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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

MARCH 9, 2005

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Griffin at 7:02 p.m.

ROLL CALL

PRESENT: Chairman Griffin, Commissioners Bailey, Francis, Hart, Price, Savage, Stopper

STAFF PRESENT:Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Assistant Planner Sowers, Assistant Planner Kusch, Engineering Director Hoppe and Recording Secretary Baker

FLAG SALUTE

Chairman Griffin

MINUTES:

MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded by Commissioner Savage, and CARRIED by a 7-0 vote that the Minutes of February 23, 2005, be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.

PUBLIC HEARING

Chief Planner Rosen announced that the resolution under Item A would be heard first.

ITEM A
PRJ04-00781 ZON04-00077A. APPLICANT: DOUG BROWNE; PROPERTY OWNER: TIM DE FIESTA

Commissioner Savage recused himself from the meeting and left the chamber because he owns property within a 500 foot radius of the proposed project.

A Resolution DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow an approximately 130-seat religious assembly use in a 4,280 square-foot space in an existing industrial condo park, on property located at 1100 East Valencia Drive (continued from February 23, 2005 meeting).

Chairman Griffin stated that this resolution was being brought back to the Planning Commission after the February 23, 2005 decision. The Commission requested staff to prepare a resolution including all facts and findings for denial. Staff prepared the resolution and it was reviewed and approved by Deputy City Attorney Barlow.

Public hearing opened.

Mila Lobarbio, spoke as a representative for Cornerstone Christian Church. She stated that the church understands the objection of the neighbors. She mentioned that their proposed schedule of operation would not conflict with the hours of operation of the other businesses. She also informed the Commission that the Owners' Association must approve any changes in their schedule before it is implemented.

Public hearing closed.

The title of Resolution PC-05-04 DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow an approximately 130-seat religious assembly use in a 4,280 square-foot space in an existing industrial condo park, on property located at 1100 East Valencia Drive was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Hart and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote, with Commissioner Savage abstaining, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Commissioner Savage returned to the meeting.

ITEM NO. 1
PRJ05-00059 PM2004-304. APPLICANT: THE BROOKHOLLOW GROUP AND THIENES ENGINEERING, INC.; PROPERTY OWNER: FULLERTON HARBOR BOULEVARD L.P.

Staff report dated March 9, 2005 was presented pertaining to a request for a one-lot subdivision to create 22 airspace industrial condominiums and a common area, on an existing industrial parcel with 11 buildings to house the 22 units, on property located at 501 South State College Boulevard (southwest corner of East Valencia Drive and South State College Boulevard) (M-P zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).

Assistant Planner Sowers explained that this 13.8 acre-parcel currently has 11 buildings. The subdivision would allow separate ownership of the 22 units, instead of renting the spaces. She displayed a parcel map and stated that this had been identified as a focus area by the General Plan, and it is in an established industrial area. It was staffs opinion that the proposal was consistent and compatible with the General Plan. Staff recommended approval of the resolution, subject to the conditions outlined in the staff report.

Public hearing opened.

Jeff Kaplan with The Brookhollow Group, concurred with staffs recommendations for the project.

Commissioner Stopper asked Mr. Kaplan if he agreed with the recommended conditions, and Mr. Kaplan responded affirmatively.

Public hearing closed.

The title of Resolution PC-05-06 GRANTING a one-lot subdivision to create 22 air space industrial condominiums and a common area on an existing industrial parcel located at 501 South State College Boulevard was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded by Commissioner Savage and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ITEM NO. 2
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-752B. APPLICANT: JUAN KIVOTOS; PROPERTY OWNER: VISHRAMAL S. GUNASEKARA

Staff report dated March 9, 2005 was presented pertaining to a request to modify an existing Conditional Use Permit that would include additional off-site parking, a building addition of approximately 1,500 square feet and an increase in enrollment from 98 to 133 children at an existing child care center (south side of Valencia Drive between approximately 270 and 370 feet west of the southwest corner of Valencia Drive and Brookhurst Road) (C-2 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).

Assistant Planner Kusch reported that this was a request to modify an existing CUP for a child care center located at 1834 W. Valencia Drive. The applicant was proposing a building addition to allow for an increase in enrollment from 90 to 133 children. This also includes an agreement with a former owner of the adjacent property, to accommodate off-site parking east of the property. Assistant Planner Kusch gave a history of the approval of the CUP and subsequent modifications. He discussed the proposed revisions to ingress and egress and parking, the trash enclosure repair, and code requirements for modifications to the block wall. He explained that the height and stucco/plaster finish would match the existing building.

Staff distributed a letter from the applicant to the Planning Commission stating economic hardships relating to the conditions of approval. Staff recommended approval of the revision to the CUP, subject to the conditions of approval as stated in the staff report. A site plan submitted by the applicant was displayed, along with photos of the site.

Chairman Griffin received the letter submitted by Sanjiv Gunasekara for the record.

Commissioner Savage asked about the school vans and where they would be located during hours of operation. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that they will be used for pick up and drop off on a temporary basis, and would be parked off-site during daily operations.

