Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
||APRIL 12, 2006
||7:00 P.M. |
|CALL TO ORDER:
||The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Francis at 7:01 p.m. |
||Vice Chairman Francis; Commissioners Bailey, Fitzgerald, Hart, Musante and Thompson |
||Chairman Savage |
||Senior Planner Eastman, Senior Civil Engineer Voronel, Associate Planner Allen and Recording Secretary Pasillas. |
||Commissioner Bailey |
||MOTION made by Commissioner Thompson SECONDED by Commissioner Hart and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Minutes of MARCH 22, 2006 meeting, be APPROVED AS WRITTEN. |
PUBLIC HEARINGSITEM NO. 1
PRJ06-00049 - ZON06-00010, LRP06-00004. THE APPLICANT: EUN & YOUNG KIM; PROPERTY OWNER: CITY OF FULLERTON.
Staff report dated April 12, 2006 was presented pertaining to a request for a (1) Conditional Use Permit for a private school (tutorial center) consisting of up to three employees and 12 students concurrently; and (2) a determination that the sale of this property, previously identified as surplus real property owned by the City of Fullerton, for this use is consistent with the General Plan, on property located at 1500 N. Gilbert Street (northeast corner of Gilbert Street and Pioneer Avenue) (R-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).
Associate Planner Allen gave an overview of the project. Pictures of the property were shown. The primary issues for staff, with regards to the CUP request, are the parking and traffic circulation. As currently configured, there is no separation of the traffic dropping off students vs. the traffic that was parking. Staff recommends a condition requiring that a separate drop off location be marked and 15 parking spaces striped. Currently there is no pedestrian access other than the driveway from Pioneer to the main entrance. Staff is recommending that a minimum 4' wide foot path be created between the street and the building which will provide a separate access for pedestrians coming off of Pioneer. Staff also recommends that the driveway on Gilbert Street be removed and replaced with a sidewalk, curb, and gutter to meet engineering standards, as well as landscaping in the front setback. Staff recommends the parking lot be resurfaced and grade repairs be made to correct drainage issues. The current retaining wall needs repair or replacement, and there are portions of the landscaping that need upgrading or planting, as well as irrigation repairs. Additionally, staff recommends that items remaining from the fire station use, antennas and a steel tower, be removed, and a trash enclosure be provided for a dumpster.
The second request is the review of the sale of surplus property for consistency with the General Plan. The General Plan designation for the property is Medium Density Residential with an R-3 zoning designation. A private school use is conditionally permittable in an R-3 zone if the use complies with certain standards, and staff believes the proposed school as conditioned complies with these standards. As such, staff believes it is consistent with the General Plan.
Associate Planner Allen stated that staff recommends the Planning Commission: (1) determine the sale of the property is consistent with Government Code Section 65402; and (2) approve the Conditional Use Permit for the private school subject to the conditions of approval.
Commissioner Hart asked what the square footage of the building was and Senior Planner Eastman answered approximately 3,900 square feet.
Commissioner Hart inquired as to the occupancy capacity for a school of this type. Associate Planner Allen explained that the occupancy had not yet been determined, but would be determined by the building department.
Commissioner Hart commented that the building seemed large for only 12 students. Associate Planner Allen explained that the applicant's intention at this time was for 12 students, but the space does allow room to grow. Senior Planner Eastman added that a large portion of the building was the former engine room for the fire truck, and that this area is currently proposed as storage space.
Commissioner Hart wanted clarification on the condition requiring the removal of the roll up doors. Associate Planner Allen stated that staff is recommending that both rollup doors be removed, which the building department would likely require.
Commissioner Bailey asked to see an aerial photograph, and noted that there was not a left-turn lane for traffic east bound on Pioneer. Should a vehicle attempt to make an illegal left-turn, it could cause vehicles to que up behind it and onto Gilbert. Associate Planner Allen clarified that the only access point to the school would be westbound on Pioneer.
Commissioner Bailey stated he was concerned with people stopping traffic at that location, both legally and illegally. Associate Planner Allen displayed an expanded aerial photograph and clarified where the entrance to the school would be, as well as the closest location for an eastbound vehicle to turn around.
