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City of Santa Maria gathering public input on design preferences for future developments

Residents can participate by taking a quick online survey.
SM developments
Posted at 7:29 PM, May 17, 2023

The City of Santa Maria is currently working on creating new design standards for future residential and mixed-use developments.

Part of the process includes gathering public input, which is why people living in Santa Maria are being invited to take part in the city's Community Visual Preference survey.

Editor's note: Are you a Santa Maria resident? Participate in the city's Community Visual Preference survey here.

The initiative comes in response to changes in state law, where Santa Maria has been tasked with drafting a set of objective design standards for incoming housing and mixed-use projects.

"Those are design standards that will be applied for residential projects and mixed-use projects that include residential, to establish consistency and conformity to certain guidelines about the development," Frank Albro said, who is the principal planner for the City of Santa Maria.

In the survey, you can weigh in on which types of building designs you find appealing or not, while also providing input on characteristics like color schemes, architectural features and preferred building heights.

"We have our own unique style within the city, and we want to touch base with our community members and get their input about what styles they would like to see in the future for future development," Albro added.

He says the survey will also gauge the community's thoughts on potential setbacks to new developments, and some locals we spoke to Wednesday say the locations of incoming housing projects remain their biggest concern.

"Not clustered together in one concentrated area that would impact driving, parking, traffic movement, that sort of thing," said Joel Sansone of Santa Maria.

Others say some of the more recent residential and commercial developments in town have helped turn Santa Maria into a destination, adding that having design consistency amongst future projects will do so even more.

"It has been really good to see Santa Maria become something that brings the big stores in," said Rebecca Segoviano, who lives in Santa Maria. "The new fast-food places, the stores, even TJ Maxx. The new stores are great, people come from different places to shop here in Santa Maria, it is nice."

Once the survey is completed, Albro said his team will begin developing the city's draft of their new objective design standards, which will then be submitted to the Planning Commission and City Council for review.

"Once they have determined it is acceptable, those will be adopted and become regulation for the city," Albro told KSBY.

He expects the Planning Commission and City Council to consider their objective design standards this coming fall.

The last day to complete the survey is this Sunday, May 21. The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete.

You can find a link by clicking here: