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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes



WEDNESDAY JUNE 13, 2001 4:00 P.M.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Simons at 4:02 p.m.
Chairman Simons; Commissioners Allred-Blake, Crane, LeQuire, Price, Sandoval and Wilson

STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis; Program Planner Linnell, Assistant Planner Kusch, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin and Recording Secretary Stevens

ALSO PRESENT: Traffic Engineer Miller

MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote, with Commissioner Price abstaining, that the Minutes of the May 23, 2001, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.

Chairman Simons announced that the three items for the 7:00 p.m. meeting, Tract 15338, Tract 14562 and Specific Plan for Planning Areas 1 and 2 were being continued per staff request.

MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that said three items listed on the agenda for 7:00 p.m. be CONTINUED to the June 27, 2001, meeting at 4:00 p.m.


A request for a six-month time extension for a previously-approved parcel map subdividing an existing 1.76-acre lot into three residential parcels on property located at 1801 Vista Lomitas Drive.

MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said extension be GRANTED.


Staff report dated June 6, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to allow a health club for women (Linda Evans Fitness Center) in a 15,500-square-foot tenant space within an existing commercial center (La Mancha Center) on property located at 1001-1235 North Harbor Boulevard (west side of Harbor Boulevard between Berkeley Avenue and Valley View Drive) (C-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 1 of CEQA Guidelines).

Program Planner Linnell reported that this use required a Conditional Use Permit because of its potential impact to the parking in this shopping center. However, staff was confident that this use would not cause problems to the center because the applicant will provide a secondary entrance along the south side of the building. This will enable staff and patrons to utilize the parking at this location, as opposed to the front of the building. He showed slides of the proposed building and the two parking areas. All of the tenants in the center were notified of this hearing, and staff had not received any response to date. Staff recommended approval of the request.

Commissioner Crane noted that the car rental agency, next door to this proposed use, parks approximately 20-30 fleet vehicles in front of the building. Program Planner Linnell reported that a CUP had been granted for this use, and a condition of approval required the agency to park all fleet vehicles in the back portion of the lot. Commissioner Crane also expressed concern for the safety of the health club's patrons, because the secondary access would be off the back parking lot. He asked if staff had considered requiring additional lighting in this part of the lot. Program Planner Linnell answered that staff shared this concern and hoped that applicant would review this issue and supply extra lighting if necessary.

Public hearing opened.

Rod Chisessi, is the applicant for the project. He stated that this building had been vacant for some time, and was confident this use would be successful. He pointed out that this was a "boutique" type of health club for women, which would not have the "crunch" at peak times during the day experienced by a traditional health club. The applicant had read and concurred with all recommended conditions of approval, and added that they would supply additional lighting, if necessary.

Commissioner Allred-Blake asked how the applicant determined the approximate number of women who will attend the facility. Mr. Chisessi replied that the Linda Evans' representatives conducted a cross-section of other facilities to determine how parking will be affected.

Commissioner Price questioned how the applicant would utilize the remaining 6,400-square-feet of the building, and if this would impact the parking. Mr. Chisessi answered that there was not a proposed use for that space at this time.

Commissioner Crane inquired how the management company would address the violation of the CUP by Avis Rent-A-Car. Mr. Chisessi informed the Commission that Avis has been placed in default of the parking program for the center. If they do not comply, they will be asked to vacate the premises.

Chairman Simons asked if the applicant had spoken to the management of Carrow's Restaurant. Mr. Chisessi indicated he had not spoken to them directly, but that there were no objections of which he was aware.

Kirk Coult, representative of Linda Evans Fitness Centers, gave a history of the company and a rundown of its operation. Traditionally, they market their operation in shopping centers such as La Mancha Center, because the synergy of their tenancy is a positive addition to the site. They would have approximately five to eight employees at this facility at any given time. Commissioner Crane asked if the health club had considered having members use "reader cards" or other safety measures. Mr. Coult assured the Commission that the corridor from the south parking lot to the inside will be well lit, fire rated, and each member must come through the main lobby to enter the exercise area.

Chairman Simons inquired whether merchandise would be sold at the health club. Mr. Coult stated that a very limited amount of merchandise is sold to members only, and consists of nutritional bars and food supplements specifically tied to the Linda Evans weight loss program.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner LeQuire supported staff's recommendation for this use, but felt that most members would not utilize the rear parking lot as requested. Commissioner Sandoval concurred.

Commissioner Crane also supported the project, but wished to see a condition added which states that security lighting be added, if appropriate, subject to the Director of Development Services, as well as a review of additional security measures at the second entrance door. Commissioners Price, Allred-Blake, and Wilson concurred.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6919 GRANTING a health club for women (Linda Evans Fitness Center) in a 15,500-square-foot tenant space within an existing commercial center (La Mancha Center) on property located at 1001-1235 North Harbor Boulevard, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, including a new condition that additional security lighting shall be added, subject to the approval of the Director of Development Services.

