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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes



WEDNESDAY MARCH 24, 1999 4:00 P.M.

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

STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley, Chief Planner Rosen, Program Planner Linnell, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin and Recording Clerk Stevens

MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote, with Commissioner Ranii abstaining, that the Minutes of the March 10, 1999, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.


Staff report dated March 18, 1999, was presented pertaining to a request to consider site and architectural plans to construct a two-story, 6,400-square-foot building for children's classrooms, proposed within 15 feet of adjacent property to the north and west, on an existing church property located at 2121 East Wilshire Avenue (north side of Wilshire Avenue, between approximately 100 and 405 feet east of Hale Avenue) (R-1-7,200 zone) (Negative Declaration).

Program Planner Linnell reported that this church has been at this location operating under a Conditional Use Permit since 1992. The church desires to expand the facility by constructing a new building behind the existing church, to be utilized as Sunday School classrooms for children. The building would be constructed in the parking lot area, but would not reduce or eliminate any of the existing 145 on-site parking spaces. The proposed classrooms would not increase the parking demand for the church, nor are they proposed to be utilized as classrooms for a private school use. Staff recommended approval of the request as proposed. Program Planner Linnell noted that surrounding residents have concerns pertaining to the existing operation of the church, in particular, the use of on-street parking during Sunday services. He noted that the Commission was in possession of two letters from residents, and there would most likely be other residents in the audience who would speak on this matter. He noted that one of the conditions of approval requires a six-month operational review, after construction of the building is completed.

Commissioner Munson asked what items staff would concentrate on during the six-month review of the operation. Program Planner Linnell stated that staff would look for items such as parking, and using the classrooms for anything other than their intended purpose, etc.

Chairman Godfrey inquired if the church complied with all of the conditions of approval to date. Program Planner Linnell answered that to staff's knowledge, there have been no violations of those conditions of approval. Chairman Godfrey asked if there were any restrictions on the street which would prevent parishioners from parking there, and Program Planner Linnell stated that these were public streets, and parking was allowed during church events.

Chief Planner Rosen noted that there recently had been an issue with the lighting in the church parking lot illuminating into surrounding residences.

Commissioner LeQuire asked if any parking spaces would be lost due to the proposed construction. Program Planner Linnell reiterated that no spaces would be eliminated, as spaces would be retained underneath the proposed construction.

Commissioner Simons asked if any of the on-street parking congestion could be due to the number of high-density apartment buildings in the area. Program Planner Linnell confirmed that, to his knowledge, there was a lack of ample parking for the residents of surrounding apartments buildings. Commissioner Simons also noted that he visited the site during the 10:00 a.m. service and there were many empty spaces in the church lot. He felt that perhaps the parking congestion problem occurred with the later services.

Commissioner Ballard inquired how staff would monitor the use of the proposed building. Program Planner Linnell explained that it would be difficult for staff to "police" the operation, and staff would have to depend on the good faith efforts of the church, as well as any complaints from surrounding residents. Commissioner Ballard expressed concern that enforcement of classroom usage would be difficult.

Public hearing opened.

Donald Kim, 2236 Terraza Place, indicated that he was the applicant in this matter. He has been a member of this church for approximately 12 years, and noted that more than 100 members are Fullerton residents. He expressed their desire to be good neighbors, and whenever one of the residents has a concern, an attempt is made to resolve it. He had been aware of the problem with the lighting; this issue will be addressed with the new construction plan. He confirmed that the busiest service is from 11:15-12:15, where the church attendance averages approximately 300 members. He assured the Commission that the classrooms would only be utilized for their intended purpose, and did not feel that the new building would exacerbate any existing parking problems.

Chairman Godfrey questioned whether the church desired to increase it's membership with the construction of the proposed building. Mr. Kim answered negatively, that the church only desired to accommodate its existing congregation.

Commissioner Simons wished to know the methods used for traffic control. Mr. Kim explained that there are elders of the church who stand in the parking lot and direct traffic from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. He volunteered to place additional church members in the parking lot, or out in the street, if necessary.

Commissioner Ballard asked if the children attend Sunday School classes while their parents attend church services, and Mr. Kim answered affirmatively.

Commissioner LeQuire inquired if there were any Bible study or Sunday School classes for adults, and Mr. Kim answered that there was Bible study between 9:30-10:30 a.m.

In response to a question by Chairman Godfrey, Mr. Kim stated that the parking lot is gated, however, the church leaves the parking lot open during daylight hours for use by surrounding residents.

Jarvis Brown, 217 North Concord Avenue, while supportive of the project, expressed concern about the possibility for increased parking, traffic and lighting problems. Mr. Brown also felt that the notification radius should have been expanded for this particular project. He thanked the church staff for their cooperation in the past.

Sung Park, 2644 Associated Road, A-127, one of the associate pastors for the church, spoke in favor of the project.

