AUD Housing Unit Program Has Stricter Guidelines
The Marc Apartment Complex (Photo: livethemarc.com)
Santa Barbara City Council voted on Tuesday to add stricter guidelines to the Average Unit-Size Density (AUD) housing program.
In a 5-2 vote, the number of AUD units will be restricted to 125 each year, will require two parking spaces instead of one for units with three or more bedrooms, will ban AUD apartments from being used as vacation rents, and will exclude mobile-home parks from the program’s zoning map, reports The Independent.
The high-density housing program was approved in 2013 to encourage the development of more rental apartments, specifically, smaller and more affordable housing near transit. What started off as a solution for more housing options within Santa Barbara, has turned into a controversial stalemate between developers and neighborhood activists.
Protestors argue that developers are replacing reasonably affordable older homes with more expensive, highly unaffordable apartments. The Marc apartment complex, located on upper State Street, is the only completed project under the program. Companies advertising the building are calling it "luxury housing" with two bedrooms priced at $3,500 a month.
The program seems to be out-pricing the workforce it is meant to serve. It has been a struggle trying to preserve the Santa Barbara quality of life in the face of housing expenses and increasing population.
The Independent reports 62 more units are under construction with another 223 having received discretionary approval, and 477 units are pending review.