Renters Not Welcome

Beachfront Development Given the Green Light

Despite city housing policy calling for the preservation of
existent rental stock and increased density, Santa Barbara’s
planning commissioners voted to greenlight a West Beach condo
development last Thursday, shedding few tears over 13 rental units
to be razed to make way for five upscale condominiums near the
corner of West Yanonali and Bath streets. Squeezed into a converted
1940s motel and a two-story Craftsman-style dwelling next door, 11
of the 13 doomed rentals measured below current legal square-foot
minimums; the current tenants jockey for seven total parking
spaces. While some commissioners expressed regret over the net loss
of downtown rentals, one commissioner described the units as
“probably termite and flea-ridden,” a characterization some
residents resented. Developer Steve Berkus offered to pay two
months rent to help displaced tenants relocate — among them a
nurse, a semi-retired grandmother, an office worker, and several
students. Mike Roth, an administrative employee of Big Dogs
Clothing, said he pays $825 monthly for the 180-square-foot studio
he’s called home for five years. Roth, who has no car, said the
rental was ideal for him because it’s within easy walking distance
of his work, stores, and Amtrak. Seeking to highlight the
positives, commissioners noted the development would result in
reduced overall daily car trips because fewer people will inhabit
the site and lauded Berkus’s architecturally attractive and
environmentally correct “green building” design.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.