Tuesday brought big news to the local real estate community when the City Council voted to immediately suspend Zoning Information Reports (ZIRs) in the city of Santa Barbara,
What is a Zoning Information Report?
Zoning Information Report is required for every transfer of residential property within the city limits (before Tuesday, that is). ZIR's are intended to review a property's permitting and zoning history and disclose any illegalities (unpermitted work, violations of city ordinances, illegal dwellings, etc).
ZIR's have been a controversial matter in Santa Barbara for years. Critics contend that ZIRs are inconsistent and inaccurate. Others believe that the reports are important and beneficial to buyers and protect them from illegal development.
How did this happen?
The local real estate community gathered 7,000 signatures to place an item on the November ballot to repeal ZIRs all together but if the measured had passed, it would have been in violation of the city's Housing Element so a compromise was made. The real estate community agreed to withdraw the initiative from the November ballot and ZIRs were suspended. Now, home buyers will receive a link to the city's online database so they can review the permits on file on their own, without the necessity of a Zoning Report from the seller.
The measure will now be forwarded to the Planning Commission -- stay tuned for more updates!