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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE FULLERTON PLANNING COMMISSION

COUNCIL CHAMBERS - FULLERTON CITY HALL

WEDNESDAY JULY 23, 1997 7:00 P.M.

CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Simons at 7:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL:
Chairman Simons; Commissioners Godfrey, Munson, Ranii, Richmond, and Sandoval

ABSENT: Commissioner Ballard

STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley, Assistant City Engineer Hoppe, Building Official Daleo, Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Commerdinger, Associate Planner Bane and Recording Clerk Stevens

MINUTES:
MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by a 5-0 vote, with Commissioner Richmond abstaining, that the Minutes of the July 9, 1997, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
PUBLIC HEARINGS:
ITEM NO. 1
AMENDMENT #5A TO MASTER (SPECIFIC) PLAN MSP-1A, TENTATIVE TRACT 14768, AND PLANNED RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT A-PRD-44A. AUTHORIZED APPLICANT: BRAEMAR CONSTRUCTION, INC.; PROPERTY OWNER: COUNTRY FRENCH VILLAGE

Staff report dated July 16, 1997, was presented pertaining to a request to modify a previously-approved 31-acre residential development by reducing the total number of units from 192 to 155; amending the Specific Plan by changing the development type from detached cluster to single-family greenbelt; modifying the previously-approved tentative tract map to accommodate the revised plan in Development Area A and a portion of Area H of the East Coyote Hills Specific Plan (PRD-O zone); and modifying a previously-approved Development Agreement to reflect the modifications, on property located at the southeast corner of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road (Addendum to previously-certified Environmental Impact Report SCH #930111026).

Senior Planner Commerdinger reported that this is a revision to a plan originally approved by the City Council in late 1994. The approval was for 192 units on this site, in a cluster-type development, on the southeast corner of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road. Shortly after the approval, the ownership interests decided not to proceed, oil field remediation activities occurred on site, and a new developer proposed to develop the site in 1996. This developer is now proposing 155 single-family homes. Senior Planner Commerdinger gave a brief description of the project, including open space, floor area ratios, parking, and access within the complex.

Senior Planner Commerdinger also stated that approximately two weeks prior, the Fullerton School District presented a resolution and report dealing with school fees. Staff expects this issue to be resolved before the proposal is heard by the City Council. The Engineering Department has provided a modified letter stating that all original conditions are to be considered in force unless specifically amended. Staff is pleased with the working relationship between the City and new developer, and is recommending that the Planning Commission recommend that the City Council certify the addendum to the EIR, and approve the amendment to the Specific Plan, Tract Map, PRD, and Development Agreement.

Commissioner Richmond did not understand the role of the Planning Commission in any matters between the school district and the developer. Director Dudley clarified that state law recognizes the City to be the final arbitrator in this matter, and must find that the school impacts have been fully mitigated. Senior Planner Commerdinger added that this item was placed in the Commission packets for informational purposes, and that the Commission need not make any decisions at this time.

Commissioner Godfrey recalled that the previous plan contained a 30-foot wall at the corner of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road which had been a concern of the City Council. Senior Planner Commerdinger stated that there was a number of changes attached to the addendum to the EIR, one of them being a new noise report which addresses the perimeter noise walls, now six-feet tall, with less of an impact to the site. Commissioner Godfrey also inquired as to the turnaround radius of each of the cul-de-sacs. Senior Planner Commerdinger answered that they had a 39-foot radius and there would be ample turnaround space for both fire trucks and M. G. Disposal.

Chairman Simons noted that in the previous plan, any vehicles parked in the driveway would overhang on the sidewalk. He asked of this problem had been mitigated, and Senior Planner Commerdinger replied that there are ample driveways and garages to eliminate this situation.

Commissioner Godfrey questioned whether perimeter landscaping would be added during the ten phases of development. Senior Planner Commerdinger answered that the Development Agreement requires the perimeter landscaping to be completed during the first phase of construction.

Public hearing opened.

