Should the council affirm the Zoning Adjustment Board’s (ZAB’s) approval of a Use Permit to allow general office use, in one existing ground floor tenant space adjacent to street frontage at 1820 Solano Ave?
Open Town Hall (OTH) participants overwhelmingly approved granting a use permit to allow some types of office uses in the empty storefront on Solano Ave. This item had been held over from the Feb. 24th Council meeting to allow staff to write additional restrictions on the use permit.
Several residents spoke against granting the use permit saying that allowing an office would violate the retail character of the Solano Ave business district. The Council was divided on this issue with some arguing that only retail uses were consistent with the character of the business district and if the rents were lower the vacancy would be filled. Others argued that in these tough economic times, the Council should try and help the owner fill his vacancy by allowing more flexibility in the permitted uses.
The Council voted 5-Yes and 2-No and 2- Abstaining in favor of denying the use permit without prejudice. I voted against the motion because I favored granting the use permit. I also feel that if the Council was going to deny the modified use permit, it should have done so in February rather than giving the applicant false hope by first requesting staff to draft more restrictive conditions and then still denying the modified use permit.