Housing Mandates? One Wealthy Town is Off the Hook.

As California locales rush to comply with state housing mandates, one wealthy town appears to be getting a pass. No new housing must be built in affluent Montecito, according to the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element Update released by the County of Santa Barbara. The burden of building 5,664 new housing units will mostly fall on less affluent towns like Carpinteria and Goleta.

Lisa Plowman, the county’s director of planning and development, recently addressed questions about the conspicuous absence of RHNA mandates in the celebrity-rich enclave. She said the county mostly considered areas where property owners showed interest in development. No one in Montecito or Summerland was open to new multi-family housing, and that was that.

Must be nice. 

Critics are now calling on Montecito to do its fair share — and for the county to ensure it does so. The Goleta City Council voted unanimously to send a letter to the county about the situation, which you can read here.  

The outcry may be pressuring county officials to act. Noozhawk reported Sunday that locations in Montecito have now been identified as potential housing sites in response to the ciritcism.