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Santa Barbara Looks At Upping Affordable Housing

Members of a special committee charged with exploring how best to protect the City of Santa Barbara’s affordable housing stock shied away from taking any action at their meeting on Tuesday, April 4, citing the complexity of the proposals before them. On the table were plans to expand the city’s inclusionary housing rules. If approved, more developers would include a larger percentage of affordable units in their projects than is now the case. Currently, City Hall requires that 15 percent of the units in developments 10 units or more to be affordable. But because most developments proposed within city limits are smaller than that, the proposal is to require projects with five units-and perhaps as few as three-to provide some affordable units. And rather than the current 15 percent, the committee members-who include three city councilmembers and three planning commissioners-are looking at requirements that 20-to-25 percent be affordable. City housing planners have deemed a 30 percent affordability requirement financially infeasible.

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