An LA-based developer’s plan to build 301 new apartments in Santa Maria—featuring an electric vehicle (EV) charging station for each apartment—recently won unanimous approval from the city’s Planning Commission and was lauded as “unprecendented” in its EV provisions.
Canfield Development Inc. was granted a planned development permit during the Santa Maria Planning Commission’s June 7 meeting, after presenting a general outline of Blosser Ranch—an upcoming gated community with a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments.
The multifamily residential complex will be located on an undeveloped 9.31-acre lot at the southeast corner of Blosser Road and La Brea Avenue. Thirteen apartments will be “set aside for very low-income families,” Tzemach Yemini, a representative of Canfield Development Inc., said during the meeting.
In addition to the 301 EV charging stations, the complex will include a few additional charging stations for visitors. During public comment, Heather Gray, founder of Gray Electrical Consulting and Engineering, described this type of initiative for a housing development in Santa Maria as “absolutely unprecedented” and “bracing where the industry trends are going.”
Planning Commissioner Tim Seifert also praised the project for “going the extra mile” in terms of adequate parking to prevent residents’ cars from spilling out onto the streets that surround the site. Blosser Ranch will include a total of 527 parking spots, while state law requires a minimum of 386 parking spaces for a development of its size, according to the staff report.
During public comment, Lindy Hatcher, executive director of the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast, said that the Blosser Ranch project “will positively contribute to the rental needs of our city with a variety of apartment styles.”
“We believe this project aligns with Santa Maria’s vision for responsible growth and expansion, and it adds more housing stock to reduce the skyrocketing costs of rental prices,” Hatcher said.
Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Yasameen Mohajer echoed Hatcher’s stance and said the project will provide “a variety of housing types that the community needs.” Mohajer also commended the developer for making “good use of the outdoor space,” as Blosser Ranch will include a children’s playground, pool, pet park, barbecue pits, and other amenities.
One of the proposed outdoor features got a brief eyebrow raise from Planning Commissioner Seifert before a quick clarification from the developer.
“What is life-sized chess?” Seifert asked.
“Life-sized chess is exactly how it sounds—it’s a chess board that is life-sized,” said Yemini, who mentioned the lawn game earlier as one of the gated community’s outdoor amenities. “The pieces are almost as tall as you.”
“This is popular now?” Seifert asked.
“It’s very popular, believe it or not,” Yemini said, followed by some laughs from the audience.
“I don’t stay up on stuff, but that’s great,” Seifert said.