Commissioner Bailey commented that the school is currently proposing to have 12 students, but asked if they would eventually want to increase that number. Associate Planner Allen explained that the applicant would be able to answer that question during the public hearing.
Commissioner Bailey stated his concern regarding the traffic circulation issue. He felt there was a need for some type of hardscape to prevent the illegal left-turn, whether the applicant or the City of Fullerton paid for such additions.
Public hearing opened.
The applicant, Mr. Kim, stated he had been very happy working with the City, and agreed with most of the recommendations. He explained that most of his students do not drive. He will put a "right turn only" sign at the exit, and will emphasize this to both students and parents. He became interested in this space because many of his students come from nearby Amerige Heights. He believed he had a responsibility to make sure his students are safe. He stated that he had a similar business in Fullerton, at Rosecrans and Euclid, for the past eight years.
That location was in a 1,300 square-foot building, and he is hoping to expand the business.
Mr. Kim gave a handout to the Commission of modifications that he was requesting to several of the conditions. Mr. Kim explained that acquiring the property had been expensive, and he needed to allocate his funds. His long-term plan was to eventually remove the roll up doors, but he would like to delay this item so he can fix the area to be used for day-to-day operations first. He stated his estimate to remove and replace the garage door with glass was approximately $30,000, and he did not have any current plans to use that side of the building.
Vice Chairman Francis asked Mr. Kim if he had brought up these issues to staff, and Senior Planner Eastman stated that there had been recent dialogue before the meeting.
Mr. Kim further explained that this was not a big issue, but he would like the Planning Commission to help him by extending the time period for the work to be done. He believed that fixing the bathrooms was needed first.
Mr. Kim stated that there was currently landscape at the location, but it had not been watered in a long time. He would like to have the requirement to use a landscape architect removed, since the landscape is already there, in basically good condition, and just needs to be cleaned up. He had been trying to get this building since October 2005, and every time he calls an architect or engineer it costs him more money. He understands that the City wants the driveway removed, but would like to keep part of the driveway to use as an enclosed area for lunch or recreation purposes.
Vice Chairman Francis clarified there were three things Mr. Kim was requesting: Delaying the removal of the roll up door, removal of the landscape architect requirement, and leaving the cement pad in front. He asked for clarification regarding Mr. Kim's intent to put in a curb.
Mr. Kim stated he would put in a curb and leave the driveway. Later he would put in a block wall to enclose a patio area.
Commissioner Thompson asked Mr. Kim if he thought the driveway would be a good area for a patio, considering its slant. Mr. Kim responded that it is not very sloped, and he would use only half of the pad. He would put in grass if required by the City.
Commissioner Thompson asked for Mr. Kim's vision for this project was. Mr. Kim responded he would like to remove the garage door, put in double doors, and create an enclosed space with a wall at the height the city required.
Vice Chairman Francis asked if Mr. Kim had read all of staff's conditions and verified that these were the only conditions Mr. Kim wanted revised. Mr. Kim responded affirmatively and said all other conditions were not a problem.
Commissioner Bailey commented that a patio is part of the landscape, therefore, if the patio meets the City code, it should not be a problem. He explained that the Planning Commission needed a landscape plan so they can understand what Mr. Kim is proposing, and also that it is a requirement for all projects not just this one. He also added that a bond would be required.
Commissioner Thompson asked Mr. Kim if he thought he was capable of drawing a landscape plan himself. Mr. Kim responded that he had a plot plan that indicated existing landscape and paving. He believed that with his architect's help he could prepare a landscape plan.
Commissioner Thompson stated he would allow Mr. Kim to draw his own plan if Mr. Kim could convince him that he could do it and do an adequate job representing his intentions. Mr. Kim responded that he believed he could do it and follow the requirements.
Senior Planner Eastman interjected that the City's Municipal Code requires, in a commercial project, that a landscape plan be completed by a licensed landscape architect. There are a number of things that must be looked at, such as irrigation, backflow, etc., that require expertise.