Avi Brosh, 30495 Canwood Street, Agoura Hills, thanked staff for their assistance with the project, and expressed his appreciation for all of their cooperation. He briefly described the new project and made himself available for questions from the Commission.

Commissioner Godfrey asked if the consultant had anticipated the speed of traffic traveling the access road along the golf course, and if any mitigation measures were proposed. Mr. Brosh answered that being private streets within a gated community would eliminate some of the problem; also, cross-gutters will be installed, and speed bumps could be added later, if necessary.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Godfrey asked if a price range had been established for these homes. Mr. Brosh informed the Commission that the cost will be from the low $200,000 to the low $300,000 range. Commissioner Godfrey stated that he was pleased with the project and voted to support staff's recommendation.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6742 RECOMMENDING City Council approval of a modification to a previously-approved 31-acre planned residential development by reducing the total number of units from 192 to 155; amending the specific plan by changing the development type from detached cluster to single-family greenbelt; modifying the previously-approved tentative tract map to accommodate the revised plan in Development Area G and a portion of Area H of the East Coyote Hills Specific Plan (PRD-O Zone), and modifying a previously approved Development Agreement to reflect the modifications, on property located at the southeast corner of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road (Addendum to previously-certified environmental impact report SCH #930111026), was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ranii, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ITEM NO. 2
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-955. APPLICANT: PACIFIC WEST COLLEGE OF LAW; PROPERTY OWNER: BAO VAN, INC.

Staff report dated July 16, 1997, was presented pertaining to a request to consider revocation of an existing Conditional Use Permit to operate a private law school in an existing building at 233 East Commonwealth Avenue, due to lack of compliance with the conditions of approval, lack of building permits, and failure to comply with the Notice and Order of the Building Official. (Northwest corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Lemon Street) (C-3 zone).

Senior Planner Commerdinger reported that this is a review of a private law school previously approved in August 1996. The Conditional Use Permit is being reviewed because of the applicant's non-compliance with the conditions of approval, failure to obtain building permits before commencement of construction activity, and failure to comply with a Notice and Order of the Building Official. There were nine original conditions of approval - four of which have not been complied with - Nos. 3, 6, 7 and 9. Considerable construction activity has occurred within the building, without benefit of either permits or inspections. Also, there is a lack of proper exiting, no disabled access, lack of fire ratings for interior walls, and work for which no plans have been submitted. At this time, staff recommended that the Commission give the applicant 45 days in which to complete all necessary work needed to bring the building into compliance. If the work is not completed within that time frame, staff will schedule a public hearing before the Commission and recommend that the Conditional Use Permit be revoked, and the building be vacated.

Commissioner Ranii asked if fines could be imposed on the applicant and staff replied negatively.

Commissioner Sandoval asked if an appeal of the Notice and Order had been submitted by the applicant, and staff replied negatively.

Commissioner Munson asked what steps had been taken by staff in their attempt to make contact with the applicant. Senior Planner Commerdinger indicated that letters have been sent, as well as personal visits to the site.

Commissioner Godfrey asked if the law school was in operation at this time. Building Official Daleo confirmed that the law school is currently in operation, as well as a business office to conduct the school business. Commissioner Godfrey further inquired as to why the operation was not vacated when it became apparent that the building was unsafe to occupy. Building Official Daleo stated that while he could have taken summary abatement action at any time, he did not do so because of the limited enrollment of the law school. While he has been in contact with Mr. Joe Dinh, work has not progressed in accordance with the notice and order.

Director Dudley reminded the Commission that there are two actions involved with this item--the review of the Conditional Use Permit and the Notice and Order of the Building Official. Mr. Dudley had asked that this public hearing be held in an effort to determine why the applicant has failed to comply with staff direction.

Public hearing opened.

