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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes




The meeting was called to order by Chairman Sandoval at 4:00 p.m.
Chairman Sandoval; Commissioners Ballard, Godfrey, LeQuire, Munson, Ranii and Simons

STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Commerdinger, Associate Planner Bane and Recording Clerk Stevens

Chairman Sandoval made a correction to page 91, paragraph 5, of the 10-28-98 Minutes. She requested that the wording be more specific with regard to which newsracks were being appealed. With that correction, MOTION by Commissioner Ranii, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that the Minutes of the October 28, 1998, meeting be APPROVED AS AMENDED.


Staff report dated November 2, 1998, was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide an existing 10.1-acre residential lot into 10 residential lots ranging in size from 24,458 to 137,446 square feet on property located at 1940 North Acacia Avenue (east side of Acacia Avenue, 345 feet north of Vista del Mar Drive) (R-1-20,000 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration). A vicinity sketch was displayed.

Senior Planner Commerdinger reported that this site already has an approved 10-lot subdivision since 1993 which is still active until February 1999. The new property owners do not desire to record the existing map, rather they wish to process the map now before the Commission. Staff noted that the access point off of Acacia Avenue and number of lots are still the same, however the lots are slightly larger. The original map retained the existing structure, which took up most of the flat land, and would have required extensive grading. The new map calls for the existing structure to be demolished, create the street and house pads on a flatter area, resulting in less grading. Given the proximity of the site to a revegetation area created by Unocal, a biology report was also generated for the site, which addressed gnatcatcher and cactus wren issues. A condition of approval was added to the staff report which indicates that the stand of cactus on the southwest corner shall remain. Staff recommended approval of the Tract Map and certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Commissioner Simons noted that the Engineer's letter referenced a future extension of Pioneer Avenue across Lots 4 and 5, and asked how this would be accomplished. Senior Planner Commerdinger answered that Pioneer Avenue is southeast of Tract 15731, and a condition of an approved five-lot subdivision southeast of this location requires Pioneer Avenue be extended. The alignment would extend along the southern boundary of that parcel and northwest up through the canyon, ending at the eastern property line of Tract 15731. This extension however, is not expected to be completed any time in the immediate future.

Commissioner Godfrey questioned whether the new lots would have access from the proposed private street, and noted that Lot 5 resembled a flag lot. He was concerned with potential problems with emergency vehicle and trash truck turnarounds. Senior Planner Commerdinger stated that the access issue may be addressed in the CC&R's of the final map, or in the title reports for the lots as they are sold.

Commissioner LeQuire asked what would prevent a future homeowner from removing the cactus stand after purchasing the property. Senior Planner Commerdinger replied that the restriction would be called out in the CC&R's and notations would be made on the actual map and any accompanying documents.

Public hearing opened.

Todd Cunningham, President of Woodbridge Development, 27285 Las Ramblas, Mission Viejo, indicated he had read and concurred with all of the recommended conditions of approval. Regarding Commissioner LeQuire's question, Mr. Cunningham indicated that the streets would be private and there would also be a homeowner's association to act as a governing body. Regarding the flag Lot 5, there is a 20-foot access through that parcel, however they chose to put the easement over Lot 4.

Commissioner Ballard asked if this would be a gated community, and Mr. Cunningham answered that they have not yet made that determination.

Public hearing closed.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. Commissioner Ballard added that Condition 11 should have wording added concerning subordination of the CC&R's to the lender. Staff will make that correction. MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The reading of the title of Resolution No. 6806 APPROVING a tentative tract map to subdivide an existing 10.1-acre parcel into ten numbered and one lettered lot on property located at 1940 Acacia Avenue, was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.

Staff report dated November 5, 1998, was presented pertaining to a revision to the existing development standards for the PRD (Planned Residential Development) zone, allowing tandem garage parking spaces to be considered (but not necessarily approved) as part of the overall evaluation of a PRD concept plan.

Senior Planner Commerdinger reported that this item was initiated by staff and prompted by a request from Standard Pacific, the developer for the Imperial Specific Plan project (north of Rolling Hills Drive between Placentia and Kraemer Avenues). A number of floor plans were submitted to staff which are being considered for development. The main issue pertaining to these plans is the inclusion of tandem garage spaces. The Fullerton Municipal Code currently does not allow tandem parking in residential or PRD zones, thus staff had drafted an amendment to the code which would address tandem spaces as an elective, not a right. As stated in the staff report, in some cases PRD and single-family residential zones may use driveways, and street parking, for required parking spaces. Staff wanted the tandem space be a full-sized, 10' x 20' garage space, and has added this language to the proposed amendment. In addition, because the PRD zone is based on flexibility of design, the proposed language will state that tandem spaces may be considered, but not necessarily allowed. Senior Planner Commerdinger pointed out that tandem spaces may be a way to get extra garage spaces, without an additional garage door.

