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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes




The meeting was called to order by Chairman Godfrey at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Godfrey; Commissioners Ballard, LeQuire, Munson, Ranii, Simons

ABSENT: Sandoval

STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley, Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Bane and Recording Clerk Stevens

ALSO PRESENT: Harold Potter, City Attorney's office

MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote, with Commissioner Simons abstaining, that the Minutes of the January 13, 1999, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.


Staff report dated February 16, 1999, was presented pertaining to a request to hear a previously-denied, two-lot parcel map pursuant to a settlement of Orange County Superior Court Action: John and Diane Collins vs. City of Fullerton, case number 79 06 75, as set forth in a Release Agreement, dated January 15, 1999, on property located at 841 Madera Place (terminus of Madera Place) (R-1-20,000 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 15 of CEQA Guidelines).

Chief Planner Rosen reported that this was an unusual hearing, because the parcel map in question had previously been heard by the Commission, and subsequently denied by both the Planning Commission and City Council. The applicant then sued the City, and the result of that lawsuit was a settlement agreement requiring that the matter again be heard by the Commission. He gave a brief background regarding the processing of parcel maps, and displayed an overhead which depicted the steps. He reminded the Commission that, under State law, approval of parcel maps may be delegated to the City Engineer, but that Fullerton chooses to have parcel maps heard by the Planning Commission.

Chairman Godfrey inquired whether the code could be changed to allow the City Engineer to approve parcel maps, because he felt that engineers would be more qualified to determine the suitability of a parcel to be split. Chief Planner Rosen answered that the City Council had the discretion to change the code, should they so desire.

Chief Planner Rosen noted that the original conditions of approval had been made a part of the staff report, and those conditions were consistent with the settlement agreement.

Harold Potter, City Attorney's office, stated that because of attorney/client privilege, he would only be allowed to answer certain questions about the case. When his office evaluated the facts and circumstances of the case, and based upon a mandatory settlement conference that was held before an independent attorney specializing in the area of land use, it was found that the facts articulated in the resolution would not sufficiently comply with the law and a court could overturn the City Council's decision. Because of the costs associated with a court case, a settlement of this matter was determined to be in the best interest of the City at this point in time. It was felt that the basis for denial of the parcel map was not sufficiently articulated, and therefore it was most likely that the applicant would prevail should the matter have gone to trial. He further stated that in two days this matter would be heard before Judge Klein, where based upon the action of the Planning Commission, the case would be dismissed.

Richard Price, representing the property owners, stated that Mr. Potter had accurately represented the events of the litigation.

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. The reading of the title of Resolution No. 6811 APPROVING a previously-denied, two-lot subdivision pursuant to a settlement of Orange County Superior Court action: John and Diane Collins vs. City of Fullerton, case number 79 06 75, as set forth in a release agreement dated January 15, 1999, on property located at 841 Madera Place, was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.

Commissioner LeQuire inquired as to why the matter was again heard by the Planning Commission, since the case had already been settled out of court. Attorney Potter emphasized that the hearing was being conducted as a "precautionary measure" to show that the City gave full notice and opportunity to be heard on the matter, and to allow the Commission to make a decision based on the entire, full record.

Commissioner Munson asked who had been notified of the hearing, and Attorney Potter answered that it was advertised through the normal agenda process, including those persons who had spoke in opposition at both the Planning Commission hearing and the City Council meeting.

Commissioner Simons asked if staff had received any negative response to the notification, and Chief Planner Rosen indicated that staff had not.

A request to consider site and architectural plans for a new service station with mini-mart on property located at 2950 East Nutwood Avenue (southwest corner of Nutwood and Placentia Avenues) (C-2 zone) (Negative Declaration).

Continued to March 10, 1999.

The fourth in a series of workshops to update and reorganize the City's zoning code. This workshop will address proposed revisions to the Industrial Chapter. A staff report, two versions of the draft Industrial Chapter (one with and one without revisions) were presented.

Associate Planner Bane recalled that thus far, the PRD, Commercial and Residential chapters had all been reviewed. A wrap-up package of those chapters, plus the Industrial Chapter which incorporates comments and public/Commission input, will be presented to the Commission in April.

Associate Planner Bane reviewed the discussion items for the Industrial Chapter. Section and page references refer to the draft with revisions shown.

  1. Missing Appeal Procedures

    The Code has hearing procedures for a number of common application types, but also has a number of other sections that refer to an appeal process that is not adequately set forth elsewhere in the Code. The City Attorney is reviewing the code to identify applicable sections (see Section 15.41.020.A.4, page 7). The plan is to update the existing "PROCEDURES, HEARINGS, NOTICES AND FEES" (Chapter 15.76) when that section is reviewed later in the year.

  2. Permitted Uses
    1. Use, Organization and Replacement of SIC Codes

      There is consensus that the codes, in their current numerical sort order, are somewhat cumbersome. It is difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with them to determine if a given use is permitted or not (See Table 15.41.020, page 8). Staff is recommending just listing uses that are not permitted or that require a CUP.

      Staff also recently learned that the SICs have been replaced with a new, expanded system called the North American Industrial Classification System. Staff has ordered the new publication and will have a recommendation regarding its use when the "wrap-up" package of the Residential, Commercial, PRD and Industrial Chapters is presented to the Commission in April.

