A six-story, 84-unit housing complex is one of two live oak apartment proposals that take advantage of the Builder's Remedy.

An apartment complex is proposed at 3500 Paul Sweet Road in Live Oak. This developer’s rendering shows a four-story complex, but the proposal is now for a six-story complex of a similar design. (Workbench)

Last updated: April 2024

Location: 3500 Paul Sweet Road

The half-acre site is surrounded on three sides by Dominican Oaks, a retirement community. It is across the street from Oakwood Memorial Park and Cemetery.

Map of 3500 Paul Sweet Road


  • A pre-application has been submitted to Santa Cruz County. A full application is expected to be submitted by mid-June, said Workbench President Tim Gordin.


The Santa Cruz-based Workbench is the developer.

Project description

  • Total units: 84.
  • Affordable units: At least 17.
  • Height: About 80 feet.
  • Details: The proposed six-story building is a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

There is now at least one home and two smaller structures at 3500 Paul Sweet Road in Live Oak. (Jesse Kathan — Santa Cruz Local)

Approval process

Because of a state rule known as the Builder’s Remedy, neither the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission nor the county board of supervisors are expected to consider this project. Instead, they will be evaluated by county staff who have very limited ability to change the developments. 

  • The Builder’s Remedy allows developers to bypass some local zoning rules if a county or city doesn’t have a state-approved Housing Element. The Housing Element is an eight-year plan to allow for more housing.
  • Cities and counties were required to have their most recent housing element certified by the state by Dec. 31,2023. Santa Cruz County’s Housing Element was certified in April 2024.

Because Workbench submitted a pre-application before the Housing Element was approved, the project is considered under Builder’s Remedy rules. Those rules allow developers to build higher and denser buildings than would otherwise be allowed, and severely restrict the county’s ability to deny or change the development.

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