In a decision driven by state housing law and the need for more housing in Santa Paula, Ventura County and the state, the Santa Paula City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that will allow all types of housing as a permitted use by-right in commercial zones, becoming the first Ventura County city to do so.
Developers who want to build housing in Santa Paula’s commercial corridors can now do so without a public hearing before the City Council or Planning Commission.
Typically, city staff write staff reports that make a recommendation on developments to city councils and planning commissions, which then can approve or deny the project. Allowing housing "by-right" in commercial zones means that instead of a discretionary review process with public hearings before the City Council and Planning Commission, city staff will decide on housing developments. The public can still weigh in through a public comment process, but those comments will now go directly to city staff, who can weigh the comments in their decision-making process.
Community leaders have discussed adding housing to the city’s downtown corridor since the 1990’s, but state housing law pushed the city to take action this year. The hope is that the zoning change will encourage more affordable housing units in these commercial areas, allowing the city to meet its housing goals.
*Excerpted from: Rode, Erin. (2020, September 20). To address housing shortage, Santa Paula will allow housing in all commercial zones. Ventura County Star.