Plans to build a three-story mixed use development at the site of Radio Square – now home to Spudnuts and Carrows, among others – received decidedly mixed reviews from the Santa Barbara Planning Commission on Thursday, January 24. While the commissioners praised the proposed project’s architectural verve, some planners charged the developer wasn’t offering enough affordable housing-only four out of 31 units-and that these affordable units were way too small, while the market units were way too big. The developers – an Orange County firm specializing in environmentally distressed properties – purchased Radio Square after the ground underneath was determined to be the repository of toxic contaminants. Having to dig a hole at least two stories deep, they decided to rebuild the entire complex. Their first plans – at four stories and 55 units, 21 of which would be affordable -were deemed too intense by the Architectural Board of Review, and subsequently withdrawn. At Thursday’s meeting, the planning commissioners did not vote whether to approve the new project, but heard from the public whether the environmental assessment was adequate.


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