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RDRC Minutes February 3, 2005

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
REDEVELOPMENT DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE

COUNCIL CONFERENCE ROOM FULLERTON CITY HALL
Thursday February 3, 2005 7:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER :

The meeting was called to order at 7:06 PM by Chairman Daybell

ROLL CALL :

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Vice Chair Silber; Committee Members Coffman, Duncan
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Johnson
PUBLIC PRESENT: A complete list of those attending the meeting but did not speak is available in the Development Services Department
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Eastman

MINUTES :

None

NEW BUSINESS:

PRJ04-00919 ZON04-00098. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: ACCRETIVE LAGUNA PARTNERS, INC.

A request to demolish the existing Sunny Crest Plaza shopping center and construct a mixed use development located at Bastanchury and Laguna Road (generally located on 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) ( A Negative Declaration pursuant to CEQA Guidelines). (JE)

Associate Planner Eastman presented an overview of the project, displayed overhead drawings of the conceptual landscape plan, artistic renderings of the site, and aerial photographs and sketches.

Associate Planner Eastman explained that the project will be heard by the City Council. Prior to going to City Council the City has had two community meetings which the City has sponsored and there has been one developer sponsored meeting. Through all of the meetings there have been revisions to the plans.

The purpose of this Redevelopment Design Review (RDRC) workshop meeting is to discuss the architectural design and landscaping. The project was designed around a Mid-Century Modern architectural theme. At the second public meeting there was some discussion about the appropriateness of that design. The applicant has chosen this design because of its proximity to St Jude Hospital. The applicant felt that the modern architecture is compatible with the institutional look of St Judes most recent buildings. The other aspect to the design theme has to do with the historic 50s and 60s look. The applicant believes Fullerton has an abundance of Mid-Century Modern buildings.

The development is located along Bastanchury Road (a scenic corridor) and the City does have Scenic Corridor Design Guidelines.

Staff asked the Committee to consider the public comments, discuss the architectural theme and its context to the neighborhood and surrounding area, provide direction to the applicant and continue the proposal to a later date.

Committee Member Duncan referred to the scenic corridors/rural streets map and asked staff to clarify how far the Bastanchury Road corridor extends. Associate Planner Eastman replied that the General Plan Map designates Bastanchury Road as a scenic corridor to the bottom of Malvern Avenue and up to Associated Road.

Committee Member Coffman asked if there is a certain percentage of the entire site that is required to be landscaped and if so, does it currently meet that requirement, and how does the proposed number of parking stalls compare with what is there now? Associate Planner Eastman said that the applicant is proposing a Specific Plan, and the landscaping is identified in terms of a context, and theme. The Specific Plan could identify a certain amount of landscaping if Planning so chooses. In a normal commercial C-2 zone Planning does not require a certain amount of landscaping but does require that setback areas be landscaped along streets, parking areas to be landscaped to a certain proportion. There is a 10-foot setback requirement and this proposal meets that requirement along Bastanchury. A 5-story parking structure and a subterranean garage is proposed. There is a significant increase in parking

Committee Member Coffman said it appears that there is only one access to the street from the subterranean garage. Since the proposal is a mix-use development, has the applicant provided a designated loading/unloading area? Associate Planner Eastman stated the original proposal had only one access. At the community meeting there was a significant amount of discussion about the traffic heading southbound on Sunny Crest Drive and, as a result, the applicant included an entrance and exit on Bastanchury. The entrance has a deceleration lane, but because of the intersection at Laguna Road there was not adequate space to provide an acceleration lane. The Bastanchury access would be a right in and a right out only.

In answer to the second question, Associate Planner Eastman said that there has been some consideration to loading as it relates to the food court; however, the applicant would be better able to answer that question. He also noted that although Sunny Crest Drive is being shown as a one-way street it currently is a two-way street that cuts through this area, the proposal makes it 26-foot wide one-way. The width is more than adequate as a two-way. It was provided this way to facilitate traffic at the intersection and provide a safer environment.

Vice Chairman Silber said that a parking study was done. How much of the parking count was generated by the medical unit? Associate Planner Eastman stated the number of parking spaces in the structure is approximately 530.

Chairman Daybell noticed that there was tandem parking in the subterranean garage and asked what the Citys policy is, and how much closer to or further away from Bastanchury is the new apartment structure than the existing one. Associate Planner Eastman said generally speaking in the normal Zoning Code, tandem parking is not encouraged, but Specific Plans allow for it when for individual units. Based on the revisions to this plan, tandem parking is not necessarily needed. The configuration of the building is a little different, but relatively the same concept. One of the concerns staff had in reviewing the proposal had to do with Fire Department access off of Bastanchury. The applicant has provided a pedestrian access off of Bastanchury, also a section cut to show that a ladder truck parked on Bastanchury could, in fact, reach the top level of the building. Chairman Daybell wondered if an access to the food court from Bastanchury is necessary. It may be a potential security issue with people coming up from the parking structure. Associate Planner Eastman said Staff asked the applicant to provide one access for Fire safety purposes; and anticipates that there will be some medical traffic that comes up from the medical building. Providing for pedestrian access is a benefit. The applicant will address security issues.

