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Relaxed Alcohol Permitting Tops List Of Proposed Changes To Downtown Newhall Specific Plan

City_seal_med_clrThey are not the Dirty Dozen.

Perhaps they’re more like the Magnificent Seven.

Seven amendments to the Downtown Newhall Specific Plan meant to continue the revitalization of the area.

Perhaps, the most controversial of the amendments involves amending “Alcohol Uses for On-Site Consumption”. Currently, all alcohol-related uses similar to a wine bar or restaurant requires a Minor Use Permit (MUP) in the DNSP.

The amendment would remove the MUP requirement for full service restaurants with alcohol sales, wineries, wine tasting rooms, wine bars, beer gardens, or micro-breweries without an MUP in the Urban Center (UC) zone. The requirements would not change for bars, taverns, or nightclubs.

Newhall Redevelopment Committee Members familiar with the situation say the current standards prevented established restaurants from providing outdoor dining and discouraged new restaurants from moving into the area.

Committee members say they’ve heard concerns that looser alcohol regulations would increase or entice undesirable characters to Main Street.

The changes will be presented to the Newhall Redevelopment Committee Monday night seeking their endorsement to the Planning Commission.


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The Downtown Newhall Specific Plan (DNSP) was adopted in December 2005, to create a development plan to revitalize Old Town Newhall by encouraging development and redevelopment on Main Street.

The City of Santa Clarita says these amendments would allow for greater flexibility in response to feedback from existing business and property owners in Newhall.

On September 14, 2011, Planning, Redevelopment, and Community Preservation staff hosted a Signage Forum at the city’s library construction office on Main Street. At the meeting, staff introduced a number of changes to signage and received feedback from the community.

The amendments proposed would address the use of A-frame signs, window signs and wall signs.

A-Frame Signs: Currently A-frame signs are not permitted in the DNSP, but the amendment would allow them for retail business when Main Street is closed to vehicular access for events, provided that the signs are located outside any required path of travel.

Window Signs: Currently the DNSP allows for window signage at a maximum of 15 percent of all window area at all times, and 25 percent maximum during special holidays for up to 15 days, three times in a 12 month period. The amendment would provide a definition of window signs to be any decals, illuminated signs, painted signs, or other similar signs approved by the Director of Community Development. Signs related to their business to advertise events, plays or other shows would be exempt. Holiday signage would be amended to allow for one special event/holiday to be permitted for up to 45 days in a 12 month period.

Wall Signs: The current DNSP language allows for a wall sign up to 18” in height by right with signage up to 36” in height through an Enhanced Sign Review. The cost is currently $763.00 and takes up to two weeks to process. There is no process for any signage in excess of 36” in height. The amendment would remove the cost for signs under 36” and allow the Enhanced Sign Review process for signs larger than 36”.

Three more amendments.

Outdoor Display of Merchandise: The outdoor display of merchandise currently requires a MUP in the UC or Creative District Zones. The amendment would allow the display of merchandise for retail businesses on Main Street with the use of decorative furniture, tables, or displays when the street is closed to vehicular access for a special event. A retailer would also be allowed up to 12 hours of display outside of special event hours. A no-cost Outdoor Display Permit would be required and all displays must be located outside of any required path of travel for accessibility and safety.

Non-conforming Uses: The DNSP currently allows a “legal non-conforming” use to remain in place provided that the use does not cease for a period of 180 days. The amendment would terminate use if the use ceases for a period of 60 days.

Transition to Neighboring Zone: The DNSP requires a MUP to allow for a residential use or housing type that is permitted in the neighboring zone, but not permitted under the current zone of the property. The amendment would expand this provision to commercial uses in the UC or Corridor Zones (CZ). This would allow for a commercial use that is permitted in either the UC or CZ to be located in the neighboring zone, provided that an MUP is obtained and the use is determined to be compatible with the surrounding land uses.

The City of Santa Clarita Newhall Redevelopment Committee will met at 7 p.m. at the Century Conference Room, 23920 Valencia Boulevard, 1st floor.