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City of Santa Maria addressing housing needs of local seniors

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 31, 2023

In recent months, the plans for several senior housing developments have been announced throughout Santa Maria, and Wednesday evening, another proposal will go under review.

"It is a proposal for 80 senior apartments located on Barcellus and Bluebird," Chuen Ng told KSBY.

After spending the past months conducting several workshops and outreach efforts on the topic of local housing needs, the City of Santa Maria's Community Development Director, Chuen Ng says the primary concerns brought up were the lack of affordable housing options, especially when it comes to seniors.

If approved, Ng says the incoming units to Barcellus Avenue would be offered at affordable rates, intended for seniors earning 60-80% of Santa Maria's median income.

"We have heard from the community; we have heard specifically from seniors about the high rent prices. So, this will add to that housing inventory that would be income-restricted," he added.

In the span of roughly half a year, the plans for four senior housing developments have begun progress, with both the Barcellus Apartments and the Santa Maria Studios listed as affordable living options.

"We came in 97' when you could afford things, ha-ha," admitted local senior, Ron Redman.

rON and his wife, Linda say the price of their home has gone up more than five times in the 20-plus years having lived in the area.

"We belong to a Newcomers Club, and all of a sudden, after a few years there weren’t many people joining because there was nobody able to move in just because of the housing prices that went up," said Ron Redman.

"With the cost of food, the cost of natural gas right now, we are all seeing our bills go sky-high, and gasoline to power a car. I don’t know how some seniors are even making it," Linda tied in.

Chuen Ng says the Barcellus Senior Apartments would entail the construction of multiple three-story complexes along the 500 block of Barcellus Avenue. He says the site's location to nearby medical services could bring additional benefits to incoming senior tenants.

"Knowing that there is a pipeline of projects with affordable apartments for seniors, I think that is good for the community," Ng said.

The current recommendation from the City's Community Development Department is that their Planning Commission approves the Barcellus Apartments once it goes under review Wednesday evening. Chuen Ng adds that if approved, construction could begin soon after.

He says proposals for senior living projects also tend to draw out fewer concerns from neighboring homes and businesses due to their lesser potential impacts on traffic and noise.

If you are interested in possibly moving into the Barcellus Apartments, Ng says those details will be available once its construction is complete.