Ojai, CA Regulation of Formula Business Establishments

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Ojai, CA, US

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Type: Ordinance

Status: Adopted on 11/13/07

Vote: In Favor - 4 Opposed - 1

Source File: Click here

News Article: http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2007/nov/16/ojai-adopts-ordinance-regulating-chain-stores/


WHEREAS, Ojai is a community with a very special environment, both natural and man- made, and the qualities of both must be respected so that the uniqueness of Ojai can flourish without inappropriate changes; and

WHEREAS, Ojai is a vital and active City that retains a small town atmosphere and a strong sense of community; and

WHEREAS, Ojai is both a tourist destination and a residential town, and the creation of a desirable living, working, and business environment that is responsive to residents will also provide a destination of interest to visitors; and

WHEREAS, regulating commercial development and formula businesses serves to preserve the "small town character" of Ojai. A primary object of the General Plan is to maintain and enhance Ojai's special character and small town atmosphere; and

WHEREAS, as stated in the Land Use Element of the General Plan: "It is the Ojai General Plan's approach to preserve the community's "small town" character by using the physical, environmental, and social aspects of the community that form its character as the criteria for determining the appropriateness of new development"; and

WHEREAS, Land Use Element Policy LU-17 states that it is important to balance small town life with a vibrant tourist economy by "Recogniz[ing] and support[ing] visitor serving uses as an integral part of community life, and ensur[ing] that visitor serving uses and activities are designed and managed in such a manner that they are secondary to Ojai's small town character and identity as a desirable place to live;" and

WHEREAS, formula businesses are, by their very nature, standardized (including their architecture, décor, color schemes and signage) and not unique, and therefore do not enhance the unique small town character that the City Council finds necessary to maintain a viable visitor industry in Ojai; and

WHEREAS, the City has a legitimate interest in seeking to maintain the ambience of its small town character because thousands of visitors each year are attracted to the City. Ojai's unique character, particularly in its commercial downtown area, is recognized throughout the State of California, and is a key component in the City's visitor economy. This ordinance advances this interest by limiting the scope of formula businesses, thereby ensuring that their presence is consistent with the City's land use goals. Formula businesses have, by their nature, a greater potential to conflict with the City's small town character and atmosphere than unique one-of-a-kind businesses; and

WHEREAS, this ordinance is not premised on maintaining local ownership of businesses, or protecting existing business, or preventing formula business from doing business in the City. The purpose of this ordinance is to maintain Ojai's unique, special character, the diversity and vitality of the City's commercial districts and the quality of life of Ojai residents; and

WHEREAS, the approval of additional building or other permits without restriction for new formula businesses that are contrary to the City's small town character would threaten the public health, safety and welfare; and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds, as support for carefully regulating formula businesses, that other California small cities or towns that have significant tourist economies do not have a significant component of formula establishments or are not known as destinations for formula business (for example, Calistoga, St. Helena, Sausalito and Coronado); and

WHEREAS, the City Council finds as support that other cities have sought to regulate formula businesses to protect and preserve special characteristics of their city or town, including Bainbridge Island, Washington; Arcata, California; Bristol, Rhode Island; Calistoga, California; Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; Coronado, California; Pacific Grove, California; Port Jefferson, New York; Port Townsend, Washington; and Sausalito, California; and

WHEREAS, formula business establishments can provide useful goods and services to the citizens of Ojai and should be permitted within the City if properly regulated; and

WHEREAS, in light of the foregoing considerations, the City Council has determined that the public health, safety and welfare will be protected by preserving the City's residential, unique retail, business and tourist based community character, as articulated by the principles upon which the General Plan is premised, which will be best preserved by regulating the design, location, size and other similar attributes of formula business establishments.


SECTION 1. The City Council determines that the above set forth findings are true and correct and are declared to be a part of this Ordinance and are incorporated herein by reference.

SECTION 2. Title 10, Chapter 2, Article 17 of the Code is hereby amended by replacing existing Section 10-2.1713 with a new Section 10-2.1713 (Formula Business Establishments), as follows:

"Sec. 10-2.1713. Formula Business Establishments.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to regulate the location and design of formula business establishments in order to maintain the tourist attracting small town character of the City, the diversity of the community's unique commercial areas and quality of life for visitors and residents.

(b) Regulation.

(1) A Formula Business may only be established on a site after obtaining a conditional use permit from the City for the operation of that use on such site, subject to the limitations of this section. Change of ownership, by itself, shall not require obtaining a conditional use permit pursuant to this section.
(2) No permit application of any kind shall be accepted or processed for a Formula Business that also possesses at least two of the following characteristics:
(A) Specializes in short order or quick service food and/or drink;
(B) Serves food and/or drink primarily in paper, plastic or other disposable containers; and
(C) Payment is made by customers before food and/or drink is consumed.
(3) In addition to the findings required by Section 10-2.2406 as prerequisite to the issuance of a conditional use permit, the Commission shall make all of the following findings prior to the issuance of a conditional use permit for a Formula Business:
(A) The proposed Formula Business will not result in an over-concentration of Formula Business establishments in its immediate vicinity or in the City as a whole;
(B) The proposed Formula Business will contribute to an appropriate balance of small, medium and large-sized businesses in the City; and
(C) The proposed Formula Business has been designed to preserve and enhance the City's small town character and to integrate existing community architectural and design features which will preserve such character for the City's residents and visitors.
(4) The Commission may promulgate regulations to further define the scope and meaning of the foregoing findings to ensure consistent implementation of this subsection.
(5) No conditional use permit shall be issued for a use that is a Formula Business located within the area of the Downtown Commercial Land Use designation of the City's General Plan if either of the following are true: (i) such establishment has street-level frontage exceeding 25 linear feet on any street, or (ii) the useable area of the building or structure wherein the Formula Business is to be located exceeds 2,000 square feet. For purposes of this section, "street level frontage" shall include frontage on private parking lots and access ways where the commercial building does not abut a public street.
(6) Except as provided in subsection (5) above, no conditional use permit shall be issued for a use that is a Formula Business if such establishment exceeds 10,000 square feet of net total floor area.

