Santa Paula

Planning Commission Agenda Item

17-CDP-05 Waba Grill


Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Planning Commission Item

Project Description



The applicant is requesting approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow a proposed fast food restaurant (Waba Grill); Design Review; and a Minor Modification for a reduction in required parking spaces for property located in the General Commercial zoning district. As proposed, this project is Categorically Exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).




The project site consists of two detached commercial buildings; Jonesy’s Liquor and the vacant building proposed to be occupied by Waba Grill.  According to our business license records, the vacant building has been unoccupied since 2011. The last tenant was Rizzy’s Lounge (a bar).


The project includes remodeling the existing 2,249 square foot vacant building to accommodate the proposed fast food restaurant (Waba Grill).  The hours of operation for the business will be Sunday-Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 9 P.M.  As described in the tenant’s letter (attached), the restaurant will be serving high quality healthy food, which includes chicken, salmon, shrimp, ribs and steak. 


In addition to the remodel of the interior of the business, the project includes minor improvements to the exterior of the building.  As noted on sheets A-2.4 and A-2.5 (Attachment F), changes to the building elevations include removing the lava rock veneer on the front entrance of the building and replacing that area with stucco. The remodel includes adding three new windows to the front façade and a painting the existing block walls a tan tone (SW6108 “Latte”) and the front parapet a dark beige tone (SW6386 “Napery”).  The door and window trim will be a light beige tone (SW6371 “Vanillin”).  The roof mounted equipment is proposed to be screened with 29 gauge “U” panel metal sheets and painted a dark beige tone (SW6386 “Napery”).  Due to the height and visibility of the proposed roof mounted equipment screening, staff has added a condition of approval requiring the parapet wall be designed to properly screen the roof mounted equipment.


The project includes a parking reduction from 73 to 29 parking spaces.  The applicant submitted a parking analysis (Attachment C) to justify the parking reduction for the proposed use and the existing liquor store on site.  The City’s Development Code parking requirement for a liquor store is 1 parking space per 100 sq. ft. (Santa Paula Municipal Code (“SPMC”) § 16.46.040, Table 46-1); which would require 23 parking spaces.  Fast food restaurants require 1 parking space per 45 sq. ft. (id.), which would require 50 parking spaces.  According to the parking analysis, the peak parking demand is 25 parking stalls.


Site improvements include a revised parking layout to include two accessible parking stalls, a loading space, a trash enclosure and an additional 409 square feet of landscaping adjacent to the pole sign and the front entrance to Waba Grill.  Staff recommends increasing the planter adjacent to the pole sign an additional 200 square feet to remove unnecessary pavement and provide much needed landscaping.


The application also includes Design Review approval for the proposed signage.  The proposed signage includes one new wall sign, a face change to the existing pole sign, two “parking in rear” directional signs and an entrance sign. The proposed 36.5 sq. ft. wall sign and 5 sq. ft. “parking in rear” wall signs will not exceed the maximum sign area allowed (1 ft. x building frontage [which is 42 ft.] and not to exceed 50 sq. ft., per SPMC § 16.48.660, Table 48-4). However, staff recommends revising the pole sign to include the “parking in rear” within the sign area of the pole sign (36 sq. ft.) since the pole sign already exceeds the maximum sign area permitted (24 sq. ft., per SPMC § 16.48.660, Table 48-4).


Land Use, Zoning, and General Plan designations for the subject property and surrounding properties are:




General Plan


Land Use

Project Site


General Commercial (C-G)

Commercial (liquor store & vacant bar)



Single Family Residential/Planned Development (R-1/PD)

Residential (single-family residences)

West & East


General Commercial (C-G)


(multi-family apartments)


High Density Residential

High Density Residential (R-4)


(multi-family apartments)




General Plan & Development Code


The General Plan designation for the property is Commercial.  The zoning is General Commercial (C-G), which is consistent with the corresponding General Plan land use designation. The purpose of the Commercial land use category is to provide locations within the planning area where a wide variety of services can be provided to serve the community.


As proposed and subject to the conditions of approval, the project as a whole will be generally consistent with the underlying General Plan land use designation and promotes the objectives, policies, and goals in the City’s General Plan including:


·         Land Use Distribution: (3.m.m.) Promote commercial development along arterial roads in areas that provide adequate access and parking.  (3.n.n.) Require that all commercial development provide buffers with adjacent residential uses or residentially zoned property, including: decorative walls, landscaped setbacks, restricted vehicular access, proper siting and screening of the trash and service areas and control of lighting.

