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Starbucks Gets Green Light In Los Osos After Water Use Is Clarified

August 27,2015-

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.27.57 PMSLO County Planning Commission approved Starbucks plan to open a new 2000 sf location in Los Osos this week in the former Bank of America building, where McDonalds had received approval to locate. The commission denied an an appeal by Los Osos resident Julie Tacker.  However,Tacker‘s point that Starbucks had miscalculated the total amount of water available to them was agreed to by the commission and staff,although county staff said their OK of the project did not assume the applicant’s higher number.

Starbucks had calculated 1250 gallons a day but later offered to use 980 gallons a day based on the McDonalds Morro Bay usage while county staff figured they could get by on 860 gallons a day based on an average use at area Starbucks.

The commission said that “Prior to issuance of building permits, the applicant shall retrofit (outside of the prohibition zone) enough homes, businesses, etc. plumbing fixtures to offset their water demand by a total of 698 gallons per day. The applicant may provide an alternative offset as approved by the Planning Director.”

Planner Kerry Brown says Starbucks permit will now be processed and the remodel of the space can move forward when issued. Starbucks can use the drive-thru, closing at Midnight weekdays and 1 PM on weekends.

The restaurant will use 860 gallons a day in 2000sf leaving about 2000sf in the building available for some other use. Staff says there will be 120 gallons a day to serve that space based on the McDonalds permit but will require a Minor Use Permit for any other use but a retailer or office user.

The county staff report says “The applicants submitted a substantial conformance request based on the 1250 gallons per day water number. The applicants’ substantial conformance request was to allow a 2,000 square foot Starbucks with drive through and 1,078 square foot remaining food use/office space. The applicant provided water bills for three Starbucks (two located in San Luis Obispo with no drive through and one located in Santa Maria with a drive through). The Department of Planning and Building used an average of all three Starbucks to determine the water usage for the new Starbucks, which was 860 gallons per day. The applicant also provided water bills for a Subway in Pismo Beach which averaged 477 gallons per day. With both uses the total estimated water usage would be 1338 gallons per day. This number exceeded the estimated water usage for the McDonalds, therefore the Department of Planning and Building only found the Starbucks tenancy change in substantial conformance with the previous approval. Although the applicant used the 1250 gallons per day number, Planning staff did not base the substantial conformance determination on the 1250 gallons per day. Based on the submitted information, the change in tenancy from a McDonalds to a Starbucks is consistent with water usage information presented to and accepted by the Board of Supervisors and is in substantial conformance with the project approved by the Board.”

Water Use Issue Clarified

“Planning staff disagrees with the appellant’s contention that the Starbucks project does not substantially conform to the approved McDonalds project and that the 2,000 square foot remainder space must remain vacant. The proposed Starbucks will use less water than the previously approved McDonald’s and therefore substantially conforms to the previous approval. While the substantial conformance letter did not allow a sandwich shop (Subway) in the 2,000 square foot remainder space due to water concerns, the applicant /property owner may propose other uses within the 2,000 square foot remainder. Any subsequent use proposal for that space would be evaluated for conformance with the approved project and could be authorized, provided they do not use more than 120 gallons per day (980 gpd – 860 gpd = 120 gpd). “

The final verdict – “The Planning Commission should deny Ms. Tackers appeal because the proposed Starbucks uses less water than the previously approved use (McDonald’s) and therefore this change in
tenancy substantially conforms to the previous approval.”

That is what the commission approved. The decision can be appealed in the next 14 days.

Julie Tacker told this reporter after the decision that she is”pleased the staff report was able to clarify the numbers. That was my goal” and “I see no need to appeal “

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