City Miffed Over Punta Gorda Apartments

After months of hearing public complaints about the two-story apartments going up within 30-feet of the freeway by Punta Gorda Street, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider requested State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Das Williams do something to prevent the California Department of Housing and Community Development from approving such projects in the future without getting the blessing of City Hall first.

Because the units technically qualify as new or renovated mobile homes, they are regulated by the state and not the city, and the owner of the Sycamore Creek Mobile Home Park managed to completely bypass all city review boards. Schneider noted in her letter to the lawmakers that many residents find the new units “offensive” and that future occupants will be subject to unhealthy noise and fumes.

Schneider noted Santa Barbara’s general plan requires new residential developments be set 250 feet back from the freeway out of health concerns. Some of the Punta Gorda Street development’s 40 units lie within 30 feet of the freeway. Schneider also expressed concern the construction of such housing “perpetuates the false belief” that mobile home parks and affordable housing are ugly and “undesirable.”

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