Central Coast roundup

By El Latino Newsroom
[email protected]

According to city officials the proposed project, named «The Neighborhood at State & Hope» is an important development in the ongoing efforts to address the city’s housing needs while aligning with the 2023-2031 Housing Element and ensuring sustainable and strategic growth.

“This mixed-use development project, located on an 8.7-acre site, proposes the construction of 642 rental housing units including studios, one-, two-, and a few three-bedroom units,” said the local officials in a press release.

Notably, 54 of these homes will be dedicated to very low- and moderate-income households, enhancing the city’s affordable housing portfolio and providing diverse living options for residents at various stages of life.

«The Neighborhood at State & Hope» proposal allocates 5% of its housing units to very low-income households, entitling it to certain waivers under the State Density Bonus Law.

The City informed that in compliance with this law, the project has requested a waiver to exceed the City Charter’s 60-foot height limit by 16.5 feet to accommodate the increased density allowed under State Density Bonus Law.

“While the City of Santa Barbara, as a charter city, typically enacts land use laws, state legislative mandates can override local laws in specific cases, especially concerning affordable housing,” said the City in a press release.

According to the real state company Zillow, as of 2024, the average rent for a studio apartment is $2,395, while a one-bedroom apartment averages $2,495.

Meanwhile a two-bedroom apartment averages around $3,106 per month, and a three-bedroom apartment can cost $3,862 or more.

AS a whole, Zillow reports the average cost of renting a studio, apartment or a house in Santa Barbara is $4,700.

State Density Bonus Law requires cities to waive development standards, including height limits, to accommodate the density entitled under the law, unless specific conditions are met.

 The project’s applicant team has invited all interested parties to a Community Open House on Wednesday, January 17th, from 5-7 p.m. to discuss the project elements.

This gathering is open to the public and will be located in La Cumbre Plaza, at the Grace Fisher Foundation Inclusive Arts Clubhouse (across from Williams-Sonoma).

View the Community Open House Flyer at,

The Ventura County Sheriff Department arrested a 31-year-old man from Fillmore for spray-painting graffiti on numerous businesses throughout the city and causing hundreds of dollars of vandalism damage to these private business owners.

Everything happened on January 7, at approximately 10:14 PM, when employees of a Fillmore business in the 900 block of West Ventura Street, called the Sheriff’s Communication Center (to report an in-progress vandalism crime at the establishment. 

Fillmore patrol deputies responded immediately to the scene and positively identified Leonardo Morales as the suspect, who at the time was currently on probation for similar vandalism crimes. 

During a search of Morales, deputies located spray paint cans on his person, which were used to commit the graffiti vandalism in question, then deputies arrested Morales for felony vandalism.   

Following Morales’ arrest, agents and detectives assigned to the Fillmore station located additional victims of vandalism crimes linking Morales as the suspect. 

These business locations were in the 900 block of West Ventura Street, 700 block of West Ventura Street, and Fillmore City property located in the 900 block of Old Telegraph Road.

Morales was subsequently booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility for violations of felony Graffiti Vandalism and violation of probation.  Morales remains in custody with his bail set at $20,000. 

Graffiti vandalism is an eyesore that directly affects the quality of life in our communities. According to the Sheriff Department, left unchecked graffiti can decrease property values and lead to the deterioration of entire neighborhoods, also the removal of graffiti costs homeowners, business owners and taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.

The Fillmore Police Department encourages citizens to immediately report suspicious people and vehicles, and to promptly report any graffiti they come across by calling our dispatch center at (805) 654-9511.

The Thousand Oaks Patrol Deputies received a report of an elderly resident of Thousand Oaks who suffered a significant financial loss through a phone scam. 

“Phone scam had similarities to an overall increasing trend of scam phone calls. So we ask the community to be aware and alert of these suspicious calls,” said the VCSO in a press release.

According to the authorities, during these scams suspects call or text victims and pretend to be with a trusted company or government entity, while trying to make believe the victims they are required to pay large sums of money over the phone for various reasons. 

“One of the common reasons includes scammers convincing the victims they are involved in a criminal investigation and must pay bail over the phone,” the VCSO said.

After learning of the incident, the East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit launched an investigation into the matter. 

Through an extensive inquiry, detectives were able to learn the identity of some of the involved scammers, and were able to associate the suspects from this scam with a similar case that occurred in another state.

Last Wednesday, detectives obtained and served a residential search warrant at a residence in Calabasas where additional evidence was located. 

Authorities arrested one of the suspects involved in the scam, Kevin Ahir, who was arrested for Felony theft by false pretenses, Felony conspiracy to commit a crime, and Felony theft from an elder or dependent adult. 

Detectives believe Ahir did not work alone in the scam and are actively pursuing the other involved suspect(s).

Ahir is currently in custody at the Ventura County Main Jail with his bail set at $200,000.00.

The East County Investigations Fraud/Forgery Unit reminds the public that law enforcement agencies will never ask nor contact citizens to pay for bills, fines, bail or warrants over the phone. 

“If anyone receives a suspected scam call, we recommend hang up, block the number (if possible), and do not send the scammers any money,” the authorities said.

To report a scam case, please contact the Sheriff’s Dispatch at, 805-654-9511.