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    Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Adopt County’s 2023-2031 Housing Element

    During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting on December 5, 2023

    The Board of Supervisors adopted the County’s Housing Element Update 2023-2031 (HEU) at a hearing on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.

    The Board of Supervisors considered the analysis, policies and programs in the Draft HEU, and adopted the Final HEU. The Board did not consider or take any actions on the rezones during this hearing. Rezones will be considered in early 2024.

    At the public hearing, several speakers addressed the need for affordable housing and a preference that any housing built be available to locals. The Final HEU includes a program that directs the County to study the feasibility of developing a Local Preference Housing program that prioritizes people who live and/or work within Santa Barbara County who wish to rent or purchase affordable units.

    The State Housing and Community Development Department (State HCD) will review the County’s Final HEU to determine that it is in substantial compliance with State requirements. The County received formal notice from the State HCD on October 16, 2023, that the County’s Draft HEU was preliminarily in substantial compliance with State requirements.

    The selection of specific sites to rezone is a later step. Hearings to choose rezone sites will take place early in 2024 after the release of a draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) analyzing potential impacts associated with the potential rezones. During the public comment period on the Draft PEIR, the Department will hold two public comment hearings; one in north county and one in south county.

    “This Housing Element cycle was more complex than any previous cycle with hundreds of pages of requirements and instruction. I am very proud of the job our team did producing a document that the State found in substantial compliance very quickly, and that identified more sites than required so the Board of Supervisors will have a range of options to choose from at hearings next year on the rezones,” added Planning and Development Director Lisa Plowman.

    The Draft HEU with all revisions tracked can be found at: https://www.countyofsb.org/3177/Housing-Element-Update. The Final HEU will be available later this week. An interactive map showing all the potential housing sites can be found at: https://sbcopad.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9375e0705e864eada0ff5 35c23ba99ac.

    For this cycle, State HCD requires that Santa Barbara County identify sites to accommodate 5,664 new housing units in unincorporated portions of Santa Barbara County between 2023 and 2031. This is an 8-fold increase from the last cycle. That housing needs allocation, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), is further broken down to require 4,142 units in the South Coast region and 1,522 units in the North County region. This breakdown attempts to address the current jobs-housing imbalance.

    The State requires the County’s Housing Element to accommodate 2,818 very low, low- and moderate-income units.

    The County submitted the Draft HEU to State HCD for review on March 31, 2023. After receiving preliminary comments from the State on June 30, 2023, the County worked with the State to address their questions and comments over the summer and submitted a formal revised draft on September 22, 2023.

    The Planning Commission considered the Draft HEU at a public hearing on November 8, 2023, and recommended the Board of Supervisors adopt the Draft HEU.

    The Housing Element Update is one of the mandated components of a General Plan. It directs local governments to plan for the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. This is the 6th Housing Element cycle, covering 2023-2031.



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