Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

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Story poles showing the size and magnitude of the new AUD proposal (Photos: John Palminteri / KEYT News)

By Steve Hoegerman

A huge AUD project is proposed for our neighborhood. It is one of the largest residential projects in the history of Santa Barbara.

This gargantuan proposal is bounded by Anapamu, Garden, and Figueroa Streets. For a good view of it all, walk up the courtyard at 223 E. Figueroa (next to the Police Station).

It would utterly transform and destroy our neighborhood. It involves combining 8 separate parcels on 3 different streets, demolishing almost all the existing 1920s craftsman buildings, and then building 6 stories (4 up and 2 underground).

It goes to the Planning Commission this week. "Story poles" to show its size are up now. Take a look, then, after the shock, take action to stop it.

Here's what you can  do:

1) Show up at the PC meeting this THURSDAY JULY 19 at 1pm at City Hall, and speak for two minutes. It is imperative that we have a full house! "Talking points" are below; pick the ones important to you and put them in your own words. Say clearly why you don't want this, and from the heart.

2) Write an email. Send it to 2SaveSB@gmail.com and we will forward it. Do this NOW.

Please end an email if you have questions. CONTACT: 2SaveSB@gmail.com.

We are counting on you. This will affect YOUR future!

Here are TALKING POINTS you can use:

  • The size, bulk and scale is inappropriate to this neighborhood, historically one and two story craftsman-style wooden structures.
  • The architecture is inappropriate for the neighborhood. The project destroys the neighborhood (of craftsman bungalows) and creates a new one.
  • The neighborhood is already a healthy, human-scale functioning neighborhood. This will displace many tenants.
  • This would severely impact PARKING in an already difficult area. Do NOT allow two-story underground "stacked" parking (no one wants it). Do NOT allow F-Permits (it's already too limited).
  • The bungalow courtyard on Figueroa St s a unique mini-neighborhood.  Do NOT demolish the back two cottages.The context of the courtyard must be considered in its entirety to preserve its personality. 2 cottages are Structures of Historical Merit and 2 more are eligible and pending.
  • The residents of the courtyard positively do not want access from the project to the courtyard, or balconies looking down on them, or easements through their drive way.
  • The 8-lot "voluntary lot merger" is only voluntary to the developer, and does not benefit the neighborhood. More smaller lots with a variety of owners makes for a healthier community.
  • This would severely impact TRAFFIC in an already difficult area (Garden St feeds 101).
  • The height of this project cannot fairly be compared to the Methodist Church which serves a different function, anchors the neighborhood, and is supposed to be tall.
  • The height of this project cannot fairly be compared to Villa Santa Barbara. which was ill-advisedly built in the 1960s and displaced (probably) two Victorian structures.

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Snoodely Aug 30, 2018 10:10 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

As a neighbor of this proposed A.U.D., I object to the proposed construction on several grounds: 1. It does not provide affordable housing for real working people. 2. The inadequate underground parking facility, as designed, will not contribute any mitigation to this neighborhood’s disastrous parking situation. 3. The proposal’s power-guzzling garage lift mechanisms (needed to “stack” cars into the smallest possible space) saves the developer the expense of digging a proper underground garage, but inordinately consumes — rather than conserves — expensive electricity for the tenants’ car retrieval and storage. 4. The proposed generic, nondescript architectural design lacks beauty, does not conform to the neighborhood character, and impinges on adjoining abodes. While we all reluctantly acknowledge the need for increased urban density — as opposed to the even less desirable sprawl — we must, nonetheless, attempt to preserve our neighborhoods from LosAngelization, and retain our unique, small-town Santa Barbara character: 1. We need housing units for real working people who are looking for affordable studios, not people wealthy enough to afford three-bedroom Downtown apartments. 2. We need extra, secure underground parking made affordably available for neighborhood residents, in addition to the parking spaces provided to the building occupants. 3. We need secure underground parking that does not rely on absurd amounts of (not always reliable) electricity for vehicle deposit-and-retrieval. 4. We need a beautiful building design that conforms to Santa Barbara’s unique architectural style — as inspired by our famous County Courthouse. 5. We need multi-use structures that cater to local, Mom-and-Pop businesses, not multinational corporations. Please send owner “Barranca Enterprises” back to the drawing board on this one.

ecobi Jul 19, 2018 12:21 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Disappointing article, strongly biased and full of speculation rather than information. Our hometown has a housing problem and a cost of land problem. Density makes it possible for people who are not as lucky as the author of the article to have a decent place to live. Change is not always bad, and the crummy small building this replaces is no loss to the community. Let's get together as a community and look for solutions to the problems in our community. Let's recognize that change is an inevitable part of being alive so instead of tearing something down because it is different, come together to support progress. A city that is not comfortable with transformation is a dead city. It is Venice rather than any other European city that is filled with history, but unafraid of allowing ideas that belong to the future to be built. Venice is dying, let's not let our beautiful Santa Barbara do the same.

