Freqently Asked Questions

Is this the right place for affordable homes and a bungalow retreat?

The City zoning on the two project parcels, along with one other at the opposite end of the Bluffs Preserve, is Planned Unit Development “PUD,” which allows a multitude of mixed-uses, including residential and hospitality.  This zoning has existed for at least 21 years (the General Plan/Local Coastal Plan was adopted in 2003) and has never been changed by the City.  The privately owned property is bound by City Hall and the Skate Park to the West and the Bluffs Preserve to the East.

With the feedback from City Council, Planning Commission, Staff, ARB Members, and community members in 2022, we shifted all of the buildings further towards the West (Chevron and City Hall/Skatepark) and North (Carpinteria Avenue) to create more contiguous open space between the buildings and the preserve and oceanfront.

Is the project scale right for this site?

While City regulations allow for building coverage on the site of up to 30%, we feel a low-density project is most appropriate for the environment and the community, so we are proposing only 10% coverage. This means instead of 360,000 square feet of buildings covering the lot, we are only proposing 126,000 square feet of lot coverage, 24,000 square feet of which is affordable housing. The other 90% of the property will be landscape, agriculture, and hardscape areas. Of this 90%, 71% is for new permanent open space, landscape and agricultural areas and 18% is for walking paths, wood decking, roadways, and parking areas.

How are you protecting the views?

We designed our project with Carpinteria’s beautiful views in mind, both for the residents and visitors. We have done our own equivalent of a draft Environmental Impact Report that informed the location and design of the buildings to be sure we preserve views.  Instead of proposing the allowed 3-story, 30-foot tall buildings, we are only proposing several 2-story buildings under the allowable height limit. Story poles show how the buildings are carefully designed to sit within the natural landscape and protect viewsheds from both Carpinteria Avenue and the Ocean.

How does this help our housing crisis? (and who will live there?)

We are partnered with People Self-Help Housing (PSSH), a locally trusted affordable housing group to offer this sustainable housing solution. The units will be permanently affordable and designed for local community members who meet the income qualifications. Based on feedback from the City Council, Planning Commission, Staff, ARB Members, and members of the community, we increased the number of units from 16 to 40 plus one manager’s unit. 

How does this project benefit our community?

The project:

  • Preserves nearly 14 NEW acres of open space, bringing the total preserved bluffs area to almost 87 acres, at no cost to the community. 
  • Restores the native plant ecosystem on 19.6 acres of the property.
  • Creates nearly 2 miles of dedicated public trails.
  • Generates an estimated $2 million in annual general fund revenue for the City, for public safety, and more.
  • Provides a needed place for community gatherings and celebrations.
  • Offers affordable homes for Carpinterians, to be managed by People’s Self-Help Housing.
  • Promotes and protects regenerative farming.
  • Offers NEW public open space & trails on what is currently privately owned land, which will be managed by a third-party conservation group.
  • Creates a 99-room bungalow-style retreat, immersing visitors in the beauty of the bluffs.

How will the nearly 14 acres of new public open space be managed?

Working with a local, trusted conservation group, we envision this newly preserved open space via a Conservation Easement as a Privately Owned Public Open Space or  “POPO.” This nearly 14-acre active and passive recreation and open space would be on our Southern parcel and Northern parcels, with an agricultural conservation easement on our eastern farmland area. The conservation easement and an endowment fund to manage these spaces will exist in perpetuity to ensure they remain open and managed forever.

How will you protect the seal rookery and the bluff edge?

Protection of the seals and their rookery is a shared goal.  That’s why we are following the City’s approved Seal Rookery management plan and creating the called for lookout for the Seal Rookery.  We are open to further engagement with the Seal Watch group and other community members on a specific site location for the lookout that will allow locals and visitors alike to respectfully view and protect the seals and stay off the beach.

We intend to restore the bluff edge using the guidance of the City of Carpinteria’s Open Space Management Master Plan. It calls for a 30’ natural vegetation buffer from the bluff edge to prevent further bluff erosion, and a 20’ coastal trail for walking and cycling that connects the last piece of the coastal bluff trail puzzle.

Where will you get water for the bungalow retreat and homes?

Carpinteria Valley Water District has already issued a letter guaranteeing they have the water to serve our proposed project. With water conservation and reuse integrated into the project, water usage is estimated to be the same as the property’s historical water use.  We plan to recapture gray water from different parts of the project, reusing the water for non-agricultural landscaping use.

What environmental studies have you done?

Before submitting the project to the city for review, we commissioned a Draft Environmental Review study by a third-party expert to be sure we understood all of this unique property’s environmental dynamics.  This study was not required by the City for the initial planning application but was vital to making sure we designed the best project from the beginning, one that avoids impacts and highlights the unique bluffs property. Wanting to have this level of detail inform the project comes from Matthew Goodwin’s architectural and planning background, along with the team’s collective desire to design a project for locals and visitors that honors the spirit of this beautiful site.

How does building a bungalow retreat support preservation?

We are proposing the southern parcel and large area of the northern parcel be kept as open space and permanently protected through a Conservation Easement – nearly 14 acres.  It would be restored with native habitat and landscape, along with creating the coastal trail connection that has been the missing link for many years to complete the coastal trail system.  An endowment from the hotel revenue from the bungalow retreat will ensure funding to maintain and preserve the open space in perpetuity.

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