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 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 22



Meeting Date: December 10, 2002

Subject/Title: Consideration of an Ordinance amending Chapter 17.250 of the Brentwood Municipal Code, relating to car wash and drive-thru uses in the C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) Zone

Submitted by: Community Development: M. Oshinsky/E. Nolthenius

Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager



RECOMMENDATION
The Planning Commission recommends that the City Council introduce and waive the first reading of an Ordinance amending car wash and drive-thru uses in the C-1 Zone.

PREVIOUS ACTION
On October 22, 2002, the City Council denied the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Tri-City Plaza project in the C-1 Zone that included a mechanical car wash and drive-thru; thereby Council approved the project.

BACKGROUND
On September 3, 2002, the Planning Commission approved the Tri-City Plaza project, a multi-tenant commercial development located at the southeast corner of Lone Tree Way and the realigned Fairview Avenue. The project site is zoned C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial), which is intended to provide neighborhood convenience centers serving the day to day needs of the surrounding neighbors within a one mile radius. Among other uses, the Tri-City Plaza project includes a “mechanical” car wash and a gas station convenience store with a drive-thru for a deli/café. The C-1 Zone currently does not permit mechanical car washes, but does permit "non-mechanical" car washes and "drive-thru establishments relating to permitted uses in the zone, excluding a drive-in or drive-thru restaurant" subject to approval of a conditional use permit (CUP) by the Planning Commission at a public hearing.

The Planning Commission discussed these zoning "inconsistencies" relative to the Tri-City Plaza project at length and ultimately voted to approve the project with the mechanical car wash and drive-thru uses, including in their motion to approve the project: “. . . that staff comes back to us at the earliest convenience with a Zoning Code amendment” to modify the language in the C-1 Zone, to make mechanical car washes a permitted use subject to a CUP. The Commission directed staff to bring the ordinance amendment at its first meeting in October, so that the amendment would be in place prior to the issuance of building permits for the Tri-City Plaza project (please see attached Planning Commission transcript excerpt of September 3rd). 

Two members of the City Council subsequently appealed the Commission's approval of the project, with the appeal considered by the Council on October 22, 2002. The zoning amendment was held up until the appeal was heard. The issue related to the C-1 Zone conditionally permitted uses consistency with Tri-City Plaza approval was raised at the appeal hearing, and Staff explained that the decision to process the project as proposed was based on several factors.

The City did approve a mechanical car wash in the C-1 Zone, subject to a CUP and a noise study, when it approved the Shanks Chevron car wash on Balfour Road and Griffith Lane in 1997. Staff concluded, after submittal of the Tri-City Plaza application, that the only significant difference between "mechanical" and "non-mechanical" car washes is the generation of noise. Since the project was going to include the preparation of an independent noise study and the appropriateness of a mechanical car wash was going to be considered as part of a discretionary action (the CUP) at a noticed public hearing by the Commission, staff accepted the project for processing.

Staff explained to the Council at the appeal hearing that research had been conducted subsequent to the Commission meeting through the League of California Cities to see how car washes are characterized, and whether or not there is a distinction between mechanical and non-mechanical types. Staff received 12 responses, and the majority of them indicated that there is no distinction made between mechanical and non-mechanical car washes. Most cities use the general term of "car wash", and require a CUP in the respective zone. Staff also personally contacted a number of other cities within Contra Costa County, most notably the surrounding cities of Antioch, Oakley, Pittsburg, Concord, Walnut Creek, and Clayton. None of those cities distinguish between mechanical and non-mechanical car washes, with the exception of Pittsburg, whose zoning ordinance related to the issue is somewhat complicated. 

