Update: The Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday to approve the restrictions, but removed the restriction on drive-through restaurants and other drive-through services.
The city of Sacramento is set to prohibit new drive-through restaurants, mini storage facilities and auto service shops from opening along a portion of Stockton Boulevard and Broadway that is being eyed for redevelopment.
The proposal, which the Sacramento City Council will consider Tuesday, aims to ban automobile-centric businesses as part of an ongoing effort to encourage more people to ride public transit in the high-capacity bus corridors – or hop on a bicycle or scooter – instead of driving vehicles, according to a city staff report.
Councilman Eric Guerra, who represents the area, in August requested the ordinance to prohibit mini storage and auto service businesses, the report said. Then, the Planning and Design Commission recommended adding drive-through restaurants and other drive-through services like pharmacies and banks, the report said.
The change also aims to encourage housing development, the report said.
“We’re in a housing crisis, not a car wash crisis,” Guerra said. “All you have to do is google ‘auto services Stockton’ or ‘mini storage Stockton’ and the entire corridor pops up with red dots. Those businesses have been great for the corridor, they provided a lot of local jobs and we want them to continue. But in areas of opportunity where there are vacant lots, we must use that space for housing. Especially when Stockton Boulevard has the best and most reliable transit line in the entire Regional Transit system.”
Mutual Housing and Mercy Housing wrote letters in support of the ordinance, while the Stockton Boulevard Partnership opposed it.
Stockton Boulevard has about 100 vacant parcels and many vacant business buildings that attract homeless people, wrote Martin Rosenberg of the Stockton Boulevard Partnership in a letter to the city earlier this month. He raised concerns the city could turn away good businesses that could fill the vacancies.
“Surely, a well-run car wash or other automotive-service business or a mini-storage facility here and there – given that the business is properly situated and aesthetically designed and landscaped – is far better than the current blight our nearby neighbors and current businesses and their customers face each day,” Rosenberg wrote.
Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies recently cleared out a large homeless encampment at the old San Juan Motel site near the corner of Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road, just outside city limits.
Guerra and Councilman Jay Schenirer, who together represent the area affected, earlier this month took a group of Sacramento developers including Mark Friedman and Mike Heller on a bus tour down along boulevard to point out vacant lots where they could build housing and mixed-use developments, Schenirer said.
The city is now working on incentive packages, such as tax breaks and waived permits, that could be awarded to developers who build along Stockton, Schenirer said.
“We’re setting parameters in place and a vision in place so we can go out and hopefully entice developers to work on the corridors,” Schenirer said. “This is the right time to do it, particularly with Aggie Square coming in.”
Aggie Square is a 25-acre development with classroom, office, residential and community space planned on the UC Davis Medical Center campus near Oak Park.
Guerra and Schenirer pointed to R Street , including the Ice Blocks development, which used to be an industrial area and is now a walkable hub with shops and restaurants, as an example of how Broadway and Stockton could be.
The city recently banned drive-through restaurants and warehouses near light rail stations.
Council officials and Mayor Darrell Steinberg have discussed redevelopment of commercial corridors such as Stockton Boulevard as one possible use for the revenue from the city’s Measure U sales tax increase, which voters approved in November.
The ordinance would apply to both sides of Broadway, from Highway 99 to Stockton Boulevard, through Oak Park, the report said. It would also apply to both sides of Stockton Boulevard, between Second Avenue and 65th Street, through Oak Park, Tahoe Park and south Sacramento.
If the council passes the ordinance Tuesday, it would go in to effect Oct. 24, said Kelli Trapani, a city spokeswoman. Projects that obtained planning approval before Sept. 24 would still be able to open.
The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall’s Council Chambers.
Editor’s note: An earlier online version of this story did not report that the City Council voted to remove a restriction on drive-through restaurants and other drive-through services.