Chapter 17.53
GENERAL COMMERCIAL (ZONE C-3)

17.53.010 Intent and Purpose

The General Commercial (C-3) Zone is established to create, preserve and enhance areas for businesses which provide a wide variety of goods and services serving a community-wide market area. The zone provides for the grouping of retail and service uses that are compatible with respect to the type of commodity sold or services offered, operational requirements, market area and land use intensity. The zone is appropriate for major retail outlets as well as community shopping centers. Smaller businesses which may benefit from the customer drawing power of the larger stores and which provide specialty goods and services may also be located in this zone. The creation of a pleasant and efficient environment for general retail shopping and business is a primary function of this zone.

17.53.020 Locational Criteria

The C-3 zone designation is appropriately applied based upon the following criteria.

A.    The area is occupied or will be occupied by stores and businesses which provide retail sales and services for a wide range of consumer needs, characterized by relatively long-term utility.

B.    The area is located either at the intersection of major streets or along major streets and highways.

C.    The area is environmentally and topographically suited to large-scale commercial development, with slopes of under ten (10) percent, no safety constraint to accommodating large numbers of persons, adequate area to sustain all accessory uses and development requirements, and infrastructure of adequate capacity to support the permitted uses.

D.    The area is typically at least five (5) to twenty (20) acres in size to facilitate general commercial development; however, aggregations of general commercial uses may result in designations encompassing larger areas.

E.    New designations of C-3 zoned districts should be located at least one (1) mile from any other shopping area or commercial designation.

F.    The location shall be consistent with the General Plan commercial siting criteria and other applicable policies, and the land use designation of CC (Community Commercial).

17.53.030 Uses Permitted Without Planning Approval

The following uses are allowed in the C-3 zone without zoning clearance or other planning approval, except as required by state law.

A.    Field, tree, bush, berry and row crops, including nursery stock as an interim use, provided that no permanent structures are constructed, and provided that no sludge and/or biosolid material shall be applied to any land as a soil amendment. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 97-1, adopted by City Council August 13, 1997.)

B.    Riding and hiking trails and appurtenant facilities.

C.    Storage, temporary, of materials and equipment used in construction of public or private improvements, provided that all such items are stored on the construction site and pose no traffic hazard or other adverse impact on surrounding properties.

D.    Temporary and permanent facilities for detention, retention and conveyance of stormwater runoff.

E.    Small-scale solar energy systems as an accessory use on a lot containing a permitted principal use. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 11-03, adopted by City Council December 7, 2011.)

17.53.040 Uses Permitted Subject to Administrative Approval by the Planning Director

The following uses are permitted in the C-3 zone, subject to the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as specified in this Section.

A.    Special Events, pursuant to PMC 17.27.030(A).

B.    Minor telecommunication facility pursuant to PMC 17.95.040. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 97-3, adopted by City Council September 10, 1997.)

C.    Temporary Uses as contained in PMC 17.27.030(B)(1) through (4).

17.53.050 Uses Permitted Subject to Site Plan Review Approval

The following uses are permitted in the C-3 zone subject to Site Plan Review approval, except that when such a use is proposed to be established in an existing building and does not constitute a change from the previous use of said building, the requirement for Site Plan Review may be waived by the Planning Director through issuance of a Zoning Clearance, pursuant to PMC 17.26.030.

A.    Retail sale of goods generally characterized by relatively short-term utility or consumption, including the following:

1.    Automotive parts (new retail only).

2.    Bakeries, including baking only when incidental to retail sales from the premises.

3.    Bicycles, parts and accessories.

4.    Book stores.

5.    Confectionery and candy stores.

6.    Cosmetics and accessories.

7.    Drug stores and pharmacies.

8.    Farmer’s markets, as defined in PMC 17.16.060(F). (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

9.    Florist shops.

10.    Gift shops.

11.    Grocery stores, food, meat and produce markets, excluding convenience stores.

12.    Hardware stores.

13.    Hobby, yarn and craft shops.

14.    Jewelry stores.

15.    News stands.

16.    Pet shops and supplies.

17.    Photographic equipment, processing and supply stores.

18.    Specialty clothing shops.

19.    Stationary stores.

20.    Variety stores.

21.    Video rental and sales.

B.    Retail sale of goods generally characterized by relatively long-term utility or consumption, including:

1.    Antique stores.

2.    Apparel and clothing accessories.

3.    Appliances, household.

4.    Art, drafting and graphics supplies.

5.    Boats and other marine products and accessories.

6.    Carpeting, tile and floor coverings.

7.    Caskets and other funeral supplies.

8.    Computers and accessories, sales and service.

9.    Dishes, china, glassware, and metalware.

10.    Draperies, blinds, shades and other window coverings.

11.    Dry goods and notions.

12.    Department stores and general merchandise stores.

13.    Firearms and related accessories, sales and service. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 95-2 adopted by City Council October 11, 1995.)

