Back in August 2016, when I was still a Planning Commissioner, we initiated the Omnibus Code Clean-up, which was just a fancy way to say that we were improving small typos, errors or smaller issues that could easily be fixed. The trick is that most changes have to be approved by the Coastal Commission as part of our Local Coastal Program amendment process, increasing the work involved. After a first reading in the spring, we approved4-1 (Muir voting no) a second reading at the last Council meeting that improved the definition of smoke shop to be more restrictive, reduced the maximum size of a convenience store to 2,000 square feet or 15% (whichever is less) and added a definition and use matrix for Co-Working Space.
These are small improvements but each will ultimately improve our community. A more restrictive definition of smoke shop means that we can better enforce safe zones around our schools and protect our kids. A definition of size of a convenience store/mini-mart means that property owners as well as residents have a clear expectation of development standards. Adding Co-Working Space is a huge boon to the entrepreneurs looking for these types of flexible spaces to create new ideas, products and companies, thereby meaningfully contributing to our local economy. Take a look at the other amendment highlights from my May 31, 2017 Newsletter.
A speaker from the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth offered in public comment an alternative definition to a smoke shop. She had some very good points, however, it came very late in the process and nearly two and half months after the first reading. Staff would likely have to do another wave of analysis, further delaying all the other amendments that have taken a year to get here. Ultimately we chose to move forward with staff's definition and include any revision in the next round.