Santa Barbara County Amends Land-Use Code in Response to New State Housing Law

Among California’s housing bills to expedite the construction of homes is Senate Bill 35, which has a long list of criteria that allows a developer to get a streamlined approval process without subjective review. To forestall the fallout from missing the state Housing Element deadline next month, Santa Barbara County planning staff spent the winter holidays putting together two additional land-use code sections, as qualifying projects will be able to bypass design review.

These apply to multi-unit and mixed-use developments that are 50 percent lower-income affordable, pay prevailing construction wages, and meet objective density, zoning, historic, and environmental standards. For the county, deputy planning director Travis Seawards explained the greatest impact in the new Chapter 35 sections is in design standards and building site location on a parcel. He and his county colleagues, Jeff Wilson and Brian Pettit, also worked to consolidate the objective standards, to make it easier for developers to find and implement them. The supervisors passed the code section additions unanimously.


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