14.    Fur and leather goods.

15.    Furniture.

16.    Galleries for display and sale of paintings, sculpture, pottery and other works of art.

17.    Home improvement centers.

18.    Jewelry, precious metals, coins, stamps and other collectibles.

19.    Lawn and garden equipment and supplies.

20.    Mail order businesses (excluding warehousing).

21.    Motorcycles and off-road recreational vehicles, new.

22.    Musical instruments and supplies.

23.    Office furniture and equipment.

24.    Paint, varnish and lacquer.

25.    Pet shops and supplies.

26.    Phonograph records, cassette tapes, compact disks and videotapes.

27.    Photographic equipment and supplies.

28.    Plumbing and heating equipment and supplies.

29.    Prints and frames.

30.    Radio, television, stereo and other audiovisual equipment.

31.    Recreational vehicles, new.

32.    Stationery and office supplies.

33.    Swimming pools and spas.

34.    Thrift shops. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 10-01, adopted by City Council August 4, 2010.)

35.    Toys, sport and athletic equipment.

36.    Wallpaper, interior decorating supplies and upholstery.

C.    Services provided to individuals and businesses, including:

1.    Automotive services:

a.    Automobile rental agencies.

b.    Automobile repair, light.

c.    Automobile service stations, pursuant to PMC 17.92.110.

d.    Car washes, express, pursuant to PMC 17.92.170. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 12-001, adopted by City Council May 2, 2012.)

e.    Car washes, full service. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 00-01, adopted by City Council November 8, 2000.)

f.    Gas stations.

g.    Recreational vehicle rental.

2.    Food services, including:

a.    Catering services.

b.    Delicatessens and sandwich shops.

c.    Doughnut shops.

d.    Coffee shops.

e.    Fast food restaurants (including drive-through windows), pursuant to PMC 17.92.010.

f.    Ice cream and yogurt shops.

g.    Restaurant (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 15-01, adopted by City Council September 2, 2015.)

h.    Water softener and bottled water service.

3.    Personal services, including:

a.    Barber and beauty shops.

b.    Dry cleaners and launderers.

c.    Locksmith.

d.    Mail and photocopy services.

e.    Massage services and massage establishments, when conducted pursuant to PMC 5.04.560. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 96-3, adopted by City Council January 8, 1997.)

f.    Photographic studios and processors (still photography only). (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

g.    Suntan parlors.

h.    Travel agencies.

i.    Introductory Services, subject to applicable provisions of the Palmdale Municipal Code. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 97-4 adopted by City Council June 11, 1997.)

j.    Wedding chapels. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 03-06, adopted by City Council June 25, 2003.)

4.    Repair and maintenance services, including:

a.    Apparel repair, alterations and tailoring.

b.    Bicycle repair.

c.    Business equipment repair and servicing.

d.    Computer and electronics repair.

e.    Furniture repair and upholstery.

f.    Janitorial and cleaning services.

g.    Photographic equipment repair.

h.    Radio, television and stereo repair.

i.    Shoe repair and shoe shine.

j.    Small appliance repair.

k.    Watch, clock and jewelry repair.

l.    Repair and service of any article which is permitted to be sold in Zone C-3 pursuant to an approved Site Plan Review.

5.    Financial and real estate services, including:

a.    Banks, savings and loans, and credit unions offering full range of financial services and accredited by appropriate agencies (drive-through facilities subject to PMC 17.92.010).

b.    Commodity services.

c.    Escrow companies.

d.    Holding and investment services.

e.    Insurance carriers, agents and brokers.

f.    Mortgage services.

g.    Notary public.

h.    Real estate agents and brokers.

i.    Real estate developers and builders (office only).

j.    Title abstracting.

6.    Professional services, including:

a.    Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services.

b.    Attorneys and legal services.

c.    Counseling. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 03-06, adopted by City Council June 25, 2003.)

d.    Engineering, architectural and planning services.

e.    Interior decorating.

f.    Medical and dental laboratories.

g.    Medical services, outpatient, including urgent care centers.

h.    Physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and other medical specialists.

i.    Prescription pharmacy and optical services.

j.    Veterinarians (small animals).