Commissioner Francis asked staff to confirm that the applicant was leasing parking from an adjacent property. Assistant Planner Kusch confirmed this was correct, and added that the applicant would be acquiring a revised agreement to reflect the agreement was still effective with the new owner of the child care facility.

Chairman Griffin asked if the revised agreement would need to be acquired prior to moving forward, and staff responded affirmatively.

Commissioner Hart asked for details on the need for underground utilities. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that there was a standard requirement for undergrounding utilities for commercial property. He also said that it could be waived by the City Building Official, if a hardship exists.

Commissioner Stopper asked for elaboration on the history of the changes to the CUP. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that in December of 2002, after an annual Fire Department review, there was an administrative approval for 110 children, because of the adjacent parking agreement. This was not reflected in the CUP. Commissioner Stopper asked if they would be able to accommodate 110 students. Assistant Planner Kusch explained that there were State requirements relating to open space that could affect the enrollment number. The State requires play 75 square feet of play area per child.

Commissioner Stopper also asked if the present facility had sprinklers. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the Fire Department has identified the need for a reliable water source within 150 feet of the farthest portion of the building. Therefore, the Fire Department has requested a fire hydrant to be installed to service the proposed addition. Commissioner Stopper asked if fire sprinklers could be provided in the proposed addition, to alleviate the need for a fire hydrant. Chief Planner Rosen stated that commercial buildings are handled differently than residential buildings, and he was not aware of any exemptions for commercial buildings.

Commissioner Stopper also discussed the change to the circulation pattern, the fence surrounding the existing property, and whether there was an evacuation plan. Assistant Planner Kusch said that the Fire Department reviewed the applicants evacuation plan and found that it met the Fire Code. Commissioner Stopper discussed the eastern gate and proposed block wall. Staff recommended a block wall to replace the chain link fence. Chief Planner Rosen stated that with the modifications to the trash enclosure, an entrance would be provided in the block wall. Commissioner Stopper was concerned with the number of children and employees who would need to evacuate in case of an emergency.

Commissioner Stopper asked what the recommended condition referred to relating to the screening of exterior mounted machinery and machinery components. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that it was typically for air conditioning units.

Commissioner Hart asked about parking modifications. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that originally the parking was where the current play area is located. It was shifted off-site to allow for an expanded play area and increased enrollment. Assistant Planner Kusch said that moving to parallel spaces was to meet the code requirements for on-site parking. Off-site parking can be used for loading and unloading of children, and also for employee parking.

Commissioner Savage asked if there had been complaints regarding congestion on Valencia Drive or West Avenue. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that staff had no records of any complaints since 1989.

Commissioner Price questioned if staff had received any negative input from the public. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the standard notification of 300 ft. was mailed, and no responses were received.

Commissioner Francis asked if this would be considered under-parked if it was not a school. Assistant Planner Kusch referred to Item #12 in the staff report that indicated if the child care center or the off-site parking changed, the play area could provide for required parking spaces for a standard office use.

Assistant Planner Kusch also referred to an unpermitted structure at the rear of the building that would have to be removed to provide space for the play area.

Commissioner Francis also asked for a clarification on who the shared parking agreement is with. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the previous owner of the adjacent property had signed the agreement.

Public hearing opened.

Sanjiv Gunasekara, owner of the property for two years, stated that there had been an increased demand for day care. He explained that they have three different licenses for infant, preschool and school-aged children and they pick up from three different schools, mainly after normal school hours.

Said Vakili, counsel for the school, stated that the agreement in place was established by the initial owner, and has had two different owners since then. The new owners acknowledge the agreement and it runs with the land. The reciprocal license can only be terminated on consent of both parties. He was agreeable with the recommendation for the provision to notify the City if there was a termination, but it was not feasible to enter renegotiations at this time.

Commissioner Price asked if the reciprocal agreement was recorded. Mr. Vakili stated that it had not been recorded, but it would be along with an addendum that would provide notice in the event of termination. Commissioner Price asked if there was some apprehension to update it.

Mr. Vakili stated that it was originally negotiated in 2000, and the current owner purchased the property with the agreement in place. The owner was not willing to reopen negotiations. He also stated that the church also uses the day care center parking on the weekends.

Commissioner Price asked if the agreement states that it runs with the land. Mr. Vakili answered negatively, however, there was language that suggests that it does because it required both parties to agree to a termination. He added that it had been sold twice and adhered to with both sales.

Commissioner Price asked if the agreement was enforceable and did it violate rules against perpetuities. Mr. Vakili did not think that it would, but he had not done that analysis.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow stated that the condition seems to be sufficient to require the new owner to execute an assumption agreement of the prior existing agreement, and both the existing agreement and the assignment and assumption would both be recorded against both properties. That would provide a reciprocal easement that would be binding on both properties. Mr. Vakili stated that he could arrange that.

Chairman Griffin asked Commissioner Price if that sufficiently addressed his questions. Commissioner Price answered affirmatively and stated that he felt there currently was a problem with it.

