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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

January 8, 2003

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Crane at 4:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Chairman Crane; Commissioners Griffin, Price, Savage, Stopper, LeQuire and Francis

STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Associate Planner Eastman, Code Enforcement Supervisor Daniel, Code Enforcement Officers Stallings, Pickens and Gonzales, Building Official Tabatabaee, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin, Assistant City Attorney Barlow, and Recording Secretary Bird

MINUTES:

Commissioner Griffin asked that page 199, second paragraph read, "former property owner" instead of "former developer."

MOTION BY Commissioner Stopper, seconded and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote, with Commissioner Francis abstaining, that the Minutes of the December 11, 2002, meeting be APPROVED AS AMENDED.

INTRODUCTION OF NEW PLANNING COMMISSIONER

Chairman Crane introduced the new Commissioner, Sean Francis. Commissioner Francis stated that he came to Fullerton eight years ago and decided to open a café and recently started a new business on Santa Fe. He noted that he had been a traffic commissioner; he is honored to sit on the Commission with such talented people, and hopes to be able to contribute more as a Planning Commissioner.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE-CHAIRMAN

Chairman Crane led the nominations for the election of Chairman. Commissioner Savage nominated Commissioner Price for the position of Chairman. Commission Stopper seconded the nomination. Chairman Crane asked if there were any other nominations. Seeing none, the item was put to a vote. The MOTION was CARRIED by a 7-0 vote, that Commissioner Price be elected as the new Chairman.

Chairman Price led the nominations for the election of Vice Chairman. Commissioner Savage nominated Commissioner LeQuire for the position of Vice Chairman. Commissioner Crane seconded the nomination. Chairman Price asked if there were any other nominations. See none the item was put to a vote. The MOTION was CARRIED by a 7-0 vote, that Commissioner LeQuire be elected as the new Vice-Chairman.

Chairman Price thanked Commissioner Crane for the excellent job he did last year as Planning Commission Chairman.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

4:00 P.M. SESSION

ITEM NO. 1
PRJ02-00370 - TR2002-16458. APPLICANT: THE KEITH COMPANY; PROPERTY OWNER: LSF II FULLERTON, LLC

Staff report dated January 8, 2003, was presented pertaining to the request to subdivide a 12.41-acre property into five lots for a 173-unit condominium development on Property in Area 4 of the Amerige Heights Conceptual Site Plan; it was noted that the zoning of the property was Amerige Heights Specific Plan and the General Plan identifies it as Amerige Heights as well.

Associate Planner Eastman reported that the five-lot subdivision included only two developable lots, a 4.2-acre parcel in Lot 1 and a 6.25-acre parcel in Lot 2. There are three other lots which are non-developable lots, including Lot A, which is part of Starbuck Street, a private street with public access, Lot B is an open-space park corridor, and Lot C is Hydroflow Way, which is a private street with public access. Photos of the project site from multiple viewpoints were displayed. He noted that in terms of CEQA compliance, an EIR had been approved for the Amerige Heights Specific Plan which addresses potential impacts to the area, and this proposal is in conformance with the certified EIR.

Staff recommendation is to approve the five-lot subdivision subject to 22 conditions as outlined in the staff report.

Commissioner LeQuire referred to the top of page 5 of the staff report; noting that it referred to removing the remaining well material to a depth required by applicable regulations; A, B and C deal with abandoned water wells; his question was what the future liability and responsibility was to the City; the current status of the wells and questioned if the wells were being monitored.

Associate Planner Eastman noted there was a well on site and the design of the development had been done around the testing location of that well; the conditions are to ensure that the area around the well site was preserved so the groundwater can be monitored from the well site.

Chief Planner Rosen reported that the City's liability has been indemnified by the project developer regarding any contamination of the property, and the entity that caused the contamination, Raytheon, has been identified as responsible for cleanup of the property.

Public hearing opened.

Bob Liewes, representing MBK Homes, stated that the project includes173 condominiums; the design guidelines within those parameters include French, Spanish Craftsman architecture, and they are building two major pedestrian trails through the middle of the project. He noted MBK was in conformance with the design guidelines of Amerige Heights and they agree to all of the conditions of approval as written.