Commissioner Ranii asked if there had been problems in other communities where tandem spaces are allowed, such as people building an extra room in the tandem space. Senior Planner Commerdinger replied that this county-wide problem occurs with all types of garages and is a code enforcement issue. However, with the inclusion of a homeowner's association in a PRD, this type of occurrence would be more closely monitored by other property owners in the area.

Commissioner Ballard asked if staff had surveyed other cities which allow tandem spaces. Senior Planner Commerdinger answered affirmatively, and had also visited developments in south county, specifically in Tustin Ranch. While not satisfied with the "tunnel" look of a tandem garage, staff would be willing to support its use, provided that developers not use them as a way to cluster more units in limited spaces. Commissioner Ballard further questioned whether staff had considered giving a percentage by right, to allow more flexibility of design. Senior Planner Commerdinger stated that staff did not want to allow tandem garages by "right" in order to give developers a chance to think more creatively, and to use them only as a tool to address "garage door architecture."

Public hearing opened, but there was no one present who wished to speak on this matter.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that the Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6807 RECOMMENDING that the City Council amend Chapter 15.20 of the Fullerton Municipal Code pertaining to development standards in the PRD zone, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Associate Planner Bane reported that this was the second in a series of workshops designed to update and revise the Zoning Code, and would focus on the commercial chapter. A draft rewrite of the commercial chapter had been previously distributed for comment. He reminded the Commission that staff would not be adopting any final recommendations, but would be reviewing the draft and twelve discussion items outlined by staff.

Discussion items included:

  1. Mortuaries are permitted outright in the C-H zone but require a Conditional Use Permit in the C-3 zone. It is unclear to staff why a Conditional Use Permit is required in one zone but not the other. It has been suggested that a Conditional Use Permit should be required for these uses regardless of the zone, in order to evaluate impacts on surrounding uses. Also, should mortuaries be permitted by Conditional Use Permit in other commercial (i.e. C-1 and C-2) zones?

    It was the consensus of the Commission to allow mortuaries with Conditional Use Permits in other commercial zones.

  2. The C-M (Commercial Manufacturing) zone is intended for retail sales of products manufactured on site. Should personal service facilities such as barber shops and beauty shops be permitted in these zones, as they currently are? Or is there even still a need for the C-M zone today, given the fact that ancillary retail sales are already permitted in industrial zones?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that personal service facilities, small eating establishments (see #6), and pool supply stores (see #7), be allowed in C-M zones, with some degree of limitation in size. Further, the Commission desired that staff conduct a study of the C-M zone to determine whether it should stand alone, or be merged with another zone.

  3. The Code restricts "Print Shops" to C-M (Commercial Manufacturing) and industrial zones, based on the 1950's industrial printing press model. In the meantime printing technology has changed dramatically, giving rise to the retail copy store. At the same time, there are still industrial printing uses that perhaps should continue to be restricted to industrial zones. How should these "industrial print shops" be distinguished from non-industrial retail types?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that copy stores be allowed outright in commercial zones, with limitations on volume and type of process used, to distinguish between retail copy stores and industrial printing facilities.

  4. Churches are permitted with a Conditional Use Permit in commercial zones but not the O-P zone. Should they also be permitted by Conditional Use Permit in the O-P zone?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that churches should be allowed in an O-P zone, with a Conditional Use Permit.

  5. Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (defined as caring for six or fewer elderly or incapacitated persons) are permitted by Conditional Use Permit in the O-P and C-1 zones. Should they also be permitted by Conditional Use Permit in other commercial zones?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that Residential Care Facilities be allowed in other commercial zones with a Conditional Use Permit.

