At its Jan. 4 meeting, Los Banos City Council approved a categorial exemption and Type 41 alcohol permit for Noodles Pho U, appointed several commissioners to newly vacant positions, and received an update on the solar procurement process for the community center and wastewater treatment plant.

On Dec. 14, the Los Banos Planning Commission recommended to the Los Banos City Council the approval of a categorical exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act and a Type 41 alcohol permit, allowing the on-sale of beer and wine for Noodles Pho U, located at 435 West Pacheco Boulevard (previous location of Ming’s Restaurant). The council unanimously granted the exemption and permit.

The approval of this permit made Noodles Pho U the twelfth establishment with a Type 41 license within its respective census tract, which occupies the southwestern quadrant of Los Banos, running from Los Banos Creek to Mercey Springs. The closest restaurant with the same license is Eddie’s Café, located east of the new restaurant.

“The cuisine proposed is generally Vietnamese.” Community and Economic Development Director/Interim City Manager Stacy Elms said. “Pho is a noodle soup, but there will be other Vietnamese cuisine options available.”

Noodles Pho U will operate 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Nine proclamations were presented by Mayor Paul Llanez recognizing city commissioners that fulfilled their terms on Dec. 31, 2022. For their dedicated service to their respective commission, the following were recognized:

· Dave Anderson, Larry Leonardo and David King for Airport Advisory Commission,

· Richard Stewart, Gerald Giesel and Tom Neeb for Measure P Committee,

· Gary Munoz for Parks & Recreation Commission and

· Clarence “Rob” Robinson and John Cates for Planning Commission.

The council appointed commissioners to the vacant positions on various commissions. Larry Leonardo and Dave Anderson were appointed to the Airport Advisory Commission, Brad Gargano and Shamar Pierce were appointed to Parks & Recreation Commission, and John Cates was appointed to Planning Commission.

The council also received an update on the solar procurement process for the community center and wastewater treatment plant through a partnership with Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE).

This process came about in February of 2022 when the council adopted a motion for staff to explore solar options for different facilities in the city. “After our further analysis with PG&E and Peninsula Clean Energy, we determined that community center and the wastewater treatment plant were the best candidates for solar projects,” Director of Public Works/City Engineer Nirorn Than said.

As outlined in the contract, the City is expected to pay the reduced rate of $0.176 per kilowatt-hour (versus the current $0.30 per kilowatt-hour PG&E rate) for the Community Center and $0.147 per kilowatt-hour (versus the current $0.20 kilowatt-hour PG&E rate) for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Starting off the bat, the wastewater treatment plan will be saving roughly 26 percent per kilowatt, and for the community center, roughly 41 percent.” Council member Brett Jones said. “It’s easy savings.”

At the end of the presentation, Council member Deborah Lewis requested a report on the actual rates per kilowatt 6 months after the system’s installation. Elms replied that city staff and PCE will be able to provide a presentation on the information as requested. Certificates of recognition were awarded to Police Sergeant Ivan Mendez for 2022 Employee of the Year and to Accounting Clerk II Kelsey Daguerre for Employee of the Month for December 2022.

Malina Duran

Malina Duran’s email is