Kia Mortazavi, Director of Strategic Planning for OCTA, spoke about the extension of Measure M and the affects of it regionally and locally. He spoke of the various road repair and widening projects. He said that a transportation management ordinance would be required as part of the General Plan.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Mortazavi about extending the rail line service to San Diego and adding routes on weekends and evenings. Mr. Mortazavi stated that OCTA will assess the demand and provide additional routes, as needed.
Commissioner Stopper asked Mr. Mortazavi what source he used for growth data. Mr. Mortazavi answered that he referred to the Orange County demographic projection center at Cal State Fullerton. Commissioner Stopper asked if the COC (Citizen's Oversight Committee) had term limits and if he was happy with their performance. Mr. Mortazavi responded that there are staggered terms of two to three years and he was very happy with their performance. He said that they would be making minor changes regarding more equal representation by supervisorial districts.
The Commission discussed various projects and their political ramifications. CEQA Commissioner Hart asked about replacing structures in the historic preservation zone. Chief Planner Rosen answered that there are specific guidelines and each project is reviewed by the Landmarks Commission.
Commissioner Savage asked for a clarification of a Conditional Use Permit. Chief Planner Rosen explained that the ordinance states that a use would have to be detrimental to public health, safety and welfare and in order to deny a project, and there must be specific findings.
Commissioner Hart asked if the RDRC reviewed only redevelopment projects and are there development guidelines that are considered. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff uses their judgment on certain projects. Projects on public property need to cross certain thresholds before the Planning Commission would review it. He told the Commission that there are development standards, but no design or framework standards.
Commissioner Bailey asked about the Environmental Impact Report process. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the Environmental Impact Report is funded by the developer, but it becomes the property of the City and the City is involved in all future discussions. He said that the Public Resource Code provides the guidelines for challenging environmental documents.
Commissioner Savage asked how they should weigh the Specific Plan against the General Plan. Chief Planner Rosen referred to the provisions in the General Plan that deal with a Specific Plan. There are areas in the City that are already designated as specific plan districts and it is used for isolated developments.
Commissioner Savage asked if a Specific Plan was not feasible for small projects. Chief Planner Rosen said that it is typically used more for larger areas, and it is very costly. The Commission discussed the State law and exceptions to it.
Chairman Griffin asked if the Planning Commission can determine if a project is an acceptable size. Staff answered that it is at the Planning Commission's discretion whether or not to recommend it to the City Council.
Commissioner Stopper asked about the zoning of the Central Business District. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it is a defined area with special guidelines.
Chairman Griffin and Commissioner Stopper felt that zoning should be reviewed annually with the Planning Commission.
A. PUBLIC COMMENTSThere was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
Planning Commission recessed to the closed session.
RECESS TO CLOSED SESSION1. Conference with Legal Counsel - Anticipated Litigation per Government Code Section - 54956.9(b)
No. of Potential Cases: 1
Reporting Out: None
7:00 P.M. SESSIONCommissioner Francis joined the meeting at this point
CITY STAFF PRESENT: Mark Miller, City Traffic Engineer, Senior Civil Engineer Voronel, Chief Planner Rosen, and Senior Planner Eastman
Deputy City Attorney Barlow reported that the Planning Commission had a closed session and no action was taken and the Planning Commission was ready to start the public hearing.
Chairman Griffin informed the audience that at the 4 p.m. session the Planning Commission heard a presentation from OCTA, a zoning workshop, and approved the minutes from October 12, 2005. ITEM NO. 1
PRJ04-00919 - ZON04-00098 / ZON05-00087 / ZON05-00088 / SUB04-00008. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: ACCRETIVE LAGUNA PARTNERS, LLC
Staff report dated October 19, 2005, was presented pertaining to a request to demolish an existing retail center and construct a new commercial/office development comprised of approximately 10,400-square-feet of retail; 8,000-square-feet of restaurant uses; 101,725-square-feet of medical office; 3,700-square-feet of administrative offices; a 549-space parking structure and surface parking. The request includes applications for a Major Site Plan; a Zone Adjustment to permit "universal" size parking spaces and a minor reduction in required parking (less than 5 percent); a Conditional Use Permit to exceed the base Floor-Area-Ratio (FAR); and an Abandonment and Realignment of Public Service Easements on property generally located at the southwest corner of Bastanchury Road and Laguna Road, encompassing an area between Bastanchury Road, Laguna Road, Laguna Drive, and Sunny Crest Drive) (C-2 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (Continued from July 13, 2005)
Chief Planner Rosen stated that this portion of the hearing was being broadcast on the City's cable channel and taped and it would be rebroadcast.
