The City of Santa Maria is updating its housing regulations, and city officials want to know what type of housing is needed to better guide future developments.
“I think we should have more housing for vets and seniors,” said Tina Sanchez, who is a resident and landlord in Santa Maria.
Another concern for locals includes addressing rent opportunities for individuals facing homelessness.
“The realistic solutions we offer to our clients are to find a roommate, somebody they get along with that will help them with their recovery, they can share rent with and have a healthy community with,” explained Chris Rutledge, Central Coast Rescue Mission Director.
The City of Santa Maria is updating its housing element which is part of the city’s general plan.
“It is going to influence our housing policy for the next eight years starting in 2023," said Mark van de Kamp, City of Santa Maria Public Information Manager.
It is a guideline for zoning, for example.
“Although the city does not actually build the housing, developers do,” explained van de Kamp. “This sets the regulations and the type of housing that we need. We know from other government agencies what we need to set aside in terms of how many units. What we want to do is go deeper."
For that, they need the community’s help.
“Do we need. for example. more affordable housing? Do we need more housing for students or first-time homebuyers?” added van de Kamp.
An online survey with 14 questions is now available for residents in Santa Maria.
“We want to hear from everybody regardless of economic status,” said van de Kamp.
In 2010, Santa Maria’s population was 99,553 residents but Census data from 2020 shows it grew to 109,707 people. This is why the city wants to make sure housing fits these changes.
“Whether you are a farmworker or if you’re a teacher or in real estate or a landlord or a senior,” said van de Kamp.
There are open-ended questions in the survey to allow for suggestions.
“We would really like them to provide affordable housing that’s clean, that’s safe, that is easy to get to work to,” Rutledge added.
The city said it takes about seven minutes to do the survey. It will be open for several months and is available in both English and Spanish.
In terms of the next steps, an informational briefing will be made to city council members on April 5, 2022.
The goal is to have a report ready by the end of this year so the planning commission and city council can formally add it to the general plan.
To fill out the survey, click here.