Commissioner Francis felt that if there was an agreement, it should satisfy the Planning Commission. He suggested it be kept simple, but it was in their best interest to record it.

Commissioner Stopper asked the applicant to review the listed conditions.

Mr. Gunasekara stated that with the additional conditions, it has increased his construction costs by 42% or $50,000. He asked if there was any way to minimize the financial burden and make it more economically feasible.

Chairman Griffin stated that the Planning Commission was not here to consider the economic viability of a project. The Planning Commission understood that a financial burden was incurred by the conditions. It was not the job of the Planning Commission to negotiate down any conditions. The staffs conditions are necessary. Chairman Griffin stated that the Planning Commission needed to hear the applicants concurrence with the conditions as written, or concerns with a specific condition, and why the applicant felt it was inappropriate.

Mr. Gunasekara said that he had two specific concerns. The underground utilities requirement was a concern. The contractor stated that the electrical panel and the telephone service would be increased. He also stated that the irrigation discussed in Item #12 was very prohibitive for a 500- square-foot area.

Chairman Griffin reiterated that Items #12 and #17 were the two items the applicant was concerned with.

Commissioner Stopper asked the applicant what he understood regarding Item #22. Mr. Gunasekara understood that the entire building should be sprinklered or a fire hydrant should be provided; his understanding was providing one or the other, and not both. He also spoke about the traffic circulation and that he has never had all five parking spots full during even the busiest time. He stated that many parents park off-site.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Bailey reviewed the conditions and had no problem with them. He stated that setbacks are common when renovations are made. He supported the concerns of the Fire Department, but was concerned about the need to underground the utilities. His only concern was with Item #17.

Commissioner Francis supported the project, as long as the applicant had a written agreement for shared parking. He discussed the process for updating the property to code when permits are pulled.

Commissioner Hart was agreeable with all the conditions. She agreed that the Planning Commission was not here to determine costs. She did agree that some items appear to be a high cost, compared to what he was requesting. She felt that the fire hydrant was necessary, and stated her support, without including Item #17.

Commissioner Savage asked staff to give a quick review of underground utility requirements and if this would set a new precedent. Engineering Director Hoppe reported that Title 16 required all new construction to place all utilities underground. It also allowed for a waiver and an appeal process submitted to the City Engineer and the Director of Development Services. However, if the Planning Commission determined that it was appropriate, it limits the appeal process.

Chairman Griffin asked for staff to expand and clarify the undergrounding of utilities to the new building, since the electrical, water and other utilities would be pulled from the existing building. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that any time a new panel is installed and a new electrical feed is provided, it shall be placed underground to clean up the sites as they are remodeled. Engineering Director Hoppe added that administrative appeals have been granted many times in the past, and it was not unusual to grant one.

Commissioner Francis asked if they would be required to underground service from all three utility poles adjacent to the project. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that it would be from wherever the source is coming from. Commissioner Francis asked which of the three poles provide service. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that he did not know, but that they did not need to take out all three poles.

Commissioner Savage asked if the Planning Commission approved all the conditions, would it still be appealable through the Engineering department.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow stated that this was a condition required by code, even if it was not imposed. It is appealable administratively to the Director of Engineering and the Director of Development Services. Their decision could be appealed to the Planning Commission, and then to the City Council. However, if it is imposed as a condition of approval, then it only would be appealable to the City Council.

Commissioner Price felt that it was acceptable to exclude Item #17, because he was concerned with setting a precedent. He had questions about modifying #8 and #17, and if the applicant understood that the other conditions would remain as written in the staff report.

Commissioner Stopper was principally concerned with the safety of the children. The layout of the facility concerned him in the event of a natural disaster, and he wanted another safety evacuation layout. He felt that there was sufficient room in the rear of the facility and supported the project, with Item #17 being excluded.

Commissioner Savage stated that if Item #17 was removed, the applicant could appeal it. He stated his support of it.

Chairman Griffin asked Chief Planner Rosen for a clarification of the Fire Departments response to the applicant regarding the fire hydrant and sprinklers. Chief Planner Rosen stated that he did not have the communication in writing.

Chairman Griffin reviewed the Planning Commissions suggested revisions to the resolution, specifically Item #8, requiring the development of an assumption agreement mutually agreeable by Deputy City Attorney Barlow and Mr. Vakili. Mr. Vakili proposed an assignment from the original owner of the school property. Chairman Griffin stated that he did not know if the original owner would have the authority to assign to the current owner, or only the previous owner.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow stated that unless there was an intervening documentation preventing it, the original signer could assign it to the existing owner. She recommended that the City require an assignment and assumption agreement be signed by the adjoining property owner. The rights would still be in place, and the Planning Commission could require recordation or not, as they pleased.