Factotum Aug 30, 2018 10:43 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Tourists are not interested in coming here either. This will never be Venice. Instead the city will become a quiet haven for wealthy retirees. Like it used to be.

Factotum Aug 30, 2018 10:41 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The city does not have a housing problem. People who can't afford this premium location have the problem. Up your skills and make it work the old fashion way. Space is limited here. There is no right to live here. You have to earn your way in. And employers have to pay to get the workers they want.

Factotum Jul 19, 2018 01:17 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Venice is not dying; it just got over run with tourists. Building city budgets based upon ever-increading tourism revenues could do the same thing here. Destroy the local retail sales tax base with more subsidized low-income housing units and degrade city housing values through continued high city expenses requiring even and higher city property and sales taxes and you too many need to become more wholly dependent upon tourism like Venice. The sole driver of what happens to Santa Barbara comes from your elected city council. They alone decide who to reward and who to punish. They set the standards for the city general plans. Get to know what they collectively have done to you and this city these past 20-30 years. And more importantly, why. There was a slow-growth revolution back in the 1970's. What happened to it. And why was its revival rejected in the last mayor race?

Factotum Jul 19, 2018 01:01 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The city does not have a "and or cost problem". If may in your mind, but that is our choice of thinking. Not ours. The city is what it is. Leave it alone.

Shasta Guy Jul 18, 2018 06:41 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Well, what's it going to be? Not allow any new residential construction and complain bitterly about sky high rents and home prices? Or allow higher density residential construction and complain bitterly about changing neighborhoods, poor parking, and worsening traffic congestion? Being Santa Barbara we'll do both! Being a gemini, I reserve the right to have highly contradictory opinions on the same subject.

Factotum Jul 18, 2018 04:12 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Who were the majority "progressive" players pushing the AUD ordinance that went into effect in 2013, based the 2011 General Plan: Cathy Murillo, Gregg Hart, Helene Schneider, Bendy White. You can thank Williams-Jackson-Limon for the state-wide ADU corruption of our city autonomy.

oceandrew Jul 18, 2018 11:18 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

OMG the pearl clutchers and chicken littles of this town are at it again. If anyone bothered to take an aerial look at this "neighbourhood", that is being destroyed by this project, they'd notice a slew of two story apt buildings and even 3 story buildings all around. It's not all craftsmen and bungalows. The renderings and story poles show 2-3 story elevations, not 6, and the building is NOT out of character with others of similar scale only a stone's throw from there. The county courthouse is a block away, as is Villa Santa Barbara, the District Attorney's Office (y'know, where you go for jury duty), the Morgan Stanley building and others!! There's a slew of them along Garden and Santa Barbara Streets. But whine and complain if that's what gets your blood flowing and brings you a little joie de vivre.

22701015201 Jul 18, 2018 10:56 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

$200 for a parking place. Our Ordinances are silent on de-coupling a parking place or charging extra for one. Parking is required in most instances with residential and commercial use, but we don't say you have to use it for its intended use and we don't say it has to be free. - Why have the requirement if anyone has the option of charging more or less for it, while on-street parking is increased because of greedy landlords. - Currently this landlord rents out parking at $200 per space so the residents in one of the units off of Garden has NO parking and has to park on the street. This pushed the parking demand to the street, where we already have scarce parking and it should be prohibited. ---- Anyone think this will change with this new project? I don't. I am betting the already expensive units won't come with parking or will be extra so the owner can rent out the spaces to the highest bidder.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 10:57 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

