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14. Ordinance - Amend Claremont Municipal Code Title 18 - Signs Section 18.25.050(G)(1)File #: 3383 Claremont City Council Agenda Report TO: TARA SCHULTZ, CITY MANAGER FROM: BRAD JOHNSON, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR DATE: JUNE 23, 2020 SUBJECT: Item No: 14. Reviewed by: City Manager: TS Finance Director: AP AMENDMENT TO THE CLAREMONT MUNICIPAL CODE PERTAINING TO FREESTANDING FREEWAY -ORIENTED IDENTIFICATION SIGNS FOR LARGE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COMMERCIAL FREEWAY (CF) ZONE (FILE #20-CA02) RIIMMORY For the Commercial Freeway (CF) zoning district only, the City's Sign Ordinance permits large freestanding freeway -oriented identification signs with electronic message centers on development complexes of ten acres or more, but the complex must have at least 800 feet of freeway frontage. The City's Planning Division has initiated an amendment to Chapter 18.25.050(6)(1) of the Claremont Municipal Code (CMC) to reduce the freeway frontage requirement from 800 feet to 500 feet. Two auto dealerships in Claremont - John Elway's Claremont Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (Elway CDJR) and the pending Universal Auto Group (UAG)'s Mazda of Claremont - have expressed an interest in a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign for the Claremont Auto Center. Jointly, these dealerships fall under the definition of a large development complex of ten acres or more, but because of the unique shape of the parcels, which extend across the north and south sides of Auto Center Drive, the complex does not have a freeway frontage of 800 feet or more. The aforementioned dealerships have indicated that a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign is necessary for the long-term success of these dealerships within the Claremont Auto Center. Approval of the amendment would not result in the approval of any actual signs; rather, it would provide the appropriate regulation needed for large development complexes (like the two dealerships) to submit an application for design review which would need to be approved by the City's Architectural Commission. The design review process ensures that the character and integrity of the area would be protected while addressing any potential impacts to adjacent residential neighborhoods. CLAREMONT Page 1 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 While the proposed amendment responds to the immediate needs of the auto dealerships, staff believes that the amendment also aligns with the City's long-term interest in promoting economic development, and more specifically, it will potentially provide a catalyst for the increase in commercial activity in the area by attracting potential customers for the existing and future businesses within the Claremont Auto Center. RECOMMENDATION Staff recommends that the City Council introduce for first reading AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA, AMENDING TITLE 18 - SIGNS, SECTION 18.25.050(6)(1) OF THE CLAREMONT MUNICIPAL CODE TO REDUCE THE REQUIREMENT OF FREEWAY FRONTAGE OF 800 FEET TO A FREEWAY FRONTAGE OF 500 FEET FOR DEVELOPMENT COMPLEXES OF 10 ACRES OR MORE SEEKING THE APPROVAL OF A FREESTANDING FREEWAY -ORIENTED IDENTIFICATION SIGNS. ALTERNATIVES TO RECOMMENDATION In addition to the recommendation, there are the following alternatives: A. Deny the proposed amendment to the Title 18 - Signs, of the CMC. B. Continue this item, request additional information, and instruct staff to revise the ordinance before it is considered again by the City Council. FINANCIAL REVIEW The cost to prepare this report is $2,000 and is included in the operating budget of the Community Development Department. ANALYSIS Background Title 18 of the Claremont Municipal Code provides for "freeway -oriented signs; freeway -oriented signs" (CMC Section 18.025.050.F) and "freeway -oriented signs for large development complexes" (CMC Section 18.025.050.6). Pursuant to Section 18.025.050.F, freeway -oriented signs are limited to a maximum height of 45 -feet above adjacent freeway grade, maximum sign area for freeway -oriented signs are based on the property's linear freeway frontage. The code allows one square foot of sign area per linear foot of freeway frontage, up to a maximum of 300 -square feet. "Freeway -oriented signs for large development complexes" are regulated somewhat differently, pursuant to Section 18.025.050.6. To have such a sign, a development complex must have a total size of at least ten acres and have at least 800 linear feet of freeway frontage. Although two of Claremont's four existing freeway -oriented signs identify individual businesses, CMC Title 18 - Signs encourages freeway -oriented signs to identify multiple businesses that are part of the same development complex, or in this case, part of a common auto mall or auto center. Claremont's Existing Freeway Signs Four freeway -oriented signs exist along Claremont's south 1-10 freeway frontage, which extends just over one mile from the City's