Senior Planner reported that the applicant, Accretive Laguna Partners, LLC, was proposing to demolish an existing retail center and construct a development comprised of retail and office uses. He explained that the previous proposal included five requests and listed them:
Senior Planner Eastman stated that in July the applicant was proposing construction of residential units and subsequently removed the residential portion, therefore, there is no longer a need for a zone change, a specific plan or a condominium tract map. The application includes a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to consider a FAR (floor area ratio) proposed at 49%. There are also two Zoning Adjustments requested regarding utilizing universal parking stall dimensions, and a reduction of six parking spaces from the 750 that are required.
- Major Site Plan
- Zone change from C-2 to a Specific Plan District (SPD)
- Specific Plan Document to implement the SPD zone
- Tentative condo tract map
- Abandonment and re-alignment of a public utility easements
The public notification map was displayed showing the geographic areas noticed. Many residents who attended meetings or contacted staff were added to the notification list. An aerial view was displayed and Senior Planner Eastman identified the construction site boundaries, and the two medical office buildings that will not be demolished.
Photos of the site were displayed along with photos of the parking lot and the current businesses along Sunnycrest and Laguna.
Senior Planner Eastman gave a background of the project explaining that it was originally submitted in January, 2004; there have been four community meetings; and two RDRC meetings. At the July 13, 2005 RDRC meeting, the project was continued so that staff would have the appropriate time to review legal questions received regarding the environmental documents that were prepared, subsequent to the July 13 meeting. The applicant revised the project after meeting with the community. Staff recommended that if the project was approved, the RDRC would review the final plans with the revisions. Staff had the environmental document revised to address the revisions in the project. Another letter was received from Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger on October 25, 2005 and staff has reviewed the concerns mentioned in the letter.
Senior Planner Eastman displayed the list of items proposed, prior to the July 13 meeting; compared to the current proposal.
The current site plan was displayed and Senior Planner Eastman discussed the slope, the setback and the landscaping up to the retaining wall. The floor plan of the food court was displayed and discussed and the elevations were displayed, along with the parking structure elevations. Brick and vines on the building were added on the Laguna Road elevation.
The new retaining walls on the Bastanchury frontage would provide the minimum setback required by the code. There are two types of walls proposed. One type will be a Loffel wall with landscaping. A more conventional retaining wall will be located at buildings A and B. Additional surface parking was added.
The traffic circulation was previously proposed as one-way and is now revised as two-way on Sunnycrest, west from from Laguna Road. It will remain one-way on Sunnycrest off of Valencia Mesa to Laguna Drive. Neighbors from the south were concerned with the traffic flow through their neighborhood. The south-bound traffic on Sunnycrest would have to exit on Valencia Mesa at Laguna Road, and encourage southbound traffic on Harbor. Diagonal parking will be added near the post office.
Mitigations measures at Laguna and Bastanchury include a ten-foot dedication along Laguna Road to allow an additional turn lane at the intersection. Also, split-phased signalization at Laguna and Bastanchury will be installed. A roundabout at Laguna and Valencia Mesa is proposed to encourage southbound vehicles on Laguna to go east to Harbor Boulevard. A westbound right turn lane will be added at Harbor and Bastanchury. An all-stop intersection will be added at Laguna Road and Laguna Drive.
The applicant has reduced the proposed private street widths and increased landscaping. The City has easements for the public utilities under the streets, and realigning the streets requires approval of an Abandonment and Realignment application.
Senior Planner Eastman reiterated that the applicant was requesting the approval of four applications:
A traffic report was prepared and is part of the Mitigated Negative Declaration.