Commissioner Thompson wanted to know if the requirement be the same if the location were already adequately landscaped. Senior Planner Eastman responded that in referring to maintenance and repair, the bare minimum requirement would be a landscape plan that shows and identifies any existing features and also those items in need of repair.
Commissioner Thompson asked if any time a commercial use changed, regardless of the condition of the property, would there be a time when a licensed landscape architect would not have to characterize the current conditions on paper.
Senior Planner Eastman explained that for repair and maintenance of irrigation systems, which may be needed, Mr. Kim would need to obtain a plumbing permit. Part of the issue would be that this was a tenant improvement for the space, and even though it may be minimal, it would still be required. The Planning Department has no landscape architect on staff, and refers to the Community Services Department for any landscape type questions. If Mr. Kim wanted to come in, identify the existing trees and where replacements were needed, and had a qualified person prepare an irrigation plan, staff may accept this depending on the extent of the work.
Commissioner Thompson asked if the Planning Commission could leave this issue open since he saw it as a couple of block walls and a few trees, nothing very complex.
Commissioner Bailey disagreed and stated his concern with the slope in back. He felt proper repair and maintenance would be required in order to prevent the houses at the top of the slope from sliding down.
Commissioner Hart inquired if Mr. Kim financially had the capacity to complete the required improvements. Mr. Kim answered affirmatively, explaining that he preferred to complete the projects in sequence, rather than all at once.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Kim how long he would want to complete all of the conditions. Mr. Kim responded six months to a year, and added that he also wants the building to look aesthetically pleasing.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Thompson asked if the green line shown on the aerial photo referred to the property line. Associate Planner Allen indicated that the green line should actually extend to the top of the slope.
Commissioner Thompson questioned if Mr. Kim would be responsible for landscaping the entire slope, and Senior Planner Eastman answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Fitzgerald wanted clarification as to whether the replacement of the roll up doors was a request by staff or an actual requirement. Associate Planner Allen responded that the Building Official would probably require the removal of the roll up doors in order to meet energy and also exiting requirements.
Vice Chairman Francis asked if Mr. Kim had Building Department approved plans at this time and Associate Planner Allen answered negatively. Vice Chairman Francis responded that the actual requirement would not be known until the plans are approved, so Mr. Kim will probably be required to replace the doors.
Commissioner Thompson asked for clarification between staff's recommendation to remove the doors, and the uncertainty as to whether it would be required.
Senior Planner Eastman answered that as stipulated in the staff report, Mr. Kim has not submitted construction plans at this time; therefore, staff has been unable to review the tenant improvements for building code. Based on staff's experience it is believed Mr. Kim will have to remove the roll up doors in order to meet building code requirements. If it is not required by code, staff is asking the Planning Commission to require the removal of the doors as a condition of approval.
Commissioner Thompson did not believe any of the Commissioners had a problem with the use, but it is unknown what Mr. Kim would do. He believed it would be possible to fix up the building and make it look like a fire station. He wondered if it would be possible to approve the use and ask Mr. Kim to come back with plans.
Commissioner Bailey understood what Commissioner Thompson said, but did not feel the plan is fully thought out.
Senior Planner Eastman explained that staff believed there were aesthetic needs as well as meeting the criteria identified in the General Plan. Staff believed the doors needed to be replaced with something more appropriate in keeping with a residential community.
Commissioner Thompson commented that the building looked like a fire station and he did not believe that replacing the doors would make it look any different. He added that he was not prepared to say Mr. Kim must remove the doors and could not keep a portion of the driveway slab. He believed Mr. Kim might come up with a visual idea to make it look acceptable. Mr. Kim is a businessman and is trying to work within a budget.
Commissioner Hart stated that she sees the situation differently. She thinks Mr. Kim is buying a commercial property and is responsible for bringing it up to code, the same as anyone else who buys a commercial venue. Commissioner Thompson agreed with what she said.
Commissioner Hart continued that a fire engine door would not be compatible with a school facility structure. She was also concerned with the age of the door and thought there might be a danger in leaving it as is.
