Most gyms and fitness centers don’t need a Santa Barbara County Planning Commission hearing and a conditional use permit to open, but they do if they’re going into the Magnolia Shopping Center in the Goleta Valley.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners quickly and unanimously approved the permit for CycleBar to go in at 5188 Hollister Ave., the space between Union Bank and another fitness center, F45 Training.

“I can recall specifically I believe three CUP cases involving Magnolia Shopping Center and we have a fourth today, and I believe a fifth one if I read the projection report right,” commission chair John Parke noted at Wednesday’s meeting.

He asked whether the county could change the shopping center zone ordinance to eliminate the requirement that recreation facilities get a conditional use permit.

It adds a lot of cost to applicants, as well as time for county planners and the commission, Parke added.

“I have very exciting news for you,” Planning & Development Director Lisa Plowman said.

The Board of Supervisors funded a consultant for amending zoning ordinances to facilitate housing development, and those changes could eliminate the shopping center zone altogether, she said.

“It’s really outdated, and there doesn’t seem to be any purpose to it,” Plowman said.  

CycleBar is an indoor cycling fitness facility, part of a national chain that has about a dozen locations in Southern California.

Commissioner Laura Bridley said the business is a “great thing” and that such establishments are reinvigorating shopping centers.

Parke said shopping centers are evolving.  

“Here we have Magnolia, I think some retail’s been going out and facilities like this going in, and this seems like an excellent use,” he said.

The Planning Commission is also set to review plans for The Pad climbing gym, which is going in at the same shopping center. That business needs to alter the building to accommodate the gym, according to county planners.