New Starbucks sign approved, U-turn TBD

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At their Feb. 27 meeting, the Winters Planning Commission unanimously approved a new sign that will house the Starbucks and Chevron logos for the businesses on the corner of Highway 128 and Matsumoto Lane.

Contract planner David Dowswell stated that the sign will have the same ledgestone base as the new building, a theme which is also planned for the Chevron renovation and the Fairfield Inn and Suites, to be located north of the existing businesses.

The sign will also contain a spot for a digital price display of Chevron’s rates and will be nearly identical in size to the ARCO sign across Matsumoto Lane.

Commissioners were more interested about the parking and entrance/exit to the Starbucks. Currently, only westbound travelers can access the drive-through. Dowswell said he plans to consult with the police department about visibility in the intersection.

According to Caltrans guidelines, Highway 128 is wide enough at that location to permit a U-turn, so there’s a potential to change the designation.

Dowswell also said that patrons of the coffee house will eventually be able to access the drive through from the parking lot entrance at the rear of the building.

“Right now, the Starbucks is kind of a hassle,” said Commissioner Patrick Riley of the access issues.

“We anticipated it would be,” replied Dowswell.

Since that area will remain in construction until the Chevron and Fairfield Inn and Suites projects are completed, he expects some traffic jams.

“Nobody’s having any problems getting in there,” said city manager John Donlevy, “My guess is that Starbucks is not regretting moving in there.”


Other items

~  The commission unanimously approved photo-voltaic (solar panel) carports for St. Anthony Catholic Church located at 511 Main Street.

Two trees are being relocated to the rear of the property against the border with Edwards Street residences.

“We had a similar example a few months ago with PG&E,” said Dowswell, “The panels are providing the shade and providing an alternative source of energy which is actually cleaner.”

~  Donlevy stated that the commission will revisit the regulation of cannabis growth in the city at the commission’s March meeting.

“Cannabis will come back to the planning commission in March. We have some people who will educate us.”

The commission commended their member Dave Adams for being the sole voice in favor of allowing some cannabis growth in the city.

He made a progressive stance for the protection of those growing for medical purposes or otherwise within reason.

The rest of the commission voted to ban all outdoor growth of the plant. When this decision rolled to the city council, many members of the community spoke about the benefits of the plant, and lack of evidence that small, well-maintained grows are harmful to the community.

City staff has since taken the issue more seriously, navigating outside of prejudices and preconceived notions to regulate the plant with informed municipal code.


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