7.    Business services, including:

a.    Advertisement, business and management.

b.    Blueprinting and photocopy.

c.    Collection agencies.

d.    Computer systems design

e.    Consulting.

f.    Detective and protective services.

g.    Design and decorator business primarily serving business customers rather than individuals.

h.    Employment agencies.

i.    Graphic design services.

j.    Mailing and parcel post.

k.    Message service.

l.    Repossession service.

m.    Sign painting and lettering.

n.    Stenographic, secretarial, and clerical.

o.    Taxpreparers.

p.    Telephone exchanges and answering services.

q.    Telephone marketing and solicitation.

r.    Typesetting and printing.

8.    Educational services, including:

a.    Day care facility, commercial, pursuant to PMC 17.92.120. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 95-1 adopted by City Council June 14, 1995.)

b.    Studios for the performing arts or martial arts.

c.    Trade, technical and vocational schools (excluding truck driving schools).

d.    Traffic schools.

9.    Miscellaneous services, including:

a.    Administrative offices.

b.    Adoption agencies.

c.    Business association offices.

d.    Conference and meeting facilities. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 03-06, adopted by City Council June 25, 2003.)

e.    Equipment rental (excluding construction equipment and conducted indoors).

f.    Parking lots and structures, commercial off-site, pursuant to PMC 17.87.050.

g.    Personal storage facilities (mini-warehouses).

h.    Pet grooming.

i.    Photo finishing.

j.    Professional membership organizations.

k.    Recording studios.

l.    Security systems.

m.    Tourist information centers.

D.    Public, quasi-public and institutional uses of a scale compatible and consistent with the intent of the C-3 zone, including:

1.    Court facilities.

2.    Fire stations.

3.    Government administrative offices (office use only).

4.    Libraries.

5.    Museums.

6.    Parking lots.

7.    Parks, playgrounds, and open space (excluding lighted playfields).

8.    Post office.

9.    Recreational centers, including senior centers (indoor operations and facilities only).

10.    Religious assembly uses, Pursuant to PMC 17.94.010. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 03-06, adopted by City Council June 25, 2003.)

11.    Utility facilities, buildings and equipment, excluding sewage pumping stations and treatment plants and major communication facility. (Zoning Ordinance 97-3, adopted by City Council September 10, 1997.)

17.53.060 Uses Permitted Subject to Approval of a Conditional Use Permit

Premises in Zone C-3 may be used for the following purposes, provided a permit has first been obtained pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 17.18 PMC, Conditional Use Permits.

A.    Retail sale of goods:

1.    Convenience stores, pursuant to PMC 17.92.090.

2.    Liquor stores, pursuant to PMC 17.92.070.

3.    Mobile home sales office.

4.    Purchase and sale of secondhand tangible personal property, incidental to a primary use permitted within the C-3 zone, pursuant to PMC 17.92.150. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 10-01, adopted by City Council August 4, 2010.)

5.    Swap meet, flea market or similar use, indoor or outdoor (outdoor retail uses are subject to the standards set forth in PMC 17.92.080). (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

B.    Provision of services to individuals and business, including:

1.    Ambulance service.

2.    Auction sales, excluding livestock, within an enclosed building. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 10-01, adopted by City Council August 4, 2010.)

3.    Automobile repair, general.

4.    Bail bond sales.

5.    Bars pursuant to PMC 17.92.070. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 15-01, adopted by City Council September 2, 2015.)

6.    Civic, social and fraternal organizations.

7.    Diaper services and similar large-scale laundry or dry cleaning facilities which serve other businesses.

8.    Financial services, other than permitted by PMC 17.53.050(C)(5), offering check cashing, money orders, and similar services.

9.    Funeral parlors and mortuaries, including crematoriums.

10.    Health clubs, fitness centers and gymnasiums.

11.    Helistops.

12.    Hotels and motels.

13.    Hypnotists.

14.    Microbrewery or brewpub, pursuant to PMC 17.92.070. (Zoning Ordinance 15-01, adopted by City Council September 2, 2015.)

15.    Pawn shops.

16.    Restaurants, bona fide pursuant to PMC 17.92.070. (Zoning Ordinance 15-01, adopted by City Council September 2, 2015.)

17.    Secondhand store, pursuant to PMC 17.92.150. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 10-01, adopted August 4, 2010.)

18.    Taxidermy.

19.    Tattoo and Body Piercing Establishments, pursuant to PMC 17.92.180. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 14-02, adopted by City Council July 2, 2014.)

