Convert The City Golf Course Into PUBLIC HOUSING!

Santa Barbara City Council Members

The housing crisis in Santa Barbara was already severe before the pandemic, and now it is much worse. Between 2014 and 2019 rent skyrocketed over 27 percent while wages stagnated, leading to mass displacement of working-class tenants and permanent gentrification of the city. Through the pandemic, rent has increased an estimated 4 percent already, and “renovation” evictions have become disturbingly common over the last year. Meanwhile, the number of homeless people in the county has increased from 1,803 to 2,195 over the past two years. We desperately need thousands more units of housing, and SBTU believes such housing should be publicly funded, owned and controlled instead of more for-profit housing.

Sponsored by
Sbtu_landscape
Santa Barbara, CA

To: Santa Barbara City Council Members
From: [Your Name]

Dear Santa Barbara City Council Members,

The housing crisis in Santa Barbara was already severe before the pandemic, and now it is much worse. Between 2014 and 2019 rent skyrocketed over 27 percent while wages stagnated, leading to mass displacement of working-class tenants and permanent gentrification of the city (1). Through the pandemic, rent has increased an estimated 4 percent already (2), and “renovation” evictions have become disturbingly common over the last year. Meanwhile, the number of homeless people in the county has increased from 1,803 to 2,195 over the past two years (3)

The real estate industry will continue to act aggressively to increase profits as we enter into a post-pandemic era, which is why we need to act even more aggressively to counter its predatory and profit-seeking behavior. To this end, we demand the city convert the Santa Barbara Golf Club course on Las Positas into a massive, high quality public housing complex.

The state assembly is already entertaining the idea of rezoning municipal golf courses throughout California, so they can be converted into social housing (see AB 672, proposed in February 2021). The bill would rezone municipal golf courses for 25 percent affordable housing and 15 percent open space, but its passage is uncertain (4). We do not think city officials should sit around waiting for the state legislature to make the right decision, when you could just make the right decision right now. Golf may be a worthwhile recreational activity for some, but the people who work in this city cannot afford to live here.

Los Angeles architect Daniel Dunham estimates that the 200 acre Rancho Park Golf Course in Santa Monica could be converted into 15,000 housing units, housing 50,000 people. The Santa Barbara Golf Club course on Las Positas is 108 acres and could possibly create over 7,500 units and house 25,000 people if Dunham’s estimates are correct and can be generalized to our area. (5)

The State of California has mandated that Santa Barbara build 3,083 new housing units by 2023 (6); conversion of the SB Golf Club course on Las Positas could build more than twice this amount. While more detailed considerations such as impacts on the environment, traffic, and transit should inform the specifics of an initiative such as this, we believe a significant amount of housing units could--and should--be built where our municipal golf course exists currently.

We, the undersigned, support the City of Santa Barbara converting local municipal golf courses into high quality public housing.

References

1 -
https://www.independent.com/2018/09/20/latinos-are-being-pushed-out-santa-barbara-droves/

2-
https://newspress.com/rental-housing-tension/

3-
https://www.independent.com/2021/03/04/a-walk-through-santa-barbaras-tent-cities/

4-
https://www.smdp.com/proposed-bill-could-convert-penmar-golf-course-to-low-income-housing/204075

5 -
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-11/golf-courses-may-be-l-a-s-affordable-housing-fix

6 -
https://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_must_build_3083_new_housing_units_by_2023_20190407