- Major Site Plan to consider the physical improvements of the site;
- An Abandonment and Realignment of Public Utility Easements to address the existing private streets and to allow for the access to utilities;
- A CUP proposing a 49% Floor-Area-Ratio;
- A zoning adjustment to use universal parking stall dimensions in lieu of standard and compacts stalls; and to allow a 1% reduction in parking spaces
Staff reviewed the project and the community voiced their concern at several public hearings. Staff has also reviewed all the documents that were prepared, with multiple revisions being requested. Staff felt the documents were accurate and complete, the uses are permitted by the zoning code, and it was an appropriate development of the site. The proposal is within the maximum FAR and complies with all the code development standards, except for the two zoning adjustments requested. It is within the General Plan focus area, targeting development at this site for retail and medical uses, consistent with the surrounding area. The uses are wholly permitted by the zoning code.
Staff recommended the following actions:
The staff report was prepared, a finding regarding the adequacy of the Mitigated Negative Declaration was added to the draft resolution. Additional letters and e-mails in support and in opposition were received since the agenda packet was distributed, and copies were provided to the Planning Commission.
- Adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration and a Mitigation Monitoring Program
- Approve the proposed Major Site Plan; Abandonment and Realignment; CUP and Zoning Adjustment request for universal parking; subject to 32 conditions in the staff report and the findings in the draft resolution
- Deny the Zoning Adjustment request to reduce the required number of parking spaces, based on the findings in the draft resolution
Senior Planner Eastman introduced the City's environmental consultant and his staff, Phil Martin and Associates. Phil Martin, 18195 McDurmott, Irvine, stated that he prepared the Mitigated Negative Declaration. He introduced Arnold Torma, the Traffic Consultant from Katz, Okitsu, and Associates; and Matt Jones from Mestre Greve, the Noise and Air Quality consultant.
Arnold Torma, principal with Katz, Okitsu, and Associates in Tustin, explained that they specialize in traffic engineering and traffic studies. He spoke about the comprehensive traffic study utilizing the standard methods and procedures, as well as the City guidelines. He said that they accounted for any possible future projects that might influence traffic in the area. They considered the impact on the neighborhood, etc.
Matt Jones, Mestre Greve and Associates, registered professional engineer, responded to the concerns in the Shute, Mihaly, Weinberger letter received on October 25, 2005.
Concerns listed in the Shute, Mihaly, Weinberger letter
A. CEQA sets a low threshold for EIRs
B. Significant traffic impacts
C. Air quality impacts
1. Air emissions will be significant
2. Mitigation not sufficient to reduce air quality impacts
D. Significant aesthetic impacts
E. Significant impacts from hazardous materials
F. Significant noise impacts
G. Population, housing and growth impacts
H. Provide analysis of significant cumulative impacts
Responses to the Concerns
Jason Retterer, Woodlin, Spradlin and Smart, special counsel to the City highlighted key areas of the same letter:
- Analyzed construction air quality per the recommended thresholds in the SCAQMD CEQA analysis handbook. The project is close to those thresholds, which are very low
- Nitrogen oxide from heavy truck and demolition exhaust was measured at four pieces of heavy equipment moving eight hours a day with a trip length of 20 miles.
- P M - 10 sources are fugitive dust from disturbing the site and during demolition. If the demolition would take longer than five days, the daily emissions would be reduced.
- Concrete pouring for parking structure at 100 trucks per day traveling 15 miles one way still is below the threshold
- Used City regulations for noise, which is considered a City-adopted policy and guidelines for impacts.
- SCAQMD Rule 403 re-written in 2005 regarding reducing fugitive dust from demolition. List of 50 items that every project must comply with and other contingency items.
- Exhaust pollutant reduction using low sulfur fuel. The purpose is to let particulate traps that are coming online work, it actually does not reduce emissions from existing equipment. There will be retrofitting of equipment in the next few years.
- Using newer equipment will not change the affect the net change regionally because of the population of the equipment will simply shift older equipment to another project in the area.
- They use the City's noise ordinance regarding significant construction noise and excludes construction noise control during 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Higher levels of noise will be experienced when heavy equipment is being operated on the portion of the site closest to the adjacent homes and will lessen as they move to other portions of the site. This is a temporary impact and is within the City's adopted threshold.
- Mechanical equipment has various noise levels depending on the type. Mitigation requires a report prior to the issuance of building permits analyzing the types of equipment and ensuring that they comply with the City's noise ordinance.
