Cottage Health Systems (CHS) proposes to remove the former hospital buildings and provide 115 residences. The current plan is to offer eighty-one (70%) of these residences, for sale exclusively to Cottage Health System employees, at prices affordable to households with annual incomes between 100% – 200% of the area median income, about $75,000 to $125,000 for a family of four. It is CHS’s intent to offer to sell the remaining residences at below market rate to other healthcare employees in the community. CHS will make this determination once they have a better estimate of the approval process and costs involved.
Coastal Housing believes this project is significant for a number of reasons. First, it will be one of the few examples on the South Coast where a major employer provides housing for its employees. We realize that while providing employee housing is not within reach of most employers, it is significant when an employer does take action to provide homes for their workforce.
Building workforce housing in an already developed neighborhood, with existing infrastructure – roads, sewer, schools, parks, public transportation – combined with close proximity to the employer, embraces the principles of smart growth planning.
Such in-fill development is supported by Coastal Housing. However, at a recent City Planning Commission conceptual review hearing, we did request that the City consider allowing a reduced parking standard for this site, so that Cottage Health Systems could add more residences.
This will be a 100 percent affordable rental project consisting of 50 residences and mixed use development. Twenty-five of the residences will be allocated to Mental Health Association special needs clients in the very low income category and the remainder of the rental residences will be allocated to downtown Santa Barbara employees in the moderate income category (about $50,000 for a family of four).
These two groups, that have historically been priced out of the local housing market, will now have the opportunity to live, work and be a part of the community.
Coastal Housing believes that this is a good example of a mixed-use project. In addition to the rental housing, it will also include space for: the MHA Fellowship Club; MHA offices; leased office space for the City and non-profit agencies; parking for MHA functions and all residences; as well as parking for City offices located across the street.
Our endorsement for this project was given due to the diversity of creative solutions resulting in a mixed-use, in-fill development designed for an urban setting. The City of Santa Barbara and MHA, came together to mutually address their challenges: workforce and special needs housing, office space and City employee parking.
Projects Coastal Housing has endorsed
City of Santa Barbara
City of Goleta
Affordable: units affordable to individuals or families earning 120% of area median income or below
Attainable: units affordable to individuals or families earning 121% – 200% of area median income