In an effort to encourage smaller, more affordable housing units the City of Santa Barbara enacted the Average Unit – Size Density (AUD) Incentive Program in 2013. The program allows increased density for smaller unit sizes and decreased parking requirements. This project on a small vacant parcel adjacent to City College demonstrates the potential of the AUD zoning to increase housing opportunities while providing a more desirable living environment.
Under conventional zoning the site had a previously approved 5 unit condo project containing nine bedrooms within 5,400 s.f. of habitable space and 5 two car garages. This resulted in a design of one large structure that turns away from the street, with the minimum complying amount of open space and forcing the required private open space for each dwelling up onto second floor decks.
In contrast the AUD project creates 7, two bedroom, rental town homes in essentially the same habitable area distributed in two smaller structures around a central auto court. The front building addresses the street with entries accessed through semi-private dooryards, screening the auto court, with the rear structure entered off the central space providing surveillance over the common areas. This allows for a generous common open space along the southern edge and lets each unit have its own on grade private rear yard.
This project proves the AUD delivers significantly more housing in a more economical way, compatible with the surroundings, but just importantly allows for more livable housing opportunities for the community.