In 2004, San Juan Bautista, CA, a village of 1,700 people 45 miles south of San Jose, adopted the following ordinance, which bars all formula retail stores and restaurants, and all stores over 5,000 square feet.
The ordinance notes that “preservation of the existing character and scale of the city’s commercial and historic districts is vital to the city’s ability to attract tourism and … is also important to maintain the distinctive small town charm and character enjoyed by current residents.” It also notes that a proliferation of formula businesses would threaten the economic vitality of the city’s commercial districts, resulting in “a loss of employment opportunities for small business owners and employees who are residents.”
AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A BAN ON THE APPROVAL OF NEW LARGE-SCALE RETAIL BUSINESSES OR NEW FORMULA RETAIL AND RESTAURANT BUSINESSES WITHIN THE CITY OF SAN JUAN BAUTISTA THE CITY COUNCIL ORDAINS AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1: The City Council finds and determines the following:
A. The continued vitality of the City’s economy is dependent upon tourism, and upon the ability of the City’s commercial and historic districts to attract both residents and visitors.
B. Preservation of the existing character and scale of the City’s commercial and historic districts is vital to the continuation of the City’s ability to attract tourism and other visitors.
C. Preservation of the existing character and scale of the City’s commercial and historic districts is also important to maintain the distinctive small town charm and character enjoyed by current residents.
D. The development of retail and commercial establishments that conflict with the character of the City’s historic and commercial districts, and that are out of scale in relation to the current pattern of development in such districts creates a threat to the public health, safety, and general welfare by threatening the character of the City’s commercial and historic districts and their continued economic vitality.
E. Large-scale retail business and formula retail or restaurant business developments conflict with the existing character and scale of the City’s historic and commercial districts and, therefore, pose a threat to the City’s ability to attract tourists and other visitors and thereby maintain a vital economy.
F. A decline in the vitality of the City’s commercial and historic districts will cause a loss of employment opportunities for small business owners and employees who are residents of the City and the surrounding region.
SECTION 2: The following definition is added to Section 11-1-100 of the San Juan Bautista Municipal Code to read as follows:
“LARGE-SCALE RETAIL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. A development that is proposed to consist of any structure designed to accommodate an occupancy of greater than 5,000 square feet by any one retail establishment. This definition does not include service and community establishments, including, but not limited to, banks, insurance brokerages, real estate brokerages, health centers, governmental uses, community centers, theaters, religious or fraternal uses, and similar establishments. A proposed development where retail sales are an incidental or accessory use to the primary use is not included within this definition.”
SECTION 3: The following definition is added to Section 11-1-100 of the San Juan Bautista Municipal Code to read as follows:
“FORMULA RETAIL OR RESTAURANT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. A retail, restaurant, or fast-food business that is required by contractual or other arrangement to maintain standardized services, merchandise, menus, ingredients, food preparation, uniforms, décor, logos, architecture, signs, or similar features.”
SECTION 4: The following new Section 11-12-200 is added to the San Juan Bautista Municipal Code to read as follows:
“SECTION 11-5-315: USES NOT PERMITTED IN ANY DISTRICT.
The following uses are not permitted in any district:
A. Large-Scale Retail Business Development
B. Formula Retail or Restaurant Business Development.”
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, 15305, and Public Resources Code section 21083.3(e) for the following reasons:
1. 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.
2. 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” and will not authorize any specific development activity.
3. Any potential indirect secondary impacts of the proposed amendments on the physical environment are speculative and are not reasonably foreseeable, and are, therefore, not subject to review under CEQA.
4. There is no substantial evidence that the proposed amendments will have the potential to cause a significant impact upon the environment.
5. There is no substantiated opinion or reasonable argument to determine that the proposed amendments will cause impacts that are subject to review under CEQA.
6. The proposed text amendments constitute a minor alteration in a land use limitation under CEQA Guidelines Section 15305, and such a land use limitation is a permissible exercise of the city’s zoning powers.
7. There are no unusual circumstances that would necessitate CEQA review.
8. Under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 and Public Resources Code section 21083.3(e), the proposed regulations are consistent with the San Juan Bautista General Plan. The following General Plan policies support adoption of the ordinance:
Policy L-16 – Commercial development outside of the Downtown area must be planned in a manner which complements Downtown businesses and does not compromise its position as a center of community life.
Policy L-21 – Support the development of land at the western and eastern “gateways” to Downtown with mixed uses that convey a positive image of the City to residents and visitors. Appropriate uses would include specialty retail stores, restaurants, galleries and studios, offices, craft shops, “cottage” industry, live-work projects, home occupations, and similar uses. Inappropriate uses would include large-scale auto “malls” and repair establishments, drive-though restaurants, big box retailers, and storage yards.
Policy L-23 – Support existing small and locally-owned businesses in San Juan Bautista. Small “mom and pop” businesses – and an absence of large “chain” stores – are a distinguishing element of San Juan Bautista. These businesses employ local residents, provide sales tax revenue, provide goods and services, and contribute to a sense of tradition and community. Some of the town’s small businesses provide a visible link to the past and are a reminder of an earlier period in California living. These establishments provide the backbone of the City’s commercial district and should be supported in the future. They are an important part of why tourists come to San Juan Bautista.
Policy L-24 – Support the establishment of new tourist-oriented businesses that are consistent with the town’s role as an historic center, an arts and cultural center, an agricultural center, and a showcase of Early California living. While future tourist development is encouraged, it must be consistent with the City’s character and history. New visitor-serving uses should convey a positive image of the City. Uses which convey a cheap, tacky, or overly commercialized image should be discouraged. Adoption of the Ordinance would prohibit the location of large-scale retail stores and formula franchise businesses, consistent with these policies.
SECTION 6: Effective Date. This Ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its final adoption by the City Council.
SECTION 7: Expiration of Moratorium. Interim Urgency Ordinance 2003-02 shall be of no further force and effect upon this Ordinance 2004-06 taking effect as provided in Section 6 of this Ordinance.
PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Juan Bautista this 16th day of November, 2004 by the following vote:
AYES: Rowe, Reed, Hill, Medina, Geiger