Kevin O'Connell, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific West College of Law, distributed a chronology of events which had taken place since April of 1997. It was his contention that the representation by staff was not entirely accurate in its factual statements. He indicated the following:

  • The law school did comply with the request to submit plans for work to be done. Such plans were submitted to staff, but law school personnel were told that the plans had to be prepared by a professional. He was confused about being told to make corrections to the building, but then being told to wait until he had an approved set of plans.
  • GM Associates was then hired. Professional plans were resubmitted by GM Associates, and corrections to the plans were made by staff.
  • The enrollment of the law school is small--approximately 30 students. The largest amount of students in the building on any given night would be 20 adults, all ambulatory.
  • The college is short on funds, and the total amount to be spent on the improvements is approximately $15,000. While appreciative of the 45-day extension, he felt that additional time would be needed to complete all of the necessary work. He apologized for the delay in his attempt to obtain an approved set of plans.
  • It was applicant's understanding that when the Conditional Use Permit was granted, it was an approval of the plans he submitted when he filed his application for a CUP. Those plans showed construction to the interior walls of the building.

    Commissioner Munson reminded the applicant that when this item was first heard by the Planning Commission in April of 1996, a representative of the college was present and agreed to all of the recommended conditions of approval. He inquired as to how long the applicant felt would be necessary to complete the work. Mr. O'Connell answered that he requested a list of priorities from GM Associates to assist him in determining which items must be completed first. He added that since the opening of the law school, improvements have been made to the landscaping and other areas, and they are simply not "thumbing their nose" at the conditions of approval. He was also present during visits to the site made by Building Official Daleo and was in receipt of all letters sent by staff.

    Commissioner Ranii wished to see all safety issues within the building completed in 45 days. Director Dudley referred to the original eight conditions of approval; particularly Condition No. 3 which states that applicant shall comply with all Building/Safety and Fire Codes.

    Commissioner Godfrey asked which safety items staff felt should be addressed as priorities. Building Official Daleo informed the Commission that to receive a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, the business must satisfy the following requirements: (1) all electrical systems must be inspected and approved; (2) all exit systems must be approved and in place; (3) all ADA accessibility requirements must be met; and (4) all other applicable City departments must approve the temporary occupancy. Since April of 1997, there have been little or no improvements to the site. A set of architectural plans was submitted to staff, but were not properly signed by a licensed civil engineer.

    Director Dudley added that the Commission was hearing the issue of non-compliance with the conditions of approval of the Conditional Use Permit; not acting as the Board of Appeals concerning the Notice and Order.

    William Gillespie, 541 Rosarita Drive, is a principal of GM Associates. He confirmed that he signed an agreement with the law school on June 4, 1997, and submitted signed plans to the Development Services Department on June 24, 1997. A correction letter from the Building Department was received on July 17. He is now making the plan check corrections. He concurred that it would be difficult to complete all of the items within 45 days, but assured the Commission that substantial progress would be made. He suggested 60 days as a possible time frame.

    Commissioner Godfrey asked if Mr. Gillespie was confident that within 45 days there would be a diligent effort to comply with most of the fire/life safety items required by the Building Official. Mr. Gillespie answered that based upon the correction letter, an engineering consultant had been notified, and plans have been drawn up for the modifications to the interior of the building. There would most likely be minimal activity within the following ten days while the plans were being finalized, but he was certain that a diligent effort would be noticed within 45 days.

    Mr. O'Connell added that he had been advised by the Building Official and Fire Department on how to maintain class schedules while construction was ongoing.

    Commissioner Godfrey inquired whether the Building Official was satisfied, based on Mr. Gillespie's representations, with the proposed work schedule. Mr. Daleo stated that he would prefer to take the legal course of action for substandard buildings as follows: on August 1, 1997, the building would be posted, and the owner would then be given the opportunity to appeal. If appealed, the Commission would then act as the Board of Appeals to address the existing Building Code violations at that time.

    Public hearing closed.

    Commissioner Munson was satisfied that the applicant is showing a good faith effort to comply with the violations as noted by the Building Official. He suggested that the matter come back before the Commission on September 24 to review the applicant's progress and consider whether the Conditional Use Permit should be revoked for cause. Commissioners Godfrey and Richmond concurred.

