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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

City Formula Retail Documents Are Available for Public Review Online at Municipal Website

• Planning Commission Timetable Has Not Been Scheduled

BY BILL KOENEKER

Malibu city officials issued what is called a Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration to “conditionally regulate formula retail businesses in the Civic Center commercial district.”
What that means is that the project would not require an Environmental Impact Report, but the notice is circulated for a 30-day review to allow public agencies and the public to share “expertise, disclose agency analysis, check for accuracy, detect omissions, discover public concerns and solicit counter proposals.”
The proposal to amend the municipal code calls for making formula retail establishments a conditionally-permitted use in the Civic Center commercial district of the city.
The district includes all commercially-zoned/used land located between the Pacific Ocean to the south, Malibu Canyon Road to the west, the city boundary to the north and Malibu Creek to the east including the parcels comprising Hughes Research Laboratory and the Crummer site.
“Formula retail is considered any type of retail sales activity and/or retail service activity conducted within a retail establishment which, along with six or more other existing operational retail establishments located within Southern California is required to maintain one or more of the following features: 1) Standardized color scheme; 2) standardized decor; 3) standardized facade; 4) standardized layout; 5) standardized signage, a service mark, or a trademark; and 6) uniform apparel,” a city public notice states.
The proposed ordinance would require a conditional use permit or CUP for all new formula retail establishments located within the district and for existing formula retail establishments located within the district that relocates to a new tenant space, expands by 200 square feet or more of gross floor area or increases service area by 50 square feet or more.
The proposed ordinance, according to municipal planners, is intended to regulate the location and operation of formula retail uses within the district “in order to avoid the proliferation of elements that project a sense of sameness and familiarity.”
“These elements conflict with and frustrate the city’s goals of maintaining a unique community character while promoting a diverse retail base with correspondingly unique retail amenities with the Civic Center,” the notice states.
“Formula retail establishments are, by their nature, generally not unique in appearance or character. Likewise, formula retail establishments generally do not offer goods and services that are not readily available at other establishments within a reasonable proximity, especially in the highly-urbanized areas of greater Los Angeles and Southern California generally. To advance the city’s goals, the proposed ordinance is intended to encourage retail elements that promote variety while, contributing to and maintaining the city’s rural charm and small-town feel.”
Planners say currently there is no requirement for review of formula retail in the Civic Center, but “may be essential or desirable in the zone, but require individualized assessment and scrutiny to ensure compatibly and to guard against the potential for detrimental secondary effects.”
By making formula retail come under a CUP, the municipal code ensures that such uses will be examined for compatibility and consistency with the city’s character, according to planners who note a new law would guarantee public review, and input for businesses.
At this time, a hearing date before the planning commission has not been scheduled, according to Smith

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