The Fountain Valley Planning Commission is proposing an ordinance to create Small Format Restaurant Permits that would enable restaurants to operate without a Conditional Use Permit. (CUP.) The proposal hopes to streamline the permitting process for small restaurants.
The full Fountain Valley Planning Commission Agenda from December 11th can be found here.
What is CUP
Conditional Use Permits are used in the city to make sure that developments don’t interfere with Fountain Valley’s General Plan.
According to smgov.net “A Conditional Use Permit is a discretionary permit reviewed by the Planning Commission and appealable to City Council that ensures a desired use is compatible with the General Plan, and surrounding land uses. “
These permits moderate businesses that sell alcohol, have drive-thru’s, late hours and other variables that could negatively impact the surrounding areas. Obtaining a CUP also allows time for investigations into potential negative impacts on land, residences, traffic and noise.
The Fountain Valley Planning and Development Application Packet includes the CUP form and outlines how to submit a project. The CUP is listed as a planning application.
The Fountain Valley Planning and Development Application Packet also lists the prices of the CUP as “Full Conditional Use Permit $3,465. Add-On Application to a Primary Application $1,005. Modifications to Conditional Use Permit $3,025.”
Current code requires that all Fountain Valley restaurants, including those that serve on premises beer and wine, are required to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate in the City of Fountain Valley.
Additionally, per FVMC Section 21.90.020, restaurants that provide accessory entertainment uses, including restaurants that include televisions screens for their customers that measure larger than 30 inches diagonal, are required to obtain a CUP.
Adding the ordinance to the Fountain Valley Municipal Code would create Small Format Restaurant Permits that would enable restaurants to operate without a Conditional Use Permit.
According to FountainValley.org “At the Fountain Valley Planning Commission meeting of December 11, 2019, the Planning Commission voted 5-0 recommending the City Council approve a Code Amendment to allow what is termed a “Small Format Restaurant” to operate in the City of Fountain Valley with an over-the-counter approval.
“Restaurants that may qualify as a Small Format Restaurant would be those with less than 50 seats that have no negative impacts to uses surrounding them such as late hours of operation, a drive-thru, accessory entertainment, or located close to residential properties,” According to the Fountain Valley Planning Commission Agenda.
Fountain Valley sent out a poll asking 32 Orange County cities for their CUP policies on restuarants. They received 17 responses detailing their requirement for a CUP.
The Fountain Valley Planning Commission Agenda stated “Out of the 17 cities that responded, 15 do not require CUP’s for restaurants with little or no impacts, while two require CUP’s for any type of restaurant, similar to current requirements in Fountain Valley.”
The Fountain Valley Planning Commission Agenda also noted the reasons the cities had Conditional Use Permits. “Of the cities that did not require a CUP for restaurant uses, certain accessory uses did trigger the requirement of a CUP. These results include: Located in low parking zones such as Industrial or Manufacturing zones • Accessory Entertainment • Alcohol sales • Late hours of operation • Drive-thru’s • Walk-up service • Close proximity to residential uses • Large restaurant size • Large seating area • Deviation from parking.”
Planning Commission Findings
On January 21, 2020, the City Council voted unanimously to introduce the new ordinance with the second reading scheduled for February 4, 2020.
The Fountain Valley Planning Commission Agenda says “The proposed amendment would enhance the city’s economic base and business environment by assisting in the improvement and intensification of commercial development.”
The commission also found that the amendment ran in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and would not negatively impact the public byway of health, interest, safety or welfare of the city.
Click here to view the full Fountain Valley Planning Commission agenda.