Santa Barbara County 2023-31 Housing Element


On March 31, the County of Santa Barbara submitted a revised draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The County’s initial draft Housing Element was met with some community pushback in the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, due to the County’s initially proposed rezone sites’ proximity to the two communities, among other concerns. After a substantial public comment process the revised draft contains new programs and approximately 19 additional sites to be considered for rezones and/or future housing. The Chamber’s Road Home Housing document features a list of suggested sites for future housing, some of which align with sites identified in the County’s Housing Element. 

The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) from HCD is broken down into four income categories: very low-income, low-income, moderate-income, and above moderate-income. It is often the case in Santa Barbara County, especially along the South Coast, that the only types of housing that can effectively be brought into market are highly subsidized affordable units, or high prices luxury units. This has led to a missing middle where a segment of our local workforce, like our emergency service workers, are unable to find housing in the region, and are forced to commute or find jobs elsewhere. Upon reviewing the County Housing Element, the Chamber was concerned to find that on the South Coast moderate-Income housing only makes up 8% of the units for the New Construction 2023-31 Planning Period. Additionally, Moderate-Income housing only makes up 20% of the Housing Element’s total capacity on the South Coast (with moderate-income only making up 14% of the Housing Element’s surplus). However, after discussions with County staff and further review the Chamber found that the County is working to address this discrepancy/lack of moderate-income housing through various different programs listed within the draft Housing Element. 

Click here for the most up-to-date information regarding the County of Santa Barbara’s 2023-31 Housing Element.