Ordinance No. 5407
- “Ordinance of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Limiting the Conversion of Ground Floor Retail and ‘Retail-Like’ Use Citywide” was approved by the City Council on March 20, 2017 and became effective April 20, 2017. This ordinance refines and replaces the interim urgency retail ordinance (No. 5325 and 5330).
Origins of the Urgency Ordinance
In an effort to create vibrant neighborhood-serving retail opportunities, preserve a ground-floor pedestrian-oriented streetscape experience, maintain reasonable retail lease rates, and prevent additional traffic associated with new office uses, the City Council adopted an Urgency Retail Ordinance on May 11, 2015, which was extended on June 15, 2015. The Ordinance established a moratorium on the conversion of ground-floor and basement retail spaces and “retail like” uses to office or other uses anywhere in the city. The ordinance, which was scheduled to sunset on April 30, 2017, was intended to protect retail spaces from converting to other uses while the City developed permanent zoning amendments to enhance retail protections. Permanent Zoning Amendments
The City has adopted two permanent zoning amendments to protect ground floor retail since the urgency ordinance was adopted. The first related to the California Avenue Area (Ordinance No. 5358, adopted October 26, 2015), and the second was a “clean-up” ordinance that closed a loophole affecting the Community Commercial (CC), Neighborhood Commercial (CN), and Service Commercial (CS) zoning districts (Ordinance No. 5373, adopted January 11, 2016).
The City Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance that protects retail and retail like uses from conversion to non-retail uses citywide; modifies the Downtown Ground-Floor (GF) Combining district boundaries to create a continuous ground-floor retail environment; and adds design standards to support active retail uses and pedestrian-oriented ground-floor architecture.
- Urgency Moratorium on Retail Conversions Citywide (Ordinance No. 5325 adopted on May 11, 2015)
- Extension of Urgency Moratorium on Retail Conversions Citywide (Ordinance No. 5330 on June 15, 2015)
- City Council “Interim Retail Preservation Ordinance Discussion” Staff Report (August 22, 2016 Meeting)
- City Council “Downtown Retail Preservation Ordinance Framework” Staff Report (October 17, 2016 Meeting)
- Architectural Review Board (ARB) Staff Report (November 3, 2016)
- Planning & Transportation Commission (December 14, 2016)
- Planning & Transportation Commission Staff Report (January 11, 2017)
- City Council Hearing, First Reading (February 13,2017)
- City Council Hearing, Second Reading (March 20, 2017)
- Ordinance No. 5407 - “Ordinance of the Council of the City of Palo Alto Limiting the Conversion of Ground Floor Retail and ‘Retail-Like’ Use Citywide”. This ordinance refines and replaces the interim urgency retail ordinance (No. 5325 and 5330).