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    Goleta City Council to Consider Revised Housing Element Including Rezoning on December 5

    Public Hearings to Include Rezone of Eleven Proposed Housing Sites

    The Goleta City Council will hold a series of public hearings on December 5 at 5:30 p.m. to consider revisions to Goleta’s 2023-2031 Housing Element, including the rezoning of eleven proposed sites to allow for housing development mandated by the State. The State Housing and Community Development Department recently informed the City in an October 16, 2023 letter that the proposed revisions meet all the requirements of state housing law. The Planning Commission considered the revisions at a public hearing on November 13 and 15, 2023 and recommended to City Council adoption of the changes. If the changes are adopted by the Council, the revised Housing Element will then be sent to the State for final certification.

    The public is invited to attend the City Council meeting in person at City Council Chambers (130 Cremona Drive) and via Zoom (a link will be available in the agenda). The public may also view the meeting online at www.CityofGoleta.org/GoletaMeetings and/or on Goleta TV Channel 19. The agenda and staff reports will be available on the City website at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.

    The City Council public hearing notices are below:

    View the Housing Element 2023-2031 Revisions here: https://tinyurl.com/3pbp95kb.

    Background:

    In order to address the housing crisis in California, the State is mandating that local governments throughout California plan for more housing. State law requires that each local government update its Housing Element (a process that occurs every eight years) to zone for its share of the regional housing need (its “Regional Housing Need Allocation” or “RHNA”) and to establish other policies and actions for addressing local housing needs. Goleta’s Regional Housing Need Allocation for the current 2023-2031 housing cycle, 1,837 units, is almost double what it was in the previous housing cycle (979 units). For the Santa Barbara County region, the overall RHNA for this housing cycle is 29,000 units, compared to 11,030 for the last house cycle.

    The City’s first updated Housing Element, which the City Council adopted in January 2023, avoided rezones and relied on existing zoned housing capacity on underutilized housing sites. However, the State did not accept the City’s approach and will not let the City rely exclusively on its existing sites. In effect, the State is requiring the City to rezone vacant sites.

    In response to the State’s demands, the City’s proposed Housing Element revisions identify 11 housing sites for rezoning. Rezoned housing sites are focused along major arterials in already urbanized areas. To the degree possible, the City has sought to avoid rezoning agricultural land. Placing new housing along major arterials in already urbanized areas reduces the impacts of such housing, including traffic impacts.

    It is important to note that, while the rezones change the allowed land uses on a site, they are not project approvals. New housing projects must still go through a public permitting process, including environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). The City retains discretion to impose appropriate site-specific permit conditions and mitigations on housing projects. The details of each individual project will be addressed on a case-by-case basis when the property owners apply for a permit. Appropriate environmental protections, traffic measures, and infrastructure improvements will be required as projects move through the permit process.

    Without a certified Housing Element, the City would lose permit authority, access to grants, legal protections and more. Some larger developments could be allowed without City permits.

    In the end, the Housing Element update will lead to much needed additional housing, which is vital for our community to thrive.

    For more information on the City’s Housing Element Update project, go to https://CityofGoleta.org/HousingElement. If you have any questions about the project, please email City staff at HousingElement@cityofgoleta.org. For inquiries in Spanish, please contact Marcos Martinez, Spanish Engagement Specialist, at (805) 562-5500 or mmartinez@cityofgoleta.org.

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