Chapter 15.18
NONRESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS

Sections:

15.18.010    Purpose and intent.

15.18.020    Permitted uses in nonresidential districts.

15.18.030    Nonresidential development standards.

15.18.040    Limit on single-story buildings.

15.18.010 Purpose and intent.

A. Purpose and Intent. The purpose and intent of the nonresidential zoning districts is to provide for a range of business and commercial land uses to support the needs of residents, visitors and the city’s workforce consistent with the plans and policies of the general plan land use and other elements.

B. Nonresidential Districts. The purpose of each nonresidential district is as follows:

1. Town Center Commercial (CT) District. To provide for large-scale community and regional-serving commercial uses located in the city’s town center consistent with the general plan commercial town center designation. The Aliso Viejo town center is a mixed use center intended to function as the community’s urban core, central business district and community shopping area. Examples of permitted uses include community retail and commercial services, offices, theaters, art galleries and entertainment facilities, hotels/motels and restaurants, and recreation and community facilities.

2. Community Commercial (CC) District. To provide for general commercial uses consistent with the general plan community commercial designation. Examples of permitted uses include retail stores, restaurants, lodging, community facilities, personal services, business services, and financial services of a citywide or regional nature.

3. Neighborhood Commercial (CN) District. To provide for local-serving neighborhood commercial uses consistent with the general plan neighborhood commercial designation. The CN district is established to provide for a variety of retail and service needs for nearby neighborhoods. Examples of permitted uses include retail stores, gas stations, personal services, community facilities, medical and professional offices and restaurants.

4. Professional Office (PO) District. To provide for business and professional office complexes consistent with the general plan professional office designation. The PO district is established to provide for the development and maintenance of an optimal environment for moderate intensity professional and administrative office uses and related uses on sites with large landscaped open spaces and off-street parking facilities. Examples of permitted uses include offices, support facilities, and community facilities.

5. Business Park 1 (BP-1) District. To provide business and employment-generating development, including a range of light industrial uses and supporting offices and services consistent with the general plan business park designation. This is a planned business district designed to provide a balanced economic and employment base for the community. Examples of permitted uses include research and development, limited service and retail commercial, offices, and community facilities.

6. Business Park 2 (BP-2) District. To provide for a wide range of industrial, research, manufacturing, storage, and warehouse uses that may not be desirable in the BP-1 district. Performance standards to achieve compatibility with other permitted and conditionally permitted uses may be required through a discretionary permit process. Examples of permitted uses include those uses allowed in the BP-1 district plus “wet” laboratories, major truck distribution facilities, and construction equipment storage.

C. Supplemental Nonresidential Regulations. Regulations for fences and walls, accessory structures, landscaping, screening and other supplemental nonresidential regulations are set out in Chapter 15.22 AVMC. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.18.020 Permitted uses in nonresidential districts.

A. Development Permits Required. Table 15.18.020 in this section indicates whether a use or structure is permitted within a zoning district. However, in most cases, development to establish a land use requires approval of a site development permit and/or other permits as set out in AVMC 15.74.020.

B. Table of Permitted Uses. Table 15.18.020 specifies those uses and structures which are permitted within each nonresidential district. If a use or structure is not listed as permitted, it is prohibited unless specifically determined to be permitted pursuant to AVMC 15.06.050. The letters in the columns beneath the district designations mean the following:

1. “P” – The use is permitted as a principal use within the district.

2. “A” – The use is permitted only if accessory to the principal use on the site.

3. “C” – The use is permitted as a principal or accessory use if a conditional use permit is approved.

4. “AUP” – The use is permitted as a principal or accessory use if an administrative use permit is approved.

5. “TUP” – The use is permitted on a temporary basis if a temporary use permit is approved.

6. “NP” – The use is not permitted in the district.

