that our city stand with them during this time of increasing racism against them and let it be known that our city does not tolerate attacks of any kind toward our fellow residents,” the memorandum reads.
In other business, the council will receive a presentation on the upcoming Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
On Jan. 27, SBCAG received the sixth-cycle determination of 24,856 units, but the fifth-cycle determination was 11,030 units. Working with representatives of each local jurisdiction over the course of months, SBCAG developed a methodology to distribute the 24,856 units to each city and unincorporated areas of the county, which first allocates north county and south county shares based on existing employment and forecasted employment growth, then the shares are allocated sub-regionally based on cost burden and overcrowding.
“Based on this methodology, the distribution of units results in a total allocation to the City of Santa Barbara of 8,001 units, with 2,147 for very-low-income households, 1,381 for low-income households, 1,441 for moderate-income households and 3,032 for above- moderate-income households,” the staff report reads.
The next steps will be defining the scope of the Housing Element Update and hiring a consultant. Staff will commence a public engagement process to get input from the public, City Council, and appointed officials. The Housing Element Update would need to be adopted by February 2023.
The council will also be asked to approve the naming opportunities for the Library Plaza Capital Campaign. The Library Department has identified 16 possible plaza locations for naming opportunities, and it is suggested that donors of $10,000 and above will be recognized in publications, signage, online and with a naming opportunity in a prominent location on Library Plaza.
The top opportunity at a $2 million level has been reserved to name the Library Plaza the Michael Towbes Library Plaza. The Library Foundation has teamed with a core group of library supporters to raise $2 million in honor of Michael Towbes. Recognition for this naming opportunity will be made on the planter located on Anapamu near the main entry to Library Plaza and on the donor wall on lower plaza.
“As a developer who helped build the community by providing significant infrastructure and a community banker who supported countless businesses with more than $1 billion in loans, Towbes was always committed to giving back to the community where he lived and worked. He built thousands of homes in Santa Barbara County, with an emphasis on affordable and workforce-priced housing, as well as 1.8 million square feet of commercial properties, primarily in the tri-counties region,” the staff report reads. “His philanthropic support is legendary, and he hoped it would serve as an example of corporate and personal philanthropy. He believed everyone could do ‘something,’ and we each had a responsibility to give back to the community that we call home.”
The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and can be streamed live at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap or viewed on City TV Channel 18.