Hoop structures

Plants grow in agricultural hoop structures off Santa Maria Way east of Highway 101. The County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss options for simplifying the permit process for hoop houses at its meeting Tuesday in Santa Maria.

Ordinances regulating hoop structures and encouraging construction of farmworker housing will be considered by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors when it meets Tuesday in Santa Maria.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room of the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Administration Building at 511 E. Lakeside Parkway.

Other agenda items include the formation of a Library Ad Hoc Committee to develop a model for sustainably delivering long-term library services; a review of the draft 2019 County Legislative Platform; and a resolution revising the Classification and Salary for Unrepresented Executives and Managers to add a new job classification.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam requested the hearing to direct staff to take whatever steps necessary to fulfill the board’s July 2017 order to complete a Land Use and Development Code amendment governing hoop structures.

The amendment being recommended by staff would exempt hoop structures 20 feet tall or less from development standards but would provide a number of permit options for the plastic-covered semicircular frames used to provide shade and control temperature and humidity of such crops as berries and cannabis.

However, the board will have three other optional amendments to consider as well.

The Planning and Development Department requested the hearing on amendments to the Land Use and Development Code that would streamline the permit process for farmworker housing and increase the occupancy at all permit levels.

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Streamlining permits and raising occupancy is expected to address the problem raised by a high demand for labor coupled with a shortage of affordable housing, according to a staff report.

Under the proposal, agricultural employee dwellings would be allowed in the agriculture 1 and 2 zones for up to four people with just a zoning clearance in the inland areas and up to nine people with a coastal development permit in the Coastal Zone, according to the report.

Allowed occupancy for each permit level would increase over what is currently allowed.

For example, in the inland areas, housing for five to 24 employees would be allowed with a land use permit, for 25 to 34 employees would be allowed with a minor conditional use permit and 35 or more could be housed with a conditional use permit.

The amendment would also clarify that mobile homes, manufactured homes and park trailers that comply with state regulations can be used as agricultural employee housing.

Those unable to attend the board meeting Tuesday in Santa Maria can view it live-streamed on YouTube and on the Board of Supervisors website at www.countyofsb.org/bos.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.