Chapter 17.75

(Zoning Ordinance Amendment 96-1 adopted by City Council April 10, 1996)

17.75.010 Intent and Purpose

The Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone is established to implement the policies and design guidelines described in the Downtown Revitalization Plan. The downtown Commercial Zone is intended to create a pedestrian friendly environment which encourages people to stay and shop, dine and socialize in downtown Palmdale. The pedestrian zone between the street curb line and the entry facades of adjacent buildings should create a series of layers and a variety of visually interesting features that encourage visitors to explore and circulate in and around the retail venues.

17.75.020 Locational Criteria

The Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone is appropriately located based upon the following criteria.

A.    The area is occupied or will be occupied by stores and businesses which provide a wide variety of goods and services to the adjacent neighborhoods, those employed in the downtown area, and the community at large. The totality of uses within the downtown area should create a lively shopping environment which is primarily pedestrian in nature, particularly within the ground floor store front shops facing the abutting streets or pedestrian paseos.

B.    The area is located within reasonable walking distance of one of the traditional downtown arterial corridors, such as Palmdale Boulevard or Sierra Highway.

C.    The area can physically accommodate the intensity of development necessary to support an active pedestrian shopping environment as well as typical accessory uses such as mixed residential uses where appropriate, with infrastructure of adequate capacity to serve all anticipated uses.

D.    The location shall be consistent with the General Plan Land Use Designation of Downtown Commercial for those areas where the locational criteria listed above are also satisfied.

17.75.030 Special Development Requirements

The following special development requirements shall apply to property within the Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone.

A.    Standards of Development

1.    Lot Size and Lot Width. Minimum lot size and lot width within the C-D Zone shall be the same as that required for the C-3 Zone.

2.    Building Setbacks

a.    Front: No minimum front yard setback is required, except as required in Chapter 17.83 PMC, or as needed to maintain adequate line-of-sight distance for traffic safety. Maximum front yard setback from the primary building facade footprint shall be 5 feet. Alcoves for doorways, and other types of minor architectural features may be set back a maximum of 7 feet from property line. Maximum front setback limitations shall not be applicable to outdoor dining areas or pedestrian seating areas. All required minimum and maximum building setbacks shall be measured from ultimate property line location. Maximum building setbacks may be increased upon a determination by the City Traffic/Transportation Engineer that additional setback distance is necessary to maintain adequate line-of-site distance for traffic safety in instances where driveways, streets or alleyways occur adjacent to existing or proposed buildings.

b.    Side: None required, except as described in Chapter 17.83 PMC. Downtown commercial structures located on street corners shall maintain the front yard setbacks as described above along both street frontages.

c.    Rear: None required except as described in Chapter 17.83 PMC.

3.    Building Height. The maximum height of primary and secondary structures as measured in accordance with PMC 17.16.020 shall not exceed two (2) stories or thirty-five (35) feet, excepting that area to the west of the extended alignment of 9th Street East and north of Avenue Q-6 in which the maximum building height shall not exceed four (4) stories or fifty (50) feet.

4.    Projecting Architectural Features. Cantilevored awnings, canopies or other non-primary architectural features may be permitted to project over the public sidewalk, provided that the sidewalk is not located within a state highway right-of-way, subject to the following restrictions:

a.    A minimum of seven (7) feet vertical clearance shall be maintained.

b.    Projecting architectural features may project a maximum of six (6) feet, and must be set back a minimum of two feet from the face of curb. In those areas where curbs do not exist, projecting architectural features must be set back a minimum of two feet from the street side edge of the sidewalk.

c.    Unless approved as a component of an overall project entitlement, a request for approval of projecting architectural features shall be processed in accordance with PMC 17.26.040, Minor Modification, subject to review and approval of the Planning Director.

d.    Projecting architectural features shall present a consistent theme in terms of style, size, colors and materials within each development, and complementary to adjacent developments.

5.    Signage. All of the commercial signage provisions listed in Chapter 17.88 PMC shall apply, in addition to, or as modified by the following:

a.    Commercial storefronts within the downtown revitalization area shall be permitted under-canopy signage or small projecting signs for those centers with no canopies. Under-canopy/projecting signs shall be limited to one sign per business, a maximum of 4 sq. ft. per side and shall maintain the minimum distance and clearance requirements listed for architectural projections C.1 and C.2 above. Under-canopy or projecting signs shall be non-illuminated, and fabricated of routed or sandblasted wood, unless otherwise approved by the Planning Director. The overall style and color of under-canopy/projecting signs shall be consistent within the Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone.

b.    Pedestrian oriented downtown establishments (businesses which are not separated from the public sidewalk by a parking lot), shall be permitted to display one free standing portable sign adjacent to, or within the public right of way subject to the following restrictions:

(i)    Signs within the public right of way must not disrupt vehicular or pedestrian access and may not in any way impede handicap accessibility or parking;

(ii)    Freestanding portable signs shall not impede adequate line of sight for traffic safety, and are subject to removal or relocation as deemed necessary by the City Traffic/Transportation Engineer.

