Fight Sprawl, Not Density
We have heard this debate [about density] for the last 40 years. Of course current residents want minimal further development; it is in their self interest. And current residents will say “Not everyone can live in Santa Barbara.” Of course, they did not say that before moving here. The State of California has an interest in ensuring that all residents can obtain housing. Bakersfield may not want to house all the poor, and Bakersfield has more voters than Santa Barbara. The state is going to continue to pressure us to accept more low cost housing.
So why not adopt Portland’s approach? Define an urban boundary, and limit high density to the urban core. The South Coast has two obvious urban cores at present: downtown Santa Barbara, and Isla Vista. Put the high density there.