20.    Veterinary clinics and hospitals, large and small animal, pursuant to PMC 17.92.040.

21.    Repair and servicing of any article which is permitted to be sold in Zone C-3 pursuant to an approved Conditional Use Permit.

C.    Entertainment establishments, including:

1.    Amusement arcades.

2.    Amusement facilities, outdoor, including water slides, miniature golf, go cart tracks, and other similar or appurtenant uses.

3.    Amusement parks.

4.    Billiard and pool halls.

5.    Bingo (as a primary use)

6.    Bowling alleys

7.    Dance halls.

8.    Entertainment uses utilizing parking lot locations, such as street hockey, remote control vehicle racing, etc., subject to PMC 17.87.060.

9.    Family entertainment centers.

10.    Nightclubs, pursuant to PMC 17.92.070. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

11.    Skating rinks, ice or roller.

12.    Theaters, live performance.

13.    Theaters, motion picture, including drive-in.

D.    Public, quasi-public and institutional uses, including:

1.    Alcohol & drug treatment facilities in accordance with the provisions of PMC 17.91.130 herein. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 08-01, adopted by City Council March 3, 2010.)

2.    Amphitheaters, outdoor.

3.    Conference and convention centers.

4.    Congregate meal facilities, pursuant to PMC 17.94.030. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

5.    Convalescent care facilities.

6.    Government administrative facilities requiring outdoor storage and/or operations such as fleet maintenance, helipads, materials or equipment storage and maintenance.

7.    Hospitals.

8.    Lighted public recreational facilities and fields.

9.    Major communication facility pursuant to PMC 17.95.040. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 97-3, adopted by City Council September 10, 1997.)

10.    Radio or television broadcast studios pursuant to PMC 17.95.040. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 97-3, adopted by City Council September 10, 1997.)

11.    Sports arena, stadium or complex.

17.53.070 Accessory Uses and Structures Permitted

The following accessory uses and structures are permitted in the C-3 zone, provided that such uses are established on the same lot or parcel of land as the permitted principal use, and that such accessory uses are incidental to and do not substantially alter the character of the principal use.

A.    Amusement machines

Not more than four (4) amusement machines may be permitted as an accessory use within a primary use in the C-3 zone, except that no amusement machines may be permitted within a convenience store.

B.    Areas designated and designed for the temporary storage of trash and recyclable materials, including the following:

1.    Recycling containers, pursuant to PMC 17.85.030.

2.    Reverse vending machines, pursuant to PMC 17.97.040.

3.    Small collection facilities, pursuant to PMC 17.97.050.

4.    Trash compactors, pursuant to PMC 17.85.020.

C.    Caretaker’s residence, where legally established use requires the continuous supervision of a caretaker or superintendent, if occupied only by such persons and their families, pursuant to the standards contained in PMC 17.91.100. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 95-6 adopted by City Council April 10, 1996.)

D.    Health facilities, mobile.

E.    Information kiosks, pursuant to PMC 17.88.050(F).

F.    Newspaper dispensing devices, pursuant to PMC 12.08.030.

G.    Services provided to meet the needs of employees on site, including employee cafeterias, day care centers, health clubs, exercise tracks, gymnasiums or work out rooms, showers and similar uses. For purposes of calculating permitted floor area ratio, these uses may be exempted from the calculation.

H.    Signs, as permitted by Chapter 17.88 PMC.

I.    Structures and features associated with pedestrian or customer seating or amenity areas, including but not limited to gazebos, arcades, fountains, seats or benches, outdoor eating areas, trash receptacles, art works or other landscape focal points, pursuant to PMC 17.92.020.

J.    Wire services for money transfer and Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s).

K.    Massage, when permitted with the primary business of a health club, fitness center and gymnasium, a hotel with over one hundred (100) rooms, a barber or beauty shop, a suntan parlor, or physician’s, surgeon’s, chiropractor’s, osteopath’s, or physical therapist’s medical practice, pursuant to PMC 5.04.560 and 17.92.140.

L.    Corporate Massage, when permitted with a primary commercial business, pursuant to PMC 5.04.560 and 17.92.140.

M.    Car washes, automated as an accessory use to a gas station, automobile service station, or other automotive related use. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 00-01, adopted by City Council November 8, 2000.)

N.    Co-located Small Wind Energy Systems pursuant to PMC 17.99.010. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 09-02, adopted by City Council November 4, 2009.)