- Reviewed the letter, the initial study and evidence of the City's initial study and a Mitigated Negative Declaration is proper and is required for this project in his opinion;
- Traffic consultant - used City's methodology and accepted professional methodology to analyze and assess traffic impacts;
- The consultant followed the correct procedures for analysis
- Developer has agreed to make improvements to improve traffic flow and provide a right-turn lane at Bastanchury and Harbor, which currently operates at LOS D and would be degraded to LOS E without these improvements;
- Air Quality impact analysis and noise impact. Both are conservative analyses and the project will probably not achieve the levels analyzed. Assumptions about the construction equipment and the duration of equipment on the site and the pounds per day stated are significantly greater than what would actually occur.
- The applicant will be required to comply with Rule 403 AQMD rules and regulations. Mr. Retterer suggested that the traffic consultant discuss the cumulative impacts analysis, his methodology and how he considered the smaller projects identified in the Shute, Mihaly, Weinberger letter and three projects that the City identified as potential traffic generators. He stated that they built in a potential growth factor.
Steven Cheng, Katz, Okitsu, and Associates, spoke about three cumulative projects:
St. Jude Medical Center, Phase I;
St. Jude Medical Office Building; and
St. Jude Medical Office Building Phase 2 (only in planning process)
Mr. Cheng also stated that he added a 1% growth in traffic to account for any other development not accounted for in the City, which is a standard industry practice.
Mr. Retterer stated that the noise ordinance limits the construction activity to hours between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. because they are the least noise-sensitive hours of the day. Current ambient noise levels on Bastanchury are higher. The noise measurements along Bastanchury were 65 - 67 decibels, which is within residential noise standards. Construction noise is typically 65 decibels with occasional spikes up to 100 decibels. Those noise spikes would not be consistent during the course of the construction. This activity will occur during a six to nine month period.
Commissioner Stopper asked about traffic circulation and parking next to the post office. Senior Planner Eastman said that Sunnycrest and Laguna were private and maintained as private streets. There are ownership easements and access issues over the private properties. He discussed that the applicant is providing additional parking next to the post office on Sunnycrest. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the applicant has access and rights to use the parking, however, it is not guaranteed that it will always be available to them, specifically. Staff could not count the on-street parking adjacent to the post office, even though they have the rights to use it. They will be increasing parking in that area and they have access to it, but it is not on their property.
Commissioner Stopper asked whether universal parking spaces were used at the new parking structures built at St. Jude, Cal State Fullerton, and Fullerton College. Chief Planner Rosen said that staff would identify what was used and report the findings. It was clarified that the University parking structures must comply with State standards, not the City zoning.
Commissioner Stopper asked about traffic mitigation at the intersection of Sunnycrest and Laguna Road. City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that staff is monitoring the area and feels that there is not a concern to make it a requirement. It will be addressed if it presents a problem.
Senior Planner Eastman stated that the road will be widened at Laguna and Bastanchury to allow ten additional feet for another turn lane and an existing building at the sidewalk will be removed. There will be a clear line of site.
Commissioner Stopper asked if there would be a signal or system for pedestrians. Senior Planner Eastman said one mitigation item is that the crosswalk be enhanced, which may include flashing lights, signage and enhanced paving, etc.
Public Hearing Opened.
John Killen, Managing Developer for Accretive Laguna Partners explained:
the history of the company
the history of the site
the purchase of the property
the design is in compliance with scenic corridor guidelines
the plan is appropriate for the zoning
the developer revised the plan after community input
they reduced the density by 20% by removing the condos
they reduced the size of the food court
they added landscaping and increased the setbacks
the nearest residence is 500 feet away
there will be an upgrade of a 40 year old infrastructure
it meets parking standards and code requirements
they will provide storm drainage runoff controls
they will offer reimbursement for minor dust impact to nearby residents
Commissioner Francis asked what the figures where for future fiscal benefits and if any other plan was considered. Mr. Killen said that he has the figures, but did not have the information with him. He said they considered possibly renovating the site, however, there were significant seismic and ADA requirements to meet. He said the last figures included the project with the residential component, which has since been deleted.