Mr. Vakili asked if the assignment served a purpose, he did not want to reopen negotiations. The property was bought with a license in place; he did not feel it would be difficult to get the assignment in place.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow stated that she only had a portion of the agreement and could not determine if an assignment provision was in it. She recommended that the Planning Commission require that an assignment and assumption be executed by the prior owner, the new owner, and the adjoining property owner. If that was not practical, the applicant could bring it back and delegate to staff and the City Attorneys office the authority to approve such documents, as would be necessary to ensure such parking is available, then the City Attorney would accept that responsibility.

Chairman Griffin asked Mr. Vakili if that was agreeable. Mr.Vakili felt it was reasonable.

Chairman Griffin wanted the applicant to know that if Items #22 and #17 were not imposed, it was still a code requirement of the City, and the applicant did have appeal rights.

Commissioner Price stated that the applicant raised items #11, 12, 13, 20 and 21 and the Planning Commission did not specifically discuss them. Mr. Gunasekara stated that he was in agreement with complying with those items.

Commissioner Price asked for alternative language to #8.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow gave the new language to Item #8 - An assignment and assumption agreement shall be executed with respect to the existing parking and access agreement between the subject property and the property to the east in a form approved by the City Attorney. The agreement may be recorded at the applicants option.

The Planning Commission did not require recordation and asked to strike Item #17.

The title of Resolution PC-05-07 MODIFYING an existing Conditional Use Permit to include additional off-site parking, a building addition of approximately 1,500 square feet and an increase in enrollment from 98 to 133 children at an existing child care center located at 1834 West Valencia Drive was read and further reading was waived. MOTION Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Savage and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be adopted as AMENDED.

The Planning Commission took a 10-minute break and returned at 8:25 p.m.

ITEM NO. 3
PRJ04-00859 ZON04-00087 ZON04-00088 LRP04-00017 LRP04-00018 SUB04-00006. APPLICANT: CONRAD SICK; PROPERTY OWNER: FULLERTON ELKS LODGE

Commissioner Stopper stated for the record that he had been a member of the Elks Club for 45 years, but was not a member of the Fullerton Lodge. His membership is out of state. He also stated that he was a graduate student of CSUF, and his wife and daughter have also attended that university. He stated that neither issue was a conflict by itself, or combined, so he would not be recusing himself.

Staff report dated March 9, 2005 was presented pertaining to a proposal to demolish an existing lodge building; change the zoning map designation from O-P (Office Professional) to Specific Plan District (Specific Plan District); adopt a specific plan document; and construct a new +/- 13,000 square foot lodge building with 154 parking spaces, and 42 residential condominiums for university faculty staff.

Associate Planner Eastman reported that the applicant is the California State University Fullerton Housing Authority. Aerial elevations were displayed of the site, which is on a hill located at 1451 N. Brea Boulevard. A vicinity map was displayed showing an expanded notification area. Eastman said that all who requested notification in writing or during the community meetings were noticed, in addition to those within the 300-foot radius of the property and the expanded areas.

Associate Planner Eastman told the Planning Commission that the proposal was to demolish the existing 15,000-square-foot Elks lodge building, construct a new 13,000 square foot lodge building and 42 townhomes for CSUF faculty and staff. Several applications were required and the zone would change from the Office Professional (O-P) zone to a Specific Plan District (SPD). The code required a Specific Plan document to develop standards and land use policies. A major development project application was requested to cover the physical improvements on the site. The cellular antennae on site will be replaced with a stealth antennae, which resembles a flag pole. The CUP request allows for a reduction in parking from what the code requires for the Lodge building. A tentative tract map request would allow the single lot to be subdivided into multiple lots for condominiums. The land will be owned by the Lodge and the Cal State Fullerton Housing Authority, and would not be sold to faculty or staff, who will own the building and have a 99-year land lease.

Associate Planner Eastman described the various details on the site plan, showing ingress and egress, the driveways and secondary emergency access to the residential section. He showed the existing public trails and the proposed public trail. He explained where the retaining walls would be located and how the Loffel wall would allow for planting to grow and cover it with greenscape. The Elks property on the north side would be 10 feet lower after the site was graded, and a slope on the adjacent Brea recreational area would be reduced to the Elks finished grade to avoid construction a retaining wall. There will be 84 residential parking spaces providing two side-by-side garage spaces for the residents, along with 42 guest spaces. The Lodge will have 154 standard spaces, and the applicant will provide a tandem parking layout through a valet service which they say can park up to 216 vehicles. The current CUP allows 12 members RVs with a limited stay agreement.

Associate Planner Eastman described the modifications recommended by the RDRC. They recommended a reduction of the most southeast building of 20 ft. (one story). The applicant revised the plans to reorient this building, but they did not reduce the height. The plan had also been changed since RDRC review to reduce the secondary gate fire access gate to 20 feet, added a four-foot space from the emergency access sidewalk and a new sound wall. Another change is that the RV spaces have been increased from five to six, and the 149 standard spaces to 154 accessible spaces. The layout for valet parking spaces was not changed.