Commissioner Thompson explained that he would agree, if the design does not work with the City's building code, but no one has stated that as of yet.
Commissioner Hart added that the Commission had an obligation to the neighbors who bought in Amerige Heights, and wanted this building to look nice.
Commissioner Thompson thought there needed to be a plan. If City law mandated a landscape architect was required, than that was the law. He explained that he was unsure on what to vote on. He would not vote to make Mr. Kim remove the doors or submit a plan by a landscape architect.
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel identified the slope as private property. Current meter size and back flow devices are substandard for this property, both for domestic water and irrigation. Both meters would need to be upsized, upgraded, and back flow devices would need to be included. Engineering calculations would need to be provided. This project would require a landscape architect to make plans because of the slope and irrigation.
Senior Planner Eastman added additional clarification as to why this condition was included even though it was a Municipal Code requirement. Staff believed it necessary to establish specific wording by which Mr. Kim would be conditioned, and also as clarification to Mr. Kim at the time of obtaining entitlement. Even if this condition were removed, it was still a requirement for Mr. Kim to provide a plan by a licensed architect. Staff did not have the professional experience to easily review this type of plan, and it was unknown to staff what was currently at the property. This type of review would require a lot of time, therefore, staff requires that a landscape architect prepare a plan for staff's assessment.
Commissioner Musante stated that Mr. Kim had indicated he was getting hit with all these costs up front and would like up to a year to remove the roll up doors. He asked if there would be any harm in granting that as a condition. Vice Chairman Francis added his belief that it would be required to have a building exit from the former engine room.
Senior Planner Eastman agreed that a secondary means of egress would likely be required, but detailed plans were needed in order to make that assessment. He believed this discussion was a mute point. As to harm, if it meets code requirements, and the Planning Commission feels it appropriate for this building, in this neighborhood, to have this type of door, it becomes an aesthetic issue. The Commission should focus on the aesthetic discussion.
Commissioner Musante clarified that his question concerned the time element, allowing a delay of six months to year. Senior Planner Eastman explained it would become an enforcement and monitoring issue for staff. If Mr. Kim failed to remove the door within the time period, staff would have to issue a notice of correction. If he continued to fail to remove the door, staff would have to come back to the Planning Commission for potential revocation of the CUP.
Commissioner Fitzgerald stated that it could be that the building code may require this replacement prior to the building being used. Senior Planner Eastman added that typically when an applicant comes in with an application for a CUP, there are conditions associated with it, and staff would not allow the applicant to obtain permits until certain conditions were met. Once Mr. Kim occupied the building, staff would not have a mechanism in place to require Mr. Kim to complete the work. It would have to be enforced as a code enforcement issue, and then the Planning Commission would have to consider revocation of the CUP.
Commissioner Thompson believed it to be a catch-22 situation because it is unknown what the building would look like. Vice Chairman Francis stated that the main focus was the conditions on a CUP.
Commissioner Thompson agreed, but felt the conditions might or might not be too restrictive. He felt the problem was that there could be a building design that would negate the need to remove the roll up doors.
Vice Chairman Francis stated that it was his opinion that the Planning Commission was there in order to decide if a school use would be allowed, prior to Mr. Kim spending money on all the plans, architecture, etc.
Commissioner Thompson asked if the Planning Commission could address only the General Plan consistency determination. Commissioner Fitzgerald stated she believed they could. Staff was recommending that the Planning Commission make two recommendations; first approval of the CUP, and second finding the sale of the property was compatible with the General Plan. She asked Commissioner Thompson at what point he would be comfortable approving a CUP for this property. Commissioner Hart thought some guidelines were needed.
Commissioner Thompson stated he would find that the sale of the property for use as a private school was consistent with the General Plan. He did not like the recommendations for the CUP. He would vote to find the sale of the property consistent and ask that Mr. Kim put together a "tighter plan" that could be approved at a later date.
