Rob Fredericks of the City of Santa Barbara Housing Authority | Credit: Courtesy

The Housing Authority presented tentative plans to build 62 units of so-called workforce housing at a public commuter parking lot located at the intersection of Carrillo and Castillo streets at an informational meeting Monday night attended by about 40 members of the public. The Housing Authority is targeting public parking lots as potential ground space for housing projects. Last year, the Housing Authority proposed building 44 units of “tiny housing” units — modified trailers — as part of a homeless housing proposal. That proposal — coupled with the suddenness with which council action was required — set off a powerful reaction among nearby residents. Ultimately, the proposal was scrapped.

The new housing proposal begs the question of what happens to downtown workers who rely on that commuter lot. Its unveiling comes at a time when City Hall is also pushing to displace downtown workers who rely on the commuter lot at Cota and Santa Barbara streets. That location has been provisionally identified as the likely site for a new police station. That’s assuming new digs can be secured for the Farmers Market, which has made the Cota Street lot its home for more than 20 years. The new housing proposal will make its grand debut before the City Council on May 7.


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