Commissioner Francis asked why the housing element was removed. Mr. Killen said that it was not accepted by the community.
Commissioner Francis asked about the reimbursement for disruptive dust impacts. Mr. Killen said that they have a "good neighbor" policy and wanted to alleviate the impact on the closest residents.
Commissioner Stopper asked if Mr. Killen was withdrawing his request for an adjustment in zoning and parking. Mr. Killen responded affirmatively. Staff was recommending denial of that request since the applicant has complied.
The Planning Commission recessed for 10 minutes.
The Planning Commission re-adjourned at 8:51 p.m.
Commissioner Stopper had questions regarding table 6 in the Mitigated Negative Declaration. Steven Cheng pointed out the information regarding intersection of Harbor and Valencia Mesa. Commissioner Stopper compared that data to table 14 assuming what traffic would be in 2025. He discussed the traffic impact on Harbor and Bastanchury, Bastanchury and Laguna, and Valencia Mesa and Harbor.
City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that the information is the best guess as what the impact is when the city is built out. He said that the north side of Bastanchury is in design currently and the bridge will be expanded and it will be three lanes through the width of the City. It is funded in the budget and will be completed in the near future.
Public hearing opened.
Bernie Dunlap, Director of Community Government Relations for St. Jude Medical Center, spoke on behalf and at the direction of St. Jude. He stated that they support the project, as presented. He felt it was complimentary to the medical uses in the area. The new medical office building did not meet all the medical space required by Senate Bill 1953. This will provide needed medical space. St. Jude does not have financial interest and is not currently planning on being a tenant. They have 700 physicians with staff privileges and need to have medical office space near the hospital. He mentioned that hospital employees have a need for retail and food services nearby.
Commissioner Francis asked if the St. Jude community is excited about the food court. Mr. Dunlap said that employees and visitors are excited about it because the hospital cafeteria closes early. Commissioner Francis also felt that it would be convenient for patients to have follow-up appointments near the hospital.
Dr. Jeff Bodwin, American Martial Arts Academy Karate studio, told the Planning Commission that they have reached an agreement with the developer to allow them to relocate from the site and maintain their business. He said they were happy and felt it was an equitable resolution.
Kevin Mathy, 236 E. Wilshire, stated that the business community welcomes revitalization, new business and new revenue sources. He felt it was an excellent example of updating an under-utilized, aged center. He was sorry to see residential component be eliminated. He felt that the lawsuit filed was an abuse of the law. He urged the Planning Commission to support the project.
Carol Gruetter, 821 Rodeo, met with John Killen to discuss the original plan. She stated that:
her recommendations regarding mass, traffic, landscape, noise, quality of life, safety issues were ignored;
the revised Mitigated Negative Declaration ignored significant environmental and cumulative impacts;
staff was rushing it through the process;
the design was incompatible;
the landscaping was insufficient;
City Council and Planning Commission were not reviewing all aspects of the project;
they had to retain counsel to preserve the integrity of their neighborhood; and
they had heard a rumor that the Planning Commission had decided to approve the project and it was a "done deal".
Chairman Griffin told Ms. Gruetter that he had not decided how he was going to vote and that the Planning Commission weighs all information before making a decision.
Don Ludwig, 654 W. Valencia Mesa, addressed the traffic impact and analysis. He has had ongoing dialogue with the City on Valencia Mesa. He requested additional review of the traffic flow in the area.
James Taylor, 1300 N. Glenview, spoke about traffic patterns. He said that Valencia Mesa has become a major thoroughfare for Fullerton. He also spoke of the noise impact of this development.
Cathy Demello, Director of Integrity House for the developmentally disabled and those with traumatic brain injuries. She spoke of the poor condition of the building and how pleased she was with the way Accretive Laguna Partners assisted them in relocating to a more accessible location in Santa Ana.
Jan Perkins, 1565 N. Johnson Knoll, spoke about the number of vehicle trips and that the community is unhappy with the projected traffic volume. He stated that depending on what the Planning Commission decided, it would have an impact at the ballot box.
Commissioner Francis told Mr. Perkins that the Planning Commission was appointed, not elected.