Public Hearing Opened.

John Killen with Accretive Reality Advisors, Inc. introduced himself and his staff.

Leland Sterns, Architect
Michael Leeman, Taylor & Associates Medical Advisor
Paul Betenhousen, Landscape Architect
Rock Miller, Parking Advisor

Mr. Killen briefly discussed landscaping (specifically the plant materials proposed along Bastanchury). Revisions include relocating the street trees as well as the London Plain and the Sycamore. The existing Eucalyptus stands have been retained along the frontage. Mr. Killen stated that the community center was moved into the center of the development so that it connects with pedestrian circulation. All of the required parking for residential is in the underground parking structure. Parking is assigned for the condominiums and direct access is by elevators at two locations.

Mr. Killen said the project exceeds the landscape setback requirements for the existing C-2 zone. In terms of percentage of open space the percentage was analyzed by different standards and the R4 standard was chosen because it allows a greater amount of open space and common area. He pointed out two trash pickup areas and the designated loading/unloading zones. A large semi or moving van would be able to park in the parallel parking area near the ramp and elevator.

Mr. Killen showed architectural slides including the progression of the three different versions (90 units original proposal; 74 unit version; and 66 unit current version) of the Bastanchury frontages illustrating the various changes. The original design was meant to be creative; take on the distinct nature of the site; would strengthen the identity of the context that it set in, and be a unique expression of place. Because the project is in close proximity to the St. Jude Hospital the design took on an institutional look. Since the community meeting, the design has moved from Mid-Century Modern to a much more residential approach while using much of the same materials and responding more to the larger residential community.

Mr. Killen discussed parking. There are 25 tandem spaces under the condominium building. The one-bedroom units are over parked; (required is 1-1/2 per unit and two are being provided. One of the two spaces is tandem and all other spaces are side by side.

Vice Chairman Silber asked why the residential units are all flats as opposed to townhomes. Mr. Sterns explained that there are townhouses on the west side, and the homes fronting the courtyard are live/work townhomes. Mr. Killen stated that a market study was done specific to the proposal and flats were the preferred product type for the majority of the units because of the pre-retiree and retiree. Architecturally, flats provide a much more horizontal elevation.

Committee Member Coffman inquired whether the live/work townhomes could be two separate entities where one person operates a business and a different person lives upstairs? Mr. Sterns said the townhomes are connected by an internal stairway. Mr. Killen pointed out that that there would be Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions. Subdividing would be restricted.

Chairman Daybell asked if the new bigger building would be closer than the existing building to Bastanchury Road. Mr. Killen replied it would. Chairman Daybell said he is concerned that we are becoming less scenic with more building.

Public Hearing Opened.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that traffic issues would be addressed at another time and asked that comments be kept to the architecture and design of the development.

The following person spoke favorably about the development.

Bruce Hostetter, 205 N. Cornell Avenue.

Mr. Hostetter said in all fairness to the architect and his team, the project has a concept. He said that the project needs to be inviting with pedestrian spaces (a refuge for the people).

The following persons opposed the development as proposed.

Paul Bush, 1619 Sunny Crest Drive
Jean Eslinger, 926 Paloma Place
Sandy Marshall, 925 Valencia Mesa
Sundi Harrigan, 2225 Lake View Lane
Carol Gruetter, 821 Rodeo Road
Dave Trigg, 1460 Sunny Crest Drive
Don Ludwig, 654 Valencia Mesa
Trudy Durrette, 919 Rodeo Road
Doug Chaffee, 315 Marion
Jennifer Burns, 1539 Avalencia
Kay Thomas, 109 Miramonte
Sue Brashears, 115 Miramonte
Khosroo Esfahlani, 2320 N. Morelia Place
Larry Smith, 1706 Sunny Crest
Gardner OBrian, North Fulleton Homeowners Association
Mary Homme, 521 Green Acre Drive
Barbara Klaris, 1402 Sunny Crest Drive
Sharon Gilbert, 1313 Del Monte Drive
William Waite, 1515 Avalencia

A question was asked about the utility easements along Sunny Crest Drive and what type of businesses would occupy the live/work condominiums. Chief Planner Rosen advised that along Sunny Crest the current street is private, but the City has public utility easements along that street and they will be realigned as part of this project. Mr. Killen said the Specific Plan outlines a list of uses that are proposed (for example medical, insurance, and architects) and also those uses that are prohibited.

