A fully below-market, affordable housing apartment project is headed to Santa Barbara.
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, working with architectural firm Cearnal Collective, has received final design approval for 220 N. La Cumbre Road from the city’s Architectural Board of Review.
Unlike most of the developments approved in Santa Barbara, this project will be all affordable and for families with low and very low incomes.
“This is such a huge community benefit for the city as it is filling a growing, unmet need to provide available and affordable housing for families,” said Rob Fredericks, executive director of the Housing Authority.
Fredericks said the Housing Authority plans to submit an application to the state for the low-income Housing Tax Credit development funding in early 2024 and begin construction in July 2024.
The project consists of demolishing all existing commercial buildings on-site to build the project, with 71 vehicle parking spaces, including 10 designated for guest parking. The proposal will reach 48 feet at its highest point.
“We have seen families having to move away from the South Coast of Santa Barbara due to the extreme housing costs,” Fredericks said. “Anything we can do to keep our local residents local with an affordable place to call home should certainly be viewed as a community benefit. “
Developers have built about 316 units under the city’s average unit-sized density incentive program, which allows bonus density in exchange for building apartments. Another 228 units have been approved and 140 are pending in the system; however, most of those units are market rate. This project will be targeted toward low and very low-income families.
Christine Pierron, the architect on the project and partner with Cearnal Collective, said the site was ideal for families. It’s walking distance to elementary, junior high and high schools, as well as to the State Street retail corridor.
“It was a perfect fit with the housing situated between higher-density apartments and single-family homes,” Pierron said.
She said she was inspired by the farmhouse-style architecture of a house just a few doors up from the project, “so we used the farmhouse theme as the design basis” for the project, called Bella Vista.
“We love the idea of children living in this courtyard-style project with its barn red community room and even a three-story exterior stair housed in what looks like a farm silo,” Pierron said. “What fun they will have running up and down those stairs.”
“It’s a beautiful project,” board member Richard Six said.