Associate Planner Eastman reviewed the two community meetings held November 18, 2004 and January 19, 2005. The concerns voiced were traffic safety at Brea Boulevard, the driveway noise, building mass and density, landscape, screening and whether sufficient on-site parking will be provided. Since the RDRC meeting, revisions have been made. The RDRC also recommended that section cuts be provided to the Planning Commission to show the projects the visibility from the street.

Staff had received 42 form letters, all individually signed and six letters (some were petitions signed by 15 people) stating significant concerns or expressing opposition to the project (three were from the same person). There were significant inquiries by phone and e-mail, many were questions and concerns from residents by Avalon and Helen who were concerned that a secondary access at the back of the site would impact their neighborhood.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that staffs conclusion was to support the underlying objective of providing housing for faculty and staff members. The zone change was appropriate and consistent with other zones in town. The building was underparked by city standards, however, operational bylaws of the Elks prohibits them to use both assembly spaces concurrently (they asked that parking be considered for use of only one assembly space at a time), and additional parking will be provided through valet parking. Staff felt that valet parking was feasible, however, a parking management plan is being requested. Staff was concerned that valet parking shown for the westerly portion of the site was too congested, and was concerned that vehicles could be parked in emergency access lanes.

The Elks requested that assembly rooms be limited to a 250 occupancy limit. The code allows more occupancy per square feet, so 250 is an artificial occupancy limit. Staff believed that the valet parking was a solution and the non-concurrent use was a reasonable proposal. Staff does not believe that the City could effectively or efficiently monitor the parking and the number of people occupying the space, and recommended that the assembly rooms be reduced in size. In theory, if it is possible that if the lodge building was reduced in size, the retaining walls could also be reduced in size, or increase the number of parking spaces, or provide less dwelling units.

The RDRC recommended approval with a condition of the most southeast unit being reduced to 20 feet in height; staff recommended approval with the reduction of the Lodge building to 2,520 square feet, along with the 48 conditions of approval.

Commissioner Francis asked if the recreational space would be hardscape or softscape and for an explanation of the RV parking location compared to the regular spaces. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the amenities had not been finalized yet, however, a small pool and recreation building were proposed in the original plan. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the RV spaces would have electric and sewage provided. The RV users will only be Elk members and would sign an agreement that during an event of 100 or more, they would vacate the site one hour prior to the event. It would be enforced by Elks lodge members, and any complaints would be handled by Code Enforcement. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the proposed size of the building required 523 spaces, with both spaces being used concurrently.

Commissioner Bailey asked if the artificial limit of 250 was proposed by the Elks or the City. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the Elks suggestion was based on the building code requirement of 15 square feet per person. Based on an assembly space and dance floor, the building code actually allows one person per seven square feet. He also asked if the 250 limited occupancy would be a condition of use. Associate Planner Eastman stated that since staff was recommending that the building be reduced, the limitation would not be necessary. If the applicant proceeded with the current size of the building, the 250 person limit would be recommended by staff.

Commissioner Savage discussed:

  • Zoning (SPD versus R-2 or R-3)
  • Would it be a significant change to the retaining walls if the building size is reduced
  • CC & Rs
  • Locking in of zoning requirements by SPD
  • Unique aspects of the development
  • Establishing policies and objectives in the SPD

Commissioners Hart and Price discussed:

  • Height restrictions in various zones

Commissioner Stopper discussed the request from the RDRC to reduce the height on the most southeastern unit. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it is the applicants proposal to reorient the building and not reduce the height. Staff has not indicated support of this alternative. He also stated that staff was concerned with the parking provided for the Elks Lodge.

Commissioner Price asked if staff required a reduction of both sides of the building. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it would not be possible to reduce one side and not the other, it would be necessary to reduce both assembly rooms. He also talked about staffs skepticism that the parking lot can effectively provide 216 valet parking spaces.

Public hearing opened.

Applicant: Bill Dickerson, Executive Director of Cal State Fullerton Housing Authority discussed:

  • not all 48 conditions are agreeable
  • they search nationally and internationally for employees
  • the median housing in Orange County is over $500,000
  • 73% of their staff earn less than $60,000 per year
  • they are using the UCI housing model
  • wish to provide convenient, safe and moderate housing with no subsidy
  • University Gables at Malvern and Dale in Buena Park, sold well below market
  • A 99-year ground lease
  • CSUF Housing Authority will act like a Homeowners Association for maintenance purposes
  • owners must sell back units to an employee of the university or the Homeowners Association
  • if the Elks decide to sell, the Housing Authority has the first right to buy
  • applicant has the first right to repurchase condominiums
  • will maintain slopes of the site under a maintenance/use agreement
  • CUP for RVs is important to the Elks
  • CSUF Housing Authority purchasing three acres out of six
  • square footage of the Elks Lodge and the condominiums
  • proposing three-level paired homes

Conrad Sick, Senior Vice President of Valeo Companies discussed:

  • land uses residential, office/professional, retail, open space
  • comprehensive fire safety plan for the residents and the Elks patrons
  • turning radius for emergency vehicles
  • site aerials
  • compatibility with surrounding land uses
  • modification of the land form through grading and retaining walls
  • visual impact of the proposed
  • circulation of Harbor and Brea Blvd.

