Staff report dated September 15, 1999, was presented pertaining to a request to consider site and architectural plans for a 33,550-square-foot addition to an existing 71,000-square-foot manufacturing/warehouse facility, and to consider a Conditional Use Permit to exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the zone, on property located at 1500 East Walnut Avenue (south side of Walnut Avenue between approximately 615 and 1150 feet west of Acacia Avenue) (M-P-100,000 zone) (Negative Declaration).
Assistant Planner Kusch reported that the code allows site plan committee review of all site plans when all development standards are met. However, in this instance, the applicant wishes to exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), triggering the need for a Conditional Use Permit, and requiring the entire application to be heard by the Planning Commission.
The applicant proposes to add 33,550-square-feet to an existing 71,100-square-foot building. The building is currently utilized as a food packing facility, with cold and dry storage, and office areas. The addition consists of manufacturing, cold storage areas, lunchroom and a training room. No change is proposed for the location of the loading docks, currently on the west side of the building. The proposed plan meets or exceeds zoning code requirements pertaining to setbacks, landscaping, on-site circulation and access. The CUP requirement is a zoning code implementation for the City's General Plan and traffic model. Regarding the Conditional Use Permit, proposals to exceed the FAR limits are evaluated based on projected traffic generation, available roadway capacity and future roadway improvements. The applicant's traffic report estimates a average daily trip generation of 36 trips, which can be accommodated without impact. Of these trips, 5-10% are projected to be trucks, and the project is located within Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) 47. The City's development monitoring report indicates a deficit of 1,300 square feet for this TAZ. However, the two adjacent TAZs have 120,000 square feet of excess industrial square footage. Based on the applicant's traffic report, the Engineering Department has determined that there are no traffic mitigation requirements for the development.
Staff has received telephone calls from residents to the north of the property, across Walnut Avenue. The majority of the residents expressed concern with idling trucks, noise and truck emissions. One of the conditions of approval deals with excessive truck noise and idling. Staff recommended certification of the Negative Declaration and approval of the request, subject to 14 conditions of approval.
Commissioner Ballard noted a discrepancy in the required parking listed on the staff report and plan. The numbers were listed as: Required--107 and Proposed--151 on the staff report and: Required--143 and Proposed--143 on the site plan. Chief Planner Rosen clarified that the staff report should list the Required parking as 143. Further, Commissioner Ballard stated that the traffic analysis listed the project as generating an additional 234 daily vehicle trips, while the staff report states that the project will generate 36 additional vehicle trips. Chief Planner Rosen reported that the 36 trips listed in the staff report were "peak hour" trips. Commissioner Ballard was concerned that an accurate trip generation count be reported, because 5-10% of the daily truck trips is dependent on the correct number.
Upon a recommendation from Commissioner Ballard, the words "on Walnut Avenue" will be added after the word "queuing" in Condition No. 13.
Public hearing opened.
Rick Fox, 12831 Newport Avenue, Suite A, Tustin, is the architect for the project. He acknowledged that Commissioner Ballard was correct regarding the on-site parking requirements. There shall be 143 on-site stalls, which has been provided by the applicant, but there is an opportunity to provide additional parking, if necessary. The building expansion will reduce some existing parking spaces, but they have been relocated to other areas on site.
Judith Lutman Davis, Plant Manager, clarified that at the present time there are approximately 30 truck trips per day. With the proposed expansion, that number would increase by eight trips per day. She reported that because many times the trucks have already queued up by the time the gates open at 5:30 a.m., she has continually requested that the trucks not idle or park on Walnut Avenue. Because the trucks are operated by independent companies, she has requested that their corporate office draft letters to each trucking company informing them of the policy. In addition, they will post signs throughout the facility asking that the trucking companies be considerate of the residences surrounding the property.
Commissioner Simons inquired how Oscar Mayer could enforce the "no idling and no parking rules." Miss Davis replied that they could hand out citations and impose fines on violators.
Commissioner Ballard reminded her that because this is a Conditional Use Permit, if any of the conditions are violated, such as queuing and idling on Walnut Avenue, the Commission could revoke the CUP. Ms. Davis indicated that she understood the consequences.
Commissioner LeQuire asked Ms. Davis how much discretion she had as to which individual trucking companies were used. Ms. Davis answered that although the companies are hired by the corporate office, she could recommend which ones should or should not be used.