  6. Should restaurants be permitted outright in the C-M (Commercial Manufacturing) zone? Perhaps a Conditional Use Permit should be required? (See #2 above).
  7. Why are pool supply stores restricted to C-M zones? Shouldn't they be permitted in most (if not all) commercial zones? This also speaks to the issue of the continued need for the C-M zone. (see #2 above).
  8. The Code currently permits "Public Amusement Rooms" (defined as a total of three or more arcade games or pool tables) in the C-2, C-3 and C-H zones by Conditional Use Permit. In the C-3 zone, they are only permitted when part of a restaurant. Staff believes the intent of this section was to minimize teen hangouts in the Downtown. However, this has not been a problem and may no longer be necessary, particularly in light of the City's goal to encourage a mix of commercial uses in the Downtown. Should the Code be changed so that stand-alone public amusement rooms are permitted in the C-3 zone, perhaps with a threshold higher than three devices before a Conditional Use Permit is required?

    It was the consensus that Public Amusement Rooms in the C-3 zone should not have to be part of a restaurant, as long as a Conditional Use Permit was still required.

  9. The Code requires that Service Station and Car Wash locations only be located on corners of major streets, with certain exceptions. This seems outdated, since there are existing and proposed stations that do not meet this criteria. Should this requirement be retained?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that this requirement remain as is.

  10. The Code currently requires a five-foot street setback for buildings in the C-1, C-2, C-3 and C-H zones. Staff feels this is not sufficient for adequate landscaping, and thinks a larger setback (10 feet) should be required.

    Commissioner Ballard asked what would happen to those businesses who only have a five-foot street setback if the code were changed to require ten feet. Associate Planner Bane answered that those businesses would become "non-conforming" and would not be required to make any changes unless a major addition or extensive tenant improvements were made to the property. The degree to which a given project would be required to "come up to code" would be subject to the discretion of the Director of Development Services.

    It was the consensus of the Commission, because of the large number of non-conforming uses which would be created, that the requirement remain at five feet.

  11. The Code currently limits the height of interior lot line fences on commercial lots to six feet. Should a greater height be permitted, for example eight feet?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that a height of 8 feet be permitted.

  12. The Code currently requires 5.5 spaces/1000 gross square feet of building area for medical office uses (as opposed to 4 space/1000 square feet for general office). In staff's experience, the 5.5 ratio may be excessive. Should it be reduced?

    It was the consensus of the Commission that the requirement remain as is.

Commissioner Ranii added that on page 15, under Self-Service Storage Facilities, he felt that a 25-foot interior driveway was not necessary for a turnaround area, and that 20 feet is sufficient. On page 36, he felt that at any location where there is an excess of 20-25+ parking spaces, bicycle racks should be provided.

Commissioner Simons wished the City to require more handicapped parking spaces than what is currently provided for under Title 24.


Chief Planner Rosen advised the Commission that they would be hearing information regarding a resident's concern pertaining to chain-link fences in residential areas. The Commission will take the matter under consideration, and may direct staff to return at a later date, if necessary, to amend the code.

James F. Abbott, 836 North Richman Avenue, distributed photos to the Commission, which depicted instances of what he felt were unsightly chain-link fences within the City. He expressed his desire to change the code to require, at the very least, a permit to construct these types of fences. Mr. Abbott felt that chain-link fences should be restricted to commercial and industrial uses only, and should be prohibited in residential zones, where it would directly face a surface street. He cited an instance where a neighboring property owner installed a chain-link fence, and later painted it bright green, and he felt it was a blight on his neighborhood. He thanked staff for agendizing this item on the Commission agenda.

Richard Roth, who lives on the corner of Glenhaven/Richman, stated that while he doesn't object to chain-link fences in general, he also objected to the green color of the fence on his street.

Kathryn Baptista, lives on Fern Drive, and is the owner of a home which had been designated as a Historical Landmark. She feared that the beauty of the neighborhood was being compromised because of the green chain-link fence. She suggested that chain-link fences be limited in residential areas.

Public discussion closed.

Commissioner Simons felt that the Commission should take this matter under advisement. He felt that an ordinance such as this would be difficult to enforce, and noted that many residents cannot afford block wall, or wooden fences.

Commissioner Godfrey suggested that staff survey other cities in the area regarding prohibition of, or requiring permits for, chain-link fences.

Commissioner Ballard added that he would not be opposed to staff conducting a study concerning restricting the color of these fences, including any slats that may be added to them. He did not feel, however, that chain-link fences could be completely prohibited, nor was he in favor of selective enforcement.

There was a consensus of the Commission for staff to survey surrounding cities pertaining to any rules and regulations of chain-link fences, including setback requirements, permitting, "through" lots, and restrictions on aesthetics. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff would bring this matter back to the Commission during the first week in February 1999.

Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.
There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be December 9, 1998, at 4:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:06 p.m.
Becky Stevens
Clerk to the Planning Commission
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