DATE: August 21, 2007
TO: Honorable City Council
FROM: Ernie V. Garcia, City Manager
BY: Thomas E. Lynch, Assistant City Manager
Hue Quach, Director of Finance
Ernie Hernandez, Director of Human Resources/Risk Manager
William F. Clark, Business Development Assistant
SUBJECT: ORDINANCE NO. 07-1598 - FREQUENCY OF OPERATION AND TIME
RESTRICTIONS FOR SPECIAL EVENTS
The City of Norwalk issues special event permits for carnivals and temporary sales
events conducted entirely on public land or private property. Chapter 5.28 of the
Norwalk Municipal Code stipulates that retail uses such as auto dealerships, where the
majority of merchandise is displayed in an outdoor display area and is on a lot with a
minimum lot size of twenty thousand (20,000) square feet, may operate a special event
no more than three (3) times per calendar year. In practice, this regulation allows each
large auto dealership to conduct three (3) major promotional events of up to thirty (30)
days each calendar year.
Current Ordinance Provisions:
Norwalk Municipal Code Section 5.28.100 contains the following provision related to
large auto dealer special events:
“E. Notwithstanding subsection B of this section, retail uses with the majority
of merchandise being displayed in an outdoor display area approved by the Director
and is on a lot with a minimum lot size of twenty thousand (20,000) square feet may
operate for up to thirty (30) days.”
City Council August 21, 2007
Ordinance No. 07-1598 – Frequency of Operation for Special Events Page 2
Recently, the City received a request from a major auto dealer to increase the
frequency of special events permitted to allow for weekly promotional events, in addition
to an annual tent sale. The goal of this request is to draw more customers to Norwalk
dealerships, especially in view of reported sales competition from auto dealers in
surrounding communities. The special event activities that are proposed include car
give-away contests, offering free hot dogs and sodas, live radio remote broadcasts, disc
jockeys, short-term musical concerts and temporary banners which are supportive of
the special event.
Analysis of Potential Impacts:
The potential impacts of greater numbers of special events at auto dealerships and
areas of concern for the purposes of enforcement related to these activities include the
1. Higher traffic volume because of special events.
2. Increased noise created by special events.
3. A greater number of special events conducted with longer durations.
4. Use of inflatable signs and non-permitted banners.
5. Limited availability of parking for auto dealer special events.
6. Use of Sheriff, Public Safety, and Property Maintenance resources to respond to
public complaints concerning special event activities.
Staff has consulted with several local auto dealers regarding the impact of their special
events on surrounding properties and sought input as to potential Code modifications to
address the concerns of all parties affected by this issue. The dealers indicate they are
supportive of a process for obtaining special event permits, if it allows them to achieve
their marketing goals. In addition, city departments, which are impacted by auto sales
activities, have reviewed the dealer’s request and provided their input regarding the
potential impact of the proposed events.
Lot Size and Display Area Concerns:
Under the current ordinance, all of the City’s large auto dealerships are located on a lot
with a minimum lot size of twenty thousand (20,000) square feet. However, the available
display area varies according to the particular display configuration of each location, as
Size of Dealership Outdoor Display Area:
The following locations were identified as retail uses with an outdoor display area of
greater than 20,000 square feet:
1. Norwalk Toyota – 11404 Imperial Highway (114,572 square feet).
City Council August 21, 2007
Ordinance No. 07-1598 – Frequency of Operation for Special Events Page 3
2. McKenna Motor Co., Inc. – 10900 Firestone Boulevard (102,315 square feet).
3. Keystone Ford – 12000 Firestone Boulevard (50,896 square feet)
4. Public Motors Norwalk – 12645 Rosecrans Avenue (37,522).
The following locations were identified as retail uses with an outdoor display area of less
than 20,000 square feet:
1. Budget Rent a Car Sales – 12541 Rosecrans Avenue (17,714,000 square feet)
2. A-Lux Autos/CA Motor Trade – 10970 Firestone Boulevard (11,926 square feet)
Sales Events by Retail Sellers of New Vehicles:
Retail sellers of new vehicles indicate to staff that yearly special event permits are
needed in order to draw customers to Norwalk dealerships. Limiting the issuance of
yearly special event permits to retail sellers of new vehicles would reduce the number of
locations holding special events and the impact of these activities on the community.
Staff has identified the following retail sellers of new vehicles:
1. Norwalk Toyota – 11404 Imperial Highway.
2. McKenna Motor Co., Inc. – 10900 Firestone Boulevard.
3. Keystone Ford – 12000 Firestone Boulevard.
Wholesale Dealerships would not be impacted by the special event ordinance.
Staff is seeking City Council direction to improve the ability of Norwalk’s large auto
dealerships to attract customers, while at the same time preserving the peace and quiet
enjoyment of use by residents and business owners inhabiting surrounding properties.
In addition, staff direction is requesting City Council direction to determine if dealership
lot size or display area should be a factor in granting yearly special event permits.
A draft ordinance is presented for City Council consideration, which would allow, the
City Manager or his designee (“the Director”), to approve a yearly special event permit
for each large auto dealership, based on type of vehicle sale. If the City Council
decides, that special event permits for large auto dealerships should be based on lot
size or display area, then ordinance modifications will be presented at the next regular
City Council meeting. The proposed ordinance would grant the City Manager the
discretion to determine the frequency of operation, allow the use of certain permitted
temporary signs and banners, and impose conditions to limit the potential impact of
approved special events affecting surrounding properties. Violations of the provisions of
these special event permits would be through the issuance of an administrative citation
and other civil or criminal prosecution as provided for in the Norwalk Municipal Code.
City Council August 21, 2007
Ordinance No. 07-1598 – Frequency of Operation for Special Events Page 4
If the Code is not modified, then no more than three (30 day) special events may be
conducted during any calendar year on the same property or group of properties.
Fiscal Impact: None
Citizens Advised: N/A
Strategic Plan Implementation: Vision 6; Strategy 4
Staff recommends City Council introduce for first reading Ordinance No. 07-1598, which
will amend Chapter 5.28 of the Norwalk Municipal Code, by title only and waive further
1. Ordinance No. 07-1598
2. List of Auto Dealers by Lot Size and Display Area