Public hearing closed.

The title of Resolution No. PC-03-01 APPROVING a five-lot subdivision for 173-dwelling unit townhome project on property located within the Amerige Heights Specific Plan on the South Side of Hughes Drive, between Starbuck and Hydroflow, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commission LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ITEM NO. 2
PRJ02-00401 - ZON02-00049 -- SITE PLAN SP-283A. APPLICANT: CRANE ARCHITECTURAL GROUP; PROPERTY OWNER: E & A PROPERTIES

Commissioner Crane stated that his firm was the architect that designed the project and he would be recusing himself from this item.

Chairman Price stated he would be recusing himself from this item as well.

Staff report dated January 8, 2003, was presented pertaining to a request to expand the existing 4,209 square-foot office building by 3,050 square feet, and increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to .52 on a .38-acre parcel located at the northeast corner of Euclid Street and Wilshire Avenue (C-1 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).

Senior Planner Mullis displayed photos of the property; noted they have received no phone calls regarding the project; there are standard conditions of approval and staff recommended approving the proposal with conditions.

Public hearing opened.

Jim Alexander, part owner of the project at 300 North Wilshire noted that he and partner, Jack Evans, found the need to expand at their existing location and requested the Commission's approval.

Public hearing closed.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. PC-03-02 APPROVING a request to add 3,050 square feet of office area to an existing two-story office building and parking garage and increase the floor area ratio (FAR) to .52 on a .38-acre parcel located at the northeast corner of Euclid Street and Wilshire Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ITEM NO. 3
PRJ02-00172 - ABANDONMENT AB-02-04 APPLICANT BOB EDWARDS; PROPERTY OWNER: J. R. RICHTER

Commissioner LeQuire stated for the record that his father owns a mobile home in the park referred to in this item, but he has nothing to gain and will participate in the discussion.

Staff report dated January 1, 2003, was presented pertaining to the abandonment of a section of Valencia Drive east of Balcom Avenue (80 feet wide and approximately 500 feet long). Senior Civil Engineer Wallin reported that this portion was originally dedicated at the time that Valencia crossed under the railroad tracks and continued over to Raymond. In the 1980's, a developer chose to develop the area east of the tracks and convinced the City to abandon its idea of crossing the tracks. This was then taken off the master plan, and Valencia east of the railroad tracks, was abandoned.

A few months ago, Council heard testimony from the neighborhood asking that this piece of property be improved. Council recommended that the City look into abandoning this piece of road right-of-way as it was unused and unnecessary. Because the City only has an easement; the City sought out the property owner and convinced them to apply for the abandonment. It was suggested the wall of the trailer court be extended, fenced off, and maintained behind a wall on the property to take away the eyesore and blighted area. Before that public hearing in November, the City was informed that a 50-foot-wide section of the railroad right-of-way, at the east end of the proposed abandonment, was sold to the Bushalas, who objected to the abandonment. The Bushalas own a section that runs from Walnut along the railroad tracks and down to Orangethorpe. The City feels there are other access points of Truslow, Patterson and possibly in Anaheim that would give the Bushala's access to this 50-foot wide strip so the City decided to go forward with the abandonment. Staff recommendation was to move forward with this abandonment.

Commissioner Francis asked for clarification that this came before the City because the area residents wanted some development or wanted something done with it, and questioned if the City had talked with the residents in the area and showed them the plan. Senior Engineer Wallin noted this area was part of the neighborhood's concerns; the property is basically an ignored piece of property that is dedicated as a street; the City sees no need to extend an 80 foot wide street through there, did not want to take on the liability and expense and in the City's viewpoint it is surplus. He noted that they have not specifically gone out and canvassed for this item, this was brought up through the public hearings and meetings for that neighborhood.

Chief Planner Rosen clarified that there was no specific development plan before the Planning Commission; it was only an abandonment and the property reverts back to the underlying fee owner which is the mobile home park. The property owner will have to submit a plan to show how they are going to extend the park, create the walls and develop the property; at that time the community would be made aware of the project. He also noted that when the area is abandoned it takes on the zoning of the underlying fee owner.