·         Urban Form and Design:  (5m.m)              Encourage the upgrading and enhancement of existing commercial and industrial neighborhoods.

·         Land Use Compatibility:  (6.h) Building vacancies should be reduced in commercial and industrial uses. (67) Use the Conditional Use Permit process to analyze and approve special uses in various zone districts.

·         Economic Development: (7.b) The City should encourage the attraction and expansion of businesses that will diversify and sustain the community economically. (7.b.b.) Emphasize the attraction, retention, and promotion of small businesses and local businesses.

·         Special Study Areas: (9.n.n.) Retain and enhance the Harvard Boulevard corridor as a diverse and vibrant business community. (9.p.p.) Improve the visual appearance of lands and development along Harvard Boulevard.


Subject to the proposed conditions of approval, the project would comply with the Design Review Guidelines set forth in the City’s Development Code (Chapter 16.226) which are established to:


1.     Promote orderly, attractive, and harmonious development throughout Santa Paula;

2.     Recognize neighborhood character and environmental limitations in development;

3.     Ensure that the design and exterior architectural treatment of proposed structures complement the design or exterior architectural treatment of existing structures in the immediate neighborhood and do not conflict with existing development in any manner that would cause a substantial depreciation of property values in the neighborhood;

4.     Promote the general welfare by preventing establishment of uses or erection of structures having qualities which would not meet the specific intent clauses or performance standards of this Title 16, or which are not properly related to their sites, surroundings, traffic circulation, or environmental setting; and

5.     Assure conformance with the provisions of this Title 16 and in particular, for conformance with the design, land use regulations and development standards set forth in Chapters 16.07 through 16.76 and the Design Review Guidelines set forth in City Council Resolution 5298.


Chapter 16.15 Commercial Zones, Section 16.15.020 Land Use and Permit Requirements, Table 15-1 of the Development Code, requires fast food restaurants to obtain a Conditional Use Permit. The development code defines fast food restaurants as “a restaurant that supplies food and beverages primarily in disposable containers, and that is characterized by high automobile accessibility, self-service, and short stays by customers”.  SPMC § 16.05.020 “R” Definitions.


According to Section 16.218.040 of the Development Code, the Planning Commission may approve and/or modify a Conditional Use Permit in whole or in part, with or without conditions, provided that all of the following findings are made:


1.     The proposed use at the particular location is necessary or desirable to provide a service or facility that will contribute to the general convenience or welfare of the neighborhood or community. The proposed restaurant (Waba Grill) will provide an alternative eating establishment for residents and visitors.


2.     The characteristics of the proposed use are not unreasonably incompatible with the types of uses permitted in the surrounding areas. The proposed fast food restaurant (Waba Grill) is compatible with commercial uses along Harvard Boulevard;


3.     The proposed use is consistent with the objectives, policies, general land uses, and programs of the Santa Paula General Plan:  The Project is consistent with The Project is consistent with Land Use Distribution Policies 3.m.m, 3.n.n, Urban Form and Design Policy 5.g.g, Land Use Compatibility Objective 6(h) and Implementation Measure 67; Economic Development Objective 7(b), and Policy 7.b.b; and Special Study Areas Policies 9.n.n and 9.p.p;


4.     The proposed use will not be detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the vicinity or injurious to property or improvements in the vicinity.  The proposed use will not be detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare because as conditioned, the project will comply with all current Building & Safety, Public Works, Fire, and Development Code requirements.




Under SPMC sections 16.46.060 and 16.222.010 the parking requirements that would otherwise apply may be modified when two or more uses share parking facilities.  A parking demand analysis for the uses proposed to share parking facilities must be prepared by a registered traffic engineer or other appropriately licensed professional.  When such analysis demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Planning Director, that the uses have different peak parking requirements, then the Director may reduce the parking space requirement.  SPMC § 16.46.060, subd. (A).  Alternatively, the Director may refer the matter to the Planning Commission for determination.  SPMC § 16.222.030, subd. (C)(2). 