(iii)    No more than one (1) portable freestanding sign may be displayed by each establishment. The maximum permitted area of freestanding portable signs shall be five (5) square feet per side (maximum 2 sides) or a height of five feet.

(iv)    Freestanding portable signs shall be placed along the frontage of the business which it advertises, and shall not be placed in such a way as to block permanent signs or to significantly block the view of signage of any adjacent business.

c.    Directory signs shall be permitted at paseo entrances and within municipal parking areas. Directory signage shall not exceed thirty (30) square feet or five (5) feet in height. Within the downtown commercial area, directory signs may be either wall mounted or ground mounted. Location and number of Directory signs shall be subject to approval of a Directory Sign program by the Planning Director pursuant to PMC 17.88.040.

d.    Information kiosks shall be permitted in the Downtown Commercial (C-D) zone per the standards specified in PMC 17.88.050(F).

e.    (Reserved For Future Development Of Off-Site Business Directional Sign Program)

6.    Parking.

a.    The Planning Director may approve a lessor amount of on-site parking than that listed in Chapter 17.87 PMC subject to approval of a Downtown Parking Reduction Study as outlined in Chapter 17.23 PMC, Minor Exception.

b.    The ten (10%) percent limitation on locating parking spaces in the rear lot area shall not apply within the Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone.

c.    No requirement shall exist within the Downtown Commercial (C-D) zone for parking to be located on the same lot or a contiguous lot to the use being served, provided that the location of the shared parking is not greater than 500 feet from the use being served.

d.    Loading zone requirements shall consist of those listed in Chapter 17.87 PMC except where modified in conjunction with a Downtown Parking Reduction Study as outlined in PMC 17.23.030(B)(12).

7.    Pedestrian Amenities. Provision of pedestrian amenities shall be required with new construction and for major modification to existing construction, except where it is determined by the reviewing authority that location of any such improvements on the site is infeasible. Pedestrian amenities shall consist of one or more of the following in keeping with the quality and character of designs as described in the Downtown Revitalization Plan:


Landscaped Open Spaces

Outdoor dining facilities

Outdoor litter receptacles



Seating Areas

Shade trees

Shade structures

Visual Focal Points

Wind sheltering devices

The number, size, design and type of amenities required on each site will be subject to the review and approval of the reviewing authority for each project.

8.    Building Design. All new project proposals and major modifications to existing structures shall be reviewed for consistency with the architectural guidelines and standards contained within Division 8 of the Downtown Revitalization Plan and the Community Design Element of the General Plan.

9.    Outdoor Display. Outdoor display of merchandise shall be permitted subject to the following restrictions:

a.    Displayed merchandise shall consist of new merchandise only.

b.    Displayed merchandise shall not be located within the public right-of-way.

c.    Displayed merchandise shall not obstruct handicap or fire department access to any doorway or walkway.

d.    Displayed merchandise shall not extend beyond the frontage of the business displaying such merchandise.

e.    Displayed merchandise shall not be placed in such a way as to significantly block visibility of the merchandise or signage of an adjacent business.

17.75.040 Uses Permitted Without Planning Approval

The following uses are allowed in the Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone without zoning clearance or other planning approval, except as required by State law.

A.    Bicycle trails and appurtenant facilities.

B.    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.

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

D.    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.)

17.75.050 Uses Permitted Subject to Administrative Approval by the Planning Director

The following uses are permitted in the Downtown Commercial (C-D) 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 communication 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).

17.75.060 Uses Permitted Subject to Site Plan Review Approval

The following uses are permitted in the Downtown Commercial (C-D) Zone subject to Site Plan Review approval, provided the building design and placement, colors and materials, site development, scale and intensity of the intended use are found to be consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Downtown Revitalization Plan, 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.    Specialty clothing shops.

18.    Stationary stores.

19.    Variety stores.

20.    Video rental and sales.

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

1.    Antique stores. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 10-01, adopted by City Council August 4, 2010.)