Commissioner Francis questioned if the proposed abandonment was in a Redevelopment area. Chief Planner Rosen stated he thought the Redevelopment zone was on the north side of the line; at this time there was no zoning on the property. If the property is abandoned, it takes on the underlying zone of the adjacent property which is mobile home park zoning, if the Redevelopment line was on the south side of the easement area, then this one sliver of mobile home park would in fact be in the Redevelopment area, this is something they would have to verify and check the legal description.

Commissioner Francis questioned if there would be mobiles homes put there. Senior Engineer Wallin reported that the mobile home park owns the property, the north limit of the street would be the north limit of their property and they probably would develop it with mobile homes. If the street easement were removed, it goes back to the zone, which is mobile homes, and it is his understanding that the owners would extend the wall and extend their mobile home use on that property.

Commissioner Stopper questioned if the property north of this, although not included in this proposed abandonment, to the east side of the church property belongs to them as well. Senior Engineer Wallin believed it belonged to the church and not the mobile home park.

Commissioner Crane asked if it was typical that the City would divide the property down the centerline of the street, so part goes to the north and part to the south. Senior Engineer Wallin reported that the City only has an easement, on tract developments and such the property lines go out to the center of the street, but in this case when the City acquired the street easement they acquired the entire street from the property to the south.

Commissioner Savage asked if the 50-foot easement along the railroad tracks is actually a lot and how long have the Bushalas owned the property. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that the assessor maps still show it as railroad property, but the Bushala's have shown documentation that they acquired the property over a year ago and the assessor's maps have not caught up to the new ownership.

Commissioner Savage noted he thought the path going through to the easement was a railroad easement and asked for the zoning on the lot. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that it was a street easement, and it was his understanding that Mr. Bushala took down the guardrail and put the path without permission by the City. Chief Planner Rosen clarified that the City zoning code specifically identifies railroad right-of-way for that purpose. If a lot is sold and is no longer railroad right-of-way, but has no zoning applied to it then it automatically comes in as R-1-20,000. It could then be developed as a single-family home or homes on that property if all other code requirements were met. He also noted that in order to develop it as anything else they would have to come in and apply for zoning on the property.

Commissioner Stopper questioned if it was universal throughout the City that property reverts back to R-1-20,000. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively, if it does not have a designated zoning and it is not clearly designated on the map.

Commissioner Savage asked how close the 50-foot lot that Bushala owns comes to the railroad. Senior Engineer Wallin noted the area on the map noting that one 50-foot sliver of land that the railroad sold off as surplus the Bushala's bought.

Chairman Price asked to hear from the applicant who was not present.

Public hearing opened.

Genero Gutierrez, Patterson Way asked why the area couldn't be developed as houses so their property values would go up; the trailer park would make their property values go down, and now he will have to look at a wall with graffiti; building tract homes would benefit the neighborhood.

Chief Planner Rosen clarified to the Commission that this item is for the abandonment of the street; the City does not own the property and cannot develop it, the owner could develop it and the mobile home park is the owner.

Chairman Price explained to Mr. Gutierrez that what happens to the property in the future is not something that the Commission has any control over, they are here to determine whether the property should be abandoned or not.

Commissioner Crane asked if Mr. Gutierrez if he was opposed to the abandonment. Mr. Gutierrez stated the area should be cleaned up and should have a fence put up, but the area would be better for a housing tract.

Tony Bushala stated that it sounded a development project was being proposed because of recommendation number 2 of the staff report, which is to extend the walls of the mobile home park to encompass the abandoned road easement. If the abandonment were approved, it would extend the mobile home park into what is Downtown Project Area 2. He felt this would not be a good thing for that area of the community that has been on a spiral downward for many years. He noted they had an opportunity to develop by connecting several pieces of property which would be more compatible with the goals and objectives of Redevelopment Area 2 by achieving an environment reflecting a high level of concern for architectural, landscape and urban design and land use principles, as well as to eliminate the spread of blight through abatement and code enforcement. He did not believe the abandonment reflected the goals and objectives of Project Area 2. He noted that his brother, George, owns the property, he is out of town, but was not notified of the public hearing; he stated the law requires all property owners within 300 feet of the proposed abandonment be notified; he has been paying taxes on the property for over two years and legally he should have been notified. He voiced his objection to the abandonment on behalf of his brother noting it will create further problems for the community and will force them to use Patterson Way to gain access to their property.