western to eastern borders. The westernmost existing sign is Claremont CLAREMONT Page 2 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 Toyota's sign, located at 601 Auto Center Drive. Originally built in 1991 to identify the "Claremont Auto Center" the sign has a maximum height of 45 -feet above freeway grade, or 50 -feet total. The sign features a 325 -square foot electronic message board, plus 226 -square feet of additional sign area. In 2008, the City approved a remodel of the sign that replaced a bulb -lit panel with the current electronic message board and replaced the "Claremont Auto Center" copy to identify only the Claremont Toyota dealership. The next sign to the west is the Claremont Promenade sign, which is located on the property on the north side of Auto Center Drive with address 507 Auto Center Drive, but identifies the large commercial complex on the south side of Auto Center Drive with address 865 S. Indian Hill Boulevard. This sign reaches a maximum height of 54 -feet above adjacent freeway grade, or 80 - feet total. The sign, which was approved by the Architectural Commission in 2010, has eight tenant panels on each side with a total sign area of 723 -square feet. As part of a sign program, the Architectural Commission approved a sign adjustment for the sign program's overall sign area. The next sign to the west identifies Norm's Restaurant and is the only existing pole sign along Claremont 1-10 frontage. The Norm's sign has a maximum height of 54 -feet above adjacent freeway grade, or 99 -feet total and has a total sign area of 265 -square feet. Like the Claremont Promenade sign, the Norm's sign was approved in 2010 as part of a sign program that required approval of a sign adjustment by the Architectural Commission for additional sign area and for a 20 percent increase in maximum sign height from 45 -feet to 54 -feet (sign height is measured from the adjacent freeway grade). Claremont's easternmost freeway -oriented sign is a multi -tenant sign located on the east side of Indian Hill Boulevard at 840 S. Indian Hill Boulevard (Motel 6 property). Approved in 2005 as part of the sign program for the development, the sign has six tenant panels, a maximum height of 38 -feet above freeway grade, or 60 -feet total, and a total sign area of 295 -square feet. The Architectural Commission approved a sign adjustment for a 5 percent increase in the overall permitted sign area for the sign program. Project Description The proposed amendment to the CMC would require the following changes to allow the reduction of the freeway frontage requirement for large development complexes of ten acres or more within the CF (Commercial Freeway) zone seeking an application for design review for a freestanding freeway - oriented identification sign subject to approval by the Architectural Commission: CMC Section 18.025.050. G.1 1. For development complexes of ten acres or more, which also have freeway frontage of 808 500 feet or more, the Architectural Commission may approve a freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign that is larger than what is otherwise permitted by this title that includes an electronic message center display or that otherwise meets the unique needs of large freeway development. Creativity, artistry and innovation in the design and materials of such sign are encouraged. Potential Future Auto Center Application of Proposed Amendment The proposed amendment would allow for a "Large Development Complex" sign, to be installed along either Mazda or CDJR's freeway frontage, which is approximately 550 linear feet when CLAREMONT Page 3 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 combined. The 10.1 -acre to 15.68 -acre site (dependent on final tenant identification) within the Claremont Auto Center is located at the western terminus of Auto Center Drive, south of the 1-10 freeway and west of South Indian Hill Boulevard. The subject site has been designated for commercial development since 1978, when the City of Claremont approved a master CUP (#78-0010) for a 40 -acre site, which governs the commercial development, inclusive of auto sales. The site is zoned Commercial Freeway (CF) with a General Plan designation of Commercial and has been used primarily for auto sales since the approval of the master CUP. Table 1 describes the Zoning District, General Plan Land Use Designation, and the existing uses on properties surrounding the project site. Table 1 The proposed freeway -oriented sign would identify two existing dealership businesses, Elway CDJR and proposed Mazda of Claremont, as well as a potential third dealership at the former Claremont Hyundai site may be included if another auto dealership reoccupies the site. Claremont Toyota, which has its own freeway -oriented sign would not be identified on the proposed sign. The characteristics of the three dealership properties are as follows: • Elway CDJR - 7.07 acres - 130 -feet of freeway frontage • Former Claremont Hyundai site - 5.62 acres - 0 -feet of freeway frontage • Proposed Mazda of Claremont dealership at 