Based upon review of the policies and objectives of the General Plan, the SPMC requirements, and other City policies, staff determined that the proposed project is Categorically exempt from the requirements of CEQA, the Santa Paula Guidelines and CEQA Guidelines, §15301, (Class 1, Existing Facilities) since the project consists of remodeling an existing commercial building to a fast food restaurant.




A notice of public hearing was published in the Santa Paula Times in compliance with state law.  Also, in compliance with the City’s Development Code, all property owners within a 300-foot radius of the project site were mailed notifications of the public hearing.  As required by Resolution No. 3404 of the City Council, the project site was also posted with a sign at least eleven (11) days prior to the hearing. 




The following alternatives are available to the Planning Commission:


1.     Adopt Resolution No. 3776 approving Conditional Use Permit No. 2017-CDP-05 to allow a proposed fast food restaurant (Waba Grill); Design Review; and a Minor Modification for a reduction in required parking spaces for property located at 132 W. Harvard Boulevard subject to the conditions of approval.


2.     Continue the hearing in order to obtain further information or for the applicant to make any requested revisions to the project.


3.     Deny the applicant’s request and direct staff to prepare a Resolution of Denial.




Staff recommends that the Planning Commission select Alternative No. 1 and approve Conditional Use Permit No. 2017-CDP-05 subject to the conditions of approval listed in the resolution.

Meeting History

Feb 27, 2018 6:00 PM Video Planning Commission Regular Meeting
draft Draft

Chairman Ikerd opened the Public Hearing at 6:06 p.m.

Chairman Ikerd confirmed there were no Conflicts of Interest or Ex Parte Contacts from the Commissioners regarding the project to be heard.

Assistant Planner Arroyo presented the item to the Commissioners.

Commissioner McPhail asked whether the square footage requirements for the pole sign changed after the original sign was erected.

Assistant Planner Arroyo replied that was correct.

Mr. Arche Del Rosario, Project Manager for Gary Wang & Associates, Inc. and Applicant representative, spoke to the Commissioners and clarified some late-arriving modifications to the building facade, equipment screening, and paint colors, intended to improve the appearance and character of the structure and project location.

Commissioner McPhail asked for clarification from the Applicant on how fast the proposed menu items could actually be prepared.

Assistant Planner Arroyo clarified for the Commissioners that WaBa Grill's classification as "fast food" in the staff report was based on language in the Santa Paula Municipal Code stating a restaurant is classified as such when it supplies food and beverages primarily in disposable containers. Assistant Planner Arroyo stated such language was used to classify similar-style restaurants in town, such as Panda Express.

Mr. Sandeep Chahal, owner of WaBa Grill, spoke to the Commissioners about the intent of WaBa Grill to offer healthy, made-to-order food for its customers, and the restaurant would not feature fryers, microwaves, or heat lamps. Mr. Chahal currently operates another WaBa location in Castaic, California.

Vice Chairman Robinson stated he assumed WaBa Grill would be more of a sit-down type of restaurant, rather than fast food, and asked if that was correct.

Mr. Chahal replied that the restaurant would be more of a self-order, sit-down restaurant, with call-in and takeout capabilities as well.

Vice Chairman Robinson asked if the restaurant would serve beer and wine.

Mr. Chahal replied no, the restaurant does not intend to serve alcohol.

Vice Chairman Robinson asked if, in the future, the restaurant wants to serve beer and wine, it would be required to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

Assistant Planner Arroyo replied that it would technically be a modification, but in essence would require a new CUP.

Vice Chairman Robinson stated he remembered the bar that was previously at the location was problematic, requiring a regular police presence, and that he is glad to see this restaurant coming in and potentially improving the area. Vice Chairman Robinson continued that, although he is somewhat concerned about the parking and traffic situation, he supports the project on staff's recommendation.

Vice Chairman Robinson moved to adopt Resolution No. 3776 approving Conditional Use Permit No. 2017-CDP-05 to allow a proposed fast food restaurant (Waba Grill); Design Review; and a Minor Modification for a reduction in required parking spaces for property located at 132 W. Harvard Boulevard subject to the conditions of approval. Commissioner McPhail seconded the motion. All were in favor and the motion carried.

Chairman Ikerd closed the Public Hearing at 6:22 p.m.

MOVER:Fred W. Robinson, Vice Chairman
SECONDER:Margaux Bangs, Commissioner
AYES:Fred W. Robinson, Gail Ikerd, Margaux Bangs, W. Earl McPhail