San Carlos planning commissioners will consider changing the zoning in its industrial area to limit large-scale businesses without a direct economic benefit on land officials prefer to keep available for a hotel at the city’s gateway.
The proposal comes two weeks after the City Council opted against extending an emergency zoning limit imposed in March after a developer expressed interested in building a substantial fitness center on three of five parcels at Holly Street and Industrial Road designated as the “landmark hotel site.” In a split 3-2 vote, the council said it wasn’t comfortable with the impacts to existing business owners who said not knowing the zoning’s final outcome was scaring away potential business and infringing on their private property rights. Instead, a council majority directed the staff to work on changing the zoning for the long term rather than relying on another 120-day hiatus.
Outside of the urgency ordinance, current zoning does not require land owners to seek further city review for permitted uses such as a recreation facility greater than 5,000 square feet which means although officials may want a hotel they have no way to prevent a different use from moving in.
The proposal calls for a new zoning district called landmark commercial along the Highway 101 gateway. The city currently has 12 large parcels identified as having strong economic development potential.
If the new zoning is ultimately approved, the general plan would indicate preferred uses for landmark sites like large-scale office complexes and hotels. The zoning would also call for regional retail and destination-oriented uses — again office and hotels — along with ancillary uses like eating, drinking and entertainment. All other uses would require a use permit, be allowed only on an interim basis and be limited to existing buildings.
The zoning amendment would specify that the uses “have significant beneficial results in employment growth and contribute to the economic sustainability of the city and implementation of the city’s economic development plan.”
But while city officials are gung-ho for a hotel and the sales tax revenue it would bring, the market might not be ripe for such a business in San Carlos right now, commercial Realtor William Steele said last month before the City Council vetoed extending the urgency ordinance.
The Planning Commission meets 7 p.m. Monday, May 6 at City Hall, 600 Elm St., San Carlos.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102.