Commissioner Crane asked Mr. Bushala what was the intended use of the 50-foot strip. Mr. Bushala replied that at this time they have nothing in mind.

Commissioner Francis noted that Mr. Bushala was a friend of his but he would not be biased over this issue. He stated that Mr. Bushala lives in the neighborhood and cares about it, and asked him if he knew the landowner of the church and what the future plans were. Mr. Bushala stated in his opinion he did not see the church as being there for much longer and there is the opportunity to develop that site with the adjacent properties.

Commissioner Francis asked if they have been in negotiations with the property owner and if so, did he have an idea for the area. Mr. Bushala replied yes they had been in negotiations and after working with the community in the area and involving the residents and stakeholders in the area they will come to the City with an outstanding plan that will enhance the physical appearance and change the character of the neighborhood for the better.

Commissioner Crane questioned if the property could be sold as surplus property. Also, if the Commission recommended abandonment to the City Council, who makes the ultimate decision, could the applicant come back, ask for a zone change or a lot split and put in a park if they desired. Senior Engineer Wallin noted it was not City property to sell; this is the first step in doing any improvement to the property. He also noted the Engineering Department made the recommendation to extend the wall around the property to take it out of the neighborhood as a blighted nuisance.

Commissioner Savage questioned how long the City had the easement and why the rush to abandon the property. Senior Engineer Wallin noted the City had the easement prior to 1965; in 1989 the other side was abandoned, taking it off the Master Plan. In hindsight the City should have abandoned this piece at that time. This was brought up because of the neighborhood concerns and community meetings that resulted from it.

Chairman Price questioned whether he as a member of the public that has a right to travel over this unimproved roadway. Assistant City Attorney Barlow answered negatively, stating the City had the right to control whether or not there is a roadway there. There was an easement for that purpose, but the City has elected not to build a roadway there; in fact, the City put up a barrier to prevent this type of use that apparently has been undertaken by Mr. Bushala. Senior Engineer Wallin stated that even if he felt he had a right, he would need a permit to work on a City right-of-way and no permit was applied for or issued.

Commissioner Savage commented to Mr. Bushala that if he owned the church property and the 50 feet of property, then the idea of a street could extend the way it was originally planned; and questioned if he was in fact notified of the public hearing. Mr. Bushala noted that if the street were abandoned, it would limit many of the development options; that staff thinks they are doing what the community wants; there is no reason to rush to judgment about the property; he did not get notified, he read it in the public notice section of the newspaper; his brother, George is the owner of record and he was not notified.

Chief Planner Rosen indicated the City used the latest assessor's roll for notification purposes and the City was not aware that Mr. Bushala was the owner. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that after the first public hearing he assumed Mr. Bushala was added to the list and he had in fact spoken with him to make sure he was aware of the public hearing.

Mr. Bushala commented that with regards to the barrier, he was under the impression from the engineering department that the mobile home park had put it up. He asked how they would be able to access their property if this is abandoned and noted it would put a damper on the redevelopment of the neighborhood. Senior Engineer Wallin informed him the City had put up the barrier due to the liability issue.

Commissioner Griffin commented that it was not right to poll Mr. Bushala about what the neighbors think might be right or wrong for the area; the abandonment is the issue. He asked Mr. Bushala to expand on his comment regarding increased truck traffic on Patterson Way; and asked if he was aware of the reversion of the property to R-1-20,000. Mr. Bushala noted they could have access through Valencia, a standard street, Patterson Way is a substandard street, 35 feet wide; and if and when they get to develop the land it would force truck traffic to use Patterson Way as the only point to access that if this portion is abandoned. Mr. Bushala stated that he has never read in the code that the property would automatically revert to R-1-20,000.

Commissioner Griffin asked staff if a block wall is put on the north side of this proposed abandonment and the land would revert to mobile home park could they put in more mobile homes. He asked if this was something that could automatically happen without any approvals. Chief Planner Rosen noted they would require some form of site plan approval and since there is no application before them he could not tell what kind of site plan review would take place; there would also be a public hearing, but at this time there is no information.