Joe Fouts of Austin Fouts Associates discussed:

  • he has 25 years of experience doing traffic studies
  • traffic generation - 420 trips a day average daily traffic
  • peak hours 5 6 p.m. 44 trips (one every 1.5 minutes)
  • will not reach the criteria for a traffic signal on Brea Boulevard
  • parking for RVs; no complaints against the Elks in the past regarding RV use
  • if parking enforcement is a problem; the City can hire an outside consultant service to conduct an annual parking review
  • landscape green strip between regular spaces can be parked with the valet plan

Lee Northcutt, President of the California/Hawaii Elks Lodges spoke:

  • discussed agreement incorporated into Elks bylaws
  • on-site officer meets with renters of banquet or RV spaces
  • oath that members take to support the constitution and obey laws
  • members are aware of laws of the state and local communities
  • it will be an asset to the community

Dan Herman, landscape architect discussed:

  • goals to make it a quality project
  • five components for the private entry street gave overview
  • increased planting on both sides of the road
  • will maintain the Army Corps property planting and improve the existing landscape
  • will screen on-site views from neighbors property
  • showed proposed view and simulations, site plans, elevations and photos
  • between each building is a courtyard with entry to the units
  • private side and rear yards for each condo
  • landscape palette of trees native to California and grow to a maximum height of 40 ft. for effective screening
  • native and fire resistant plantings on Brea Dam Recreation property.

Jim Corcoran, Corcoran and Corcoran architects discussed:

  • the Universitys need for quality housing
  • the layout of the three floors, built in colonial Spanish style
  • building take advantage of premium views
  • specialize in mixed uses
  • the two large rooms will be separate, with kitchen in between

Mr. Sick discussed conditions regarding the smaller size of the lodge:

  • small dance floor with tables and chair feels staff is using an extreme standard
  • solution of how occupancy-based standards work
  • potential reduction in the density does not benefit them

Scott Stevens, President of the Building Association discussed:

  • lodge membership for the last 10 years.
  • three years of negotiations w/Cal State Fullerton Housing Authority and other developers
  • meeting with 29 various developers
  • felt this was the best plan for the City, the Elks and the University
  • cannot reduce the building size
  • allow many non-profit groups to use without charge
  • Elks lodge building is crumbling
  • banquet room used as a meeting room
  • rented for weddings, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, Rotary, boy scouts, school fund raisers

Mr. Sick discussed:

  • he met with two homeowners who were concerned with additional landscaping and setbacks
  • sound wall along the easterly property line of the main entrance
  • senior condo group does not want their view blocked by the wall
  • additional fencing on side yards

The Planning Commission took a ten minute break at 10:10 p.m.

The following members of the audience spoke in support of the project:

Bill McGarvey
Deborah Diep
Doug Chaffee was concerned with the needs of handicapped and suggested using CSUF students to design portions of the project.
Kevin and Tracy Pelletier were concerned with losing the view, public disorder, nuisance, traffic, and landscaping.
Cliff Cramp
Marty Brey
Gary Tate was concerned with the sound and parking concerns.
Garrett Gin
Paul Garza
Bart Hess
Herb Mona
Stewart Semple asked about a traffic study and how the project would affect property values.
David Redfearn
Steve Vartanian
Don Crane
Charles Kissel

The following members of the audience spoke against the project:

Jo Meneley felt the project was too dense.

Paul Nass was concerned with the garage setbacks and the look of the plantings in the retaining wall.

The Planning Commission took a break at 11:57 p.m.

At this point, Chief Planner Rosen announced that, per City Council Resolution No. 5985, the Commission must vote on whether to hear Item 4 on the Commissions agenda, due to the late hour.

MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Stopper and CARRIED unanimously that Item #4 be heard tonight in its order.

Commissioner Stopper asked for more clarification on grading, excavation and countour of the site. Mr. Sick stated that the slopes were at a 3% grade, and referred to the slope failure mentioned earlier. There were several borings taken in that area to see how the fill had performed over the last few decades. There will be additional fill and a stabilization key way, which would lock in the soil. A drain would be tied into the base to drain away excess water. The Elks pad will be on a component of varying degree fill. He explained that 44,000 cubic yards would be removed and 8,000 cubic yards will be used for structured engineered fill.

Commissioner Stopper was concerned with so much fill being brought in to a slope that had failed before. Mr. Sick said that their first concern was the stability of the fill and making the slopes suitable for the building pad. He assured the Commission that City engineers and applicants engineers would be witnessing the grading and fill. He discussed the drainage from the Elks pad, which would exit through the V-gutter. Downspouts and gutters will go through depressions in the parking lot and into the street, and finally in the storm drain box. The storm drain in University Heights would catch the water before it reached the intersection. Commissioner Stopper was concerned with the capacity being added to the storm drains that currently flows down naturally.