George Sakai, 2206 E. Wilshire Avenue, reiterated that traffic/parking problems would increase, and the lighting in the parking lot should be addressed during new construction.

Barbara Barcus, 301 North Lillie Avenue, spoke of the heavy traffic in this area, and many times access to her property has been blocked because of the cars parked on Wilshire Avenue. She hoped that alternative parking arrangements could be reviewed.

Martha Adams, 301 North Concord Avenue, supported the project and spoke highly of the church members and their willingness to work harmoniously with the neighborhood. While there are major problems in the area, she attributes much of it to the high-density apartment complexes in the area, as well as a sorority house across the street from the church.

Paul Pak, 5500 Cascade Way, Buena Park, college pastor for the church, spoke in favor of the project and the need for additional classrooms for the younger children.

Donald Kim, again spoke before the Commission. He acknowledged the lighting problem in the parking lot, and hopes to resolve this problem with the new construction plans. He also assured the Commission that the church would take all steps necessary to alleviate the parking concerns of the neighborhood.

Director Dudley cautioned that church members would not be allowed in the streets to direct traffic, and that the church would need to employ a police officer to work in that capacity.

Commissioner LeQuire suggested the Condition No. 5, pertaining to the new lighting, be modified to include upgrade of the existing lighting.

Program Planner Linnell confirmed that there was an existing lighting problem from the parking lot, where the light shines into adjacent residential properties. He reported that staff would communicate with church personnel to ensure that the existing lighting problem be modified to alleviate this problem.

Commissioner Munson felt that Condition No. 8, requiring a six-month review of the operation, should be eliminated. He felt that the Director of Development Services or his designated representative should assist the church with lighting modifications, and staff should monitor the parking situation.

Commissioner Simons favored the project and the efforts of the church to cooperate with surrounding residents. He also desired to delete Condition No. 8. Commissioner LeQuire concurred, and added that he desired to have all lighting, both existing and proposed, studied during the construction process.

Commissioner Sandoval indicated that when she visited the site, she observed stacked parking in the church lot. She expressed concern with what appears to be assembly use in the garage of the Lillie Avenue residential property, and that the access gate to that property is not reflected on the plans, however she supported the project. She concurred that Condition No. 8 be deleted.

Commissioner Ballard suggested that the words "new and existing" be added to Condition No. 5 after the word "All" and before the word "lighting". He also favored deletion of Condition No. 8 and supported the project. Commissioner Ranii concurred.

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. 6816 APPROVING site and architectural plans to construct a two-story, 6,400-square-foot building for children's classrooms, proposed within 15 feet of adjacent property to the north and west, on an existing church property located at 2121 East Wilshire Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ballard, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, deleting Condition No. 8 and adding the words ". . .new and existing. . ." to Condition No. 5.

Staff report dated March 18, 1999, was presented pertaining to a request to consider a site plan for a display of cars for an automotive dealership on property located at 1331 South Euclid Street (west side of Euclid Street, between approximately 390 and 646 feet south of Orangethorpe Avenue) (C-H zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 1 of CEQA Guidelines).

Program Planner Linnell reported that staff recommended approval of the expansion request of Fullerton Dodge, but noted that presently the parcel in question is vacant. The lot must be improved to meet all development standards, including all public improvements, and staff has conditioned its approval of the project accordingly.

Commissioner Munson asked to see a sketch of the mailing radius for the notification of this item. He felt that staff conducted only the minimum notification, and asked if staff received any negative feedback to date. Program Planner Linnell stated that he had received only one telephone call from a neighboring resident, who had experienced problems with the dealership in the past, and did not wish to see them expand.

Commissioner Sandoval noted an employee parking area on the plan and asked if the employees would only be able to park in that area. Program Planner Linnell indicated that employees and visitors would also be able to utilize other parking spaces on site.

Commissioner Simons asked if the alley was owned by the City, and staff answered affirmatively.

Commissioner LeQuire asked for a brief history of any complaints associated with this operation. Program Planner Linnell answered that approximately three years ago, a Planning Commission hearing was held pertaining to another expansion by Fullerton Dodge. At that time, there were numerous persons attending who did not favor that project, however staff felt that any problems have been rectified since that time.

Public hearing opened.

Steven Rojas, General Manager of Fullerton Dodge, reported that vehicles are now being delivered between midnight and 3:00 a.m., so complaints from surrounding residents have substantially decreased.

Commissioner Sandoval asked if Mr. Rojas had read and concurred with all of the conditions of approval, including those in the Engineer's letter. Mr. Rojas answered affirmatively.

Public hearing closed.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6817 APPROVING site and architectural plans for the display of cars for an automotive dealership on property located at 1331 South Euclid Street, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ranii, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.


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 April 14, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. Commissioner LeQuire announced that he would be absent from that meeting.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
Becky Stevens
Clerk to the Planning Commission
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