The public hearing was closed.

Commissioner Crane noted there was some discussion about the property owner of the 50-foot lot not being notified, and there was an indication by staff that they weren't even aware that he was the property owner and therefore did not receive a mailing on this issue and questioned if we should continue the hearing until he is properly notified.

Assistant City Attorney Barlow noted that the legal requirement is that we notify those persons who are shown on the assessors roll as the legal owners of the property; the objection is understandable. It could be continued in the interest of allowing Mr. Bushala's brother to come and speak, but she did not feel the City was legally required to do so, since they were making a recommendation to the City Council and any objections to the ultimate abandonment would be made there.

Commissioner Stopper commented that what started out as the City giving back what it had taken away earlier has turned out to have issues which involve not only the City, but the property owners and the community. He felt the whole subject had not been resolved through this public hearing, and felt a continuance was in order. He noted there was no need for action tonight, there were enough unresolved issues that he felt uneasy proceeding with the abandonment. He also added that the trailer park has been there for over 25 years and it is not newly encroaching into the community.

Commissioner Griffin stated he did not agree with Mr. Stopper's points, but he too would be more comfortable having a continuance and would support a continuance.

Commissioner Francis concurred with the proposed continuance noting the Bushala brothers have done a lot for the area and he would like to see what their plan is.

Commissioner Crane disagreed noting the Commission's decision is a recommendation to the City Council whether to abandon or not. If someone is interested in developing this it will help do that as the area has to be abandoned regardless of who takes control of the property. the property would ultimately go back to the mobile home park and whether or not it gets used for that could be determined in the future; and he did not support a continuance.

Commissioner Savage questioned if it is possible for a developer to come in and develop a street and if the railroad had anything to do with the City abandoning the property. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that right now the area can be developed as a street, nothing more, so access would be gained to the lot on the north side by the church.

Commissioner Savage supported a continuance noting there was no reason why it can't wait for a year or so to be abandoned.

Commissioner LeQuire agreed with Commissioner Crane noting he was not supportive of a continuance. There would be another public hearing on the matter, the City has no need for the property, it serves no public use, and the property reverts back to the original owner who can sell it or develop it. He noted that any discussion of development is ahead of the game, this is a simple procedural matter of abandoning this piece of property and any plans for development are premature.

Chairman Price agreed with Commissioners Crane and LeQuire noting adequate notice was given; the City relied on the assessors rolls, they were faced with a simple question of whether the property should be abandoned or not, there is no public use for this particular piece of property, it is a liability to the City and is something that should be abandoned. He noted that for any future development of the site to occur a prerequisite would be to unburden the property from the abandonment and was in favor of moving forward tonight.

MOTION by Commissioner Stopper; seconded and carried by a 4-3 vote, with Commissioners Price, LeQuire and Crane in opposition that this item be CONTINUED to February 12, 2003 at 4:00 p.m..

A short recess was taken at this time.

The Planning Commission RECESSED and RECONVENED as the Board of Appeals.

ITEM NO. 4
BOARD OF APPEALS.

Staff report was presented pertaining to an appeal from a Notice and Order dated October 14, 2002, to abate the substandard housing conditions on a property located at 405 East Valencia Drive.

Assistant City Attorney Barlow explained that the Planning Commission would be sitting as the Board of Appeals to hear an appeal by the property owner of 405 East Valencia Drive concerning a Notice of Violation issued for code violations. She gave a brief explanation of the appeals process. At this time, Chief Planner Rosen requested that all witnesses stand and were sworn in.

Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Stallings, reviewed the staff report dated January 8, 2003, noting this was an appeal by Isidro Lopez, 405 East Valencia Drive, a Notice of Violation- Order to Comply issued on October 14, 2002. In June 2002, the Code Enforcement Department received a complaint regarding possible code violations on the property. The complainant stated approximately 30 people were living in sheds in the back yard, rooms inside the house had been converted to bedrooms and the garage had been converted. Inspections of the property confirmed these code violations existed. The code violations observed and listed on page 2 of the staff report were reviewed in detail. Pictures of the various code violations were displayed. It was noted that all of the items constructed were done so without benefit of permits. The Notice of Violation-Order to Comply was prepared, and it was staff's recommendation that the appeal be denied and the Notice of Violation-Order to Comply upheld. Staff also recommended that the Board direct the property owner to obtain all necessary permits within thirty days or commence restoration of the dwelling within sixty days.

