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Senior housing project approved in Orcutt

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 09, 2022

On Wednesday, the County of Santa Barbara's Planning Commission approved a 200+ unit senior housing development in Old Orcutt.

"I have never seen anything here," said Old Orcutt resident Cody Lathouwers.

Lathouwers regularly walks his dog along Soares Avenue, the location of the future senior housing development.

"This is actually a great place to come and throw some quick pictures with the sun going down, so it will be interesting to see the construction," he said.

The project, called "The Ranch at Orcutt," is set to include a residential care facility, a daycare center, and new living options for seniors.

"I think that is a good thing because for a lot of seniors, if they don't have a home at this age in their lives, it is difficult to afford," said Marcy Jimenez, a senior who lives in Santa Maria.

"I am glad that it was approved. I don't know all the details of it but my understanding was that it was going to be senior housing," added fellow Orcutt senior Dennis Pankrats.

Pankrats says he often spends time volunteering with other seniors in need throughout the community and tells KSBY he has taken notice of their lack of local housing options.

He says the approval of the Ranch at Orcutt, as well as other recently approved developments around town, are steps in the right direction.

"Any senior housing that comes online is helpful," Pankrats said. "Even I think that six-story thing down in Santa Maria that I can't quite figure out what it is apparently is also for seniors, so that has ought to be helpful."

And while Lathouwers says he is glad the vacant 9.5 acres of land on Soares Avenue is finally being put to use, he admits he has some concerns about a possible spike in the cost of living in the area, as well as an increase in traffic.

"Right off the bat, you wonder, other than the housing going up itself, is the parking and all the cars that are involved," Lathouwers said.

The County of Santa Barbara's Planning Commission says the senior housing development will include 233 parking spaces located east of the incoming inclusive park that is also included in the project's plans.

County officials also tell KSBY the development will take shape in three phases, including the construction of an independent living and senior duplex building, an employee housing complex, and a 100-room residential care facility for seniors.

The project site is owned by the nearby Orcutt Union School District but will be developed by Southern California-based company Tait and Associates.