The Human Bean coffee drive-thru and walk-up coffee stand will be moving to Broadway after receiving the go-ahead from the Santa Maria Planning Commission on Thursday. 

The conditional use permit for a 400-square-foot unit with a drive-thru that can accommodate approximately 14 cars was unanimously approved for the site at 1935 S. Broadway. 

Construction for the Dutch Bros. rival, located on the corner of Carmen Lane, will begin with the demolition of a former signmaking shop before the new coffee stand can be built. A construction date has yet to be set. 

The beverage franchise first opened in 1998 in Oregon, 30 miles from the original Dutch Bros., which opened five years earlier. Now, The Human Bean has about 200 locations in 18 states, offering over 300 beverages on its menu. There are three shops along the Central Coast, in Atascadero, Templeton and Morro Bay. 

"We have a different setup than Dutch Bros. does," Pat Mitchell, Human Bean franchisee, explained to the commissioners. "When you go into a Dutch Bros, it's a social event; there's real long wait times. We have a more mature crowd that comes into our coffee shops."

Recycling reclamation center denied

Plans for a recycling reclamation center in the parking lot of the Foods Co. shopping area on Broadway hit a roadblock Thursday when the commission voted to deny a conditional use permit. 

Sunset Recycling, based in West Covina, had proposed to build a small walk-up center for buyback recyclables in the parking lot of the shopping center in October 2021. 

Since that time, commission members have expressed a number of concerns, primarily related to traffic flow throughout the shopping center in Santa Maria. Although a number of changes were made, the commission ultimately decided to deny the permit.

"I agree that we need more recycling in town, but I just don't like the location," said Commissioner Tom Lopez, when the project was discussed during a Feb. 16 meeting. "I'm going to have a hard time supporting it; I think it's not a good fit for that front [parking] area."

Several proposed locations for the reclamation center all involved the potential for traffic to spill out onto Broadway as shoppers would be more jammed inside the parking lot, according to the commission.

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"During the public hearings, the Planning Commission raised concerns regarding the proximity of the facility to the shopping center’s South Broadway entry and exit driveways, and the potential for this location to impede vehicular circulation in the shopping center," noted the commission's written report. 

Denials by the planning commission can be appealed to the City Council. 

Shipping, packing warehouse approved

A 40,000-square-foot food packaging and shipping warehouse is slated to be built in the 1300 block of La Brea Avenue after the commission voted to approve its conditional use permit Thursday.

The warehouse will act as a distributor for packaging materials used by farmers in the area. Corrugated boxes, flexible packaging and plastic liners will be distributed and received on-site through trucking operations. 

Located just north of the Heritage at Westgate Ranch housing development, the warehouse's operations are not expected to affect traffic on La Brea Avenue, according to the permit. 

The 6-acre project was submitted on behalf of Oxnard based Seaside Packaging, which has similar warehouses in Santa Maria and Lompoc. 

A date for breaking ground on the empty lot has not been scheduled.

The Santa Maria Planning Commission will next meet on April 6.


City Government Reporter

Joshua Nelson is the City Government Reporter for the Santa Maria Times.

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