Kay Thomas, 109 Miramonte Drive, said she lives one house from the proposed project. She was concerned with the lighting, noise, early deliveries, trash pickup and no sound wall. She asked that they mitigate sound and light. She was hopeful for a barricade to buffer the sound.
Planning Commission recessed at 9:53 p.m.
The Planning Commission reconvened at 10:04 p.m.
Sue Brashears, 115 Miramonte Drive, her property backs up to the bridle trail.
She was concerned with losing the ambiance of the community, and concerned with the density of the project;
She supported St. Jude and their needs but was against having three parking structures nearby;
She felt there was a traffic problem;
She was concerned that people were parking along the bridge near bridle trail, which was dangerous for pedestrians; and
She asked the Planning Commission to review the project to reduce the impact and the density.
Commissioner Bailey asked Ms. Brashears how long she had lived in her house. She answered that she has lived there for 44 years. She spoke of the history of the area and that the traffic has increased and travels at higher speeds.
Commissioner Hart asked Ms. Brashears if there was controversy when her husband built the two Brashears towers. Ms. Brashears stated that there was controversy but they were not adjacent to residences.
Doug Chaffee, 315 Marion, Fullerton, representing Fullerton Citizens for Smart Growth and Against Over Development.
Concerned about maintaining and improving the quality of life in Fullerton;
Moved here in 1951;
Walked to school through orange groves;
Felt that the process was jammed;
Comment period for the Mitigated Negative Declaration was only 20 days;
Suggested the comment period not expire one day before the hearing;
Spoke about a bacteria used in making Swiss cheese; and
Asked that the public hearing be continued to allow the community more time to respond
He complimented Mr. Killen on removing the condos.
Commissioner Francis asked Mr. Chaffee about a previous development in downtown that he was involved with. Mr. Chaffee spoke about the history of the area that was developed.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Chaffee what he would recommend this area be used for if the project was not approved. Mr. Chaffee stated that he would recommend medical offices and spoke about the scale, an alternative to the traffic circle, screening for parking structure lighting, and a sound wall on the horse trail.
Khosroo Esfahlani, 2310 Morelia Place, a Civil Engineer who spoke on the following issues:
Parking structure should be partially subterranean
The building height was not appropriate and was distractive
Proposed commercial building along Bastanchury should be one-story
Floor Area Ratio
He requested that the Planning Commission continue this item, modifying the project to limit the parking structure.
Tony Bushala, spoke about change and how traffic has increased in Southern California.
He felt that change is good;
Density was not an issue;
Felt this is good for the community;
A mixed use with condos would have been good, need more affordable housing;
A need for unique, quality architecture; and
The most important thing was the need;
He spoke about how the City needs great architecture; and
He asked that the Planning Commission meetings be televised in the future.
Commissioner Francis asked about the traffic in the proposed area. Mr. Bushala stated that his wife works in the area, realizes there would be an impact on traffic and perhaps surrounding owners would upgrade their buildings.
Larry Smith, 1706 Sunnycrest, the area was undeveloped when he moved to Fullerton and has been changed since then.
Not against the development
Felt this project was inappropriate and felt it degrades the quality of life in Fullerton
Fullerton is not like other communities
Do not make it so compact that it is uncomfortable to live in
People have a right to defend their quality of life
Felt the Planning Commission serves the agendas of the City Council
Heavy push from the building industry to influence political offices.
Good reputations for being objective doing the right thing for the community.
Appealed to the Planning Commission because this issue deserves further investigation.
Commissioner Hart asked if he had attended Planning Commission meetings previously. Mr. Smith answered that he had not. Commissioner Hart stated that the Planning Commission does review all the information and deliberate to do what is best for the community.
Paulette Marshall, 315 Marion Blvd., Fullerton.
She was upset that there were no additional community meetings so that community input could be given on the new plan;
Focus area policies identify development with adjacent neighborhood input;
She felt the second Mitigated Negative Declaration did not effectively address all issues
She wanted more community meetings and more review by the RDRC
Regional analysis on the planning with circulation, density.
She said she submitted a petition against the project to the City Council.
Commissioner Francis stated that there had been four community meetings and the developer made changes to the proposal as a result of the community input.
Chairman Griffin stated that staff felt that the changes to the proposal met the zoning requirements and did not require further community meetings.
