Noozhawk: Goleta Council Approves 2023-31 Draft Housing Element to Be Sent to State for Review

First published in Noozhawk on June 29, 2022.

The Goleta City Council has voted to send the city’s Draft Housing Element for 2023 to 2031 to the state after its review during a special meeting Tuesday evening, with changes in the document involving short-term vacation rentals, replacing units lost to redevelopment, fair housing and more.

The Housing Element, which is a required part of each city’s General Plan, is required by state law to be updated every eight years. The last time Goleta’s Housing Element was updated was in December 2014.

The draft Housing Element has been the topic of Goleta Planning Commission and City Council meetings and workshops during the past year, as well as an online housing survey completed by more than 600 members of the public.

Some of the main concerns that community members expressed regarding housing included housing prices and rents, UCSB’s impact to Goleta’s housing, short-term vacation rentals, water supply for housing developments, parking and more.

“This is a crisis, and we can’t forget that. It is both a humanitarian crisis and an environmental crisis,” public commenter Jason Chapman said during Tuesday’s meeting. “More and more people are becoming homeless — people who have jobs, who are trying their best, but are just being priced out of their homes.”

Changes to the Housing Element reflect new state laws and accommodate the city’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation — which requires 1,006 housing units for low and very low income categories, 370 units for the moderate income category and 461 units for the above moderate income category.

Some of the new or revised policies in the Housing Element include implementing a monitoring program for short-term vacation rentals — with annual review and reporting to the City Council — a new state law that ensures units lost to redevelopment are replaced, and updates to expand housing opportunities for lower-income households, people with special needs and other protected classes.

Other policy changes involve researching the impact of underused housing stock, affordable by design principles and more. Some others encourage the city to consider reducing parking requirements for studio and one-bedroom dwelling units, and code amendments to allow large residential care facilities — those with seven or more residents — without the requirement of a Major Conditional Use Permit.

New state requirements reflected in the Housing Element will also include low barrier navigation centers — emergency shelters that also provide services, such as counselling to find employment opportunities or to find more long-term shelter.

The full 2023 to 2031 Draft Housing Element can be viewed on the City of Goleta’s website, and city staff will be submitting the document to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for a 90-day review.

After that review by the HCD, revisions will take place and the Planning Commission and City Council will hold public hearings before sending the adopted Housing Element to the HCD by Feb. 15.

Share this post