Senior Planner Eastman explained that typically when dealing with relatively minor aesthetics, a CUP may be approved with conditions that the specific details come back to the Redevelopment Design Review Committee (RDRC) or to the Director of Development Services for final approval, based on certain criteria that was put in place by the Planning Commission. It would be unfair for Mr. Kim to hold up the entire CUP based on this issue. Vice Chairman Francis felt the aesthetics could be forwarded to the RDRC.
Commissioner Thompson still did not believe this would serve Mr. Kim. He wanted to verify that Mr. Kim had said he would remove the doors eventually.
Public hearing reopened.
Mr. Kim responded that he would remove the doors without an extension of time, if leaving them would delay his approval.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Thompson explained that he wanted to get at the right answer, approve the CUP, and find the sale consistent with the General Plan. He would agree to have a condition requiring the removal of the door, leave the condition requiring a landscape architect, and allow flexibility for Mr. Kim on how he would use driveway.
Vice Chairman Francis stated that the driveway use would be approved with the landscape plans.
Commissioner Thompson moved to accept recommendations one and two, and modify the conditions.
Senior Planner Eastman clarified that staff would continue to require installation of the curb, gutter, and sidewalk.
Vice Chairman Francis stated that if Mr. Kim came up with a plan and it was unacceptable, the City would have discretion on it.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked Senior Planner Eastman for clarification. She wanted to know if, as the conditions are written, they would allow Mr. Kim to do some type of patio if it was included in his plan.
Senior Planner Eastman answered that yes, if that was the direction the Planning Commission wanted to go, it would not be a problem for staff as far as reviewing some patio space in front, as stipulated by Mr. Kim, presuming it met zoning code.
Vice Chairman Francis clarified that this would be considered hardscape in the landscape plans.
Senior Planner Eastman answered that if staff felt it was inconsistent with the direction provided by the Planning Commission, staff would bring it back to the Planning Commission for consideration.
Commissioner Bailey stated he still had a concern over the left-turn, and believed a one lane road, with vehicles stopping to make a left-turn and blocking the road, would be unsafe. He would not support this project without some type of physical barrier in place.
Commissioner Thompson believed this would be a problem for any type of business at this location.
Commissioner Bailey answered that, in his opinion, it still needed to be fixed. He believed the only reason it had not come up previously was that the firemen needed both entrances; otherwise it would have been changed.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked for a history of the property, because she was not on the Commission when the street was improved.
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel answered that there was no median installed in front of that driveway because the fire trucks needed to be able to make large movements in order to turn around. Vice Chairman Francis asked if it was possible to have a condition to have the Engineering Department review it, and if it became a problem something could be done. He believed that ultimately if something had to be done it would be Mr. Kim that would pay for it.
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel was concerned there may have been other reasons that the median was not built at this site, not only because of the fire truck requirements. She felt that building a median would be costly to impose on the CUP based on the limited extent of building and site improvements to be completed. She did not feel prepared to answer questions about the median because she was unsure how the median would impact the westbound left-turn pocket. She felt a traffic engineer would need to look at the situation.
Commissioner Thompson thought a condition could be added where the Commission would reserve the right to revoke the CUP if there were significant traffic issues.
Commissioner Bailey described an intersection on Harbor Blvd. north of Bastanchury. At this location there are double yellow lines, yet people make that illegal left turn.
Senior Planner Eastman that the City Engineer had reviewed the application and staff did not feel they could impose a condition on this CUP that Mr. Kim provide the median.
Commissioner Bailey stated he would approve the CUP if the City Traffic Engineer took another look and stamped his approval.
Vice Chairman Francis confirmed that the engineer had looked at the application and indicated that this driveway would not be an issue.
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel added that for a 12-student tutorial center the Traffic Engineer did not feel it would be a problem. Other measures could be taken; the driveway itself could be redesigned to prevent a left-turn out and in.
Commissioner Bailey stated that he had said physical barrier, not necessarily a median. For example, the large dots that are put on the ground so that when you drive over them you can feel them.
Vice Chairman Francis stated that the commission was going to approve or not going to approve a CUP, but regardless a CUP could be taken away.
