While Carpinteria prepares the plan for the upcoming Housing Element cycle (2023-2031), the Carpinteria City Council took a look at its progress from the previous cycle, from 2015 to 2023, with the results showing the city meeting the state’s housing production goals for market rate units, but falling behind on affordable housing with no new units for low-, very-low-, and moderate-income since 2017.

The report shown during Monday’s meeting showed that there were nine new residential units completed in 2022, and one more building permit issued, with all the projects being for “above moderate” income households.

The city did meet the state’s total Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) of 163 units, building 185 units since 2015, but there has been a lack of production in the lower-income categories with only three units built in the past seven years.

“We really did well on our above moderate and not so good on others,” said Mayor Al Clark. “What’s the solution?”

Community Development Director Steve Goggia explained that the slow growth in lower-income housing is happening “across the state,” and said there were a few steps the city would be implementing in the upcoming cycle to foster more affordable housing projects.

Carpinteria has historically relied on providers like People’s Self Help Housing to build affordable housing, but Goggia said the city could encourage more private developers to provide lower-income units by amending the code to require inclusionary affordable units with rental projects, instead of only for-sale projects.

The state is also encouraging cities to allow for higher density, Goggia said, to attract apartment projects that could build more than 20 units per acre.

Some council members asked why production seemed to slow down after 2015, when there were 126 units built, including 33 very-low income units. Goggia explained that those were years when the city saw multiple large-scale projects such as Casa de los Flores and GranVida, and said production is based on what is available on the market.

Council received the report but did not take any action; city staff will continue to address comments from the state regarding the upcoming 2023-2031 Housing Element draft before submitting the final plan.

Sports Editor

Ryan P. Cruz is CVN's Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and loves to write about sports, food, local government and exploring the deep Mexican American roots on the Central Coast. He can be reached at ryan.p.cruz@gmail.com.

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