With regards to the drive-thru use, Staff did not view it as a restaurant, but rather as an accessory use to the primary permitted retail quick-serve use of the convenience store. Staff explained to the Council that with the Safeway center on Balfour and Fairview, it had recently established the practice of treating quick-serve uses as retail rather than restaurant uses. Such quick-serve uses are allowed 20 seats or less, and are deemed less intense than standard restaurants, requiring only half the amount of parking. The approved food use as part of the Tri-City Plaza project has a maximum of 20 seats and is therefore not considered a restaurant, but rather a less intense quick-serve use. The Shanks Chevron has a similar quick-serve deli use inside it’s convenience store. In addition, the Council has established policy in approving other restaurant drive-thru facilities in C-1 zones (Taco Bell (via CUP 86-3) and KFC (via CUP 88-10) on Brentwood Boulevard). Council has also looked favorably on drive-thrus brought before them more recently for a variety of uses, including a café and pharmacy. Also, adding a drive-thru, as an accessory use to the Tri-City Plaza project quick-serve, did not cause significant traffic impacts. 

The Council denied the appeal of the Tri-City Plaza project by a 3-2 vote, thereby approving the project including the mechanical car wash and drive through. 

The Planning Commission motion for approval of the project included direction to staff to bring an action back to it that would amend the C-1 Zone language to allow drive-thru and car wash uses, subject to a CUP. The Planning Commission wanted the language in the C-1 Zone to be consistent with the uses approved in Tri-City Plaza project as the Zone text relates to car washes and drive-thru uses. As such, the Planning Commission made a motion directing staff to bring back a text amendment to Section 17.250.003 (Conditionally Permitted Uses) of the Municipal Code.

The first change, as proposed and recommended to Council for approval by the Planning Commission, would delete the words "non-mechanical" that precede "car wash" in Section A of the attached Ordinance. This will mean that all future car washes proposed in the C-1 Zone will require a CUP and environmental review. They will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis at a public hearing and the Commission will have the ability to approve them with conditions or deny them with appropriate findings. 

The second proposed change recommended to Council for approval by the Planning Commission, would delete the words "restricted to sit down facility only" following "restaurant or café" in Section A of the attached Ordinance and would delete the remaining words following "drive-in or drive-thru establishments" in Section B. The recommended changes are shown in the attached ordinance. This will require all restaurants and all drive-thrus to obtain a CUP in the C-1 Zone.

Staff would like to point out that this amendment will apply not only to the Tri-City Plaza project site, but it will also provide greater clarification and more up to date standards for future developments in all other existing and future areas zoned C-1 in the City. 

FISCAL IMPACT
This amendment should not result in any significant fiscal impacts.

EXHIBITS
Ordinance
Planning Commission Transcript Excerpt of 9/3/02 





























ORDINANCE NO.

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING CHAPTER 17.250 OF THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE, RELATING TO CAR WASH AND DRIVE-THRU USES IN THE C-1 (NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL) ZONE.

WHEREAS, Chapter 17.250 of the Brentwood Municipal Code regulates development in the C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) Zone; and

WHEREAS, Section 17.250.003 specifies those uses which are conditionally permitted in the C-1 Zone, including non-mechanical car washes and drive-thru uses; and

WHEREAS, it is the City's goal to encourage and facilitate economic development, and provide convenient services to residents and businesses; and

WHEREAS, a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) has previously been approved by the City in the C-1 Zone that allows a mechanical car wash for CUP 96-09 (Shanks Chevron); and

WHEREAS, two CUPs have previously been approved by the City in the C-1 Zone that allow drive-thru uses accessory to food establishments, including CUP 86-3 (Taco Bell) and CUP 88-10 (Kentucky Fried Chicken), and more recently the City Council has approved several other drive-thru uses in the City; and

WHEREAS, Section 17.250.003 as it relates to car washes is outdated and inconsistent with most other cities in California, including the majority of surrounding cities in Contra Costa County, since they do not distinguish between mechanical and non-mechanical carwash types, and since the majority of car washes being proposed at this point in time contain at least some kind of mechanical component, even those that are classified as touchless, hand, or self-service car washes; and 

WHEREAS, Section 17.250.003 as it relates to drive-thru uses is outdated, since a number of food establishments include drive-thru windows as part of their design; and 