Commissioner Crane questioned the age of some of the improvements, as some looked newer than others. Ms. Stallings reported that in her opinion some of the structures had been there for a while.

Commissioner Stopper asked how staff became aware that the home had been altered. Ms. Stallings noted that the property tax data sheets sent to the City listed this property as a three- bedroom house with 1-1/2 baths, and in checking the permit file, she found no permits for any of the new construction.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Daniel clarified that when investigating violations of this nature, anything that does not have a permit, or was not part of the original construction, are the things they would look at.

Commissioner Stopper questioned what the frame of reference was, and if it listed specifications including the specific size of the rooms. Ms. Daniel reported they would look at the original assessor parcel information to see how large the house was. She also reported that in this particular incidence they have the original floor plans on microfiche.

Commissioner LeQuire asked if staff could determine how long Mr. Lopez had owned the property, based on their research. Ms. Stallings reported that Mr. Lopez had acquired permits for the block wall in the front yard, and the back wall is fine as well. According to the tax roll, the transfer date was 1994. As far as the sheds, they were not occupied and she did not recall any smoke detectors in the garage.

Commissioner Francis noted the area was zoned R-1 and inquired if there were multi-families living there, which was why the floor plan had changed. Ms. Stallings reported that the day she was inspecting the property there was a family of four that came out of one of the rooms and there was a single gentleman in another room. Commissioner Francis further questioned if Ms. Stallings gave notice before entering the property and, in her opinion, how was the property being used. Ms. Stallings stated that she did give notice before inspecting the property and in her opinion the property was being used as a rental property, with rooms being rented out to the family of four in one room, and the gentleman in the other room. Another room was locked, so she was unable to gain access to it.

Chairman Price asked Mr. Lopez if he had any questions for Ms. Stallings or Ms. Daniel. Mr. Lopez replied he had no questions at this time.

Chairman Price excused Ms. Stallings and asked if the City had any further evidence they wished to present. Code Enforcement Supervisor Daniel answered negatively.

Chairman Price called Mr. Isidro Lopez to the podium. Mr. Lopez was informed that specific allegations had been made against him, and was asked whether he agreed or disagreed with the contents of the Notice of Violation given October 14, 2002. Mr. Lopez stated he disagreed with the Notice of Violation, and Chairman Price asked him to explain why.

Mr. Lopez stated that he acquired the property from his father, who transferred the title to him because of the payments. The house is the way his father gave it to him; it looks exactly the same way on the inside, on the outside he put in the block wall fence because the wood fence had been blown down by strong winds

Mr. Lopez went on to say that he had been accused by Code Enforcement of doing all the work himself. He stated the house was built in 1955, everything was built when he bought the property from his father. He displayed numerous pictures (copies on file) of the property. Mr. Lopez stated that his father was handicapped, and could not get into the house, which is why he built a ramp. His father decided to live in the garage until he went to the hospital.

Commissioner LeQuire asked when the handicapped ramp was built. Mr. Lopez stated he did not remember when, but that his father got very ill in 1993 or 1994.

Mr. Lopez displayed a picture of the garage, noting that in 1994 Code Enforcement came over when there was living quarters inside the garage and told him to have the garage door put on, which he did.

Chairman Price asked if there was anything more he would like to add. Mr. Lopez replied there was nothing else except that this is the way the house was when he bought it.

Commissioner Crane asked (1) how many people live in the house now, (2) how many were in the house in October and from how many different families; and (3) why there was a handicap sign on the restroom door. Mr. Lopez replied there were four different people now who are single. In October there were five people, but one of them left because of Code Enforcement regulations. The sign over the bathroom is because when there are parties, he wanted to make it easy for people with handicaps to find the restrooms inside.