Land uses are grouped as follows in the following table:

•    Automotive Uses

•    Dining, Drinking and Entertainment Uses

•    Lodging and Group Care Uses

•    Office, Retail and Service Uses

•    Public, Recreation and Assembly Uses

•    Research, Industrial and Heavy Commercial Uses

•    Accessory Uses

•    Temporary Uses

•    Other Uses

TABLE 15.18.020:

PERMITTED USES IN NONRESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS 

Land Use

CT

Town Center Commercial

CC

Community Commercial

CN

Neighborhood Commercial

PO

Professional Office

BP-1

Business Park – 1

BP-2

Business Park – 2

AUTOMOTIVE USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auto and motorcycle dealerships, with associated repair services

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Auto repair services, major

NP

C

C

NP

C

C

Auto repair services, minor, as a principal use

C

C

C

NP

C

C

Auto repair services, minor, as an accessory use subordinate to a principal use such as a gas station, discount or warehouse store or other permitted use

AUP

AUP

AUP

NP

AUP

AUP

Auto, truck and equipment rental businesses, with equipment and/or 4 or more vehicles stored on the premises

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Auto rental agencies with 3 or fewer rental cars on the premises at one time

NP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Car washes, automated, as an accessory to gas station use on the same premises only

C

C

C

C

C

C

Car washes, full service

C

C

C

C

C

C

Gas stations and charging stations; may include accessory uses such as minimarts, automated car washes, fast food, and minor auto repair; subject to AVMC 15.22.210

C

C

C

C

C

C

Parking lots and garages as a principal use

C

C

C

C

C

C

Vehicle, truck, recreation vehicle and marine sales, service, and storage, subject to landscaping and screening

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

DINING, DRINKING AND ENTERTAINMENT USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcoholic beverage sales, for on- or off-premises consumption, subject to AVMC 15.22.200

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Bars, taverns, cocktail lounges and microbreweries, subject to AVMC 15.22.200

C

C

C

C

C

C

Cigar bars and smoking, electronic cigarette and hookah lounges

C

C

C

C

C

C

Coffee houses

P

P

P

P

AUP

AUP

Cyber or Internet cafes

C

C

C

C

C

C

Live entertainment and dancing as a principal use

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Live entertainment and dancing as an accessory use

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Outdoor dining as an accessory use, subject to AVMC 15.22.190

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Restaurants, full-service, with 16 or fewer seats1

P

P

P

AUP

AUP

AUP

Restaurants, full-service, with 17 or more seats1

C

C

C

C

C

C

Restaurants, drive-through1

C

C

C

NP

NP

NP

Retail sale of take-out food such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, and bakery goods, with ancillary seating1

P

P

P

AUP

AUP

AUP

1Outdoor dining is an accessory use regulated by AVMC 15.22.190.

Theaters, live or motion picture (see “Public, Recreation and Assembly Uses”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video arcades as a principal use

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Video games as an accessory use (9 machines or less)

A

A

A

A

A

A

GROUP CARE USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child day care centers and preschools

C

C

AUP

AUP

C

C

Health facilities, subject to AVMC 15.22.220

NP

NP

NP

C2

C2

NP

2Permitted only in those areas within the health facilities and outpatient medical uses overlay district.

Homeless/emergency shelters

NP

NP

NP

C

P

P

Transitional/supportive housing

NP

NP

NP

C

P

P

LODGING USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcoholic beverage sales, for on- or off-premises consumption, subject to AVMC 15.22.200

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Hotels and bed and breakfast inns

C

NP

NP

C

C

C

Motels

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

OFFICE, RETAIL AND SERVICE USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcoholic beverage sales, for on- or off-premises consumption, subject to AVMC 15.22.200

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Animal boarding and kennels3

AUP

AUP

AUP

NP

AUP

AUP

Animal grooming3

AUP

AUP

AUP

NP

P

P

Animal hospitals/veterinary clinics3

AUP

AUP

AUP

NP

AUP

AUP

3Animal control, welfare and licensing requirements shall be pursuant to AVMC Title 6.

Automated teller machines as an accessory use

A

A

A

A

A

A

Banks and other financial institutions with tellers; may include drive-up or walk-up windows

P

P

P

P

P

P

Barber shops and beauty, nail, tanning and similar salons

P

P

P

P

P

P

Commercial marijuana activities, marijuana cultivation, marijuana manufacturing, and marijuana delivery

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Cultivation of industrial hemp, as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 11018.5

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Check cashing facilities

NP

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Convenience stores and liquor stores4

C

C

C

NP

NP

NP

4Defined as retail stores under 5,000 sq/ft in gross floor area, open up to 24 hours/day and selling primarily food, beer, wine, liquor and sundries for off-site consumption.