(c) Applicability. This Section is in addition to, and not in replace of, any other regulations set forth elsewhere in Title 10 of this code. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this section, and any other regulations in Title 10, the provisions of this section shall prevail.

(d) Definitions. "Formula Business" means a type of commercial business establishment, retail sales or rental activity and retail sales or rental establishment, including restaurants, hotels and motels, which, along with ten or more other establishments, maintains three or more of the following features: (i) standardized array of merchandise or standardized menu; (ii) standardized façade; (iii) standardized décor or color scheme; (iv) uniform apparel; (v) standardized signage; or (vi) trademark or service mark.

(1) "Standardized array of merchandise" means 50% or more of in-stock merchandise from a single distributor bearing uniform markings.
(2) "Trademark" means a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination or words, phrases, symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods from one party from those of others.
(3) "Servicemark" means a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination or words, phrases, symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service from one party from those of others.
(4) "Décor" means the style of interior finishings, which may include but is not limited to, style of furniture, wallcoverings or permanent fixtures.
(5) "Color Scheme" means selection of colors used throughout, such as on the furnishings, permanent fixtures, and wallcoverings, or as used on the façade.
(6) "Façade" means the face or front of a building, including awnings, looking onto a street or an open space.
(7) "Uniform Apparel" means standardized items of clothing including but not limited to standardized aprons, pants, shirts, smocks or dresses, hat, and pins (other than name tags) as well as standardized colors of clothing.
(8) "Signage" means a "business sign" as defined in Section 10-2.1607(c) of this code.
(9) "Standardized" does not mean identical, but means "substantially the same."

(e) Existing Formula Retail Establishments. Formula Business establishments existing on the date of adoption of this Ordinance are subject to Title 10, Chapter 2, Article 13 (Nonconforming Uses, Structures, and Parcels) of this code.

(g) Burden of Proof. In the event the City determines that a permit application or permit subject to this section is for a Formula Business, the permit applicant or holder bears the burden of proving to the City that the proposed or existing use does not constitute a Formula Business.

SECTION 3. Title 10, Chapter 2, Article 17 of the Code is hereby amended by adding Section 10-2.1714, and moving existing Section 10-2.1713 (Applicable Regulations) to Section 10-2.1714.

SECTION 4. Ordinance Number 794, "An Urgency Measure Of The Ojai City Council Adopting An Interim Ordinance Prohibiting The Approval Or Issuance Of Building Or Other Development Permits For Formula Retail Businesses In The City," is hereby repealed as of the effective date of this Ordinance.

SECTION 5. Environmental Determination. The City Council determines that the following findings reflect the independent judgment of the City Council. The City Council finds that this Ordinance is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under CEQA Guidelines 15378, 15061(b)(3), 15183, and Public Resources Code Section 21083.3(e) for the following reasons:

(a) Under CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3), CEQA review is not required because there is no possibility that this Ordinance may have a significant effect upon the environment.

(b) Under CEQA Guidelines Section 15378, the proposed amendments are not a project under CEQA because they will not cause a "direct physical change in the environment," or a "reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment" because they are limiting in nature and do not authorize any specific development activity or promote new construction or growth.

(c) Any potential indirect physical change in the environment is speculative and not reasonably foreseeable.

(d) Under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 and Public Resources Code Section 21083.3(e), the proposed amendments are consistent with the City's General Plan. The following policies set forth in the Land Use Element of the City's General Plan support adoption of this Ordinance:

(1) LU-2: Preserve…a traditional small town downtown which is pedestrian friendly, of higher intensity than the balance of the community, and which has a unique historical architectural character.
(2) LU-6: Maintain an adequate inventory of commercial lands for the provision of goods and services to the community that…are visually attractive and compatible in intensity, building scale, and architectural design with the community's natural environment and small town character.
(3) LU-7: Promote a mix of attractive, employment-generating business park and industrial land uses that provide a sound and diversified economic base, and that are compatible with the community's overall small town character.
(4) LU-17: Recognize and support visitor serving uses as an integral part of community life, and ensure that visitor serving uses and activities are designed and managed in such a manner that they are secondary to Ojai's small town character and identity as a desirable place to live.
(5) LU-18: Limit the rate of residential, commercial, and office development as necessary to preserve the attributes and physical features which comprise Ojai's small town character as expressed in the General Plan.

SECTION 6. Severability. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the final decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The City Council declares that it would have adopted this Ordinance, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, phrases or portions might be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 7. The City Clerk shall cause this Ordinance to be published once, within fifteen (15) calendar days after its passage, in the Ojai Valley News, a newspaper of general circulation, printed, published and circulated in the City, and shall cause a copy of this Ordinance and its certification, together with proof of publication, to be entered in the Book of Ordinances of the City.

SECTION 8. This Ordinance shall become effective on the thirty-first (31st) day after its passage.