667 Auto Center Drive - 2.99 acres - 424 -feet of freeway frontage In sum, the properties identified by the proposed sign have a total acreage of 15.68 acres and a combined freeway frontage 554 -feet. While the total development complex acreage exceeds the 10 acres required by the CMC to be considered a "large development complex" it lacks the 800 feet of freeway frontage needed to be considered one. Therefore, an amendment to Title 18 - Signs of the CMC is required to support the installation of a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign for the properties mentioned above. The City has expressed a strong interest in supporting the Claremont Auto Center as auto sales are an important source of tax revenues, and the discussed dealerships require a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign for long term financial success in the City of Claremont, but do not meet the minimum freeway frontage standard for large development complexes currently required by Title 18 - Signs of the CMC. BASIS FOR RECOMMENDATION From a long-range land use planning perspective, the proposed amendment would allow the dealerships located at 508, 620 & 645, and 667 Auto Center Drive to share a freestanding freeway - oriented identification sign to attract commercial activity to allow these dealerships to stay competitive CLAREMONT Page 4 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 Zoning Land Use (GP) Use Description North 1-10 freeway South Single Family Residential East Commercial Freeway C F) Commercial Auto Sales & Rental est r Single -Family Residential The proposed freeway -oriented sign would identify two existing dealership businesses, Elway CDJR and proposed Mazda of Claremont, as well as a potential third dealership at the former Claremont Hyundai site may be included if another auto dealership reoccupies the site. Claremont Toyota, which has its own freeway -oriented sign would not be identified on the proposed sign. The characteristics of the three dealership properties are as follows: • Elway CDJR - 7.07 acres - 130 -feet of freeway frontage • Former Claremont Hyundai site - 5.62 acres - 0 -feet of freeway frontage • Proposed Mazda of Claremont dealership at 667 Auto Center Drive - 2.99 acres - 424 -feet of freeway frontage In sum, the properties identified by the proposed sign have a total acreage of 15.68 acres and a combined freeway frontage 554 -feet. While the total development complex acreage exceeds the 10 acres required by the CMC to be considered a "large development complex" it lacks the 800 feet of freeway frontage needed to be considered one. Therefore, an amendment to Title 18 - Signs of the CMC is required to support the installation of a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign for the properties mentioned above. The City has expressed a strong interest in supporting the Claremont Auto Center as auto sales are an important source of tax revenues, and the discussed dealerships require a shared freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign for long term financial success in the City of Claremont, but do not meet the minimum freeway frontage standard for large development complexes currently required by Title 18 - Signs of the CMC. BASIS FOR RECOMMENDATION From a long-range land use planning perspective, the proposed amendment would allow the dealerships located at 508, 620 & 645, and 667 Auto Center Drive to share a freestanding freeway - oriented identification sign to attract commercial activity to allow these dealerships to stay competitive CLAREMONT Page 4 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 in the auto sales market and bolster their long term financial success in Claremont. The proposed amendment would provide appropriate regulatory requirement to allow the dealerships to submit an application for design review of a freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign subject to approval by the Architectural Commission. As such, the amendment furthers the goals of the Economic Development/Fiscal Element of the City's General Plan, specifically Goal 3-1: Maintain a strong, diversified economic base, Policy 3-1.5: Continue to maintain the strength of the automobile sales establishments while promoting a diversified tax base so that the municipal budget does not over -rely on consistently strong vehicle sales, Policy 3-2.6: Enhance the Claremont Auto Center to ensure uses in the area continue to contribute to the City's tax base, and Goal 3-6: Provide for the fiscal stability of the City. RELATIONSHIP TO CITY PLANNING DOCUMENTS Staff has evaluated the proposed code amendment in relationship to the City's strategic and visioning documents and finds the following: Council Priorities - The proposed amendment relates to the following priority goals in the 2019- 2020 Council Priorities List: "Maintain financial stability' and "Increase livability in our neighborhoods and expand opportunities for our businesses" in that it will provide the regulatory framework for auto dealerships within the Claremont Auto Center remain