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New housing development approved in Orcutt garners mixed responses

KEY SITE 3.jpg
Posted at 6:39 PM, May 12, 2022

A new housing development in Orcutt was approved this week by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

The project is titled Key Site 3 and is located north of Clark Avenue next to Highway 101 and the Sunny Hills mobile home park.

The development approved includes 119 single-family units, with a possible 160 additional townhomes in the future.

While the project was approved with a 3-2 vote, some community members in Orcutt disagreed with the decision.

“We’re a senior community so we are worried about safety and ambulances getting to our seniors,” said one Sunny Hills resident during the public comment period of the meeting on Tuesday.

Other concerns expressed at the meeting include the density of homes and the amount of traffic this would create on Clark Avenue.

These concerns were echoed by Fourth District Supervisor Bob Nelson, who voted against the project.

"We say we want to reduce vehicle miles traveled and reduce greenhouse gases, but to do that we can’t continue to build houses in north county and keep all of the jobs in south county,” said Nelson. "Orcutt deserves the right to be self sufficient and have a community where people not only sleep here but also work here.”

Some county officials say the demand for more homes led to the decision to approve the development.

“It’s to provide a variety of housing types that will be more affordable to sort of entry-level buyers as well as to preserve open space,” said Shannon Reese, a senior planner for the county.

The homes are expected to be in the $600,000 to $700,000 range given current market conditions.

There are still some steps that need to take place before construction begins. A project like this could take half a year or up to five years for construction to begin.