The Sustainable Living Research Ordinance (SLRO) provides Goleta local government with a regulatory pathway to enable residential sustainability projects and designs otherwise illegal under current law. The ordinance does so by designating a property as a "Sustainable Living Research Site," where practices including natural building, onsite wastewater treatment, and self-sustaining agricultural villages would be permitted uses.
The SLRO grants property owners the right to develop such innovative practices in collaboration with professors and student researchers from local educational and research institutions, including the University of California, Santa Barbara, who would test, document, and publish the results of their research. Local government agencies including the building, health, and planning departments would have access to and oversight of research sites.
Long-term goals of the Goleta SLRO include:
- Local agriculture and local food autonomy
- Sustainable, low-water agricultural methods
- Reduced lifecycle cost of residential structures
- Reduced infrastructure burden through:
- Higher density development
- Retrofit of existing dwellings
- Improved public health via reduced building toxicity
- Improved regional water quality via:
- increased permeable land and reduced runoff
- reduced septic/sewer overloading
- Increased disaster resilience
- Reduced use of drinking water for irrigation
- Leadership role in sustainable development and design
Championed by Santa Barbara resident Ben Werner and widely supported by Goleta City government, the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) is proud to have lent our input and support for this groundbreaking policy and are hopeful that the ordinance will be adopted sometime in 2014.