The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors did not issue the expected denial of a Key Site 3 development project during its regular meeting on Tuesday, but instead, decided to continue the hearing to a later date to allow the applicant to revise portions of the project.
The project, which was submitted by SB Clark LLC, proposes rezoning about 138 acres near Orcutt to create 119 single-family detached small residential units in the northern part of the project site. About 113.5 acres of the proposed site would be used for open space and trails.
After a series of hearings earlier this year, the county’s Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny the project because it was “not consistent” with the surrounding area and the “density is not compatible with the community.”
During board deliberations on Tuesday, Board Chair Bob Nelson voiced multiple concerns about the project’s density and access. With Santa Barbara in the midst of a housing crisis, Mr. Nelson said building new subdivisions in Orcutt adds another location “for people to drive down to jobs in Santa Barbara.”
“We don’t have the jobs to support the extra 300 units in the Orcutt area,” Mr. Nelson said. “If the plan is for the county to make Orcutt just a bedroom community for Santa Barbara or Santa Maria, then approval of this project satisfies that. As a representative of that community, as someone who is deeply invested in that community, I know we want more for our community.”
Mr. Nelson recommended that the applicant, SB Clark LLC, return at a later date after re-evaluating portions of the project, including access points and density. Supervisors agreed with this motion and unanimously voted to continue the hearing to a later date once the applicant has a chance to review and revise certain aspects of the project.