It’s really important that candidates run as challengers against incumbent City Councilmembers. Having grown up in Santa Barbara, there is too much development going on. Several multistory projects with dozens of units have been approved recently on small lots. One recent project has more than 80 units on about a third of an acre.
City Councilmember Meagan Harmon is a particular disappointment. It is especially important than someone runs against her. What has made Santa Barbara such a special place to live is we haven’t overbuilt. She supports almost every development project that comes before the City Council. She favors high density, multistory development throughout the city.
It’s not the case these new developments are helping homeless individuals. Unless there is also social and community support, particularly drug and alcohol counseling, requiring that a small percentage of new units be “affordable” won’t help the homeless. The homeless need more than housing.
The new megadevelopments in the city are gentrifying it. When 80 or 85 percent of new construction is at market rate, this results in tearing down existing, affordable housing stock that serves local residents to build mostly new, high cost development for people from outside the area.
More candidates should run for City Council this November.