Commissioner Savage noted that in pictures shown previously it was obvious there was cabinetry in the garage in front of the roll up door, and asked if it has been removed. He also questioned when the kitchen in the breezeway was built. Mr. Lopez replied that the cabinetry had been there since 1994, and is for storage. He believes the kitchen in the breezeway had been like that since they built the house, because it was there when his father bought it. Commissioner Savage asked if the house was built in 1955. Mr. Lopez noted he had tried to get plans for the house, but the building department does not have them, so he went to the County who gave him square lines.

Commissioner Crane noted that Ms. Daniel indicated there was microfilm of the original floor plan and asked if this was available. Code Enforcement Officer Stallings displayed a copy of the original floor plan.

Chairman Price asked if the sink was in front of opening identified as number 1. Ms. Stallings answered affirmatively. Commissioner Crane asked if that showed up on the original plans, and Ms. Stallings replied it did not. Ms. Daniel indicated the original permit was issued in 1955. Chairman Price asked when his father acquired the property. Mr. Lopez replied it was in the late 1960's.

Chairman Price asked Mr. Lopez if he had any other witnesses that he would like to present. Genero Gutierrez stepped forward stating that he is Mr. Lopez's neighbor, and in all the years that he has been living on the block he has not seen any changes to the house, it looks the same as when he was growing up in the seventies.

Jose Lopez, son of Isidro Lopez noted that after he acquired the property from his grandfather the only thing he has done, other than painting it, is added the block wall and the masonry work in the front.

Commissioner Stopper asked if the record showed that the transfer of ownership occurred in 1994, and Ms. Daniel replied there was a transfer of title in 1994.

Commissioner Crane clarified that Ms. Stallings indicated that there were no other permits issued, but Mr. Lopez referenced that he got a permit for the walls and the windows. Ms. Stallings replied that was correct.

Ms. Stallings displayed a copy of a floor plan she stated Mr. Lopez had given her from the County Recorder's Office dated 12-15-66. The plan shows one living room, one dining room, and three bedrooms. Ms. Stallings added that when the house was built Valencia Drive was originally called East Maple.

Commissioner Crane asked how we know that because the address doesn't match anything. Chief Planner Rosen replied that this section of Valencia was called Maple at one time, but he was unsure of when the exact change took place. This was the first time he had seen the form, but the housing numbers remain the same, and the tract and A.P.N. numbers are the same.

Building Official Tabatabaee stated that according to the State Building Code and City regulations, regardless of when the project was done, whether it was done by the owner or previous owner, a permit is required. Commissioner Griffin asked if the City of Fullerton had any policies regarding grandfathering these types of uses. Building Official Tabatabaee stated that land use issues are handled by the Planning Department, but as far as life safety and sanitation issues, those are governed by the Uniform Building Code and there is no grandfathering.

Commissioner Crane noted that one staff's recommendations was to obtain all necessary permits within 30 days. He wondered if that was enough time, and if there were any major life/ safety issues that needed to be addressed sooner. Building Official Tabatabaee stated he has not been to the site, but from the pictures there are some life safety issues, i.e. persons living in the garage, sanitation in the bathrooms, and the divided bedrooms. A time extension may be granted, once plans are submitted.

Chief Planner Rosen clarified that there are some components of the modifications to the property that will have to be removed to comply with the current Codes, such as the converted garage and second kitchen.

Chairman Price asked if it was within the purview of the Board of Appeals to extend the time limit. Assistant City Attorney Barlow replied that under the Building Code the repair or demolition work is required to be commenced within 30 days after the Final Notice and Order becomes effective unless delay the effective date of the Order is delayed. The Building Official can grant time extensions, but the Board of Appeals cannot. Building Official Tabatabaee replied that as the Building Official he can extend it and would be willing to work with the applicant.

Chairman Price asked Mr. Lopez if he had any questions of any of the City officials. Mr. Lopez stated that he has gone to the Building Department many times to ask for help, and he is a senior on a fixed income.

Commissioner Crane noted that Mr. Lopez mentioned that Code Enforcement had been out before and questioned if that visit was documented. Senior Code Enforcement Officer Pickens noted that in 1994, Code Enforcement received a complaint on a garage occupancy. Mr. Lopez was given a Notice of Violation to remove the carpeting, he complied and the case was closed. This is the only history Code Enforcement has out there prior to this.