competitive and continue to provide needed tax revenues to City. Economic Sustainability Plan - The proposed amendment further the purposes of Policy Recommendation No. 3(a) in that it advocates for appropriate adaptations in City policies when compelling opportunities for commercial development occurs by adjusting the regulatory framework within a specific area of the City which will enhance the economic opportunities of the businesses located there and bolster the long term financial success of those businesses. General Plan - The proposed amendment relates to the following goals and policies of the General Plan: • Policy 3-1.5. "Continue to maintain the strength of the automobile sales establishments while promoting a diversified tax base so that the municipal budget does not over -rely on consistently strong vehicle sales." • Goal 3-1: "Maintain a strong, diversified economic base. " • Policy 3-2.6. "Enhance the Claremont Auto Center to ensure uses the area continue to contribute to the City's tax base." • Goal 3-6: "Provide for the fiscal stability of the City. " The proposed amendment relates to these General Plan Goals and policies in that it will provide the regulatory framework to allow the auto dealer submit an application for a shared freestanding freeway -oriented sign, which will support their ability to be competitive and ensure the long term financial success of these businesses and protect this portion of the City's tax base. 2019-2020 Budget - The proposed code amendment relates to the City's budget in that it would support the long term financial success of businesses located within the Claremont Auto Center thereby increasing the sales tax revenue share of the City's budget. CLAREMONT Page 5 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 CEQA REVIEW The proposed Sign Code Amendment is exempt from environmental review under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to sections 15061(b)(2) and 15061(b)(3) of the CEQA Guidelines. The proposed sign code amendment will not result in a direct physical change to the environment, but the change to sign regulations may result in a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment as it would allow for additional signage. However, new signs would require separate review under CEQA and are generally categorically exempt from CEQA Guidelines under sections 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures) and section 15311 (Accessory Structures). The proposed amendment would allow freestanding freeway -oriented signs for development complexes of 10 acres or more with a freeway frontage of 500 feet, where the current code requires a minimum freeway frontage of 800 feet. Although, there is some potential for additional freestanding freeway -oriented signs to be installed than is currently permitted, these signs are only allowed in a small area of the city with fewer than five (5) parcels that meet the acreage requirement for such signs. In addition, each of the uses will require approval of an architectural review to ensure the use does not unduly impact the character of the existing, commercial zone and subject to further environmental review. Accordingly, the proposed revision to the sign code will not result in direct physical changes nor will it indirectly result in a significant effect on the environment and is not subject to further environmental review. PUBLIC NOTICE PROCESS Due to the current health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, parts of the City's regular agenda distribution process have been suspended as public review copies cannot be placed at their regular locations due to facility closures, or limited access. The agenda and this staff report are available on the City's website. If you desire a paper copy, please contact the City Clerk's office. Submitted by: Prepared by: Brad Johnson Chantal Power, AICP Community Development Director Contract Planner Attachment: Proposed Ordinance Amending Title 18 - Signs, Section 18.25.050(G) CLAREMONT Page 6 of 6 Printed on 6/18/2020 ATTACHMENT ORDINANCE NO. 2020 - AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA, AMENDING TITLE 18 — SIGNS, SECTION 18.25.050(G)(1) OF THE CLAREMONT MUNICIPAL CODE TO REDUCE THE REQUIREMENT OF A FREEWAY FRONTAGE OF 800 FEET TO A FREEWAY FRONTAGE OF 500 FEET FOR DEVELOPMENT COMPLEXES OF 10 ACRES OR MORE SEEKING THE APPROVAL OF A FREESTANDING FREEWAY -ORIENTED IDENTIFICATION SIGNS WHEREAS, within the Commercial Freeway (CF) zoning district only, the City of Claremont's Sign Ordinance (Title 18 to the Claremont Municipal Code [CMC]), specifically Section 18.25.050(G) of the CMC, currently allows large Freestanding Freeway -Oriented Identification Signs with electronic message center on large development complexes (10 acres or more) that have at least 800 feet of freeway frontage; and WHEREAS, the City has initiated an amendment to Section 18.25.050(G) of the CMC to reduce the required amount of a freeway frontage for large Freestanding Freeway -Oriented Identification Signs at a large development complex