Goleta aims to make affordable housing rental options more feasible

Posted at 6:53 PM, Dec 05, 2019

A new ordinance in Goleta aims to provide more affordable rental opportunities to those within the city.

In a 4-1 vote, the Goleta City Council approved an ordinance this week that will require new rental housing projects of five units or more to dedicate 15 to 20 percent of the total units as affordable housing.

"It will apply to all rental housing projects going forward, for projects five units or greater will have to provide for housing on-site and projects of two units or greater will have to make an in-lieu contribution fee," said Peter Imhof, director of planning and environmental review for the City of Goleta.

The inclusionary ordinance is one way the City of Goleta is trying to remediate the growing housing concern on the South Coast.

The new proposal aims to make renting more feasible and follows in the footsteps of Goleta's general plan.

While the new zoning ordinance has been used for home buyers, one local housing developer is skeptical of how it will help renters.

"I mean this policy works well for ownership housing... it doesn't necessarily translate straight across to rental housing, so there will probably be some discussion of that before it gets implemented," said Frank Thompson, owner of Frank Thompson Housing Consultant.

Goleta City officials say they consider this a win.

"The affordable housing crisis on the South cCast is acute, it is something that affects the state as a whole but it is something we in the City of Goleta or more broadly throughout Santa Barbara County are grappling with, so this is an important step in the right direction," said Imhof.

According to Thompson, the City approved the ordinance to provide a number of low- and moderate-income housing units, which the market by itself has not and will not produce alone.

KSBY did ask the City what rental prices are considered to be affordable, but officials said it was hard to say exactly as each future project is different.

The City hopes to have the new ordinance in place by the beginning of the year.