CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The Clearlake City Council delayed action Thursday concerning a recommendation by the Clearlake Planning Commission for adoption of design guidelines within the Lakeshore Drive corridor.
Action is expected no earlier than January, at which time the council may conduct a workshop for further discussion.
Additionally, a presentation regarding the Lakeshore Drive Downtown Corridor Plan, which the city is currently in the process of implementing, is scheduled for the council's regular meeting on Dec. 12.
The Lakeshore Drive design guidelines were developed by the Clearlake Vision Task Force and submitted to the council in 2008. However, the guidelines were never adopted.
The Clearlake Planning Commission has spent the past several months reviewing the guidelines, with particular attention paid to permitted and conditional uses within the design district on Lakeshore Drive between Olympic Drive and Old Highway 53.
The proposed document includes several uses recommended by the commission for deletion, many of which are existing.
Business owner Joan Mingori, who said she has owned three parcels on Lakeshore Drive since 1982, voiced concern for lack of written notification to business owners who will be affected by the proposed changes to code.
She said her business, and the existing businesses of many others, will be out of compliance should the proposed guidelines be adopted.
While City Manager Joan Phillipe said that existing businesses could continue to operate as a permitted nonconforming use, Mingori said such a designation would complicate, and possibly eliminate, business owners' ability to gain a “decent” loan.
Mingori said the city should be directing efforts toward establishing a loan program to encourage growth and assist business owners.
“You need to be a little more friendly to the people here in the business community,” she said.
Mingori's husband, Bob, pointed out several areas of concern, including prohibiting businesses permitted as nonconforming uses from expanding.
He also questioned the recommended deletion of parking lots, public and private, and its interpretation in relation to parking requirements attached to the operation of a business.
District 2 Supervisor Jeff Smith also questioned the parking lot component and said his interpretation would lead him to believe the parking lot at Highlands Park would be illegal and, in addition, would make the city-owned Austin Resort property “unsellable.”
Smith expressed concern for the limited number of identified uses as well. “I know we want to make (Lakeshore Drive) visitor-oriented, but right now we just want it to succeed,” he said.
After hearing comments from the public, the discussion continued amongst members of the council.
Councilwoman Jeri Spittler said when the Vision Task Force created the guidelines, possible use of redevelopment agency funds was in mind.
She said it was her belief that the commission was directing its attention more toward aesthetics than toward what can and can't be placed on Lakeshore Drive.
Spittler said she shared concerns expressed by the Mingoris. “Everything we currently have operating is earmarked for deletion,” she said, indicating she did not support the document as proposed.
Councilwoman Gina Fortino Dickson said she wanted to remind the council that they were addressing a document that underwent extensive planning and which, ultimately, was overlooked and not adopted, and she said she thought it should be implemented.
She said her greatest concern was for possibly extending the building moratorium on Lakeshore Drive currently in place since this summer. She said she was against an extension.
Phillipe said the moratorium will expire in mid-December and ample time for proper notification to extend it is not available. She said the council would have to restart the process if it decides to continue the moratorium.
Mayor Joyce Overton said she agreed with Spittler, adding there were too many businesses in the plan that the would be deleting if they accepted the recommendation.
Overton said that in light of information offered by the Mingoris regarding business loans, she is not comfortable moving forward with the document at this time.
The council intends to receive its scheduled presentation on the Lakeshore Drive Downtown Corridor Plan on Dec. 12 prior to making a decision as to how it will proceed with the proposed document, which is available for public review at Clearlake City Hall, 14050 Olympic Drive.
Email Denise Rockenstein at [email protected] .