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Op-Ed: New Bid to Repeal Sacto's Seizure of Local Planning & Development Control - How to Connect

(Editor's note: At a time when state government has expropriated considerable power which local California communities have long held over planning and permitting issues, a statewide campaign has emerged to rescind one-size-fits-all edicts imposed in the last several years. Today Newsmakers is publishing the view of a local supporter).

By Mary Turley

Many Santa Barbara residents are bemoaning the high level of building activity taking place in our beloved town and neighborhoods.

State laws are being passed with cookie-cutter policies, which don’t fit the needs of our city, impact our infrastructure, and usurp our local land use planning. State of California Housing and Community Development Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) number of units, which the city of Santa Barbara is required to zone for, is outrageously high - at 8001 units!

And Santa Barbara's first application taking advantage of the so-called "Builder's Remedy" has been filed by a controversial, out-of-town developer and received by the city Planning Department. You can find an article on a Los Angeles real estate website trumpeting the proposal here.

How can we take back control of our local land use policies and planning from Sacramento? What can we do when most of the housing built as a result of current policies -- in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and unincorporated areas of the county -- will not be affordable to the folks who live and work here?

Our Neighborhood Voices is a grassroots group of residents working statewide on an initiative, for the November 2024 ballot, to return land use decisions to local municipalities in California. This effort needs widespread support to ensure success: for more background about the campaign, please visit the Our Neighborhood Voices website.

And please join a Santa Barbara Town Hall about Our Neighborhood Voices:

Because this is a statewide effort, which will apply to all California municipalities seeking to regain local control, please forward this commentary to friends and family throughout the state. All are welcome to join the Town Hall via the Zoom link above. No RSVP required.

Check out Our Neighborhood Voices website for more information -- as well as regular Wednesday evening updates via this Zoom link: Join ONVs Every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

And please feel free to email me with any questions, at

Longtime Santa Barbara resident Mary Turley is a grassroots neighborhood advocate who lives on the Mesa.

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