Courtesy California City Planning Department

An example of a “horizontal” mixed used includes a segment of ground floor commercial space and second story residential units overlooking a central plaza near a neighborhood. City Planner Shawn Monk has proposed the city look at adopting zoning format to encourage such development down the road.

CALIFORNIA CITY — A task force will be established to look at a California City Boulevard corridor study following a vote by the city's planning commission on Feb. 2. As part of the new gola, the commission also instructed planning staff to develop a mixed-use zoning for the city.

The result came out of a presentation made by City Planner Shawn Monk on beautification efforts for Cal City's main stretch from Isabella Boulevard on the west end of town to Hacienda Boulevard, the location of City Hall.

According to Monk, the goal includes creating a modern attractive environment where residents can live in more compact housing developments, enhance the city's walkability and access storefronts, parks, restaurants and community events.

That's where the mixed-use zoning falls into place, Monk said, or combining commercial and residential zoning to be used on one lot or parcel. The ideal solution would include having a commercial business on the first floor and residential on the second floor.

“Hopefully getting this Mixed Use Zone into our Land Use code would be the first step in that process," Monk said. "It’s a really efficient way to utilize space."

Monk drew his inspiration largely from Lancaster's The BLVD project, which incorporates many of the concepts. 

Planning chair Carolinda Fleming endorsed the idea, noting it could benefit California City and help propel it into developing a solid vision.

“We were lacking vision,” she said, adding a lot of ideas exist in Monk's presentation. "We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take what we have, fix what we have and then move forward to some positive innovation.”

Commissioner Jay Dunham advise Monk to contact other cities and towns that implemented similar concepts and see what funding mechanisms they used.

A key component of several city council candidates' campaigns during the November 2020 election included establishing or resurrecting the city's goal for a vision. The council established an ad hoc committee in December to look at its shelved "Vision 360" project and Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff provided a concise presentation of the city's needs at the Jan. 26 meeting.

The consensus of the council and the public was that the city needs take control of its narrative and remove a negative perspective regarding the city, while also aggressively branding and marketing itself.

The only problem regarding some elements, such as beautification, according to Monk: a lack of funding. However, he stressed it would be better to have something on the shelf ready to go when funding becomes available.

Monk also recommended the planning commission take on the task through a task force.

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