from 800 feet to 500 feet; and WHEREAS, the proposed amendment would align with the City's long term interest in promoting economic development, and more specifically, it will potentially provide a catalyst for the increase in commercial activity in the area by attracting potential customers for the existing and future businesses, such as auto dealerships within the Claremont Auto Center; and WHEREAS, the amendment is consistent with the City's General Plan and furthers Goal 3-1, Policy 3-1.5, Policy 3-2.6 and Goal 3-6 of the Economic Development/Fiscal Element of the General Plan; and WHEREAS, on June 23 and July 14, 2020, the City Council conducted a first and second reading of this Ordinance at its regular meetings, at which time oral and documentary evidence was introduced and the City Council received public comment; and WHEREAS, the City Council has considered the proposed Ordinance; and WHEREAS, the City Council has considered the staff report and all information, evidence, and testimony received at the public meetings. THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLAREMONT DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Incorporation of Recitals The City Council hereby finds that all of the foregoing recitals and the staff report presented herewith are true and correct and Ordinance No. 2020 - Page 2 are hereby incorporated and adopted as findings of the City Council as if fully set forth herein. SECTION 2. Title 18 - Signs, Section 18.25.050 (G) entitled, "Freestanding Freeway -Oriented Identification Signs for Large Development Complexes (CF - Commercial Freeway District Only)" , standard number 1, is hereby amended to reduce the freeway frontage requirement of 800 feet to 500 feet as shown below (deletions struck out and additions underlined): CMC Section 18.025.050. G.1: 1. For development complexes of 10 acres or more, which also have freeway frontage of 900-500 feet or more, the Architectural Commission may approve a freestanding freeway -oriented identification sign that is larger than what is otherwise permitted by this title that includes an electronic message center display or that otherwise meets the unique needs of large freeway development. Creativity, artistry and innovation in the design and materials of such sign are encouraged SECTION 3. CEQA The proposed Sign Code Amendment is exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to sections 15061(b)(2) and 15061(b)(3) of the CEQA Guidelines. The proposed sign code amendment will not result in a direct physical change to the environment, but the change to sign regulations may result in a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment as it would allow for additional signage. Although new signs would require separate review under CEQA, signs are generally categorically exempt from CEQA review under sections 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures) and section 15311 (Accessory Structures) of the CEQA Guidelines. The proposed amendment to the Sign Ordinance would allow freestanding freeway -oriented signs for development complexes of 10 acres or more with a freeway frontage of 500 feet, where the current code requires a minimum freeway frontage of 800 feet. Although, there is some potential for additional freestanding freeway -oriented signs to be installed than is currently permitted, these signs are only allowed in a small area of the city with fewer than five (5) parcels that meet the acreage requirement for such signs. In addition, each of the uses will require approval of an architectural review to ensure the use does not unduly impact the character of the existing, commercial zone and subject to further environmental review. Accordingly, the proposed revision to the Sign Ordinance will not result in direct physical changes nor will it indirectly result in a significant effect on the environment and is not subject to further environmental review. SECTION 4. Severability If any section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this ordinance for any reason is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance. The City Council hereby declares that it would have adopted this ordinance, and each section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion thereof, irrespective of the Ordinance No. 2020 - Page 3 fact that any one or more sections, subsections, subdivisions, sentences, clauses, phrases, or portions thereof be declared invalid or unconstitutional. SECTION 5. Publication The Mayor shall sign this Ordinance and the City Clerk shall attest and certify to the passage and adoption of it, and within fifteen (15) days, publish a summary of the Ordinance in the Claremont Courier, a weekly newspaper of general circulation, printed, published, and circulated in the City of Claremont. SECTION 6. Effective Date This Ordinance shall take effect and be in force thirty (30) days after its adoption. PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this day of June 2020. Mayor, City of Claremont ATTEST: City Clerk, City of Claremont APPROVED -AS TO. FORM: City A