Members of the community inquired about the role of the various committees; the process involved in getting public input and the number of community meetings in which people can speak out before it reaches Planning Commission and City Council. Also suggested that the neighborhood should have more clarity as what and when developments are going to happen.

Associate Planner Eastman explained that there is a tentative date set for another community meeting but if the developer chooses not to further revise the plans there is no benefit to the community to have a meeting. There will be another Redevelopment Design Review Committee meeting to review the changes made from tonights comments. Mr. Killen said that there are two types of meetings, the developer sponsored and those sponsored by staff.

A resident suggested that notices be mailed to a greater majority of the neighborhood.

Mr. Chaffee, Citizens for Smart Growth explained the mission of his newly formed organization and how it works. He stated that his group has minimum requirements of the project or else the project will face referendum. These requirements consist of:

  • No residential components.
  • Nothing built along Bastanchury Road shall be taller than 1 story.
  • Bastanchury Road shall not be widened.
  • Parking structure height shall be reduced by two levels.
  • Building C and E shall change places.
  • The proposed traffic circle be removed.
  • The open space shall be increased.

Mr. Esfahlani spoke about issues that have not been addressed during the developers presentation. Specifically, detailed plans should show the setbacks, landscape area, and square footage of the project. The setback of the building from the curb face of Bastanchury should at least meet that of the Downey Savings Bank. The buildings height along Bastanchury is a significant issue. By putting two levels of the four-story parking structure underground it would reduce the buildings height. The 26-foot driveway is not sufficient. Zoning should remain commercial. The loading/unloading zone is not clearly shown on the site plan. The plans should show where the common and open space is. He is opposed to tandem parking. The public should be shown how far the buildings are from the property line and ratios of landscaping.

Mr. Smith questioned why the C-2 zoning rules are being applied when in fact the project is a mixed use.

Public comments included:

  • The lack of a buffer between the commercial development and the homes.
  • Lack of vegetation.
  • The rural character of this area would be destroyed by this development.
  • Noise due to no separation between the development and the residences.
  • A view of Mt. Baldy would be lost.
  • Huge contrast between the parking structure and the post office.
  • Density and security.
  • The buildings on Bastanchury should be one story, and Building E should be switched with Building C.
  • Bastanchury should not be widened.
  • Mass too large for the size of the property and inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood.
  • Height of the parking structure and medical building is an issue.
  • The design looks like a prison; it is too sterile and does not compliment the rural look.
  • Concern with having mixed-use.
  • The parking structure is too close to the existing residential neighborhood.
  • Setback off of Bastanchury and open space needs to be increased.
  • The trash pickup location in front of the food court is not appropriate.
  • Rezoning and design is of concern.
  • This development would further congest an already heavily traveled residential street.
  • A one-lane traffic circle is an obstacle.
  • Traffic patterns.

Public Hearing Closed.

Vice Chairman Silber stated that there was a lot of good information that came out of the public comments. However, he would like to see those opposed to a mix-use development reconsider their position on that aspect. St. Jude Hospital is a vital part of the neighborhood. There needs to be housing available to hospital employees so that they will be fresh and not have to spend long freeway hours commuting.

What the design lacks is the charm of a village square and sense of place. He is concerned with the adjacency of uses. The neighborhood is in many ways protected in terms of shift and scale by the post office and by the other buildings that are existing and unlikely to change. To the south there is already a buffer present, but it might not be the right form. The scale of the building facing Bastanchury should be reduced. There is an opportunity to interlock fingers of green with fingers of the building. He is not bothered by the Mid-Century Modern type architecture and feels it can respond to the environment.

Committee Member Coffman said that change is inevitable and must be accepted even though it may be difficult. The architecture is well conceived but not in its final stages. He agrees that the parking structure could be reduced to two stories and would not object to having all or a part of the structure underground. The building closest to Bastanchury should also be reduced in size.

Committee Member Duncan agreed with many of the comments that were made by the other two members. He supports the mixed use. He believes St Jude is an icon for Fullerton, and the architecture needs to support that image. His biggest concern is the corridor along Bastanchury. The developer must be sensitive to the scale along that corridor. The parking structure can also be re-evaluated as to scale, location, or whether to place a portion or all of the structure underground.

Chairman Daybell stated that there is a real need in this area to accommodate the growth of the hospital. He agreed with Committee Members that the height along Bastanchury is inappropriate unless it is set further back. A more innovative use would be to underground the parking structure and place the food court on the top leaving more space around the development. He supports the architectural design.

Chairman Daybell called for a motion.

MOTION made by Vice Chairman Silber, SECONDED by Committee Member Duncan and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote (Johnson absent) to RECOMMEND A CONTINUANCE of PRJ04-00919 ZON04-00098 to a date uncertain.

OTHER BUSINESS:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.

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