30 Apartments Proposed for Lower Riviera Due to Builder’s Remedy Law

By the edhat staff

A preliminary application was approved last week to build 30 apartment units in Santa Barbara’s Lower Riviera due to the Builder’s Remedy law.

The application was submitted by Craig Martin Smith of the Los Angeles-based Industrial Partners Group and is reportedly the city’s first permit under this unique legal mechanism, according to a press release by Industrial Partners Group.

The “Builder’s Remedy” comes from the state’s Housing Accountability Act (HAA). It essentially states that if a county or city is not in compliance with California’s housing development goals, developers are authorized to bypass zoning laws so long as the new housing development contains at least 20% low-income housing or 100% middle-income housing.

In this case, the City of Santa Barbara is low on affordable housing and is considered noncompliant with the state’s housing element. 

Smith’s multi-family structure is proposed for a vacant double lot at 1609-1615 Grand Ave below Alameda Padre Serra. It’s described as a Spanish revival-style project with 30 units, six of which will be low-income, with 4,000 feet of outdoor communal deck space, city and ocean views, underground vehicle parking, electric vehicle charging, bicycle parking, and resident storage. 

“Infilling these vacant lots is one step towards alleviating our community’s crisis-level housing needs,” said Smith. “Without Builder’s Remedy, this development would be limited to four units. Now we can provide six affordable units, along with additional housing for 24 other families. Santa Barbara needs housing and the neighborhood needs vibrancy, energy and families.”

The adjacent lots on Grand Ave sold in December 2021 for $2.6 million, according to real estate listings.

While the preliminary application was approved, the development still faces review from the Planning Commission.

1609-1615 Grand Ave vacant lots (Photo: Redfin)


Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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    • Santa Barbara residents should be just as concerned with smug greedy local developers. One such developer is buying up single family homes on the Mesa, Westside, Goleta & Isla Vista. He is turning these homes into student housing . Some houses are advertised for 8-10 students with rents up to 1500K / month, per person . Security deposits are 10-20K. Rooms have been modified to house 2-6 students. This developer is buying up multiple houses on the same streets and pushing out existing families. Soon he will own entire blocks. I am expecting the SB9 applications to start pouring in so he can turn these once quiet neighborhoods into overcrowded slums.

  1. Hey ya’all… YOU voted in our State “Representatives” that have come up with these INSANE building mandates. It matters not if your infrastructure, parking or ANYTHING else would not pass local standards-THEY WILL BUILD!
    Another example of our One-Party State/Government working “for the people”…LOL!

  2. I looked at the site and the surrounding buildout. This proposal is not that far out of line with what exists there now. Yes, I know it pushes the edge but isn’t that what review is about? Hope the locals do something to tamp this down a bit but it seems it will happen, sometime in the next decade or so.

    • The failure is widespread throughout California and not limited to Santa Barbara. This mandate has been around for years but not enforced, resulting in too little housing being built across California. Everyone complains about California’s high cost of living and housing, but they oppose any additional housing being built, at least in their neighborhoods or towns. NIMBYism is widespread and not limited to Santa Barbara.

  3. This “unique legal mechanism” by-passes all of the City’s hard-won design, etc. requirements, thanks to the Legislature’s decision to put planning in their State control, not in what city residents want for their city and neighborhoods. Thank your representative!!! AND our governor who does not veto these moves to make all of California in the mold of the San Francisco of Sen. Scott Weiner, et al.

    • Since Newsom became mayor of San Francisco in 2004, stayed in that office for two terms before moving onto Lt. Gov., and now Gov, he’s been a significant political leader in this state for nearly 20 years. Is CA better or worse than it was 20 years ago? Is SF better or worse than it was 20 years ago? His continued failures and simultaneous support is the epitome of failing up. Homelessness, high speed rail, energy, crime, infrastructure, water storage, school closures, what exactly has he done to better California? And people want him to use CA as a model for our nation and take him to the White House? Absolutely f-ing crazy.

    • VoR: If California is such a horrible dystopia, why are you still here? It must be debilitating having SF Batman live in your head with his raspy voice and landslide reelections. I can tell because you go on an angry rant over anything remotely related to him. He’s led the country in confronting climate change from vehicles and the power grid, put CA on track to have single-payer healthcare, led a change to planning codes to prevent future wildfire damage. And what do the Trumpies do? Run a nobody talk radio host with zero experience. Whats the alternative to Newsom? Total garbage.

  4. And where is the ‘residents’ remedy? Other jurisdictions are saying ‘no’ to these state mandates. Why is SB and SB county rolling over? Will the State really stop funding the jurisdictions who are saying YES to local control in planning/development? I doubt it.

  5. A boon for wealthy developers and a curse on local communities. The history of private “low cost housing” projects is dismal. The lower cost units are immediately filled with regular working folks at premium rates. The set aside theory is nice, but the reality is that prices are dominated by the market and there is little or no regulation of the “low cost units.” In other words, the 20 % low cost units won’t be low cost for long or ever. There are lots of examples for how these high density developments become market rate almost immediately.

  6. Hey VOR….it’s not Newsoms’ fault; it’s the fault of all those saps that voted for him, and he’s just this face of the Democratic parties’ stranglehold on the state, and the nation. (with the recall there was a chance) but reason and logic doesn’t stand a chance when you own the MSM and the electorate is basically disinformed on most issues . What’s actually surprising is that more developers haven’t taken advantage of that law before now. Besides that 20%/ 100% BS is meaningless… what’s low income/ middle income in Santa Barbara….pick a number.

