CPA Says Yes to Suggestions to Focus on Low Income and Moderate level Housing in the County HEU Rezoning

To: Chair Lavagnino and Supervisors.

Citizens Planning Association is here today to say ‘Yes”. As president of CPA, I am here today to speak in support of some of the proposals for criteria to be considered in determining parcels in the HEU rezoning process.

CPA has attended all workshops and hearings regarding the HEU. We have argued all along that the State Mandates and the HEU process the County Planning used would not produce the type of housing needed to solve our affordable housing crisis. We are pleased that we are finally focusing on how community benefits should determine which parcels get upzoned.

CPA agrees with comments made by LWV which urge the rezoning be focused on those parcels that will produce very low and moderate rate housing. We have more than enough market rate housing on the South Coast.

We support the idea of establishing a trust and/or special funding by employers or other private groups, such as the SB Foundation, to help fund housing for the very low, low, and moderate income levels who already live and work in our County.

CPA supports the staff suggested list of benefits, such as child care, parks, and open spaces to include trails. We also agree with the suggestion that benefits to the communities are already found in some of the existing sections of the community plans, such as the EGV CP. That work has already been done. The community plans already reflect good zoning and planning practices and should be included in any discussion about local rezoning.

We agree with the suggestions from SBCAN that UCSB should build adequate housing for its students and staff. This would take some of the burden off the County. We also agree with their comments about the builders’ remedy. The ‘builders remedy’, with its puny 20% requirement for affordable units in a project with 80% market rate housing would never allow for enough of the housing we need and would only exacerbate the pressures on existing residential communities.

Thank you for taking the time today to look closely at the HEU and establish criteria for rezoning parcels that might actually create the affordable local work force housing we need. It is a conversation that probably should have taken place at the beginning of the process two years ago.

Marell Brooks, President
Citizens Planning Association