Commissioner Francis asked for a copy of the petition submitted to the City Council.
With no further comments from the public, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
The Planning Commission recessed at 11:00 p.m.
The Planning Commission re-adjourned at 11:13 p.m.
Commissioner Francis asked to review the applicant's elevations of the proposed structure compared to St. Jude and the surrounding area. The elevations were shown again.
Chairman Griffin asked what the height of proposed parking structure was. Staff responded that the height of the railing is 40 feet on the east side and the elevator tower is proposed at 50 feet on the northeast corner. The height of the railing at the top of the parking structure is 31 feet on the west side.
Commissioner Savage asked why the community did not like the roundabout. Senior Planner Eastman stated that they just did not like it, and no specific criteria have been identified.
Commissioner Bailey said that when he served on the Transportation and Circulation Commission, the community was asking for roundabouts to slow down traffic. He felt it was interesting to hear that they now did not want this mitigation measure to slow down traffic. He felt there should be more of them in the City.
Chairman Griffin said that his experience was that it was foreign to people who have not dealt with it in the past. Some people do not understand the positive aspect of it.
Commissioner Savage asked the City traffic engineer about the roundabouts in Amerige Heights. City Traffic Engineer Miller said that they were designed according to Federal and State standards. They work well and reduce roadway delays and backups and it is a good traffic calming device. He asked if they would be similar in Providence. City Traffic Engineer Miller answered that it will be smaller, but will accommodate delivery trucks and emergency vehicles.
Commissioner Hart asked if it was feasible to cut off the commercial from residential traffic completely by blocking off Valencia Mesa. City Traffic Engineer Miller commented on if that would be practical, he felt the entire neighborhood must be brought into it because it will affect them and traffic will find another route through the neighborhood. He spoke of meetings with Valencia Mesa neighborhood years ago on traffic issues.
Commissioner Francis asked to see the elevations again. Lee Stearns, architect, reviewed it and explained the heights.
Commissioner Bailey asked if there were any residents that abut the property. Mr. Stearns answered that there were none.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Killen what his intent was on managing ownership of this property. Mr. Killen answered that they will be in a long-term hold position. Mr. Crosson is an equity partner and is a long-standing, established Fullerton family and is a benefactor at St. Jude medical center. He concurred that St. Jude has no direct economic affiliation with the project but it will be an extension of the medical community. Mr. Killen had spoken with St. Jude in the past regarding a surgery facility on the second floor; but St. Jude will now have that surgery center in the new facility.
Commissioner Bailey asked if Mr. Killen was open to lowering the parking structure. Mr. Killen stated that there was already one subterranean level.
Commissioner Bailey asked for an explanation of the use of universal parking stalls and the lighting plan. Mr. Killen stated that most of the stalls are 9.5 feet in width and are in a flat slab design, but every third car stall is 8.5 wide. The upper levels provide shielding and special lighting designs and they enclosed the structure on the south and west ends to prevent light leakage to the post office and adjacent residences.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that a mitigation measure requires that a photometric plan be submitted to the City to study light on property and protect other properties.
Chairman Griffin asked for discussion on floor area ratios and the use of streets in that calculation. Chief Planner Rosen answered that the City's floor area requirements in the commercial zones were set as part of the comprehensive update to the General Plan. The purpose is not to look at the bulk and mass of the building, but purely a traffic threshold issue. Private streets and driveways are not included as part of the lot used in calculating the floor area ratios. If the project falls at the base floor area ratio or less, and it is a smaller scale, it will not require a traffic study. The General Plan build out model and improvements for the nearby intersection are already accounted for. If it goes beyond that, staff will study if the additional growth is accommodated for in the intersections.
Chairman Griffin asked for a comparison of universal versus standard size stalls. Senior Planner Eastman stated that the standard is 9 x 19 feet, universal is 8.5 x 18 feet, and compact is 8 x 16 feet. The developer, Mr. Killen, said he was willing to find six spaces and will work it out.
Commissioner Bailey asked for the statistical traffic data for Valencia Mesa and Sunnycrest. City Traffic Engineer Miller said that staff had kept records since 1974 and at that time there were 8,000 vehicles a day, in 1980 there were 8,500 a day, in the early 1990's there were 4,500, and today there are about 6,000 cars. He said that Hughes was a major traffic generator, and its closure in the late 1980's has likely contributed to a drop in vehicles.