Commissioner Sandoval asked the applicant if he was in agreement with the additional condition, and Mr. Chisessi answered affirmatively.

Staff report dated June 6, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to operate a day-care facility caring for 90 children at an existing single-family residence on property located at 1312 North Euclid Street (east side of Euclid Street between approximately 160 and 300 feet north of the northeast intersection of Euclid Street and Valencia Mesa Drive) (R-1-20,000 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15322 of CEQA Guidelines).

Commissioner Crane abstained from this matter and left the Council Chambers. Commissioner Wilson wished to go on record that he worked for the real estate firm which is selling the property, but he had nothing to gain monetarily by voting on this matter.

Assistant Planner Kusch reported that the property in question contains a single-family residence and a caretaker's residence. The applicant is proposing to convert the single-family residence into a childcare center, and will reside in the caretaker's residence. The Conditional Use Permit application for this use must consider relationships to existing and surrounding land uses and potential impact involving noise, parking and traffic activity. The circulation of the driveway shall be one-way, and will be widened from 12 feet to 25 feet to supplement visitor parking. Two playground areas will be in the front of the school, on either side of the driveway. The drop-off area will alleviate cars from stacking along the driveway, and during peak times staff recommended that a staff member direct cars to park in available spaces on the north side of the property. One on-site parking space is required for each employee, and one space for every 16 children enrolled (13 spaces), and these are being provided. The applicant does not propose using the rear yard for activities, containing a pool, pond, caretaker's residence and covered patios, and will construct a fence to prohibit children from entering this area. To mitigate noise, a six-foot high block wall shall be constructed on the north and south property lines. A landscape buffer shall be provided along the south property line adjacent to the parking area. As conditioned, staff believes the proposed use would be compatible with the adjacent residential uses. A petition signed by approximately 76 residents, and nine letters of opposition were presented to the Commission.

Commissioner Wilson asked how many employees the school would have. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the school would have seven employees at maximum capacity (90 children).

Chairman Simons asked if accident statistics were available for Bastanchury/Euclid and Euclid/Valencia Mesa. Traffic Engineer Miller said those records were unavailable at this time; however, he was not aware of any reported accidents this year. Commissioner LeQuire reminded the Commission that the proposed use would generate an additional 180 trips per day, therefore past history may not be relevant.

Commissioner Price was concerned about allowing left-hand turns out of the driveway onto Euclid Street. Traffic Engineer Miller reported that there is presently a two-way, left-turn pocket to enable vehicles to "store" while yielding to the Euclid traffic. Further, modifications will be required to the driveway approaches to allow ease of access for northbound vehicles on Euclid Street. Staff will review the site at a later date to determine if "right-turns only" would be necessary.

Commissioner Wilson noted the presence of a bus stop north of Valencia Mesa. Traffic Engineer Miller confirmed that it did exist, and staff has already spoken to OCTA about relocating this very minimum stop on the south side of Valencia Mesa to clear up additional line-of-site views.

Public hearing opened.

Juliana Bulos Tahan read a letter, which was also distributed to the Commission, about her desire to open the pre-school. She requested modifications to Conditions 2 and 8: Condition No. 2 - that the hours of operation be changed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Regarding Condition No. 8, Mr. Bulos did not feel that a block wall should be required along the northern property line, because the adjacent property is considerably lower than the proposed site; in addition, there is a tennis court separating the two parcels.

Commissioner Price asked the applicants if they had operated any other pre-schools, and Ms. Bulos answered that they previously operated a pre-school in Culver City.

The following persons spoke in favor of the request:

Mike Fedyk
Jacqueline Fedyk

The following persons spoke in opposition to the request:

Lori Textor, 1214 Margarita Drive
Gene Crawford, 950 Valencia Mesa Drive
Sandy Marshall, 925 Valencia Mesa Drive (showed photographs of the area)
Bob Andrews, 1224 Margarita Drive
Steve Hinkle, 933 Valencia Mesa Drive
Patricia Hinkle, 933 Valencia Mesa Drive
Sally Kim, 1326 North Euclid Street
Theresa Sheikh, 942 Valencia Mesa Drive
Bill West, 943 Valencia Mesa Drive

The points of opposition were:

  • Would have a negative impact on the surrounding quiet, residential area due to increased noise and congestion
  • Euclid Street is a highly-traveled street, with average speeds of 55 m.p.h.
  • Cars will back up onto Euclid Street creating a traffic hazard
  • Numerous accidents have occurred at the intersection of Valencia Mesa/Euclid Street
  • Property values will decrease

Joseph Bulos, applicant, again spoke before the Commission after hearing the public testimony. He advised the Commission that because of the opposition expressed by the surrounding residents, he wished to withdraw his application for the pre-school. He thanked staff for all their support and assistance in this matter.

Chairman Simons announced that because the applicant withdrew his application, there would be no further Commission deliberation on this matter.

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 June 27, 2001, at 4:00 p.m.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:32 p.m.

Becky Stevens
Clerk to the Planning Commission
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