WHEREAS, on September 3, 2002, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and approved a CUP for a proposed project (CUP 01-24 for the Tri-City Plaza) with mechanical car wash and drive-thru uses, with the motion for approval including that Staff bring back an ordinance amendment to modify the language in the C-1 Zone, to make mechanical car washes a permitted use subject to a CUP; and

WHEREAS, an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of CUP 01-24 was filed; and

WHEREAS, on October 22, 2002, the City Council held a public hearing and denied the appeal, upholding the Commission's approval of the project including the mechanical car wash, drive through, and direction to amend the C-1 Zone to allow those uses subject to a CUP; and 

WHEREAS, with this Municipal Code Amendment to allow mechanical car washes and drive-thrus as permitted uses in the C-1 Zone, subject to approval of a CUP, the Planning Commission will retain the ability to review each car wash and drive-thru proposal on a case-by-case basis, subject to a CUP, noticed public hearing and environmental review, including any required studies, and can determine the appropriateness of the proposed land use, and can impose conditions to mitigate any potential environmental impacts; and

WHEREAS, this action has been reviewed per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Pursuant to Section 15061(a)(3) of CEQA this activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects that have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA. Also, pursuant to Sections 15168(c) and 15162 of the CEQA Guidelines, the project is within the scope of development evaluated in the Brentwood General Plan Program EIR. No substantial changes have occurred to the circumstances under which that EIR was certified and no new information, which was not known and could not have been known at the time that the EIR was certified as complete, has become available relating to the environmental effects of this project. Therefore, the Program EIR for the General Plan is adequate for the approval relating to the project; and

WHEREAS, on November 19, 2002, the Planning Commission of the City of Brentwood held a public hearing on the proposed amendment and passed Resolution No. 02-80, recommending to the City Council that Chapter 17.250 of the Brentwood Municipal Code related to car wash and drive-thru uses be amended; and

WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Ledger-Dispatch on November 29, 2002, according to City policies and Government Code Section 65090; and

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood held a public hearing on the proposed amendment at its regular meeting on December 10, 2002, for the purpose of reviewing the code amendment and the recommendation from the Planning Commission; and

WHEREAS, after close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by staff, the staff report, the recommendation from the Planning Commission, and all other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the proposed ordinance amendment; and 

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood makes the following finding per the Brentwood Municipal Code associated with this amendment:

This amendment is consistent with the General Plan and other applicable City plans, and is appropriate to the public interest, in that it will help achieve General Plan Goals and Policies, and help support economic development and provide convenient services to residents and businesses. This amendment is also consistent with carrying out the direction of the Planning Commission and City Council to amend the Municipal Code prior to the issuance of building permits for the Tri-City Plaza project.

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Brentwood hereby amends the Brentwood Municipal Code as follows:

Section 1.

(Deleted text striken)

Chapter 17.250

C-1 (NEIGHBORHOOD COMMERCIAL ZONE)

17.250.003 Conditionally permitted uses.

A. Auto service station, non-mechanical car wash, restaurant or café restricted to sit down facility only, on or off sale liquor establishments.

B. Drive-in or drive-thru establishments relating to permitted uses in the zone, excluding a drive-in or drive-thru restaurant.
Section 2.

A. This Ordinance shall be published in accordance with applicable law, by one or more of the following methods:

1. Posting the entire Ordinance in at least three (3) public places in the City of Brentwood, within fifteen (15) days after its passage and adoption; or
2. Publishing the entire Ordinance at least once in the Ledger-Dispatch, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Contra Costa and circulated in the City of Brentwood, within fifteen (15) days after its passage and adoption; or
3. Publishing a summary of the Ordinance prepared by the City Attorney in the Ledger-Dispatch and posting a certified copy of the entire Ordinance in the Office of the City Clerk at least five (5) days prior to passage and adoption, along with the names of those City Council members voting for and against the Ordinance.

B. This Ordinance shall go into effect thirty (30) days after the date of its passage and adoption.

Section 3.

In accordance with Government Code Section 65863.5, upon the effective date of this Ordinance, a copy shall be delivered to the County Assessor.

THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 10th day of December 2002, and adopted at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 14th day of January 2003, by the following vote:


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