The State of California finally returned its decision on the City of Goleta’s housing plans, which were adopted in November as part of the newly established the city’s first general plan. In a word, the answer from the state’s Housing and Community Development (HCD) division is “no.” The HCD determined that the housing element requires more work to earn state certification. The state did not specifically reject the general plan’s controversial 55 percent affordable requirement for new condo development along a certain portion of Hollister, but it did decide that the city’s development standards are too stringent to allow the kind and amount of affordable housing that the general plan envisions. In addition, the HCD wants the city to provide more detail on plans for housing farmworkers and the homeless. The council, whose newly elected majority campaigned on a platform of changing the general plan’s housing element, is way ahead of the state in that is has already given a preliminary nod to both relaxing development standards and eliminating the 55 percent requirement, amendments which staff is refining and will bring back to the council for consideration again on 4/16.


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