Seven transformative housing and sustainable transportation projects are being reviewed by the state after SBCAG submitted a nearly $5.3 million application this week for Regional Early Action Planning (REAP 2.0) grant funding. The SBCAG Board of Directors selected seven out of 24 projects to include in the state application at their December meeting.
REAP 2.0 grants seek to accelerate progress toward the state’s housing goals and climate commitments.
The program was created by AB 140 (2021), which provides $600 million statewide for planning and capital projects that support each region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. In Santa Barbara County, this is known as Connected 2050. Of the $600 million, approximately $5.3 million is available to Santa Barbara County region through SBCAG.
SBCAG invited housing authorities, school districts, special districts, community-based organizations, cities, and the county of Santa Barbara to submit project proposals for funding.
“For the first time, flexible state dollars are being made available to help implement local and regional sustainable community strategies,” said Michael Becker, planning director for SBCAG. “With 24 applications requesting a total of $33 million and only $5.3 million available for the region, this was a highly competitive process with limited funds to meet needs countywide.”
A public outreach campaign between September 5 and October 7 indicated a strong preference for capital projects over planning.
Overall, the SBCAG Board approved slightly more than 80 percent of funds to go directly to implement projects, of which 61 percent of the funds are to be spent in the north county, 29 percent on the south coast, and 10 percent countywide.
Projects selected demonstrate an investment in housing, planning, or infill housing supportive infrastructure that reduces vehicle miles traveled, increases housing affordability, and advances equity consistent with state goals.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development, in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council and the Air Resources Board, will review SBCAG’s application and approve the use of the approximately $5.3 million or request changes.
The seven projects selected by the SBCAG Board in December to be included in the state application are the following:
- City of Santa Maria Downtown Revitalization Infrastructure Improvements ($2.5 million) to increase sewer capacity and multimodal improvements in downtown Santa Maria including a bus rapid transit station and traffic calming improvements. The city seeks to make improvements needed to catalyze development in its urban core.
- Permit Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit Program ($450,000) for the City of Lompoc to expedite the permitting process and reduce pre-construction fees for housing. The city seeks to spur accessory dwelling unit development to provide choice and affordability in housing and will share its work with other municipalities.
- Prototype 3D Printed Affordable Home House ($375,000) by the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County to build the first 3D-printed affordable housing unit in Santa Barbara County as a demonstration of the concept. Despite its one-unit nature, it will provide a proof of concept for low-cost housing construction and navigate building codes and permitting for novel construction methods.
- Santa Barbara County Active Transportation Data Dashboard ($525,538) by University of California Santa Barbara researchers to develop regional bicycle and pedestrian data and maps countywide that will inform future bike, walking, safety and accessibility planning efforts and funding opportunities.
- Jacaranda Court project ($395,000) by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara to accelerate the architectural process for a 63-unit middle-income housing development to replace a city-owned commuter parking lot in downtown Santa Barbara.
- San Jose Creek Multipurpose Path ($734,933) in the City of Goleta to support a 1.5-mile Class 1 bikeway connecting Calle Real, Old Town Goleta, UCSB and the Coast Route. It provides safe and convenient connections to employment, commerce, and services.
- EV Charging Infrastructure and Alternative Transit Incentives Perkins Place Project ($275,000) by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara for EV charging infrastructure, transit ridership, and multimodal amenities in the most remote community in Santa Barbara County – New Cuyama. This project represents an investment in a historically underinvested portion of the region.