The following persons spoke regarding the project:
Mike Frobenius, 228 S. Janet Place
Connie Roberts, 219 S. Annin Avenue
Mike O'Malley, 231 S. Harrington Avenue
Their points of concern were:
- Excessive noise from forklifts, tow motors, squeaking roof fans, idling trucks, outside paging systems and the dumping of trash into trash bins
- Because there is no parking on Walnut Avenue, vehicles race up and down the block at high speeds
- After-hour parties
- Surrounding residents experience diesel residue and dirt from idling trucks
Ms. Davis reported that their main gates open at 5:30 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. She understood that the truckers must be told they may not idle or park on Walnut Avenue. She confirmed that their business is a 24-hour operation, and materials are moved through the facility by tow motors and forklifts during early morning hours. In response to questions by Chairman Godfrey, Ms. Davis stated that there are approximately 440 employees covering all shifts, and their employee policy prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages on site. While the company does not employ a security guard, a manager is assigned to each shift to patrol the grounds on a regular basis, and video cameras are also in operation.
Chief Planner Rosen informed the Commission that in the industrial section of the code, there are specific provisions dealing with noise, smoke, odors, vibrations, hazardous materials, glare, etc. from industrial properties. This operation must comply with Fullerton's noise ordinance, which limits the noise emanating from the property before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m. He distributed his business cards to those in attendance, and assured them that all complaints received would be referred to the City's Code Enforcement Department.
Chairman Godfrey inquired if compliance with the City's noise ordinance could be made a condition of approval. Chief Planner Rosen confirmed that staff could amend the Resolution to include an additional condition stating that the applicant must comply with all provisions of Section 15.41.100 (Industrial and Environmental Controls).
Commissioner LeQuire questioned whether there is a posted telephone number on site where residents could voice their concerns after normal business hours. Ms. Davis answered negatively, but she would check into the matter. Commissioner LeQuire felt that it would be helpful to have such a number posted, and that it be for a person who would be responsive to the caller. Further, the question was again asked if refrigerated trucks run all night long to keep food cold until shipping the following morning. Ms. Davis answered that the company has a cooler facility on site and that, to her knowledge, refrigerated trucks do not run during off hours.
Mike Frobenius again spoke to reiterate that the major problem is the idling trucks on Walnut Avenue.
In response to a previous inquiry by Commissioner Simons, Chief Planner Rosen explained that, after the site plan was submitted, the applicant informed staff that the cold storage area may have to be reconfigured. In addition, a 4,000-square-foot expansion is proposed to the main building, which may be approved at staff level. He explained that the code allows for 25% expansion of existing buildings without Planning Commission approval.
Rick Fox, architect, reported that the trash operation would occur on the south side of the building, adjacent to the rail lines. He pointed out the path of travel for the forklift on the vicinity sketch.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Sandoval favored the project. She felt it was unfortunate that a successful business in an industrial zone was being scrutinized because of its close proximity to a residential area. She concurred with amending Condition No. 13, but did not feel it was necessary to add an additional condition concerning compliance with the noise ordinance.
Commissioner Ranii supported the project, and was confident that the neighbors would monitor the day-to-day activities and report any problems to either the owner or staff.
Commissioner Munson expressed concern that the notification mailing radius should have been expanded. He also encouraged staff to make extra code enforcement efforts to mitigate the noise problems. Because the expansion met all code requirements, he also indicated that he would support the project.
Commissioner Simons supported the project and suggested that the applicant take heed of the neighborhood concerns and take steps to alleviate them.
Commissioner LeQuire stressed the importance of an amicable relationship between the applicant and surrounding residents. He stated that having a telephone number posted where residents can call with questions or concerns would be helpful. Also, he cautioned that video cameras do not always show all employee activity because most employees would know where they are located, and suggested that a security guard or employee periodically walk the premises. He cautioned staff to follow up with stricter code and police enforcement. Regarding Condition No. 13, he felt that stronger language should be used, but supported the project.
Commissioner Ballard also favored the project and, while concerned with the noise associated with this use, he did not support adding an additional condition pertaining to compliance with the noise ordinance. He suggested that Condition No. 13 should be modified by removing the words "to the greatest extent possible, unnecessary" and the condition would now read: "The applicant shall limit truck idling and queuing on Walnut Avenue."
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. 6844 APPROVING site and architectural plans for the construction of a 33,550-square-foot addition to an existing 71,100-square-foot manufacturing/warehouse facility and to exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the zone on property located at 1500 East Walnut Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Ranii, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.