Dates for Board of Supervisors Housing Element Rezone Hearings Announced

County of Santa Barbara Seal (Edhat)

Meeting for North County on April 30 and South County on May 3

The County Board of Supervisors will hold two hearings to select rezone sites and County-owned sites to satisfy the County’s State Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) obligations. The hearings will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at the Santa Maria Betteravia Center hearing room at 511 E. Lakeside Pkwy, Santa Maria and Friday, May 3, 2024, at the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room at 105 E. Anapamu, Santa Barbara (entrance on Anacapa St.).

Staff will present the countywide project at the Tuesday, April 30 hearing in Santa Maria and then walk through the North County potential rezone sites.  The South County potential rezone sites will be presented by staff at the Friday, May 3 hearing in Santa Barbara.  Both hearings will be streamed live. To watch the hearings, view the agenda and/or participate virtually visit the Board of Supervisor’s Hearing Process webpage: Hearing Process | Santa Barbara County, CA – Official Website ( View the agenda for instructions.

The County Planning Commission made rezone recommendations at both a north and south county meeting earlier this year.  In the North County, it considered 18 potential rezone sites and recommended to rezone eight sites including one pending project site.  In the South County, the Planning Commission recommended rezoning 16 of 18 potential rezone sites.  The Planning Commission also recommended selecting nine County-owned sites in South County to meet State RHNA requirements. The Board of Supervisors will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendations, but they do not need to adhere to the recommendations. A summary of the Planning Commission recommendations is in the Board Letter which will be available on the County’s website on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

The Board will also consider certifying the Final Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 2023-2031 Housing Element Update (HEU) at the May 3rd hearing.  The Program EIR analyzes the potential impacts associated with the implementation of the HEU’s goals, policies, and programs, including the potential rezone program.  The Final Program EIR was released on March 19, 2024 after a seven-week public comment period (Dec. 20, 2023 – Feb. 9, 2024) on the Draft Program EIR. The County received over 100 comments via email and during public hearings. The final document, comments received, and the County’s responses are available on the County Planning and Development website.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (State HCD) found the County’s adopted housing element in substantial compliance with State Housing Element Law on January 22, 2024. For this cycle, State HCD requires that Santa Barbara County identify sites to accommodate 5,664 new housing units in unincorporated portions of Santa Barbara County between 2023 and 2031.  This is an 8-fold increase from the last cycle. The RHNA, is further broken down to require 4,142 units in the South Coast region and 1,522 units in the North County region. This breakdown attempts to address the current jobs-housing imbalance.

The State requires the County’s Housing Element to accommodate 2,818 very low, low- and moderate-income units. The Adopted HEU can be found at:

The Housing Element Update is one of the mandated components of a General Plan. It directs local governments to plan for the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. This is the 6th Housing Element cycle, covering 2023-2031.

What do you think?


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    • Of course many are – they’re staring at dollar$. How wee, this mandate has not come from property owners, has it? Who did it come from? Hint – he’s a cheesy guy with a big fake smile that thinks he’s the king of our Golden State.

    • Thanks to Newsom and his supporters (they should know who they are) with this ill-conceived and ill-fated ‘build, baby build’ mentality. The areas around South Patterson, Cathedral Oaks near DP High, and Storke/Glen Annie?? Going to be a joke if they get their way, and it looks like they will. They’ve handcuffed (what is this a state run dictatorship?) the County completely.

      • No one here wants to build. Please, make an effort and read the comments. I’m strongly opposed to developing those open spaces, always have been. We don’t need new buildings, we need to start using existing buildings and make them actually affordable. You’re always so very wrong about this. Try and use the energy to actually understand what people are saying.

      • You’re right to mention the Governor because these are state mandates, some passed by voters, but I really don’t think Newsom cares much about Goleta. There are at least 5 new housing laws on the books in the last few years because the housing crisis in CA cannot be ignored by responsible lawmakers anymore. Only 15% (!) – which is down from 27% in 2018 – of Californians can afford the median priced home. Homelessness has gone up nearly 40% since then, and more than half of all CA renters spend over a third of their income on rent. Here in SB the real estate market is operating at a trickle because no one is moving and until recently no one was building. It’s a big ugly problem and kudos and best of luck to those trying to solve it. In the 44 years I have lived here it has always been changing, but much slower than other parts of the state, and I love living near open spaces and farms too, but we can’t pretend we’re so special as to have no role to play in helping with the housing crisis.

        Newsom’s concern is the state, not individual communities. Our County gov has taken the easy route of dumping most of its mandated new housing projects into the abundant open spaces of Goleta. I don’t know the numbers but I’m sure Goleta is a lot further in meeting its goal than SB city, which has tried to use small projects dotted around, and some grander schemes are in the works but none even come close to Goleta’s increases. What about Montecito? What about Carp? I think they should share the burden, too. What about all the land owned by churches (hey Pope! Over here!), schools and universities? Those are now eligible for 100% affordable housing projects.

        Like I said it’s a big ol’ ugly mess of a problem and I haven’t even mentioned rising costs of building or home insurance. It will take a lot of players to help solve it.

        • Well I’d say this – why keep building? Let the market do its thing. If someone can’t afford a place to live here where they work, or where they wanna live after college, or whatever … then they will have to decide the pluses and minuses of their choice of where they live and work. There are A LOT of other places to live besides Santa Barbara. Let’s not ruin it.

          Who cares if real estate sales are stagnant because there’s no inventory? So what? You could repeal Prop 13 if you wanted to liberate a lot of inventory for the realtors to feast upon, but that’s probably not going to happen.

          There’s no “solving it” through building for the masses. That’s a recipe to ruin.

          Remember what Newsom is next time you vote.

      • Newsom is the convenient face of the state mandates, but he could not possibly impose them on his own. Moreover, if he were gone tomorrow, the mandates would continue. Blame Newsom if that seems simpler to you, but your votes for your state legislators are what can end the madness. Our Assemblyperson and State Senator have consistently voted for the legislation that the governor signs.

    • SZQ – sadly, you’re probably right, but not about SB. All this new development is being pushed on Goleta. But yeah, as long as there is money to be made off these ill-conceived and blanket mandates, towns like this will lose their small town vibe.

      Stop building.

      • szq-You are 100% on the money. Newsom’s motto is: If it’s open space, we shall build affordable housing that is not affordable.

        Most people envision Hong Kong as a huge, monolithic area that has a building on every square foot of buildable land. The fact is that Hong Kong, with some of the priciest homes and apartments in the entire world, is built out on only 20% of its 400 square miles, which is about 80% of the size of LA. The balance of Hong Kong’s 380 square miles are open space and parkland!

        The more housing we build here, the more people and traffic we will have. Building a 500 unit apartment building to replace Paseo Nuevo is just another nail in the livability of Santa Barbara that will bring in more outsiders to our city and will further destroy downtown. Insanity! Remember in November!

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