    Commissioner Ranii supported staff's recommendation, but cautioned that the safety issues should be addressed first.

    Commissioner Sandoval was disappointed in what appears to be "flagrant disregard" for the conditions of approval set by the Planning Commission a year ago. She agreed with Commissioner Munson's recommendation, but cautioned that if the majority of work is not completed at that time, that the CUP should be revoked.

    MOTION by Commissioner Munson, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that this item be returned to the Planning Commission for review at its September 24, 1997, meeting.

    ITEM NO. 3
    SITE PLAN SP-729 (MAJOR) AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-979. APPLICANT: DOUG O'DONNELL; PROPERTY OWNER: WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY

    Staff report dated July 16, 1997, was presented pertaining to a request to consider a site plan and conditional use permit to construct a 201,197-square-foot warehouse/truck distribution facility which exceeds the allowable "base" floor area ratio for the M-P zone, on property located at 701 South Sally Place (southern terminus of a cul-de-sac approximately 600 feet south of Valencia Drive) (M-P-200 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration).

    Associate Planner Bane reported that this was a straight-forward project, with the trucking operation being the secondary use for the warehouse. This is a basic tilt-up building, with 31 truck doors shown on the plan. The project is in compliance with all zoning ordinances and development standards, a generous amount of landscaping is proposed, and a surplus of parking is provided. Staff's primary concern was the potential for traffic impact, and the applicant's consultant was asked to update the City's land use General Plan traffic model. The results of that study show that traffic impacts will be minimal; however, there may be a potential impact in the area of air quality due to truck emissions. A specific mitigation measure has been included in the Negative Declaration to address this concern, and a condition of approval has also been included to minimize truck queuing. Two of the conditions of approval represent remaining issues which need to be worked out with the applicant, those being No. 12, pertaining to architectural details and No. 16, which deals with an existing on-site drainage swale. Staff recommended approval of the request.

    Chairman Simons asked for the proposed hours of operation; staff stated that normal business hours are anticipated, i.e. 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., and noted that a 24-hour operation is not included as a condition of approval. Chairman Simons also inquired as to how the City would monitor the truck queuing, and Associate Planner Bane replied that the applicant would be working with the AQMD to devise a plan to address this issue.

    Commissioner Richmond asked if the Fire Department had given its approval regarding access and turnaround radius, and Associate Planner Bane answered affirmatively.

    Public hearing opened.

    Gilbert Aha, President of GAA Architects, 4 Park Plaza, Irvine, first thanked Associate Planner Bane for his assistance with the project. He advised that the applicant is aware and concurs with all of the recommended conditions of approval.

    Public hearing closed.

    There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. MOTION by Commissioner Richmond, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6743 APPROVING site and architectural plans for the construction of a new 201,197-square-foot warehouse/truck distribution facility which exceeds the allowable "base" floor area ratio for the M-P zone, on property located at 701 South Sally Place, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, to include the addition of Condition No. 18 regarding truck queuing.

    ITEM NO. 4
    ABANDONMENT AB-97-1. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON

    Staff report dated July 16, 1997, was presented pertaining to a request to abandon a 10-foot easement for sewer purposes on property located at 2641 Tiffany Place (R-1-8,500 zone) (Categorically exempt per Section (12)(b)(1) of CEQA Guidelines).

    There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The reading of the title of Resolution No. 6744 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the abandonment of a 10-foot-wide sewer easement located at 2641 Tiffany Place, was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

    OTHER MATTERS
    REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

    Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.

    PUBLIC COMMENTS
    There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
    AGENDA FORECAST
    The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be September 10, 1997, at 7:00 p.m.
    ADJOURNMENT
    Commissioner Ranii wished to go on record by stating that once the public hearing is closed, there should be no further discussion with the applicant or members of the audience. He did not wish to see a precedence being set by the other Commissioners.

    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

    Becky Stevens
    Clerk to the Planning Commission
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