Commissioner Francis was originally concerned with the height of the parking structure, but after viewing the comparison his concerns were alleviated.
Commissioner Bailey was also concerned with the height, but now felt comfortable. He felt that the density, the layout, and traffic patterns are good. He was disappointed in the removal of the residential element. Medical facilities and the hospital are a benefit to the City and will bring value and revenue to the community. After looking at the plan as a whole, he will be supporting the project.
Commissioner Savage felt that redevelopment is needed in this area. The applicant met with the community four different times and made changes as a result of that. He felt it was a reasonable plan for a C-2 zone. The engineers have reviewed the plan with interesting solutions for traffic. He spoke about two Commissioners who are "at large" and not appointed by any Council members, and three other Commissioners who live in the project area. He did his own field study and after being in the area in the morning and evening, he did not experience any traffic problems. He would be recommending approval, based on the findings on the staff report supporting the project.
Commissioner Hart initially had concerns with the density of the original project. She felt that the applicant listened to the community and was diligent in making changes. She agreed with the resident's comments about traffic on Valencia Mesa in the morning. She commented on the traffic figures since the 1970's and it is less now. She was concerned with the roundabout, she suggested that residents speak with the traffic department regarding blocking off Valencia Mesa. She felt the distance from the single family homes was sufficient. She felt the property owner has a right to develop within the zoning requirements and the best thing was to support the project.
Commissioner Francis spoke of Fullerton being a great community because people are willing to attend many community meetings and stay for five hours. He felt that the traffic department does a good job and he trusts their opinion. The City Council and staff are addressing ideas to alleviate traffic problems. He respected the rights of the developer and the zoning is not proposed to change. It is an improvement to a unique, but old center. He felt this would be an asset to the medical community. He would be supporting the project.
Commissioner Stopper was concerned with the public innuendos on the integrity of the Planning Commissioners and their decisions. He stated that the City Council member that appointed him has never asked where he stands on a project and he has never asked where they stand on a project and he could be replaced by them at any time. Any decision made by the Planning Commission can be appealed. He felt this project will benefit the community. He said that he cannot remember another project where there were four community meetings on one project. He felt it was a proper use of the land, and the safety and security of the community is considered. He is concerned with the pedestrian and vehicular traffic at Sunnycrest and Laguna Drive. He felt a physical barrier would be beneficial for the one-way traffic on Sunnycrest at the post office. He felt the project would add to the growth of the medical community and he would be supporting the project.
Chairman Griffin felt it was great architecture and felt this area needed rehabilitation. He felt the developer responded to the community and made changes as a direct result of their comments. He was also concerned about circulation patterns, traffic impacts, light and noise impacts. He felt the building was too high and the area would be too dense. He would be voting against the project because he felt the negative outweighed the positive. He was strongly supportive of the redevelopment of the center, but with a project that was not so bulky and so close to residential uses. He stated for the record that he had met with the developer twice to discuss the project.
The title of Resolution Number PC-05-37 approving site and architectural plans to demolish an existing retail center and construct a new commercial/office development comprised of approximately 10,400-square-feet of retail; 8,000-square-feet of restaurant uses; 101,725-square-feet of medical office; 3,700 -square-feet of administrative offices; a 549 space parking structure and surface parking; a conditional use permit to exceed the base floor area ratio; and a zoning adjustment to permit "universal" size parking spaces, and denying a zoning adjustment allowing a minor reduction in required parking, on property located at the southwest corner of Bastanchury Road and Laguna Road was read and further reading was waived.
MOTION by Commissioner Bailey and seconded by Commissioner Francis passed by 5 - 1 by members present with Chairman Griffin voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED as written, and to Adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration, the mitigated negative declaration and the mitigation monitoring program.
Chief Planner Rosen explained the appeal process for the audience.
Chief Planner Rosen suggested that the Planning Commission defer discussions on any other items to the next Planning Commission meeting.
Commissioner Francis asked for name tags for the Commissioners.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief update on recent City Council meetings.
There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be November 9, 2005 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned 12:18 a.m.