Archived - First Baptist Church
305 N. California Avenue
First Baptist Church
Conditional Use Permit Application: Community Center
Thank you for your interest in the First Baptist Church’s application to establish a community center at 305 N. California Avenue. This webpage will be updated as new information is available and can serve as your portal for public records, status updates, links to staff reports, background material and information related to this application.
Community Meeting Notice
The City of Palo Alto Department of Planning and Community Environment is hosting a community meeting at Jordan Middle School to discuss the Conditional Use Permit application for a Community Center at the First Baptist Church. The meeting is not a public hearing, and no project decision will be made at the meeting. However, members of the public are invited to attend to discuss the planning process for the application and any issues related to the proposed community center.
When: Wednesday, March 7, 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Jordan Middle School
750 N California Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
On February 15, 2018, the subject application was determined for a second time to be incomplete for filing. The additional materials submitted by the applicant did not contain all of the information requested in the initial Notice of Incomplete. The additional information that is still outstanding includes the following:
Written description on the type of community center land uses proposed at the property. Within this description, please provide a full list of all existing uses, along with the hours for each use and the maximum number of attendees.
Three separate floor plans were submitted that show different room orientations. Please provide a single floor plan with dimensions that shows the existing configuration of the first and second floor, along with the location of all exterior doors and windows.
Identify the location of proposed land uses within the building (on the floor plan)
On January 19, 2018, additional materials were submitted by the applicant in response to the initial Notice of Incomplete. This packet of additional information is included here as well as below under "Additional Information. This additional information is currently under review by City Staff.
On December 14, 2017, the subject application was determined to be incomplete for filing. This means that not all of the typically required application information was received by the city. The applicant has been notified and given a deadline of January 19, 2018, to submit additional information. The additional information requested includes the following:
- Written description on the type of community center land uses proposed at the property
- Proposed hours of operation for each land use
- Maximum number of attendees for each land use
- Maximum number of attendees, including employees that would use the property at one time
- A site plan showing the location of the building on the property, the driveway and parking layout with dimensions
- A dimensioned floor plan for each level for all buildings on the site, locations of rooms, doors, windows, offices, and other rooms in the building
- Identify the location of proposed land uses within the building (on the floor plan)
During the course of reviewing a previous conditional use permit application for the New Mozart School at this location, the city learned of a variety of other activities taking place at the First Baptist Church that the city determined did not receive approvals. The city sent notices to these businesses seeking an end to these activities. Some businesses have left while others have continued to operate under modified conditions to reduce neighborhood impacts while an application for a conditional use permit was filed and is under review by the city. This application was received on November 14, 2017.
Community Center Request:
Pastor Randall Mixon of the First Baptist Church filed an application for a community center. A community center is allowed in residential zones, subject to the approval of a conditional use permit, or CUP.
A community center is defined in the city’s zoning code as follows:
“…a place, structure, area, or other facility used for and providing religious, fraternal, social and/or recreational programs generally open to the public and designed to accommodate and serve significant segments of the community.”
By filing the CUP, the applicant is requesting the types of land uses that currently exist on the property, and other similar land uses, be authorized to operate at the church property.
What is a Conditional Use Permit:
The city’s zoning code regulates the type of land uses permitted in a residential district. The subject property is located in a R-1 (10000) district. The permitted land uses for this district are contained in Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Section 18.12.030. A community center is listed as conditionally permitted, or allowed with a CUP. PAMC Section 18.76.010 explains the purpose, applicability and findings required to act on a CUP. Finally, PAMC Section 18.77.060 sets forth the manner in which a CUP is processed (Standard Staff Review Process).
The codes outline that establishing a community center is not a by-right action – it is a request and is subject to discretionary review. In order to approve the project, there must be specific findings made, and if approved, can be subject to certain conditions. These considerations can address time of day restrictions, limits on occupancy, noise, parking and circulation restrictions, or other conditions that mitigate impacts of the proposed use to surrounding properties or neighborhood. If the application is denied, the denial must also be based on specific findings.
Conditional Use Permit Findings:
To approve or conditionally approve a conditional use permit application in the City of Palo Alto, the following findings must be made in the affirmative or in the negative, if the decision is to deny the permit:
Excerpt from PAMC Section 18.76.010 (c):
Neither the director, nor the city council on appeal, shall grant a conditional use permit, unless it is found that the granting of the application will:
(1) Not be detrimental or injurious to property or improvements in the vicinity, and will not be detrimental to the public health, safety, general welfare, or convenience;
(2) Be located and conducted in a manner in accord with the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan and the purposes of this title (Zoning).
The basic review process for a CUP is that once an application is determined complete for filing, notice is given to the applicant and owners and residents of property within 600 feet. Following a determination of completeness, the Director of Planning and Community Environment makes a tentative decision on the project no sooner than 21 days after it has been determined complete for filing. The Director may hold a public meeting to receive community input prior to making a tentative decision.
Once a tentative decision is made and mailed to the applicant and owners and residents within 600 feet of the subject property, there is a 14 day period in which any party may request a public hearing before the Planning and Transportation Commission. There is no cost to request a hearing. If a hearing is requested, the Planning & Transportation Commission will conduct a noticed public hearing and forward a recommendation to the City Council. Action by the City Council on the CUP will be considered on the Consent Calendar. The Council may accept the Commission’s recommendation and approve the project on consent, or if three council members request, may have the item pulled and scheduled for a future public hearing before the City Council. The Council’s determination is final and based on the same findings presented above.
This review process may change if additional applications are filed or determined required for this project. This website will be updated to reflect any changes in schedule.
What Are the Current Land Uses at the Church?
In addition to the First Baptist Church operations, the city is aware of the following other uses or activities taking place at the site:
- iSing Silicon Valley (extension granted through May 31, 2018)
- Moveable Feet Folk Dance (extension granted through May 31, 2018)
- Preschool (~5 children)
- New Mozart School (extension granted through January 15, 2018)
- Three psychotherapy offices
How can I stay involved or provide comments?
Please sign up to receive an email anytime new information is posted. To provide comments directly to the city, please email email@example.com. You may address your comments to Graham Owen, Associate Planner, with the City of Palo Alto.
If you have a request for additional information you would like to see on this webpage, please email us at the email address above.
- Review Letter
- Response to Initial Notice of Incomplete
- First Baptist Church Application Material
- Notice of Incomplete Application to Pastor Mixon
- Notice of Application Submittal to Residents and Tenants of First Baptist Church