Brisa Encina Supportive Housing Project

Brisa Encina (Oak Breeze) is conceived as a residential care community proposed on a portion of a 3.56-acre vacant parcel in the peaceful neighborhood of Mission Hills. The project is comprised of the following:

  • Seventy (70) small but fully independent residences (with a kitchen and full bath),
  • A free-standing common dining room with commercial kitchen, and
  • A free-standing support services building containing offices, common meeting room and recreation areas.

Award-winning architects, RRM Design Group, used the nearby historic La Purisima Mission as the inspiration for the project’s design aesthetic.  As a result, the project incorporates low-profile and single-story structures, arches and decorative tile accents throughout, and mission tiles on the roof.  The major visual element of development will be a central courtyard with two prominent oak trees and a decorative water fountain.  Both the oak trees and the fountain will be up-lit at night and visible to the public from Burton Mesa Boulevard.  The fountain will use recirculated water.

For the purpose of protecting the adjacent residential neighbor’s views to the north, we are proposing to grade, and thus lower, the footprint of the project structures into the site – as well as incorporate low-profile building design.  A mock-up of the buildings using poles and netting will be displayed on the project site for a week in the near future (August or September 2018).  Photos of the mock-up will be on the project website

Brisa Encina will feature xeriscape, drought-tolerant landscaping to match the Mission’s vegetation palate including olive, oak and pepper trees, mission wine grapes, as well as fire-resistant decorative plants. The entire facility will have LED lighting and motion detectors both of which save energy and decrease light pollution in the exterior areas.

Brisa Encina will incorporate the latest construction materials and techniques to ensure that it is an environmentally friendly addition to the surrounding community. The construction will employ the latest fire-safety, seismic-safety and indoor air purification standards. Wherever possible, we will also use sustainable or recycled building materials.

Disaster protection of our residents is a principal concern. We are working with the County Fire Agency to design our facility so that residents can shelter in place in the event of an immediate disaster, instead of being transported off-site.  As a result, this community will have a minimal impact on the emergency exit routes of the surrounding neighborhoods. Furthermore, back-up batteries and a generator onsite will power the fire detection, alarm and suppression systems, lights, and a centralized communication system in the event of an emergency – enhancing overall community safety.

The design team aims to promote energy conservation by installing photo voltaic solar panels with the ultimate goal of being net zero in energy consumption. The solar panels are to be placed mainly on the south-facing roof slopes and so they will be obscured from views from the adjacent roadways.  Electric vehicles charging stations will be provided in the parking areas and interior charging stations will serve the mobility assisting devices for our residents.  And, as with all our projects, we will be mindful of our trash impacts by facilitating an in-house recycling program.

Applicants who apply to reside at Brisa Encina must satisfy three eligibility requirements: they must be lower-income (earn less than $3,510 per month), they must be disabled as defined by California state law, and they must benefit from at least some of the services available on site.  These services include: assistance with meal preparation, occupational therapy, counseling, medication management or other activities of daily life.  Brisa Encina will be completely physicallyaccessible ensuring the inclusivity of all eligible applicants regardless of their mobility requirements.

Typically, most residents at residential care communities do not have cars and therefore the parking lots are nearly empty except for employees and support-staff vehicles.  Since most residents don’t drive, Brisa Encina will have its own van to transport residents.  Also, the site is located across the street from the COLT Bus route with hourly pick-up and drop-off services from approximately 7 am to 7 pm daily. Traffic studies of residential care communities, as well as real world experiences, have consistently shown that they have a negligible impact on local traffic and produce less traffic than most any other use. We are currently having a traffic and parking study prepared for this project which will be available to the public for review.

In comparison to what else could be developed on the subject property in its zoning classification of SC (Shopping Center), it is notable how few impacts (such as noise, odor, traffic, safety) that this use will have on the neighborhood. Below are lists of uses that could be developed on the property either with no County Planning review, or with only a Land Use Permit – according to the County Zoning ordinance (Code Sections 35.24.030 and 080):

Uses Permitted Outright (no County or neighborhood review required):

  • Oil or gas pipeline
  • Flood control project

Uses Permitted with only a Land Use Permit required (minimal County review and neighborhood noticing):

  • Animal hospital
  • Daycare center
  • Cannabis sales
  • Liquor store
  • Farm labor housing
  • Agricultural labor housing
  • Service station as a part of a shopping center
  • Laundromat

Uses with a Conditional Use Permit Required:

  • Drive-in and Drive-through facilities
  • Sports and outdoor recreation facility

Development Standards:

In addition to being a less intensive useof the property than many allowable or conditionally allowable uses, the development standardsthat we are employing at Brisa Encina are also less intense than what is allowed by the County Zoning ordinance (Code Section 35.24.040):

County of Santa Barbara Code       Brisa Encina Difference
HEIGHT Maximum allowed – 35 feet           21 ft. average 14 ft. lower
LOT COVERAGE (structures) Maximum allowed   – 30%              23% 7 % less coverage
LANDSCAPING MINIMUM Minimum allowed     – 5%              23% 18% more
VEHICLE PARKING Minimum number    – 78 Spaces           91 spaces 13 spaces extra
    Front Minimum Allowed – 20 feet              53 ft. + 33 feet + extra
    Side/Residential Minimum Allowed – 10 feet            171 ft. 161 feet extra
    Rear/Residential Minimum Allowed – 10 feet              10 ft + alley 32-foot alley

In addition to exceeding the County’s design standards, we propose to improve a pedestrian trail bisecting the property through the native vegetation, and a basin at the eastern corner of the property which will collect rainwater run-off onsite.

The developer of Brisa Encina, Frank Thompson Housing Consultants/Firebird Properties, has a long and successful record of creating low-income supportive housing in Southern California.  It is our avocation as well as our vocation to provide housing for these underserved populations.  It is a sad fact that all of our projects have long waiting lists.  Here are some local or proximate low-income supportive housing projects that FTHC has developed with the addresses listed for you to visit. Please be respectful and do not disturb the residents.

Lompoc:  Rainbow Plaza at 220 West Pine Avenue, Lompoc

(This community is the closest in size, scale and target population to Brisa Encina, however please note that it is a 36 year old development)

Santa Barbara:   Arlington Inn Apartments at 125 West Anapamu St, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara:    Garden Court at 1116 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara

Note: This project won the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award as well several other industry excellence awards.

While most of these projects were met with resistance from the surrounding communities when first announced, they have since been embraced and are considered to be a valued neighborhood addition.  Our market analysis ensures that we build supportive housing projects only where there is alocalneed and therefore principally serve the local community, not typically drawing from far outside the area.  In the case of Brisa Encina, we will draw primarily from the Mission Hills/Vandenberg neighborhoods, and then out to the Lompoc Valley as well.

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions tab in this website for any questions about the project which are not provided in this description or contact us directly at: Frank Thompson Housing Consultants: (805) 957-1301.  Ask to speak with Frank Thompson or Mary Dochterman.

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