Commissioner Hart asked what the elevation change would be from the parking lot to the University Heights housing, and how the emergency vehicles would exit. Mr. Sick stated that it would vary from a six-foot to a three-foot grade difference, and the exit was at 13% grade. She also asked that since there was a sound wall proposed, did he anticipate noise being produced from the housing complex, the Elks Lodge, or was there a concern with noise from traffic. Mr. Sick felt the sound wall was to alleviate the noise from the traffic coming off Brea Boulevard, and should not be higher than four feet.

Commissioner Savage asked if the applicant considered not putting in the sound wall. Mr. Sick met with the senior condo residents, who were more concerned with losing the view and their privacy. Commissioner Savage also asked where the air conditioning units would be located. Mr. Sick stated they would be in the side yards. Commissioner Savage also asked about grading, and Mr. Sick explained elevations of various areas after grading.

Chairman Griffin asked why the applicant did not comply with the RDRC request to lower the most southeasterly unit. Mr. Sick stated that there would be a negative financial impact to change from a three-story to a one-story unit. The neighbors were concerned with privacy and noise, not necessarily the height, therefore, it was reoriented.

Chairman Griffin also asked who would handle University Heights resident issues with Elks facility usage. Bill Dickerson answered that the Homeowners Advisory Committee would be the sounding board, and would deal directly with the Cal State Fullerton Housing Authority.

Chairman Griffin asked if disclosure would be given to the potential owners regarding possible RV parking next to their condo. Mr. Dickerson stated that a ground lease was provided to each homeowner, which is more than 40 pages in length, including disclosures.

Commissioner Savage asked what the Elks future plans were for the building. Mr. Stevens stated that it was too early to fully plan for the future use of the building. He stated that they would continue the existing programs, and they anticipate their membership increasing.

Commissioner Price stated that he felt it would be better than an office use at this site and it was architecturally an outstanding project that would be an asset to the community. He was in full support, if the applicant agreed to non-concurrent use, capping it at 250 people. He agreed that the valet parking plan was a challenge for the west end of the lot. He felt there was not a need to reduce the size of the building.

Commissioner Savage stated that he trusted the Elks ability to monitor the usage of the facility and parking. He was concerned with the parking and the look of the retaining walls.

Commissioner Francis felt that it was a great project with merit but was concerned with the parking. He did not think that the building size should not be reduced, because the Elks provide an exceptional service to the community.

Commissioner Hart liked the project and also had concerns with the parking, but felt it could be handled if occupancy was limited. She asked staff if the occupancy could be attached to the CUP to assure that if the property is sold the new owner would have to apply for a new CUP. She asked if the Specific Plan District covered the entire site, and Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively, and said the CUP runs with the land. She supported the project.

Commissioner Bailey agreed with other commissioner concerns with parking, but was comfortable with the Elks ability to monitor it. He felt that attaching the 250 maximum limitation and non-concurrent use should be a condition. He supported the project with a parking management plan.

Commissioner Stopper had two concerns with grading and fill. He felt that the City Engineering department could deal appropriately with it, and was in support of the project.

Chairman Griffin noted that there was a consensus for support of the project. He also was concerned with the parking and that occupancy should be limited to 250 with a non-concurrent use. He asked the applicant and the Elks Lodge representative if they agreed with that. Mr. Sick and Mr. Stevens responded affirmatively.

Associate Planner Eastman added that condition #1 of the staff report already stated that a non-concurrent use is required of the east and west wing.

Chairman Griffin discussed the retaining wall height along the senior condos and if would it need to be modified. The Commission discussed Item #13 that the height of the wall would be based on the acoustical study, approximately four to five feet. Chairman Griffin asked staff if they needed additional direction regarding the location, height, or length of the wall. Chief Planner Rosen felt that staff had been given sufficient direction.

Commissioner Price stated his concerns regarding parking and if staff conditioned the CUP for 250 maximum occupancy and has a problem, the Planning Commission would be able to modify the CUP.

Deputy City Attorney Barlow recommended adding a maximum occupancy limit to Condition #1.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff needed a recommendation superseding the previous CUP for the 12 RVs previously allowed, which would go into effect upon the implementation of the certificate of occupancy and that the proposed CUP would supersede the previous CUP.

Chief Planner Rosen asked about the height reduction requested by the RDRC, and how the Planning Commission wanted to deal with that request.

Commissioner Bailey did not see a reason to reduce the height of the southeasterly unit, he felt that the reorientation of the building was satisfactory.

MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Hart and CARRIED unanimously, to RECOMMEND certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration to the City Council.

Title of Resolution PC-05-09 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval of a tentative tract map to subdivide an existing parcel into 42 residential condominium lots; a development project to demolish an existing Elks lodge and construct a new 13,000 square-foot lodge building and parking lot and 42 condominium townhouses; and a conditional use permit to allow an Elks lodge facility and reduce parking requirements through use restrictions and a parking management plan, on property located at 1451 North Brea Boulevard was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Hart and CARRIED by a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Francis voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, including the superseding of the previous CUPs and amending Condition #1 to include a maximum occupancy of 250 persons.

