Permanent H-2A Housing Ordinance Established in Santa Maria

June 11, 2019
workforce development

Last week the Santa Maria City Council voted 4-1 to pass a permanent housing ordinance regarding employee housing in residential neighborhoods. Two months ago, the Council advised City staff to come back with a document inclusive of their amendments made to the previous staff proposal. On June 4th the ordinance was read into the record for the first time.

The ordinance permits houses in R-1 to operate with 6 or fewer employees without a permit, as established by California law. R-1 houses with 7 or more employees shall apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) through a public zoning administrator process that will also require noticing of neighbors within 300 ft. R-1 houses already established, without previously filed grievances, shall apply for a ministerial permit with the City. This over-the-counter permit can be issued by staff following a City inspection for code violations.

The ordinance allows the housing of employees in medium and high-density housing zones (R-2 and R-3) without the need for local permits. They will still be responsible for adhering to the recently updated performance standards.

There was no inclusion of language pertaining to tenant relocation compensation in this ordinance. Instead, the Council will discuss it as a separate issue and take pre-existing state laws regarding tenants’ rights into consideration.

The City also plans address hotel/motel use for housing of employees at a later date.

The City Council will have a second reading of the ordinance at the June 18th Council meeting, where additional amendments could be made.If agreed upon, the Ordinance will go into effect 30 days after.At this point, employers currently utilizing R-1 houses in the City of Santa Maria will need to begin the ministerial permit process (forms, inspection, etc.) to maintain the operation of their employee housing.

For more information contact: Laura Brown at lbrown@calstrawberry.org

Link to resource: https://link.calstrawberry.com/2m5

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