Dry cleaners, with no central plant on site

P

P

P

P

P

P

Fortune telling, palmistry and similar services

NP

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Furniture and appliance stores

C

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Laundromats

NP

P

P

AUP

NP

NP

Massage parlors, massage centers, day spas and other establishments offering massage services provided exclusively by CAMTC-certified massage therapists, subject to Chapter 4.14 AVMC

C

C

C

C

C

C

Miscellaneous small-scale services such as travel services, photo developing, shoe repair, appliance repair, and similar uses

P

P

P

P

P

P

Office uses, general and professional

P

P

P

P

P

P

Office uses, nonmedical uses

P

P

P

P

P

P

Outpatient medical uses, small (five or fewer clients on premises at a given time)

C

C

C

P

P

P

Outpatient medical uses, large (six or more clients on premises at a given time)5

C

C

NP

C

C

C

5Outpatient medical uses, small and large, located in the first story of buildings in the town center commercial (CT) zone shall be limited to a total of 20,000 square feet. Health facilities and outpatient medical uses in all zoning districts, including the health facilities and outpatient medical uses overlay district, are also subject to specific permitting and regulating provisions found in AVMC 15.22.220.

Pet supplies and accessories stores (accessory veterinary or kennel uses require a conditional use permit)

P

P

NP

NP

P

P

Pet stores, selling live animals

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Plant nurseries and garden supply stores

P

P

NP

NP

NP

NP

Printing and copy services

P

P

P

P

P

P

Retail stores, general,6 under 10,000 sq/ft gross floor area (GFA), other than convenience or liquor stores

P

P

P

A or AUP*

A or AUP*

A or AUP*

Retail stores, general,6 10,000 – 80,000 sq/ft GFA

P

P

P

NP

NP

NP

Retail stores, general,6 over 80,000 sq/ft GFA

C

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

6Such as supermarkets and other retail stores selling such items as food, apparel, shoes, books, office supplies, gifts, and similar merchandise to the general public. Typically open less than 24 hours/day.

 

 

 

*AUP required if the store is a principal use

Tattoo parlors

NP

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Thrift stores and pawn shops

NP

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Video rental stores

P

P

P

P

P

P

Vendor carts and stands, outdoor, subject to AVMC 15.22.130

C

AUP

NP

AUP

AUP

AUP

PUBLIC, RECREATION AND ASSEMBLY USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alcoholic beverage sales, for on- or off-premises consumption, subject to AVMC 15.22.200

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Bicycle, equestrian and hiking trails

P

P

P

P

P

P

Bowling alleys

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Churches, temples, other places of worship7

C

C

NP

C

C

C

Cinemas and live theaters7

C

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Clubs, lodges, union halls, and similar uses7

C

C

NP

C

C

C

Colleges and universities, public or private

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Community centers and senior citizen centers7

C

C

NP

C

C

C

7In the PO, BP-1 and BP-2 districts, such uses shall not exceed a maximum aggregate square footage of 5,000 sq/ft.

Driving ranges, lighted or unlighted

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Electric substations

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Family/children entertainment centers, indoor, with climbing apparatus, play equipment, food service, video games, party facilities, and similar attractions

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Family/children entertainment centers, outdoor, and similar outdoor recreation uses, with such attractions as miniature golf, batting cages, boat rides; may also include indoor attractions

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Fire and police stations

P

P

P

P

P

P

Golf courses

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Government offices

P

P

P

P

P

P

Group instruction8, under 3,000 sq/ft gross floor area

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Group instruction, over 3,000 sq/ft gross floor area

C

C

C

C

C

C

8Group instruction can be a standalone use or a component of a health club.

