Tuesday, April 13, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 6

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on March 31st, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 5 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 22, Issue 5

NIMBY alert


Whenever there is a development project, you know they’ll be there. Hitch in their giddy-up, all discombobulated over housing—especially higher density housing. 

The NIMBY opposition is predictable. I can make the arguments for them. They don’t even need to waste their breath telling the world. We already know!

Don’t you realize that there will be more traffic? 

And our views? They will disappear! 

It will ruin our property values!

What will happen to our rural, quaint, beautiful community?

Yes, we know there’s a housing crisis. Yes, we know we need more homes to be built. We absolutely agree. But this is just getting rammed through too fast. We need common sense development—and our neighborhood just isn’t the place for it. We need it somewhere else. 

Those are the arguments trotted out for every housing development proposal. It could be in Los Alamos, where resident Seth Steiner, who’s the Shaw Street Maintenance Association president, and 15 other homeowners in the area raised alarm late last year over six to 11 possible homes that could possibly impact traffic on a quiet road currently used to access 18 homes. 

“This charming portion of Los Alamos would suffer immeasurably,” he told the Sun last November. 

Immeasurably. Oh my god! Eleven homes could destroy us! Never you mind that the development hasn’t actually been proposed yet. It could be 20 years before anything is built. 

Or it could be in Orcutt: where a group of residents are just as pissed that their sense of privacy and seclusion would be lost with construction of 119 homes that would use Chancellor Street as one of their access roads. 

“We kind of moved here and we put a gate on that road because we like our privacy,” Bill “not the county sheriff” Brown said on behalf of those who live near the proposed development site. 

Wow, so those “Keep Out” signs are serious?! 

The developer agreed to maintain said road out of its own pocket, and almost 100 acres of space would be dedicated to open space, public trails, and an overlook. Not good enough, Brown and his cohort say! 

Think of the traffic

But it’s not just 119 homes, you know. Another 160 high-density multi-family units can be constructed “by right” on some of the acreage next to Brown’s home. By right, meaning that’s what it’s zoned for. But, but, but—it doesn’t match our rural character! 

When Santa Barbara County rezoned that area, in 2009, would have been a really good time to put up a fight over traffic, you guys. And the county needs housing, like badly. According to the last Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the unincorporated areas of the Santa Maria Valley (here’s looking at you, Orcutt) need to build 661 homes during the current housing cycle. The county as a whole, has met 41 percent of its housing needs so far this cycle (from 2015 to 2023).

Not good. 

Opposition group arguments include—Yes, you guessed it!—traffic safety. Noise (how could I have forgotten that one). Light pollution (ooh, that’s a new one)! And yes, property value losses! 

I get it: 300 more homes is a lot. But where are we supposed to build housing if nobody wants it next to them?

The Canary thinks it’s time to build some nests. Send comments to canary@santamariasun.com.

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