Santa Barbara Housing Authority Proposes 16-Unit Studio Project for Veterans
Architectural Board of Review members voiced support for the project while neighbors were concerned about lack of parking in the East Carrillo Street area
Local war veterans may soon have a new place to call home
The Santa Barbara Housing Authority has proposed 16 affordable studio units at 813 East Carrillo St., a block from Santa Barbara High School and the Santa Barbara Bowl.
The Housing Authority would demolish a two-story, 1,482-square-foot house currently on the site to build the studios, along with a 589-square-foot community center, a manager’s unit, manager’s office and laundry facility. The units will be available only to war veterans.
The project, which is proposed under the city’s Average Unit Density Incentive Program, received favorable reviews from the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review on Tuesday.
Members of the public, however, raised concerns about the parking portion of the proposal. The Housing Authority, and architect RRM Design, has proposed eight parking spaces for the 16 studio units.
“I have a huge concern,” said Patricia Lopez, who lives near the site of the proposal. “We have a horrible time parking there now.”
Lopez said the availability of parking is already impacted by people who attend Santa Barbara High School, The Bowl and a nearby medical building.
Christian Bonillo, who also lives nearby, said the project is too big.
“The project looks like something you see up in the mountains in a ski lodge area, not something you’d see in the downtown, in a cute neighborhood of Santa Barbara,” Bonillo said.
“The bulk and size is just way out of control.”
The proposal calls for a courtyard in the middle of the property, surrounded by the studios in an L-shape.
The neighbors who spoke at Monday’s meeting join a flurry of others around town who have raised concerns that AUD projects are threatening neighborhood quality of life.
The city created the program to encourage developers to build affordable housing. In order for the developers to make money on their projects, however, they must build a higher number of units on the site.
The average unit size for these proposed studios is 357 square feet.
Skip Szymanski, deputy executive director for the Housing Authority, said that the population targeted won’t have cars so the parking won’t be an issue.
“When we do these type of projects we target people who don’t have vehicles,” Szymanski said. “If someone has a vehicle and they want to own a vehicle they don’t get to move here.”
The project got unanimously supportive comments from ABR members, but the Housing Authority will return in two weeks to address some of the design concerns.
“Overall, I like the courtyard concept,” ABR member Amy Fitzgerald-Tripp said. “It will be a nice amenity for the residents there.”