The title of Resolution PC-05-08 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval of a zoning amendment from O-P (Office Professional) to SPD (Specific Plan District) and adoption of a specific plan document to implement the proposed SPD zone on property located at 1451 North Brea Boulevard AMENDED to include an additional finding stating the use of the Specific Plan District zone for this property is appropriate, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey seconded by Commissioner Hart and passed by a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Francis voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.

Chief Planner Rosen told the Planning Commission that staff would recommend this item to the City Council at its April 5, 2005 meeting.

ITEM NO. 4
PRJ04-00588 ZON04-00060. APPLICANT: MARIO CALDERA; PROPERTY OWNER: BRAD KUISH

Chairman Griffin stated that the Planning Commission would not be hearing this item as the Board of Appeals, as stated on the agenda.

Staff report dated February 23, 2005 was presented pertaining to an APPEAL of a decision by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee of a request to install a freestanding Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) on property located at 444 North Harbor Boulevard.

Chief Planner Rosen reported that staff recommended that the Planning Commission overturn the RDRCs denial of the application and accept the appeal as conditioned by staff, which requires the applicant to provide additional architectural treatment to the ATM area and increase the landscaping for better integration with the building.

Brad Kuish, applicant, and managing partner of the property. He asked for removal of:

  • No. #1 will be removing only three small plants
  • No. #3 a seat would cause a safety problem
  • No. #4 landscaping renovation done 1.5 years ago and they are committed to maintaining it
  • No. #8 did not feel it was equitable he never had to indemnify previously

The applicant handed photos to the Planning Commission. He stated that they will be removing three small plants to accommodate the sidewalk to the ATM. He felt it was overkill and they are committed to replacing the plants taken out with additional planting there.

Commissioner Bailey asked where the ATM would be located. Mr. Kuish stated that it would be against the building on a cement pad.

Commissioner Savage asked where the seating wall would be placed. Associate Planner Eastman identified the location on the site plan.

Commissioner Stopper asked what the business relationship was. Mr. Kuish stated that he is the property owner and Wells Fargo is a business tenant and ISSi processes entitlements for Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has requested the installation of the ATM.

Staff felt that the design as proposed was not compatible with the downtown design guidelines.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff was concerned with:

  • the lack of details in the plans
  • keeping the downtown unique by using design guidelines and materials compatible with the area architecture
  • ATM and how could it be integrated with the building
  • ATM access panels do not allow brick, etc. around it
  • Seat wall proposed to create vertical height
  • existing paving
  • staff had provided conditions to give the project direction; applicant had not provided alternative plans with a decent design.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that the applicant proposed to put an ATM in the location without specific designs.

Commissioner Stopper discussed safety and traffic at that location. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that he had concerns. There are several ATMs on arterial streets, however, because of the turnout he was concerned vehicles might try to block the parking structures entrance.

Associate Planner Eastman discussed integrating a low wall into the building design. Chief Planner Rosen suggested striking condition #8

Mr. Kuish suggested putting potted plants, instead of a wall or seat.

Commissioner Hart agreed that having any wall is a bad idea and she wanted full visibility.

Commissioner Francis felt that Mr. Kuish was a good landlord and had done a good job. He also stated that there already are pay phones and trash receptacles and the ATM should not be shrouded.

Commissioner Savage agreed with Commissioner Francis that potted plants might still obscure visibility.

Commissioner Bailey agreed with Commissioner Francis that providing spaces to hide around an ATM is not a good idea, and they should keep the foliage trimmed. He supported the project.

Joanne Reina, consultant for Wells Fargo, asked the Commission to consider this request.

Public hearing closed.

Chairman Griffin reiterated that the Planning Commission is being asked to overturn RDRCs denial and eliminate Conditions #1, #3, #4 and #8 and maintain Conditions #2, 5, 6 7.

Commissioner Bailey asked what should be done if this becomes a traffic hazard. Staff discussed enforcement procedures to deal with that.

The title of Resolution PC-05-10 GRANTING an appeal and overturning a denial by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee of a request to install a freestanding automatic teller machine (ATM) in the downtown Central Business District on property located at 444 North Harbor Boulevard was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Savage and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

  1. COMMISSION/STAFF COMMUNICATION

  2. REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

    Commissioner Stopper stated that the City Council charged the City to go ahead with hiring a consultant to update the vision from Transportation Plan of 1995. He also asked staff to submit a proposal on how the Planning Commission can become more proactive in the downtown. He requested this to be agendized for the next Planning Commission meeting.

    Chief Planner Rosen told the Commission that since the Redevelopment Agency has signed a contract with a consulting firm in San Francisco, he would prefer that the consultant dialogue with the Planning Commission regarding being more proactive. Chief Planner Rosen stated that he will be meeting with the consultant and will not be at the next Planning Commission meeting.

  3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

    There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commissions jurisdiction.

  4. AGENDA FORECAST

    The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be March 23, 2005, at 7:00 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:23 a.m.

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