La Terraza (corner of 10th Street and Main) has been in the location for 25 years after remodeling what originally had been a Taco Bell. An application for a new banquet hall was submitted to the city to allow expansion of the restaurant into the Gonzales Furniture store.

Council: Enforcement agreement
issues veer off on La Terraza expansion

April 25, 2014
Santa Paula News

In an unusual move the Santa Paula City Council had a lengthy discussion on a project already approved by the Planning Commission and decided they wanted more information related to a new banquet hall planned by the owner of La Terraza.

The enforcement agreement for the planned facility just east of the La Terraza Restaurant at the corner of 10th and Main streets was on the Consent Calendar of the council’s April 21 meeting when Mayor Rick Cook asked it  be pulled for discussion.

Planning Director Janna Minsk noted the enforcement agreement governing hours of operation and wine and beer sales is “their second step” to expand the use of the eatery next door to the former Gonzales Furniture Store.

Parking concerns were raised by the Planning Commission, which last month approved the project with the caveat that parking and other issues be further examined and refined.

Minsk noted that defined parking requirements for each business are different in the Central Business District area of 11th to 7th streets to promote a “vibrant area” for visitors who would be expected to use city provided parking.

“That can be changed?” asked Cook.

Minsk said it could be changed but the process is lengthy.

Adan Sandoval, the owner of La Terraza, has agreed to provide valet parking and shuttle service for larger events based on a sliding scale of expected attendance.

Minsk noted that no private parking lots would be used and event security issues are also being addressed. 

Santa Paula Art Museum Executive Director Jennifer Heighton said she supports the project but worries about potential parking impacts for museum special events in its private lot.

“We can’t afford to have a security guard out stand out there,” and Heighton said the museum has many elderly supporters that must park close-by.

“It’s tough to find parking now,” in the downtown and unlike a restaurant where people come and go special events at a banquet hall would tie up parking for the evening.

Heighton asked that the council wait to see if the banquet hall could make parking arrangements with the California Oil Museum across the street to lease their potentially private parking lot that will hold about 60 vehicles.

Family member Jaime Sandoval told the council the banquet hall would improve the downtown, as has the present restaurant.

La Terraza has been in the location for 25 years after remodeling what originally had been a Taco Bell. 

“We’re willing to work with police and fire and the Downtown Merchants Association,” and others, “to help make this improve the downtown.”

Councilman Bob Gonzales said he often eats at La Terraza but when he visits his mother on weekend evenings it is hard to find parking near her house in the restaurant neighborhood.

Jeanne Orcutt, executive director of the Oil Museum, said if a foundation does acquire the museum and adjacent parking it still might not be available for outside use.

Said Minsk, “We took that parking off the table,” at the Planning Commission meeting because of the unknown nature of its future status. 

Parking in that area said Cook is “atrocious” and he criticized the parking study submitted by the applicant’s consultant noting it falls short of actual spaces.

Added Cook, “I understand someone in the family owns a bar or dance hall in Oxnard... is that correct?”

The consultant counted everything they felt was available parking said Minsk who noted that other businesses such as 11th Street’s Casa Del Mexicano and downtown restaurants have not had such parking restrictions placed on their businesses.

“No one asked for records from Oxnard, if they’ve had problems,” said Cook, who was, “Told today they have a sister business in Oxnard,” and wants to know what impacts that business has had.

“I’m a little torn here with the parking issue,” but Councilman Ralph Fernandez said others that “don’t have parking and don’t have parking requirements. It’s difficult for me to discriminate against another business,” including the requirement for valet parking and shuttle services.

Although concerned about parking Fernandez noted the business would be beneficial overall and he asked about monitoring.

Minsk said a condition in the CUP requires an update in one-year that City Attorney John Cotti said could lead to the CUP being changed or even terminated.

When asked Police Chief Steve McLean said, “As far as I know La Terraza has been a good neighbor, I can’t recall,” violations and Fire Chief Rick Araiza said occupancy, a requested 300 guests, would depend on square footage and use.

 “From what I’ve read the CUP has already been approved by the planning commission,” and the council, said Councilman Martin Hernandez, was only to consider the enforcement agreement.

Some fear a shift of business and customers from the downtown to East Area 1 and 2 when they are developed and Hernandez said he would support “any enhancements to our downtown... we need ways to attract them now.”

Strict conditions are already placed on the banquet hall project, staff time is reimbursable and “I don’t see this as a drain on our resources,” he added.

Cook noted that other downtown restaurants are not as close to residential areas.

“I don’t care where you park but I don’t want the police wasting time on your issues, but I also don’t want,” to be fielding complaints from the public if problems arise.

Cook asked who would be monitoring drinking at the facility: “I don’t like putting the burden on police,” of further code enforcement duties.

The council asked that a report be brought back on the issues that Cook asked include information on the Oxnard business owned by the family.

“I’m okay with that but Oxnard is a different place than Santa Paula,” said Fernandez.

“Crime is the same though,” said Cook.

“I don’t find it relevant,” said Hernandez. “If Oxnard is included I won’t support it... “

The council agreed to further reporting 3-1 with Hernandez voting no.

Councilman Jim Tovias recused himself from being involved in the issue as his business is close to the proposed project.

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