2.    Apparel and clothing accessories.

3.    Appliances, household.

4.    Art, drafting and graphics supplies.

5.    Carpeting, tile and floor coverings.

6.    Commercial nursery, retail.

7.    Computers and accessories, sales and service.

8.    Dishes, china, glassware, and metalware.

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

10.    Dry goods and notions.

11.    Department stores and general merchandise stores

12.    Fur and leather goods.

13.    Furniture.

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

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

16.    Lawn and garden equipment and supplies.

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

18.    Musical instruments and supplies.

19.    Paint, varnish and lacquer sales.

20.    Pet shops and supplies.

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

22.    Photographic equipment and supplies.

23.    Prints and frames.

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

25.    Stationery and office supplies.

26.    Toys, sport and athletic equipment.

27.    Wallpaper, interior decorating supplies and upholstery.

C.    Services provided to individuals and businesses, including:

1.    Food services, including:

a.    Catering services.

b.    Delicatessens and sandwich shops.

c.    Doughnut shops.

d.    Coffee shops.

e.    Fast food restaurants (excluding drive-through windows).

f.    Ice cream and yogurt shops.

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

2.    Personal services, including:

a.    Barber and beauty shops.

b.    Dry cleaners and launderers.

c.    Locksmith.

d.    Mail and photocopy services.

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

f.    Suntan parlors.

g.    Travel agencies.

3.    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.    Photographic equipment repair.

f.    Radio, television and stereo repair.

g.    Shoe repair and shoe shine.

h.    Small appliance repair.

i.    Watch, clock and jewelry repair.

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

4.    Financial and real estate services, including:

a.    Banks, savings and loans, and credit unions offering a 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.

5.    Professional services, including:

a.    Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping and financial 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.

6.    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.    Sign painting and lettering.

m.    Stenographic, secretarial, and clerical.

n.    Tax preparers.

o.    Telephone exchanges and answering services.

p.    Telephone marketing and solicitation.

q.    Typesetting and printing.

7.    Educational services, including:

a.    Day care facility, commercial, pursuant to PMC 17.92.120.

b.    Studios for the performing arts, martial arts or gymnastics.

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

d.    Traffic schools.

8.    Miscellaneous services, including:

a.    Administrative offices.

b.    Adoption agencies.

c.    Business association offices.

d.    Meeting facilities.

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

f.    Parking lots and structures, municipal/public.

g.    Pet grooming.

h.    Photo finishing.

i.    Professional membership organizations.

j.    Recording studios.

k.    Security systems.

l.    Tourist information centers.

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

1.    Convalescent care facilities.

2.    Court facilities.

3.    Fire stations.

4.    Government administrative offices (office use only).

5.    Libraries.

6.    Museums.

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.    Transit-related facilities such as boarding areas and park-and-ride lots.

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

17.75.070 Uses Permitted Subject to Approval of a Conditional Use Permit

Premises in Zone C-D may be used for the following purposes, provided a permit has first been obtained pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 17.22 PMC, Conditional Use Permits, and provided the building design and placement, colors and materials, site development, scale and intensity of the intended use are found to be consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the Downtown Revitalization Plan.

A.    Provision of services to individuals and businesses, including:

1.    Automobile repair, light

2.    Bars and cocktail lounges, pursuant to PMC 17.92.070.

3.    Civic, social and fraternal organizations.

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

5.    Gas stations. (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 00-01, adopted by City Council November 8, 2000.)

6.    Health clubs, fitness centers and gymnasiums.

7.    Hotels and motels.

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

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

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

5.    Family entertainment centers.

6.    Nightclubs, pursuant to PMC 17.92.070.

7.    Skating rinks, indoor or outdoor, ice or roller.

8.    Theaters, live performance.

9.    Theaters, motion picture, excluding drive-in.

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

1.    Amphitheaters, outdoor.

2.    Conference and convention centers.

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

4.    Hospitals.

5.    Lighted public recreational facilities and fields.

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

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

8.    Sports arena, stadium or complex.

D.    Retail Sale of Goods (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 00-01, adopted by City Council November 8, 2000.)

1.    Convenience stores, pursuant to PMC 17.92.090.

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

17.75.080 Accessory Uses and Structures Permitted

The following accessory uses and structures are permitted in the C-D 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-D zone.

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

D.    Health facilities, mobile.

E.    Newspaper dispensing devices, pursuant to PMC 12.08.030.

F.    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.

G.    Signs, as permitted by Chapter 17.88 PMC.

H.    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.

I.    Telephones, public, located within the building of a primary use. No freestanding outdoor telephones or telephone booths shall be permitted.

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

17.75.090 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-D zone, pursuant to PMC 17.24.120. Any such determination shall be evaluated for conformance with the Downtown Revitalization Plan.

17.75.100 Standards of Development

Ground level store front shops facing public streets shall be occupied by retail users, restaurants, entertainment uses, service oriented commercial uses or other activity producing uses. Within two story structures, general and professional offices should be located primarily on the second story within the downtown district.