  7. There is additional info in some NextDoor threads. 6 of the 30 units will be restricted to low income residents. Enforcement of the restriction will likely be done by the Housing Authority. They do a reasonable job with the roughly 1000 units they own. Builder’s Remedy can also be 100% moderate income units; but apparently the economics in Santa Barbara favor 20% low income, and the rest market rate.

    • HOMEBOY7 I am quoting Steve Johnson’s comment on Nextdoor: “Builder’s Remedy projects are allowed as a result of the Housing Accountability Act (CA code 65589.5). The restricted rent covenant previously had a 30-year life, but has been increased to 55 years.” So the units will go back to market rate after 55 years. Remember that 24 of the units will be market rate. It this location, the rents will be well above average. These types of newly built units are often rented as second homes to out-of-town residents because local SB people interested in that price range already have housing. So the large structure being built will only provide 6 apartments that benefit the local community – for 55 years.

  8. Santa Barbarans have a deficiency of regular workers supporting our community. Employers cannot find people living locally to fill their service jobs. Our freeways are jammed morning and evening by commuters from Lompoc and Oxnard who sacrifice hours a day and their vehicles to fill those jobs. We need to provide simple small affordable housing for these people. Please support legislation that mandates the MAJORITY of housing being built as being affordable. Rich people coming here for expensive housing will require more service industry workers than regular folks. These service people deserve to live here, and it is our obligation to see that they can live here.

    • Not just service jobs. We cannot hire doctors. There is a well-known shortage of OB-GYNs, which means:
      1. Pregnant women have to wait MONTHS for an initial appointment, or they have to go to Ventura.
      2. Sansum clinic will no longer be doing well woman visits in the OB-GYN department. Thank goodness for Planned Parenthood.
      3. The wait for a GP is also months long.
      Yes, medical care is technically a “service”, but the trend here is not a good one.

    • Back up there, Go. Sansum’s website says:
      Women’s healthcare services are offered at our two Ob/Gyn locations.
      New patients seeking a well woman exam will be scheduled with our highly-qualified Advance Practice Providers, who are extremely knowledgeable, and have extensive medical training in the area of women’s health.
      **They will refer patients to a Gynecologist if necessary.**
      **Due to patient volume at this time, MDs are currently not seeing NEW patients for well woman exams.**
      This is not a huge change; I’ve seen an NP for well over a decade.

  9. I looked up the address in Google and saw that the double-lot property was being marketed at $2.6M as a development opportunity for building 4 (F-O-U-R) single family homes in a Craftsman style. If you click on the “See All 6 Photos” to the right of the view picture in the Redfin link below you’ll see what could have been—four one- and two-story houses on different elevations on the 1/2 acre lot.

  10. The state of California as a whole seems to be declining in population. That said vacation rentals never should have been allowed anywhere. Hotels, motels, campgrounds were designed for vacations. Homes, apartments, mobile home parks were meant for permanent residents. Evidently SB Co. had a net gain of under 2000 from 2021 to 2022 for the entire county.

  11. I think the entire eastside with the small, old bungalows will become a condo/apartment area. Maybe with the new allowance of 6 stories from the current 4 stories. Let’s hope they put in parking so not just street parking. The town will inevitably change and I think it is starting now. The newer apartments in Goleta are 2 bedroom for 4K+. How is that affordable??! Yet, the newly proposed housing for the homeless will be free and air conditioned. Working folk are getting the shaft.

    Find out more Thursday 5/25 – 7pm Zoom
    The Problem: “The Builder’s Remedy”
    Read: https://www.noozhawk.com/santabarbara-approves-builders-remedy-application/
    Santa Barbara is struggling to complete a “Housing Element,” as a result, is vulnerable to Builder’s Remedy applications.
    What is “The Builder’s Remedy?”
    From a builder’s perspective:

  13. “OUR NEIGHBORHOOD VOICES” now on Facebook
    CA Housing mandates might sound good in theory. But are they producing housing that people can actually afford? ..Not to mention aesthetics and livability of neighborhoods.
    It is being said that, in order for developers to profitably build 100% moderate income housing (annual income for one person: $84,000, for a family of four: $120,000) using the “Builder’s Remedy,” projects will need to be 4 stories high (no parking) or 6 stories high.
    Are you in favor of affordable housing over developer profits? Local control over Centralized control? Then join this grassroots organization Our Neighborhood Voices!
    Link to Facebook group here:
    24 minute Video explanation here:

  14. This project has nothing to do with smug LA developers or greedy local real estate folks. It has everything to do with the progressive left being willingly duped by the folks who continue to ruin our once great state and city. Just look at our city…what a mess. Randy can only do so much to rectify the downward spiral. Blum, Schneider, and Murillo sure did fool us. Local schools churning out student after student after student who cannot read or write after 12 years of instruction. At least they may qualify for the low-income units…or maybe not.

  15. Gotta love those who always keep saying “California, take it or leave it” rather than understanding there are multiple differing viewpoints when it comes to issues like this and that a lot of people have things to contribute. But we’ve seen this for a long time on Edhat. “My way or the highway” is a recipe for disaster. Shouldn’t people understand that?

  16. Chillin, good question, I guess. Here it is – not all of us think Newsom’s blank check development plan is good for any of us who live, drive, and have our kids in CA schools. Like several others have clearly stated here, CA is taking a big nosedive in a lot of ways. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. But that’s the other viewpoint in a nutshell. You didn’t get that yet?

  17. Not mentioned in this article or comments this increased density is part of Agenda 21/2030 that SB has been pushing for years. Why would anyone be surprised that Newsom supports this stuff since Newsom is a WEF loyalist. This is not just happening in SB city/county or CA it is a global agenda. Developers will take advantage of this for profit yes, worse is governments bowing to this agenda.

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