To prevent the problem you described does the City Need an ordinance that reads something like: each resident studio and 1-bedroom unit will be provided 1 off-street parking space,, each 2 or 3bedroom unit assigned 2-off street spaces, with required parking space included in the daily or monthly rental charge for tenant perusal. The landlord or tenant may not charge any fee for use of any unit required assigned parking space, or spaces. Moreover, Public street parking is for Public perusal. No resident or other categorical parking use permits will be issued for parking on taxpayer funded public streets. Each landlord, motel and/or lodging operator is obligated to provide a minimum or 1-off-street parking space for each rented space used for lodging for a duration of 12-hours or more.

a-1540206551 Jul 18, 2018 10:39 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

My family and I just drove PCH from Laguna up through Malibu (figured at least its a nicer drive than the congested freeways). Santa Barbara already does, and every day more and more, looks like Laguna/Newport/Redondo. It's gross. Sad to see this happening. But - plastic straws are BAD! Idiots.

SB Barbarian Jul 18, 2018 09:26 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

If anyone doubts how these AUD projects get out of hand, check the monstrosity on upper State ("The Marc" - sure SOUNDS pretentious),next to La Cumbre Plaza, between where the new "Mini Target" is going in, and the 58 unit which ACTUALLY provides affordable housing for low-income seniors. This eyesore to the neighborhood began as an AUD project with the goal to "encourage the development of smaller, more-affordable workforce housing that is close to public transportation, commercial services and parks". If $3,255 - $3,900 for 844 - 1,026 sq ft 2BD apartments with all the amenities of a hotel (why would an AUD project need "all the amenities"?), is "affordable" for you, then you can apply for one of the five vacant units (vacant during almost full occupancy in the city - for months). If you would like a 644 sq ft apartment, you can fill out a form to find out what the rent is (My guess is that they are embarrassed to publish it). Seriously, how does this project which promotes "Luxury Rentals" on its website and brochures fit into the above definition of AUD housing goals? How is this affordable for the average SB workforce who desperately need AFFORDABLE housing, like the units next door to The Marc - Grace Village. This is a juxtaposition in necessary voluntary charitable giving to the community by Grace Charities, vs the greedy, opportunistic Marc next door. Having said that - the project downtown is just one of many that I cannot square with the density requirements of the City of SB. They are all over the place, and only some of them are truly "affordable". I, for one, have had enough of these projects, which seem to have met the limit originally set for this program. Developers have learned how to game the system once the project is approved. I live next door to an apartment that "morphed" mid project, and it, too does not fit the construction of the rest of the neighborhood, is three stories in a neighborhood in which two stories is the max, and which has exacerbated parking and noise issues which affect the rest of us who live near them.

ktnoodle1 Jul 19, 2018 04:36 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Super curious what you think the average workforce is making vs the cost of living here. I would say “average workforce” of SB are all the staff and administration at UCSB and SBCC and I have yet to meet a coworker in a typical, non high-ranking roll that can afford to live here without roommates or a dual income family- TO RENT. Buying? That’s a laughable idea for most of us who are 30+ yrs from retirement. Do I think this building will help? No. Just like the Marc it will be “affordable”. But please get off your money bag and realize this city has SKYROCKETED in rental prices over the last 7 yrs I’ve been here.

ktnoodle1 Jul 19, 2018 04:36 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Super curious what you think the average workforce is making vs the cost of living here. I would say “average workforce” of SB are all the staff and administration at UCSB and SBCC and I have yet to meet a coworker in a typical, non high-ranking roll that can afford to live here without roommates or a dual income family- TO RENT. Buying? That’s a laughable idea for most of us who are 30+ yrs from retirement. Do I think this building will help? No. Just like the Marc it will be “affordable”. But please get off your money bag and realize this city has SKYROCKETED in rental prices over the last 7 yrs I’ve been here.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:07 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The only definition of affordable are the HUD Rent guidelines. However, no one can build and break even charging those rents unless the project is financed and operated tax-exempt both funded and subsidized by government. Your example is perfect! The heavily subsidized project is acceptable to you; the market rate investor project is not. Simply state that you only want taxpayer subsidized housing in SB, and that persons willing to pay market rates to live here do NOT deserve availability of market housing because you don’t want us to remain in SB which is as much our community as it is to ‘residents demanding subsidized by others affordable housing’.

