In the wake of a passionate election season in which affordable housing was one of the major topics of debate, a large housing project was just approved in the City of Santa Cruz. The Pacific Front project is a 205-rental unit housing project which includes ground-floor commercial space and two floors of parking garage.

Have you ever heard of Measure O? Under this measure, developers of housing projects must make a certain percentage of their units “affordable”. Chapter 24.16.020 section 5 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code stipulates that a housing project like the Pacific Front project must allocate 15% of all dwelling units as inclusionary units — they will be made available for rent to low income households at an affordable rent.

A major topic of debate around this project has been City Council’s proposal to waive this requirement for the Pacific Front housing project in exchange for two to three parcels of adjacent Pacific Avenue property. The City plans to build a 100 percent affordable housing development on the land, which will ultimately result in more affordable housing than if the 15% rule was followed.

Now that the project has been approved, time will tell when the City’s project will come to  fruition. But one thing is clear: market-rate housing is coming to downtown Santa Cruz.

Read more about the approval process in this Sentinel Article.

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