KING CITY — King City will soon have a change in city code that allows four-story hotels with a maximum height of 50 feet, after a recent decision by the city council. 

The current city code limits height to 30 feet and two stories. The new ordinance was introduced and approved during the Jan. 14 meeting of the City of King City Council. The adoption of the ordinance will be considered at the next council meeting on Jan. 28.

“As part of our economic development efforts, we’ve been trying to encourage a new hotel to develop in the city,” said City Manager Steve Adams. 

The city is in escrow with a hotel developer on the sale of property formerly owned by the city’s redevelopment agency. 

“They have indicated, and other discussions we’ve had have indicated the same thing, that in order to attract a national brand hotel, we’ll need to accommodate larger heights,” Adams said.

What has inhibited King City from allowing buildings taller than two stories and 30 feet in the past has been the fire rating.

“We had been told our fire rating would go down in the past because we don’t have a ladder truck,” Adams explained. 

Adams continued, “So what we did is develop a strategy whereby we created an additional fee. Any developers building taller buildings will pay a fee and that fee will go towards paying the differential cost in upgrading the next engine we buy to include a ladder attachment.”

Doing so will allow higher buildings in King City without a reduction in the fire rating.

“At this point, we are only allowing higher buildings for hotels because that’s been our primary focus,” Adams said, adding that the city leaders would update the general plan in the near future. “In that process, we’re going to be studying other areas of the city that might be appropriate.”

Housing might be allowed to be built taller after those future reviews and changes, perhaps with a limit to three stories, Adams noted, as housing development is another major goal for the city.

“In appropriate locations, if we were to allow three stories, that would be a good incentive to provide some additional housing,” he said.

The city council also approved the introduction of three other changes in city ordinances that will move forward for adoption at a later meeting.

One of those items was to change front yard fences to be built with a height of four feet, up from three feet, but require a permit. Pre-fabricated fences commonly come in four-foot heights, Adams explained, with the new code allowing for easier installation of new fences.

Another item considered was shifting language around to allow for live entertainment in restaurants rather than classify such establishments as night clubs.

“One of the things we wanted to do was make it easier for restaurants to have live entertainment, whether it be somebody playing guitar and singing, or a mariachi band,” Adams said. “We’re trying to create a more active downtown.”

The third additional change to city codes was to define the proper discarding of yard waste.

“The city used to encourage people to blow their leaves into the street and they would come by with the street sweeper,” Adams said. “At that time, that was when the city had more money and more frequent street sweeping.”

Now, city street sweeping is much less common, typically once a month.

“So if people blow their leaves into the street, they’ll sit there for quite a while and get blown all over the place,” Adams said. “Plus, it becomes more than our street sweeper can handle.”

The city will now have an official ordinance to discourage people from throwing their leaves into the streets.

“The difficult part is, people remember when they were still allowed to do that,” Adams said. “It requires a lot of education to get people to know now that they’re not supposed to do that.”

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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