Thursday evening, the City of Lompoc will hold its first Housing Element Workshop, where the public is invited to weigh-in on plans to provide more living options for the community.
Lompoc city officials say they must accommodate space for 2,300 new housing units by the year 2031. A portion of those units will be reserved for low- to moderate-income earners. Locals say creating more affordable housing should be the city's top priority.
City Planning Manager Brian Halvorson says community input is a substantial component as they continue their search for thousands of new living spaces.
"We are also hoping that they can just express any concerns or comments regarding the existing stock of housing in Lompoc," he said ahead of Thursday's event.
"When we were looking for a home about eight years ago, we compared it to other areas like Santa Barbara and whatnot, and I felt like Lompoc was average, not too low, but not too high," said Lompoc resident and mother Letty Martinez.
But the housing market on the Central Coast looks much different than it did eight years ago, and other locals hope city leaders take that into consideration.
"A lot of the houses they are building are not affordable. They are building $600,000 to $700,000 homes, you know. Not a lot of land, which seems like a lot of the younger generation, that is what they want," added Lompoc resident Trish Nunez.
"Come on. If you work for minimum wage, how you going to pay $900 in rent every month?" said Vandenberg Village Karen Jackson.
Of the 2,000-plus housing units the city is required to plan for, more than 700 of them will be allocated for those ranging from low to moderate incomes.
But Halvorson says another obstacle is at hand.
"We can plan for the housing, we can zone for it, but the city doesn't actually build the housing," he said.
He tells KSBY the city is responsible for finding space for new housing units, but that it is ultimately up to the overall housing market, as well as future development groups who express interest in beginning construction.
Jackson, meanwhile, gave a final push for the community to turn out to the Housing Element Workshop.
"Please come to the meeting tonight," she pleaded. "Don't ignore the meeting. We have to go stand together and voice."
The City of Lompoc said Thursday's event will feature interactive ways for the community to participate, including Lompoc trivia, and having attendees put pins on city maps to pinpoint which areas they would like to see more housing.