Below Market’ Condos to Go to City Council

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Plans for a three-story complex of 45 condos on East Montecito Street selling marginally below market was approved by the Santa Barbara Planning Commission last week by a vote of 6-1 and will be reviewed by the Santa Barbara City Council next week. City planning staff is lukewarm about the project because its “affordability” levels-between $500,000 and $700,000-are not much lower than what the market currently provides. Developer Jeff Bermant argued that even with such relatively high prices allowed, the project remained a tight fit economically. He stressed that resale controls would keep the condos below market by limiting for how much extra owners could sell their units. Planning commissioners preferred the condos-half of which will be earmarked for employees of South Coast nonprofits-to a new office building, which is what the zoning currently allows. Because the project needs to be rezoned, it will require a five-vote supermajority when it goes to the council next week.

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