    2. Exclusion of Category 3999: "Miscellaneous Industries Not Elsewhere Classified."

      The Code excludes uses that fall under SIC 3999, "Miscellaneous Industries Not Elsewhere Classified," which includes a broad mix of manufacturing types. Staff felt that none were so objectionable that any potential impacts on surrounding uses couldn't be mitigated using the existing site plan review and regional pollution. Staff is recommending that this category be included in the permitted uses (see Table 15.41.020.A, page 9).

    3. Research and Development Uses

      "Research and Development" uses are permitted outright in both the M-P and M-G zones. The problem is this category is very broad and could be interpreted to include uses that otherwise fall under restricted categories (for example, "Non-commercial education, scientific and research organizations" which requires a CUP). Either this category should be eliminated or other categories that indicate this sort of use being permitted outright should be reviewed (see Table 15.41.020.A, page 11).

  3. Permit Caretaker Dwelling Without a CUP

    The code currently requires a CUP for caretaker units in industrial zones. Staff feels that, given a narrow enough definition and appropriate restrictions, single caretaker units could be permitted in industrial zones without a CUP (see Table 15.41.020.A, page 12).

  4. Rooftop Equipment Screening Requirements

    The code requires rooftop equipment to be screened from adjacent properties, and staff is adding "from the public right-of-way" for consistency with the Commercial Chapter. The question is, what should be included in the definition of "rooftop equipment" and to what extent should it be screened? For example, should an air conditioner not visible from the street but visible from the site's parking lot be screened? What about the view from a site looking down on the site? What about an antennae? (See section 15.41.040.A.3, page 18).

    It was the consensus of the Commission that staff exercise reasonable discretion in requiring screening. Associate Planner Bane added that staff would develop flexible language giving staff discretion, and also would require that every attempt be made to locate rooftop equipment where it won't be visible.

  5. Fences in Industrial Front Yard Setback Areas

The Industrial Code does not currently have any restrictions on fencing for street setback areas. Should fencing be permitted in industrial zone street set back areas? What about non-view obscuring fences?

It was the consensus of the Commission that there be restrictions on fencing for street setback areas. It was also the consensus that non-view obscuring fences should be permitted in street setback areas.

Commissioner Ranii commented on the following items:

  1. Page 10 states that eating and drinking establishments shall be allowed in Industrial zones with a CUP. Commissioner Ranii felt that a CUP should not be necessary and the operation should be at the discretion at the Director of Development Services. Director Dudley cautioned that the CUP requirement is there in order to monitor any alcoholic establishment and should remain.
  2. Page 18 states that all building exteriors, including exterior trim and minor architectural features, shall be compatible with surrounding uses. Commissioner Ranii felt the language was awkward. Director Dudley indicated that this condition was necessary to protect the total look of an industrial complex, but that the word "uses" would be replaced by "architecture."
  3. Page 19, discusses "Permitted Building Height" and Commissioner Ranii was concerned that this item be reviewed carefully because of the flour mill item previously heard by the Commission. Director Dudley stated that within the next few meetings a proposal will be presented by staff to amend the industrial height restrictions. The amendment is a direct result of the flour mill hearings.
  4. Page 26 states that self-storage facilities shall have at least six parking spaces, which shall be accessible at all times. Staff will clarify the language to say that the spaces shall only be used for customer parking.

Commissioner Ballard noted the following:

  1. Page 10 lists plumbing shops, nonstore retailers, and motels as requiring a CUP in the M-P zone. He did not feel that a CUP was necessary for those uses. Staff was proposing that these uses will be permitted without a CUP.
  2. Page 14 states that one of the permitted accessory uses, employee cafeterias or coffee shops shall "exclude outdoor eating areas." Commissioner Ballard felt that the outdoor eating areas should be allowed.
  3. Page 15 lists requirements for installation of satellite dish antennae, and Commissioner Ballard asked that the same language be used throughout this section, rather than antennae, satellite dish, receiving dish, dish antennae, etc.

Commissioner LeQuire noted that he would be absent from the first meeting in April, and asked that staff's final presentation of the Zoning Code update be heard at the second meeting in April so he may be present. Staff concurred.


Associate Planner Bane reported that, per Commission direction, staff conducted a survey regarding chain-link requirements. He noted that most cities do not have regulations concerning chain-link fencing. Of the cities which do regulate them, over half do not require permits. Staff recommended that no action be taken at this time.

MOTION by Commissioner Simons, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that no action be taken at this time concerning this matter.

Commissioner LeQuire reported that he had recently attended a League of California Cities Planning Commission workshop. He felt the workshop had value, especially for first-time Commissioners. He distributed various workshop materials to staff, to be utilized in the future.

Commissioner LeQuire also gave an update on the Fire Service Commission, on which he sits as Planning Commission's representative. He reported that at the meeting in February, the Commission came up with the first half of its recommendation. In March, the Commission will finalize its recommendation to the City Council.

Chairman Godfrey asked that this matter be placed on the April 24th Planning Commission agenda.

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

Chairman Godfrey asked that staff research the possibility of removing parcel maps from Commission review, and be designated to the City Engineer. Director Dudley indicated that he would propose this item to the City Engineer, and will prepare a resolution for Council consideration, if necessary.

There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be March 10, 1999, at 4:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:03 p.m.
Becky Stevens
Clerk to the Planning Commission
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