Health clubs, under 3,000 sq/ft gross floor area

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Health clubs, over 3,000 sq/ft gross floor area

C

C

NP

C

C

C

Helicopter pads

NP

NP

NP

C

C

C

Libraries and museums

C

C

C

C

C

C

Mortuaries and funeral homes

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Outdoor amphitheaters

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Parks and open space, passive, public, subject to Chapter 15.46 AVMC, Noise Standards and Film Shoots, and AVMC 15.22.110, Outdoor lighting in nonresidential areas

P

P

P

P

P

P

Pool halls/billiard centers

C

C

NP

NP

C

C

Pool or billiard tables as an accessory use (3 or fewer)

A

A

A

A

A

A

Public utility lines, boxes and transformers

P

P

P

P

P

P

Reservoirs and water tanks

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Roller and ice rinks, indoor

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Schools, private, with outdoor facilities, such as private elementary and high schools; except preschools (listed under “Lodging and Group Care Uses”)

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Schools, private, without outdoor facilities, such as business, vocational and professional

NP

C

NP

C

C

C

Schools, public

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

Skateboard, roller hockey, and stunt bike facilities, indoor or outdoor

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Sports training centers

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

NP

Stations and terminals, train, bus and taxi

C

C

NP

C

C

C

Theaters, live or motion picture (see “Cinemas and live theaters”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tutorial services, not including schools or colleges

NP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

RESEARCH, INDUSTRIAL AND HEAVY COMMERCIAL USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contractor and construction equipment yards, with outside storage

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Donation collection boxes, subject to AVMC 15.22.105

NP

A

NP

NP

NP

A

Dry cleaners and laundries, central plants

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Laboratories, dry

NP

NP

NP

P

P

P

Light manufacturing and light industrial uses, including the manufacture and assembly of products from materials such as cloth, fiber, fur, glass, leather, stone, wood, plastics, metal, and paper (except milling); may include offices, storage and other incidental uses on the same site

NP

NP

NP

NP

AUP

P

Lumber yards and other building materials sales, outdoor

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Pest control services

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

AUP

Plumbing repair shops

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

AUP

Recycling recovery facilities as a principal use, with collection and sorting only (such as a materials recovery facility), not including auto salvage or junkyards

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Recycling collection facilities as an accessory use, such as mobile recycling units but excluding donation collection boxes

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Research and development, other than specialized (see below)

NP

NP

NP

P

P

P

Specialized research, development, manufacturing and wet laboratories, where chemicals, drugs or biological matter are tested and analyzed, typically requiring water, direct ventilation, specialized piped utilities and protective measures. Approval of a use permit shall require the following findings in addition to those findings in AVMC 15.74.040:

• That the facility will provide design and procedural safeguards such that its operation will not pose a danger to life, property or other land uses in the vicinity.

• That the facility will be compatible with other land uses in the vicinity and will not have material adverse impacts on persons or property in terms of noise, odors, vibration, glare or other effects.

NP

NP

NP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Storage facilities, personal, indoor, such as miniwarehouses

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

C

Welding, machine, milling and plating operations

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

Warehouses as an accessory use, when incidental to a permitted use and occupying less than 30% of the floor area on a site

A

A

A

A

A

A

Warehouses and distribution facilities as a principal use, for storing or shipping food, beverages, packages, merchandise or other items:

Up to 80,000 sq/ft gross floor area

NP

NP

NP

NP

AUP

P

Over 80,000 sq/ft gross floor area

NP

NP

NP

NP

NP

C

ACCESSORY USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caretaker residences as an accessory use (temporary or permanent) subject to AVMC 15.22.160

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

AUP

Fences and walls, subject to AVMC 15.22.030

A

A

A

A

A

A

Patio covers, trellises and similar open structures, subject to AVMC 15.22.050

A

A

A

A

A

A

Incidental products or services for employees, patrons or businesses located in the same building as the principal use, such as cafeterias, retail shops under 1,000 sq/ft in gross floor area and similar incidental uses

