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Santa Maria moving forward with proposed zoning change for old Costco building

Old Santa Maria Costco
Dave Alley / KEYT
Santa Maria City Council voted to allow the old Costco building to be used for potential retail purposes.

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Santa Maria City Council is moving forward on a proposed zoning change for the old Costco building.

On Tuesday night, City Council voted to approve the first reading of a proposed text amendment.

"Yesterday at the City Council, we took a text amendment of the zoning code to allow for additional commercial uses," said Chuen Ng, Santa Maria Director of Community Development. "It's a commercial building, but it's technically in a light industrial zone and there area challenges to marketing the site because it's building intended for commercial, but located in light industrial, so we expanded the uses allowed for that location to include general retail."

Currently, the building is zoned PD/M-1 (Planned Development/Light Manufacturing). It also has very specific language that allowed the site for retail warehouse use.

"We have a large building and the code doesn't allow for the full-range of commercial uses, only if over 80,000 square feet and essentially another Costco-type use, which is very limiting," said Ng.

The proposal would include limited commercial uses for the 130,000 square foot building.

"There was some desire to also retain light industrial uses to allow for maximum flexibility because we could still have a job producer that's perhaps not a retail use, but may use it for light manufacturing, processing, assembly and would still bring value to the City in terms of job growth," said Ng.

Ng added potential addition could include other areas on the 9.4 acre site.

"It may not just be the existing building itself," said Ng. "There are perhaps opportunities on the parking lot to accommodate uses, additional building pads, such as perhaps another restaurant, another retail use."

The change has been proposed by prospective new owners of the site located at 1335 and 1355 South Bradley Road.

According to a City staff report, the applicant is Laurie Tamura of Urban Planning Concepts, representing Nick Tompkins, NKT Commercial.

Tompkins confirmed Wednesday his company is in escrow to purchase the property.

He added that he could not speak publicly on what businesses may potentially move onto the site.

The building has been vacant since Costco moved to the Enos Ranch development in September 2017.

"We want this project site to be a productive use, said Ng. "We want the vacant building to be occupied by a business that would produce jobs and bring in sales tax. I think we're ready for the building to be occupied. I think those that live here, the City, we're anxious to see something go into the former Costco site."

The zoning amendment does not affect other businesses adjacent to the former Costco building, including Trader Joes, BevMo! and Michaels.

Those buildings are currently zoned for commercial usage.

City Council will vote for final approval at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 3.

Article Topic Follows: Money and Business
city council

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