Senior Planner Eastman suggested staff could add a condition that prior to issuing building permits, the City Traffic Engineer would review this application in terms of this issue and recommend a mitigation measure to resolve any issues that are identified. Any of those mitigation measures shall be incorporated into the CUP and completed by Mr. Kim.
Vice Chairman Francis asked if this traffic review had already been done, and Senior Planner Eastman explained that the City traffic engineer had looked at this project, but staff will have the Traffic Engineer take a second look and address it specifically as it relates to that driveway.
Commissioner Musante stated that as a previous police officer he agreed with Commissioner Bailey and thought the Civil Engineer had the solution and the driveway could be configured to prevent a left hand turn into or out of the location
Vice Chairman Francis asked staff to bring up that possibility as a better option.
The title of Resolution PC-06-10 APPROVING a request for a (1) Conditional Use Permit for a private school (tutorial center) consisting of up to three employees and 12 students concurrently; and a (2) a determination that the sale of this property, previously identified as surplus real property owned by the City of Fullerton, for this use is consistent with the General Plan, on property located at 1500 N. Gilbert Street was read and further reading waived. MOTION by Commissioner Fitzgerald, SECONDED by Commissioner Bailey and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.
Vice Chairman Francis explained appeal process.
ITEM NO. 2
PRJ06-00050 - SUB06-00003. THE APPLICANTICANT: TIM MOODY; PROPERTY OWNER: TUO FULLERTON ASSOCIATES, LLC.
Staff Report dated April 5, 2006 was presented pertaining to a request for abandonment of two (2) 10-foot wide water easements on property located at 3200 Yorba Linda Boulevard (southeast corner of Yorba Linda Boulevard and Sapphire Road) (C-2 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15332 of CEQA Guidelines).
Vice Chairman Francis explained to the Commission that this item was a housekeeping item. He asked if the Commissioners wanted to hear a staff report, and they responded negatively.
Senior Planner Eastman gave a brief overview of the request. This was the Crossroads Shopping Center located on Yorba Linda. There were utilities located behind the building and they have been relocated as part of a separate project. These easements are leftover, this was a clean up issue, and the City is now abandoning easements that no longer serve any purpose.
The title of Resolution No. PC-06-11 APPROVING a request for abandonment of two (2) 10-foot wide water easements on property located at 3200 Yorba Linda Boulevard was read and further reading waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, SECONDED by Commissioner Musante and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
OTHER MATTERS Vice Chairman Francis nominated Commissioner Bailey and Commissioner Musante seconded the nomination.
APPOINTMENT OF PLANNING COMMISSIONER TO UNDERGROUND UTILITIES COMMISSION
Senior Planner Eastman explained that the City Council will actually appointment the person; they are looking for a volunteer from the Planning Commission.
Vice Chairman Francis asked if anyone else had an interest besides Commissioner Bailey.
Senior Planner Eastman further explained that this is a commission that will look at the establishment of undergrounding districts for public utilities. He asked Commissioner Bailey if he would like to volunteer for the position and Commissioner Bailey answered affirmatively.
Senior Planner Eastman stated there had not been any recent meetings, but they are anticipating future activity. The committee includes people from Southern California Edison, the telephone company, and the Director of Engineering. It is a working group to make a recommendation to City Council on undergrounding issues.
COMMISSION/STAFF COMMUNICATION Senior Planner Eastman introduced the new senior planner, Robert St. Paul (Bob), who will start on Monday April 24, 2006.
Vice Chairman Francis asked what city he was from and Mr. St. Paul responded that he had been working in Santa Ana for nine years, and prior to that he worked in Los Alamitos.
Vice Chairman Francis welcomed Mr. St. Paul to the City of Fullerton.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS Senior Planner Eastman gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.
PUBLIC COMMENTS There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
AGENDA FORECAST The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be April 26, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked if there was timeline established on the Coyote Hills project.
Senior Planner Eastman advised the Commissioners that the environmental report was available for review, but there were no specific dates set as of this time. He added that when dates are determined staff will update the Commission.
ADJOURNMENT There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.