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May 25
1966 - Mustang Drive-In theater opens on Soledad Canyon Road [story]
Mustang Drive-In


At its meeting Tuesday night, the Santa Clarita City Council adopted a resolution to restore the city’s parking space requirements for new businesses in Old Town Newhall, and implement a “parking in lieu” fee for new businesses to help pay for more new parking in the Main Street area.

The council voted to amend the 2005 Old Town Newhall Specific Plan, which had eliminated parking space requirements in an effort to attract more businesses to Main Street’s “Urban Center Zone.”

Tuesday’s resolution also established the parking in lieu program as required by the Santa Clarita city code.

The resumption of parking space requirements takes effect January 12, while the parking in lieu plan will begin February 12.

Per the Specific Plan, new businesses opening in the Main Street area will be required to provide one parking stall for the first 1,500 square feet and then one spot for every 350 square feet after that.

The City Council set the parking in lieu fee at $5,855.10 per space for new development, an 85 percent discount over the fee recommended by a city consultant. That will be the fee for the next five years, at which point the city will reassess it.

“When you want to open a new business anywhere in the city of Santa Clarita there are certain parking standards you have to abide by,” said Denise Covert, an economic development associate with the city of Santa Clarita.

“When the City Council adopted the Newhall Specific Plan in 2005, one of the incentives they created was eliminating the parking space requirements in Old Town Newhall,” Covert said. “That made Newhall unlike anywhere else in the city where a business could come in without having to provide parking.”

Public-Private Parking Partnership
The Specific Plan also envisioned there would be a private funding mechanism to offset public funding of parking in Newhall.

“While the private side never materialized, the public investments in Old Town Newhall continued,” Covert said. “So we’re building a 372-stall parking structure on the north side of Main Street. The city is 100 percent funding it to the tune of about $15.6 million.”

The Plan called for an additional parking facility on the south side of Main Street.

“So we looked at a number of different funding options to the private part of the public-private partnerships for parking in Newhall, as was always envisioned,” Covert said.

The first step was to get input from Main Street businesses and the surrounding neighborhood.

“We surveyed the community,” Covert said. “We mailed surveys to property owners and businesses, we sent them by email to the people we had addresses for, and both city staff and Old Town Newhall Association walked the street to get the feedback of the community.”

Among the public-private options proposed by city staff was the parking in lieu idea, and in the end that was the most desirable to business owners and residents in the area.

No Effect on Existing Businesses
Covert emphasized the coming changes apply only to new businesses and new construction.

“They do not affect existing businesses. It’s only new square footage that’s added to the community,” she said.

“For instance, if a new business wants to go into an already established space, there’s no assessment and no fee,” Covert said. “But if a new business wants to go into an existing space and then wants to remove their back parking to create additional usable square footage, the new parking requirements would go into effect.”

New business developers now have three options.

“The first is to find a way to accommodate the required parking on-site,” Covert said.

“The second option would be to enter into a property-sharing agreement with a neighboring property that’s recorded on both properties,” she said.

“The third option is to pay this parking in lieu fee, which is dedicated to funding additional permanent parking in Old Town Newhall,” she said. “The money cannot be used for leasing lots or temporary parking solutions. This is what would provide the funding for the proposed parking structure on the south side of Main Street.”

Covert said the location of that parking structure is to be determined. “There are a few different options we’re looking at that would accommodate parking,” she said. “It’s really going to come down to the market and the availability of land.”

Determining the Parking in Lieu Fee
To figure out the parking in lieu fee, the city hired a cost and revenue consultant who looked at what that additional parking structure would cost: to buy the property, draw up the plans, prep the site and build the structure.

The consultant arrived at a fee of $39,034 per new parking space, but the City Council opted to slash that by 85 percent, to $5,855.10 per new parking space for new development.

The Council assessed the lower amount because it wants to continue the public-private partnership in the Main Street and to make Old Town Newhall more attractive to new business owners, Covert said.

“In addition, we know this is a departure from what property owners and business owners and future developers in Old Town Newhall are used to,” she said. “So the idea is that the fee would be assessed at a lower rate now, and then re-assessed after five years to see if it should stay the same or be changed.”

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