Commissioner Crane asked if she did the inspection herself, and if she noticed any other violations. Ms. Pickens clarified that she did not go into the house, but the inspection report revealed that she was the officer involved in inspecting the garage only and Mr. Lopez complied at that time.

Commissioner LeQuire asked, if the Commission should deny the appeal, would it be an option for the City to simply go out and do the work and place a lien against the property. Code Enforcement Supervisor Daniel replied that this was an option. Commissioner Le Quire commented that because the City has been out to the property before, and violations were present, he would vote to deny the appeal. He is also not inclined to extend the time limit because of health and safety issues.

Commissioner Francis stated that this was an R-1 area, and it was a code violation to live in the garage, put two kitchens in, build walls without permits, or put bathrooms outside. It would be irresponsible for this Board not to address this; he stressed that the home must be returned to its original condition and any changes must have permits.

Commissioner Savage also recommended denying the appeal because of the history of problems since 1994, and the existing health and safety issues.

Assistant City Attorney Barlow noted that she was not sure that all of the documents introduced were exhibits and asked that the Board indicate which documents the Board can take effectively judicial notice of noting the need to identify for the record any such documents, as an example the plans, the assessors record.

Chairman Price noted that he believed what should be a part of the record are any of the items that were originally referred to by Ms. Stallings, including all of her photographs, all of the photographs presented by Mr. Lopez, the original plans that were on microfiche that were submitted, the permit record that was for the same street address but a different street named Maple that was presented by Mr. Lopez, and the secondary document that identifies the assessors parcel number for the Maple address matched the subject address which they will name the assessors record. Chief Planner Rosen asked that the drawing presented by Ms. Stallings also be included.

Assistant City Attorney Barlow confirmed that the Board can take judicial notice of the City's Ordinances and the Building Code.

Chairman Price also noted that the Notice of Violation of October 14, 2002 as well as the handwritten Notice of Appeal dated November 12, 2002 signed by Mr. Lopez as well as the entire staff report be included.

The title of Resolution No. PC-03-04 of the Planning Commission, acting as the Board of Appeals of the City of Fullerton DENYING an appeal of a Notice of Violation - Order to Comply dated October 14, 2002, to abate substandard housing conditions located at 405 E. Valencia, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Chairman Price excused Mr. Lopez.

The Board of Appeals ADJOURNED and RECONVENED as the Planning Commission.

OTHER MATTERS

  1. RESOLUTION OF INTENTION. PRJ02-00427 - LRP02-00013

    Chief Planner Rosen noted a petition had been received regarding these properties to change the zoning. They are starting the process to consider those petitions and the request. This is the initiation of the process, public notices will go out once a hearing date is set; prior to that they will hold public workshops in the community and discuss this matter at length with the neighborhood.

    Chairman Price asked if there was anyone wishing to speak on item A.

    Ryan Gregory, Johnston Real Estate stated he was representing the Carpenters who live on Carhart Avenue; and wanted to bring to the attention of the Commission that they have formally submitted plans to develop their property under the current zoning of 7,200 and they oppose the changing of the zoning to R-1-12,000.

    Senior Planner Mullis stated that this request was initiated based on a petition by the property owners in the general area, and staff had yet to do a complete analysis on the proposal. The City Council will ultimately make the final decision.

    The title of Resolution No. PC-03-04 DECLARING its intention to consider changing the zoning of parcels in a neighborhood from R-1-7,200 to R-1-12,00 on properties generally located on the south side of Valley View between Adlena Drive and Fern Drive; the north and south sides of Fern Drive between Fern School and Valley View Drive; Pico Street between Fern School and Carhart Avenue; Norby Lane, Arroyo Place and Johnson Place between Carhart Avenue and Stephens Avenue; and Stephens Avenue between Malvern Avenue and Valley View was read and further reading was waived. MOTION to approve by Commissioner Stopper, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

  2. REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

    Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report of the recent City Council meeting.

  3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

    There were no public comments.

  4. AGENDA FORECAST:

    The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be on January 22, 2003, at 4:00 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:36 p.m.

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