Chapter 14-29


14-29.010    Title.

14-29.020    Purpose and findings.

14-29.030    Definitions.

14-29.050    Standards for compliance.

14-29.060    Exceptions.

14-29.080    Method of compliance.

14-29.010 Title.

These regulations shall be known as the healthy eating options ordinance, and may be cited as such and will be referred to herein as “healthy eating options.”

(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)

14-29.020 Purpose and findings.

The City finds that promoting healthy eating options at new and existing restaurants is an effective way to reduce health issues related to unhealthy eating habits, such as diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. Encouraging restaurants to have healthy eating options on their menu is an effective way to provide options for consumers to eat healthy in new and existing restaurants. This chapter is also intended to reward existing businesses that embrace the concept by establishing an award system in Table 1 of this chapter that recognizes restaurants with menus that emphasize healthy eating options. The second purpose is to require new restaurants to include a minimum of healthy eating options from Table 2 of this chapter in order to obtain enough points in Table 1 of this chapter (New and Existing Restaurant Point Requirements to Meet Healthy Eating Criteria) to obtain a building permit.

The City also finds that healthy eating decisions made by businesses in the City can result in significant cost savings to the residents of the City over the life of the restaurant by helping to reduce unhealthy eating habits in the City. The City also recognizes that it must lead by example in order to have the general populace follow suit and therefore commits itself to the practice of healthy eating by offering healthy eating options in City-sponsored programs and events.

(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)

14-29.030 Definitions.

(a)    Award certificate. The City Council will prepare a resolution indicating that the restaurant has met the City’s healthy eating option criteria. As part of the award the business will be featured on the City’s Channel 70 programming for a month.

(b)    Building permit. New and existing restaurants that are requesting City approval to authorize construction of a new restaurant or remodel of an existing restaurant must meet the minimum points listed in Table 1 of this chapter.

(c)    Golden Carrot Award. The Go for Health! collaborative has an existing award program for restaurants that meet the point total listed in Table 2 of this chapter. This award will be prepared by the County and presented at the City Council. As part of the award the business will be featured on the City’s Channel 70 programming for two (2) months and will be featured in the high school’s newsletters to students.

(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)

14-29.050 Standards for compliance.

Existing restaurants are encouraged to participate in the Healthy Eating Options Program listed in Table 2 of this section by submitting an application and their menus to the Community Development Department to determine if they qualify for awards recognition listed in the program in Table 1 of this section.

Applicants for a new restaurant in the City shall participate in the Healthy Eating Options Program. In order to obtain a building permit for any new restaurant, addition or substantial remodel in excess of those exempted in Section 14-29.060, each project must include elements in program from the healthy food plan option checklist (Table 2 of this section) equal to or exceeding the following:

Table 1

New and Existing Restaurant Point

Requirements to Meet Healthy Eating Criteria

Total Points Available



Points required to receive action

Receipt of Building Permit

(New restaurants and remodels only)


Award Certificate

(New and existing restaurants)


Golden Carrot Award

(New and existing restaurants)


Table 2

Healthy Eating Options Program

Menu Food Options




Offer at least 4 choices of fruits or vegetables prepared in a low-fat way (ex: green salad, baked potato, stir-fried or steamed vegetables).



Offer fruits or vegetables as a substitute for less healthy side dishes such as french fries.



Offer at least one fat-free or low-fat salad dressing.



Include skim milk or 1% milk on menu if milk product is served.



Offer water and make it accessible to customers free of charge.



Offer whole grain bread as an option instead of white bread, or a no bread option (lettuce wrap).



Offer at least one healthier dessert option. (i.e., fresh fruit)



Prepare meat, fish, poultry or meat alternative in a low-fat way such as broiling, baking, poaching, roasting, steaming or stir frying. Visible fat removed from any meat or poultry before cooking.



Offer at least one low-fat vegetarian dish (low-fat, not exceeding 500 calories).



Provide option to serve butter, margarine, sour cream, salad dressing, or mayonnaise on the side or not at all.



Offer a menu with smaller portions or half portion meals at a lower cost. Allow customer to split a meal.



Provide training for staff members about knowing the menu thoroughly. This includes knowing portion sizes, understanding ingredients and chef preparation.



Provide calorie information visible at the point of purchase or provide healthier option stickers on the menu.



Offer corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.



Offer whole beans instead of refried beans.




(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)

14-29.060 Exceptions.

The following are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(a)    Existing restaurants that do not want to participate.

(b)    Additions and remodels to existing restaurants that are less than one hundred (100) square feet.

(c)    Equipment and non-structural modifications of any restaurant.

(d)    Modification to historical restaurant structures.

(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)

14-29.080 Method of compliance.

The Building Official and/or the principal planner shall maintain the following documents for the public:

(a)    City of Watsonville Application for Healthy Eating Options Awards;

(b)    Healthy eating checklist for new and existing restaurants.

These documents shall aid in certification of new restaurants and significant remodels and additions thereto. Every applicant for a building permit not exempted by Section 14-29.060, Exceptions, shall complete and submit the appropriate checklist for their project along with the standard application documents. All compliance measures shall be clearly delineated on the proposed menu for the restaurant.

(§ 1, Ord. 1266-10, eff. November 25, 2010)