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SMP board split over proposed ban on gas stations, car washes

Sentinel staff report–
Board members for the Sunrise MarketPlace business improvement district during their September meeting could not come to a consensus on whether to support or oppose the city’s proposed ban on new auto-oriented uses in the Sunrise-Greenback commercial corridor.

“The simple answer is that the Board was unable to come to a consensus on the Overlay Ban,” said SMP Executive Director Kathilynn Carpenter in an email response to an inquiry from The Sentinel, following the board’s Sept. 8 meeting.

The proposed “zoning overlay” would prevent businesses like car washes and gas stations from opening in the Sunrise MarketPlace, without affecting such kinds of businesses that are already open or in existence prior to Dec. 1, 2022. The ban would cover the commercial areas within the Sunrise MarketPlace, which roughly extends along Sunrise Boulevard from Madison Avenue to just north of Greenback Lane, as well as a portion of Greenback Lane from Birdcage Street to Fair Oaks Boulevard.

Related: ARCO, car wash interested in pair of vacant Citrus Heights restaurants

“The Board did note that the two businesses that have received interest from auto-related uses have been vacant for a few years,” said Carpenter, referring to the former China Buffet and Marie Callender’s restaurants on Sunrise Boulevard. She said both of the currently vacant buildings have been “major targets for transient activity.”

“The owners have tried but have not been successful in finding full-service restaurant tenants or other more desirable businesses,” she said. “The Board encouraged the City to help these owners find acceptable uses if they restrict specific uses.”

A map of the overlay area is available on the city’s website.

The city has said it would like to restrict unused space within the Sunrise MarketPlace to businesses that reduce cut-through traffic and increase the vibrancy and character of the community. The plan to redevelop Sunrise Mall also restricts auto-focused businesses, so the proposal would effectively extend that prohibition to the surrounding trade area.

The proposed text of the zoning overlay has now been released on the city’s website and is viewable by clicking here. Comments regarding the zoning proposal can be directed to the Planning Division by sending an email to, or by calling (916) 727-4740.

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