Santa Paula Planning Commission: Conditional Approval of Self-Storage

By Sheryl Hamlin

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, the Santa Paula Planning Commission approved the first project in the Santa Maria Industrial Park (SMIP), a park that had been approved in 2013 according to the staff report.

History of SMIP

The original owner/developer of the Santa Maria Industrial Park was “Aspen”. At some point the project was sold to Rasmussen. Ron Gallagher of Rasmussen is listed on the Santa Paula Chamber website as a member:Ron Gallagher SMIP

Staff Report

From the staff report:

The project site is entirely within the underlying master planned “Santa Maria Industrial Park” (SMIP). The SMIP was approved on May 28, 2013. The City of Santa Paula Planning Commission approved Project No. 2012-CDP-05, Santa Maria Industrial Park, for a Modification of an Approved Tentative Tract Map No. 5428 from 10-lots to 9-lots, Conditional Use Permit to allow a warehouse use, Planned Development Permit, and Design Review on a 25-acre vacant parcel. Project No. 2012-CDP-05 is subject to the approved Site Plan and the 106 Conditions of Approval in per PC Resolution 3714. As such, the underlying SMIP project’s 106 Conditions of Approval remain in full force and effect and effectively govern all future development of lots within the SMIP, including the subject lots. To-date Project No. 2012-CDP-05, the Santa Maria Industrial Park, is unfinished and incomplete. City staff from Administration, Public Works, Planning and Building & Safety are actively engaged in a coordinated response to bring the Santa Maria Industrial Park project to resolution.

Conservation Easement

Source:Staff Report

The aerial image from the staff report shows the SMIP and its proximity to the river. The hatch marks indicate a transition zone between the development and a conservation easement. This easement was recorded in 2010 at the County of Ventura. The link is given below.

Read the recordation here: recordation

The Planning Department in 2013 issued a letter to Mr. Gallagher with all of the conditions including a requirement to satisfy the Conservation Easement:

2013 Conditions

Objection from Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority

A detailed letter was submitted on the day of the hearing, but not in the packet. The Conservation Agency objects to the project based on the unresolved conservation easement. Read that letter: 18-CDP-01 SPSS Too Ltr to PC MRCA Opposes [2019.09.24]

Applicant Statements

Mr. William Kendall of Santa Barbara explained how he and his company with the guidance of former Planning Director Joan Kuhn started development of the Santa Paula Self-Storage on Santa Maria 20 years ago.

The property had little value, he said, because of the issues with the airport, which were noted in staff report.

The original project has been very well received, he said, and has a 95% occupancy rate. He indicated that this new project, three lots he bought from Rasmussen, has the same issues with FAR (floor area ratio), parking, airport interference and conservation easement.

Note the conservation easement in purple associated with the original project. The conservation easement for the current project is shown in red.

The issue now is to encourage Rasmussen to negotiate with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for a solution to the easement infringement, a solution that will involve relocation of the detention basin and 20,000 cubic yards of dirt, which he will accept on his Fillmore project.

Approval today, he said, would give him leverage with Rasmussen to move forward with these negotiations.


Chair Vasquez asked about security. The applicant explained the security on the existing project.

Commissioner Herber asked about the FAR issue. The application said they will have to push all the buildings to the front, as they did in the original project. Commissioner Herber also asked about the rear setback.

Commissioner Dunkel asked about the time frame. With no approval for three years and the permit expiring, what are the contingency plans. The applicant reiterated the leverage with Rasmussen and also said they were creating working drawings.


The Commission approved the project with many conditions including the following contingency as stated in the staff report.

Other Hurdles: Split Roll 2020

Not discussed at the meeting is the Ballot Measure on the 2020 California ballot which will split commercial properties from the protections of Proposition 13. The original Santa Paula Self Storage will see an immediate increase due to its age, so the new project will be forced to compensate in some manner. Read about this here:
Split Roll 2020

The storage industry has raised an alarm:
Potential Disastrous Tax Hike

To download the staff report, click here: Staff Report

To download Planner Doberneck’s presentation, click here: 18-CDP-01 SPSS Too PC Slideshow [2019.09.24] _v10

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