17.53.080 Similar Uses Permitted by Planning Director Determination

The Planning Director may determine that an unlisted use is similar to and not more objectionable to the general welfare than those uses specifically listed in the C-3 zone, pursuant to PMC 17.24.120.

17.53.090 Standards of Development

Premises in Zone C-3 shall be subject to the development standards prescribed in this Section and those standards contained in Division 8, General Standards of Development.

A.    Lot area

Each lot or parcel of land created in Zone C-3 shall have a minimum lot area of not less than five thousand (5,000) square feet net, or the number following the zoning symbol (if any), whichever is greater.

B.    Lot width

None required except as otherwise provided in Chapter 17.81 PMC, Lot Width.

C.    Building setbacks

Except as otherwise required in Chapter 17.83 PMC, setbacks in Zone C-3 shall be as follows:

1.    Setbacks along public and private streets for commercial, buildings. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

All commercial, public/institutional, and office buildings shall maintain a minimum building setback measured from the public right-of-way (or the edge of the curb for private streets) to the nearest edge of the building as follows except as otherwise provided in this Ordinance or in an adopted comprehensive development plan:

a.    Arterials: A minimum building setback of thirty (30) feet, including a minimum of twenty feet (20') of landscaping along all designated arterials. Arterials are defined by the General Plan Circulation Element and indicated on the City’s Circulation Plan Map.

b.    Local and collector streets: A minimum building setback of twenty (20) feet, including a minimum of ten (10) feet of landscaping shall be provided along local and collector streets, both public and private. Except where a commercial use is separated from a residential use or district by a local or collector street, then the minimum building setback from such street shall be twenty (20') feet and shall include a minimum landscape setback of fifteen (15') feet.

c.    Freeway: Within commercial zones, a minimum building setback of twenty (20) feet, which shall be landscaped, shall be provided along a freeway frontage.

2.    Interior side yards (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

Each lot or parcel of land in Zone C-3 shall provide a minimum twenty (20) foot wide building setback with a minimum ten (10) foot wide landscape strip along side property lines which are contiguous to property designated or used for agricultural, institutional, single-family or multi-family residential uses, pursuant to PMC 17.83.030.

3.    Interior rear yard (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

Each lot or parcel of land in Zone C-3 shall provide a minimum twenty (20) foot wide building setback with a minimum ten (10) foot wide landscape strip along rear property lines which are contiguous to property designated or used for agricultural, institutional, single-family or multi-family residential uses, pursuant to PMC 17.83.030.

4.    Setbacks for accessory structures

Setbacks for accessory structures shall be provided pursuant to PMC 17.82.020.

D.    Building height and coverage

1.    Building height

The maximum height of a primary structure, as measured in accordance with PMC 17.16.020, shall not exceed three (3) stories or forty-five (45) feet. The maximum height of accessory structures shall not exceed one story or seventeen (17) feet.

2.    Maximum lot coverage

No lot or parcel of land in Zone C-3 shall have a lot coverage by buildings or structures in excess of ninety (90) percent of the lot area.

3.    Maximum floor area ratio

The ratio of total floor area to total lot area shall not exceed 1.0 (one hundred percent).

E.    Off-street parking and loading

Each lot or parcel of land in Zone C-3 shall have off-street parking and loading facilities as prescribed in Chapter 17.87 PMC, Off-Street Parking.

F.    Signs

Signs shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 17.88 PMC.

G.    Trash enclosures

An adequate number of trash enclosures shall be provided on site to meet the needs of each development, in accordance with PMC 17.85.010.

H.    Special development standards

1.    Each use in this zone shall be established and operated in accordance with Chapter 17.84 PMC, Performance Standards.

2.    All display and storage in Zone C-3 shall be located wholly within an enclosed area except for the following, provided that all outdoor display areas are paved, landscaped, and lighted in accordance with an approved development plan:

a.    Automobile service stations, but excluding outside display of other than automobile tires, batteries and similar equipment and accessories or petroleum products.

b.    Boat sales.

c.    Florist shops

d.    Parking lots

e.    Recreational vehicle sales.

3.    All auto repair work shall be conducted within an enclosed building only.

4.    Delivery hours may be limited by the Planning Commission pursuant to an approved Conditional Use Permit.

5.    Fences and walls shall be in conformance with the standards prescribed in PMC 17.83.030 and 17.86.040. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 98-1, adopted by City Council March 10, 1999.)

6.    Landscaping and screening shall be in conformance with the standards prescribed in Chapter 17.86 PMC.