By Thomas C. Schultheis
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®
The Santa Barbara REALTORS® Protecting Homeowners Campaign gathered over 11,000 signatures in order to place the Homeowners Fairness Initiative on the City of Santa Barbara’s ballot this November. This initiative will repeal Zoning Information Reports (ZIRs), which are required for most property sales in the City of Santa Barbara.
In theory the purpose of this mandatory report is to provide information to potential buyers about the zoning and permitted use of the property.
However, in practice it’s a costly enforcement tool that produces an inaccurate report for which the City refuses to be accountable. The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors worked with the City of Santa Barbara for 10 years on the many ZIR issues, but they were unable to persuade city leaders to make meaningful changes. Thomas Schultheis, Chair of the Santa Barbara REALTORS® Protecting Homeowners Campaign Committee said, “this was a well-intentioned report, that unfortunately has become costly, burdensome, and unnecessary so we have launched an initiative to protect Santa Barbara homeowners.”
Realtors and homeowners are not the only ones that believe the City of Santa Barbara has an ineffective program. In 2015, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury investigated ZIRs and deemed that “while ZIRs had an important role to play in preserving neighborhoods from overcrowding, time has caught up with them and they no longer hold the relevance they once had.”
On May 9, 2019, the Santa Barbara REALTORS® Protecting Homeowners Campaign submitted to the City of Santa Barbara Clerk more than the required 110% of qualified signatures. Once the city clerk verifies the signatures by a random sample, the city council will have the opportunity to adopt the initiative as law or place it on the ballot. “We need to protect Santa Barbara homeowners from this outdated and unnecessary city ordinance that requires sellers to pay hundreds of dollars to have a zoning inspector come to their home to look for violations,” Schultheis said. “As Realtors, we are the only organization protecting homeowners from unreasonable laws that undermine the rights of home ownership. We must step up and do what isright.”
For more information, please visit http://www.sbaor.org/main/repeal-zir-initiative/.
Thomas C. Schultheis is a Santa Barbara native and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In addition to his work on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Thomas holds a Broker’s license and additional designations. Thomas lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their two-year old son. He can be reached at 729-2802 or SBRealtorTom@gmail.com.