A

A

A

A

A

A

Outdoor storage and display as an accessory use, subject to AVMC 15.22.120

A

A

A

A

A

A

Signs as an accessory use, subject to Chapter 15.34 AVMC

A

A

A

A

A

A

Parking facilities as an accessory use, subject to Chapter 15.38 AVMC

A

A

A

A

A

A

Lactation stations for breastfeeding as required by state and federal law

A

A

A

A

A

A

Other accessory uses and structures which the director determines are customarily associated with and subordinate to the principal use on the premises, are consistent with the purpose and intent of the zoning district, and will not have a material adverse effect on other properties

A

A

A

A

A

A

TEMPORARY USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas tree sales

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

Construction trailers and guard offices

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

Halloween pumpkin sales

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

Outdoor markets, such as farmers’ markets, produce stands, flea markets, and swap meets

TUP

TUP

TUP

NP

TUP

TUP

Professional film, video and still photography

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

TUP

Sidewalk sales and special shopping center events

TUP

TUP

TUP

NP

TUP

TUP

Special outdoor community and other events

Regulated by Chapter 11.05 AVMC

OTHER USES:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult businesses, subject to Chapter 4.12 AVMC, Adult Business Regulations

NP

C

NP

NP

NP

NP

Amateur radio, satellite dish and video antennas

As provided in Chapter 15.44 AVMC

Wireless communication antennas and facilities

As provided in Chapter 15.42 AVMC

Other principal, conditional, accessory or temporary uses not listed in this table

If a use or structure is not listed as permitted, it is prohibited unless specifically determined to be permitted in accordance with AVMC 15.06.050

[Ord. 2020-218 § 3; Ord. 2018-202 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2018-194 § 4; Ord. 2017-187 § 3; Ord. 2016-181 § 3; Ord. 2015-172 § 3; Ord. 2015-165 § 4 (Exh. A); Ord. 2014-161 § 4 (Exh. A); Ord. 2013-151 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2013-150 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2012-146 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2012-140 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2011-131 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.18.030 Nonresidential development standards.

A. Table of Development Standards. The following table contains development standards for nonresidential districts:

TABLE 15.18.030:

NONRESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS 

 

DISTRICT

CT

Town Center Commercial

CC

Community Commercial

CN

Neighborhood Commercial

PO

Professional Office

BP-1 & -2

Business Park 1 and 2

HEIGHT AND FLOOR AREA RATIO:

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum lot size

no minimum

Maximum structure height (feet) (See Chapter 15.30 AVMC for additional provisions regarding height limits)

451

35

35

651

451

Maximum floor area ratio (FAR)

1.25

1.0

0.6

1.5

1.0

MINIMUM PERIMETER SETBACKS IN FEET:

 

 

 

 

 

From arterial highways2

40

20

20

20

30

From local nonresidential streets2

20

20

20

20

15

From residential streets2

20

20

20

20

40

From abutting parcels in residential, OS and OR districts

20

20

20

20

403

From abutting commercial, office and other nonresidential developments

10

10

10

10

10

From interior property lines within the same project

0

0

0

0

0

1All minimum perimeter setbacks shall be increased 1 foot for every foot in height above 35 feet (except for setbacks from interior property lines) up to a required minimum setback of 50 feet. However, such increased setbacks may be reduced to 30 feet if a conditional use permit (CUP) is approved for an individual project, subject to the CUP findings of AVMC 15.74.040.

2Setbacks are measured from ultimate street right-of-way line.

3Or a distance equal to the height of the building, whichever is greater.

LANDSCAPING (subject also to AVMC 15.62.060):

Minimum interior landscaping

In addition to boundary landscaping, 2.5% of net project area within parking areas and another 2.5% within nonparking areas.

Minimum boundary landscaping

• Adjacent to arterial highways: minimum average depth of 15 feet;

• Adjacent to nonarterial public streets and any residential district: minimum average depth of 10 feet

Drought tolerance

Minimum 50% of landscaping must be drought tolerant.

OTHER STANDARDS:

Fences and other accessory structures

See Chapter 15.22 AVMC.

Screening

See AVMC 15.62.060.

Signs and parking

See Chapters 15.34 and 15.38 AVMC.

[Ord. 2015-165 § 4 (Exh. A); Ord. 2011-131 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.18.040 Limit on single-story buildings.

Single-story buildings shall not exceed 300,000 square feet of total gross floor area. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].