Factotum Jul 18, 2018 09:59 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The average workforce in this town does not need "affordable" housing. They work for the government, or government funded and are paid extremely well. The rest are mainly hanger-oners who graduate from UCSB and don't want to move from the area but have no marketable skills which indeed means can't afford to live in Santa Barbara. But that is their choice so we have no duty to subsidize their string of poor life choice decisions. Stop saying this area is not "affordable". Identify who is saying it is not affordable and who is responsible for their situation. It is not the local taxpayers.

RHS Jul 18, 2018 09:05 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Please remember that the AUD idea is a concoction of the fantasies of developers who coopted the politicians into allowing them to build these incredible anthills of density on the promise to provide 'affordable' housing. Of course the affordable part is so little per development that the speculators can keep this scam going for decades. Which politicians took the bait? Which got money from these donors? Normally one would suspect the more conservative defenders of 'free enterprise' but I don't know what is happening for sure.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:13 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The City Council approving AUDs was composed of 5 liberals and 1 moderate (Rowse) and 1 conservative (Hotchkiss). The current Council is 6 liberals and 1 moderate. Sadly, local Liberal Leaders do not understand how to develop and sustain our community’s needed supply of affordable rental housing — with affordable determined and defined each year for SB County by HUD guidelines.

Factotum Jul 18, 2018 09:19 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

AUD and ADU were inflicted on us from Sacramento by "progressive" politicians who now own the agenda - Das Williams, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Monique Limon. They have names and are accountable to the voters who keep electing and re-electing them, regardless if they are funded by developers.

a-1540206551 Jul 18, 2018 06:32 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The AUD program was approved by the City Council in 2013: https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/services/planning/mpe/aud_program.asp None of the people being blamed for this here were on that city council.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:27 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Reps Rowse and Murillo were on the Council in 2013, with Gregg Hart termed out RE-elected to Council in Nov 2013. These 3 remain n Council in 2018.

420722 Jul 18, 2018 02:14 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

nice try...Murillo has been a council member since 2011-17 until being elected mayor and has always been pro AUD and despite admitting that “the Marc”was not exactly going as planned continues to sell out our city at our expense and quality of life. She needs to go back to LA.

Minibeast Jul 17, 2018 11:48 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

If Steve Hoegerman says this will create huge problems in the hood, he's right. Everyone send an email now and try to attend that meeting to speak.

LocalMatt Jul 17, 2018 10:05 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Why would stopping this project save santa Barbara? It seems as though this project directly effects you. 2 day notice to go to a meeting? I'm sorry but I work for a living and cant afford to take a day off. Want to pay me for my time?

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:31 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Sad you choose not to participate in democracy. This meeting has been noticed . You can submit and request your Written testimony to be read and entered into the record. Most everyone works and must sacrifice time, and incur costs, to make democracy work.

a-1540206551 Jul 18, 2018 11:38 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Matt: There are other options that you could do such as write a letter or email. Many other people work like you and they are able and willing to write letters and emails!

CoastWatch Jul 17, 2018 09:28 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Get out of SB while you can... I wonder how many units will be available to the "Chronic Homeless" and other SB subsidized individuals...? Does the Santa Barbara Housing Authority have their hand in any of this?

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:35 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has proportionate to Population the highest number of subsidized units in the United States, made available at taxpayer expense. People choosing to live here are lucky so many subsidized and affordable units are available within our community.

simplynotmyaddress Jul 17, 2018 06:28 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

These are ALL a big scam on the people of SB. The one going in on Haley is a perfect example. Get it approved as res. units, then change the permit at the last minute under the cover of darkness when nobody is paying attention to transform some of the units into VHR's. For the low info voter, that means vacation rental or short term rental. Absolutely no benefit to the community. All benefit to the developer and the TOT recipients. You people having been voting these folks in, now you have to live with it. It's over for SB. Welcome to Newport annex.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:38 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Please tell EdHat supporters how to convert an approved AUD unit into a Vacation Rental, and why not shit down and fined.. AUD approval restricts use as a VR. Is City not enforcing and heavily fining for an unlawful use of a dwelling unit?

Factotum Jul 18, 2018 09:22 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

And just who are the "TOT recipients? No one other than your own city employees whose pension demands have now bankrupted city finances now and well into the future. Be aware of what has been going on right under your noses and what 20 years of "progressive" city government has done long-term.

420722 Jul 17, 2018 05:43 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

What the hell happened to this town? Let’s get rid of Murillo asap. She doesn’t care about Santa Barbara, it’s history or it’s real residents.

