• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Four-story housing project proposed for downtown Santa Barbara called a ‘monstrosity’ | Local News

ByRandall B. Phelps

Sep 3, 2022

Difficult start.

A proposed four-story housing development for the corner of Carrillo and De la Vina streets in downtown Santa Barbara has drawn comments such as “generic”, “a monstrosity” and that it looks like La Cumbre Plaza.

“There’s no way four stories this size would go to this intersection,” said Keith Butler, member of the Historic Landmarks Commission. “The scale is just wrong. The mass and the scale are just wrong.”

The CAM Land Use & Development development team presented the proposal at Wednesday’s HLC meeting.

The mixed-use development would replace the Jiffy Lube at 925 De la Vina Street and be across from Starbucks. The developer, Double P. LLC, proposed that the four-story building would house 36 units.

Craig Minus, owner of CAM Land Use, gave his best pitch to start the meeting.

“I would like to be as bold as to say this is a once-in-a-lifetime project,” Minus told HLC.

He said the Jiffy Lube is an “underutilized” one-story site. The location is near the central business district and along a transit corridor.

“It gives us a unique opportunity to kind of reconsider chapter two of this site for higher and better use,” Minus said, adding that the project comes “at a time when housing is one of the most great unmet needs.”

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The site at the corner of Carrillo and De la Vina streets in Santa Barbara currently houses a Jiffy Lube. (Photo by Joshua Molina/Noozhawk)

The proposal is the latest housing project to hit Santa Barbara amid mounting pressure from housing activists and the state of California. Santa Barbara approved a high-density housing ordinance in 2013 that allows developers to build units on small lots.

The smaller studio, one-, and two-bedroom units are designed to be affordable due to their size and appealing to “young professionals” who want to live in small spaces and walk, bike, or take the bus to commute. at work. The policy, however, has been criticized because units are rented at market rates, except for a 10% inclusive housing requirement.

“We can only supply a limited number of 510 square foot one-bedroom units in Santa Barbara,” Commissioner Ed Lenvik said. “There aren’t a lot of singles, or even couples without children or dogs to eat up all that space. People need housing, but they need housing they can live in and enjoy. stretch a little.”

To kick off the meeting, Minus asked for “constructive” feedback on the “shape” of the building. He said the exact number of units, square footage and amount of below-market rents are yet to be determined as the proposal is only at the pre-bid stage.

The commission, however, was unimpressed with the pitch.

“When I saw this project, I felt the need to really speak up,” Butler said. “When I saw this project, my first reaction was, ‘This is a monstrosity.'”

He suggested that two floors on the site would be more appropriate.

Member Cass Ensberg also drilled the project.

“Where’s the mojo here?” she says. “What is the name of this building? What is the attitude? I don’t see the front door.

She said the height of the building had to come down “down”.

“I urge you to be more creative,” Ensberg said. “It’s kind of generic right now.”

Commissioner Steve Hausz said he understands the development team’s goal of building housing, but that desire must be balanced with other community interests and concerns.

“It’s just not Santa Barbara, not remotely Santa Barbara,” Hausz said. “It’s a gateway building.”

He said the proposed project was to be set back from the street and at the moment it reminded him of La Cumbre Plaza.

“Two floors, or something like that, is appropriate for this corner,” Hausz said.

Commissioner Michael Drury was a little nicer. He said there were elements of the architecture he liked, but it didn’t fit Santa Barbara.

“It’s just not Santa Barbara, it’s more like Beverly Hills,” Drury said. “There’s nothing wrong with Beverly Hills, it’s just not Santa Barbara. We’re really unique here.”

The development team will take feedback from the board and come back with a revised proposal.

– Noozhawk writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.