The city is considering a multi-phase approach to planning for the M-2 (general industrial) Zoning District with an initial focus on the Willow Business Area located in the vicinity of the intersection of Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway. The goal of the effort would be to streamline planning and building permit processes to reduce turnaround time and increase certainty of standards for zoning review of permit applications to remodel and expand buildings. The purpose of this initiative is to provide greater opportunity for business development that benefits the city's fiscal sustainability in the Willow Business Area.
On November 16, 2010, the City Council will hold a public hearing to initiate the Work Program for the Willow Business Area and M-2 Zoning Plan by amending the city's Master Fee Schedule for changes to certain development fees (part of Phase 1.1) and by appropriating $21,250 from the Redevelopment Non-Housing Reserve for consultant services for a technical study on the use and storage of hazardous materials (part of Phase 1.2).
On August 30, 2010, the Planning Commission held a Study Session to discuss the proposed scope of work. The City Council held a similar Study Session on September 21, 2010.
An initial business roundtable made up of WBA stakeholders was held on May 13, 2010. Seven priorities were identified. A follow-up meeting was held on July 22, 2010 where the top 2 priorities were discussed. Those 2 priorities were the procedures and policies regarding the permit process.
The proposal would involve amendments to the Zoning Ordinance which requires a recommendation by the Planning Commission and action by the City Council. Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance also requires review for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.