Factotum Jul 18, 2018 09:24 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

If you are truly interested in what happened to this town you need to haul in Mayor Marty Blum and Mayor Helene Schneider into the past two decades of failed city decision making errors. They handed the city over to the city employee unions and now those bills are due. Do not escape responsibility for voting for this scheme over and over again, regardless of warnings this day would come and the city ran out of money.

Factotum Jul 17, 2018 04:11 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Voters agreed decades they did not want this city to grow beyond an advisory 80,000 population. This project spits in their faces. Time yet again to elect a solid no-growth slate, just like they had to do back in the 1970;s when developers had corrupted this city from within. We do not owe Goleta workers housing within our city limits. We do not owe out of town SBCC students housing within our city limits. We do not owe city workers higher tax revenues just to fund their bloated benefits. In fact we owe no one housing here, just enough for those who can afford to live here. Go away. Leave us alone.

Factotum Jul 19, 2018 01:07 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

The torch is now passed to a new generation to fight this battle. They are the ones now stuck with the bills the past 20 years of "progressive" voting in this city, in this county and in this state. has left behind. I suggest you younger residents put a slate of no-growth candidates together for every available office, from school boards to city, county and state offices, and reject all attempts by "progressives" to sabotage your message with their self-interested agenda disguised as "social justice". .

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 12:10 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Factorium- Will you please submit an Op-Ed on this topic so that more readers will view, think and respond directly to the facts you raise? We’re way past the 80,000 shooting for who knows - 120,000. If majority of local area residents (unincorporated, SB, Goleta, Mintecito, Mission Creek, Noleya) do not want mega-growth, it seems each governing body including City Councils should be held accountable to budget push back lobbying and legal fee funds against Sacramento mandates dictating SANTA BARBARA South County MUST GROW, BUILD, BUILD despite our inadequate road evacuation system, limited water, antiquated infrastructure, etc.

Curmudgeon Jul 17, 2018 03:58 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

And more to come. This from the city's web site: "The AUD Incentive Program has an initial duration of eight years or until 250 new units under the Program have been constructed in the High Density Residential or Priority Housing Overlay areas, whichever occurs first. Any application for new units that is deemed complete prior to the expiration of the Program may continue to be processed under the AUD Incentive Program."

Yeti Jul 17, 2018 02:59 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

This AUD law is going to transform all of our neighborhoods and is another successful attempt by the local affluent to build more housing, create more congestion and ruin the quality of life in California.

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:58 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Good point: with 30-40% fewer people here during Thomas Fire it was a different City of decades past. How do we motivate out-of-area workers to choose to live here? Do we give employment preference for Govt and publicly paid Jobs to workers willing to live here? The type of high rise housing that will be built in SB may be unacceptable to families of 4+ desiring private yards and pets. When Montecito Fire bought cottage homes for first responders to occupy within a mile of each station there were no takers. When SBCC Foundation bought faculty condo-style housing , there were too few takers forcing units to be then sold off to general public. Americans demand to choose where and how to live. Hence, build and THEY will come, meaning NEWCOMERS WILL COME. Who are they? Foreign and out of area students, relocating retirees, and second+ homeowners. Some older Dwellings sell to become VRs . Our local vacancy rate is atypically high. Some say 10-15%. SB needs a better plan to attract workers to live here. Ideas?

a-1540206551 Jul 19, 2018 11:42 AM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

Does SB City want more housing or not? We can only build UP! Land is no longer available. It is unsafe to build in extreme and high fire areas. Should we put the question on the ballot: should more housing be developed in SB? Yes or No. If NO, should the City budget $2M to push back, to fight Sacramento mandates requiring it to build more residential units?

EastBeach Jul 18, 2018 10:08 PM
Large AUD Planned for Downtown Santa Barbara

@Yeti - I'm not sure more local housing would make things worse. Recall that great demographics series that showed up in the now-defunct "Mission and State" online paper (Melinda Burns was on staff) … roughly 40% of the people who work here commute from Ventura/Oxnard/Buellton/Santa Maria, etc. I suspect those long-distance commuters plus tourists during the season create a lot of what we perceive as congestion and crowding. I recall how much less crowded SB/Goleta felt during the Thomas Fire when commuters from the south couldn't make it up here. Food for thought.

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