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RDRC Minutes October 27, 2005

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
REDEVELOPMENT DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE

COUNCIL CHAMBERS FULLERTON CITY HALL
Thursday October 27, 2005 4:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER :

The meeting was called to order at 4:04 PM by Chairman Daybell

ROLL CALL :

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Cha, Duncan and Hoban
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Committee Member Hoffman
PUBLIC PRESENT: Judy Berg, Claudia Canfield, Fred Canfield, Mark Carnigan, Pat Cowan, Lynda Dykes, Rick Ellington, Jeff Goodfriend, Judith Kaluzny, Tom Lerdsunanrut, Tim Morgan, Jim Ranii, John Rapp, Xue Mei Ren, Jeff Reinhardt, Bob Root, Susannah Trejo, Pauline Wahler, Peter Whittingham
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Eastman, Associate Planner Sowers, Planning Technician Kathryn Ho, Clerical Staff Leopold, Redevelopment Project Manager Rob Ferrier

MINUTES:

MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban to approve the minutes of October 13, 2005 as written SECONDED by Committee Member Cha. PASSED unanimously.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS:

None.

OLD BUSINESS:

1. PRJ04-00004A - ZON04-00002A. A request to modify the architecture approved under Major Site Plan ZON04-00002 located at 2200 N. Harbor Blvd. (generally located on the northeast corner of Harbor Blvd. and Bastanchury Road) (C-1) (Categorically exempt under Section: 15332 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HS)

Associate Planner Sowers provided a staff report on the project. For clarity staff noted that a condition has been recommended that an additional row of windows be added below the windows currently proposed. However, staff's recommendation would allow these new windows to be opaque and can be framed and covered with drywall on the interior of the building.

Chairman Daybell questioned if the existing trees (particularly the tree along Harbor Boulevard) are going to be removed. Peter Whittingham, Curt Pringle & Associates, applicant, answered that the tree is slated to be removed because of the bus turnout the City is requiring.

Senior Planner Eastman stated that as part of the approvals of the original project, a bus turnout was required. The specific tree discussed cannot be retained.

Chairman Daybell opened the meeting for public comment.

Peter Whittingham stated that he has worked on the CVS project for the past two years and has worked closely with staff, particularly on the re-submittal of the architecture. He stated the current plans better address the surrounding context than did the original plans, and they provide elements not typically included in the design of a CVS or any other pharmacy.

Mr. Whittingham introduced the CVS representatives including Lynda Dykes, CVS Realty Co., architect Tim Morgan, BSW International, and developers Pat Cowan and John Rapp, KZ Holdings.

Chairman Daybell asked Mr. Whittingham if he reviewed the recommended conditions for approval presented by staff in the report and if he agreed with them. Mr. Whittingham answered affirmatively.

Committee Member Duncan asked about the relationship between the round tower feature and the adjoining masonry walls, to determine if any relief or standoff existed. Mr. Morgan said the site and building pad is very tight with only 18 inches to work with, to pop out an architectural element. As currently designed, the sides of the building dive into the tower feature, offering no relief. However, the current dimensions do allow for shade and shadows to be created on the building exterior using the trellis structure.

There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Daybell turned the meeting over to Committee Member comments.

Committee Member Hoban said the St. Jude area is an opportunity for Fullerton to modernize. He liked the modern direction of the design but thought that even more modern elements (aluminum and glass) could be added.

Committee Member Cha had no comments.

Committee Member Duncan recommended the corner rotunda to be pushed back, if possible, to allow the side walls to project out, rather than dive into the tower. The walls should have more emphasis and strength. He felt that would just be a recommendation, but didn't think it needed to be a recommended condition of approval.

Mr. Morgan stated if the recommendation was done it would diminish the size of the tower. Staff had previously encouraged the architect to, because of the corner orientation of the building, create a strong entry statement.

Committee Member Duncan recommended the corner landscape not be a "cookie cutter" landscape. Because the parking surfaces come right up to the building, he said the front landscaping becomes crucial. He suggested that the designer take into consideration what the corner is doing to the building and allow a more forward thinking landscape design.

Chairman Daybell agreed with Committee Member Duncan's comments and also suggested the architect consider the building as viewed from Harbor Boulevard (the longer of the two street views) in its landscape design and include planting to soften the building. He reiterated that a quality landscape design is recommended and the applicant should work with staff on this design.

Committee Member Duncan made a MOTION to recommend approval of the project with staff recommendations. Committee Member Hoban SECONDED. PASSED 4 to 0.

NEW BUSINESS:

For the benefit of the public attending, item was heard out of order.

5. Transportation Center Study Update

Redevelopment Project Manager Rob Ferrier gave a detailed review of the purpose and update of the 1995 study draft report and requested the committee provide input and comments on the project. The purpose of the 1995 study was to establish a vision and goals that could be used to guide development in and around the Transportation Center over a 10-year shelf life. The completion of the update would reinforce the City/Agency's commitment to public planning of Fullerton's historic core.

Mr. Ferrier gave an update on previous workshops arranged to discuss the study.

He stated the study would be presented at the upcoming meetings.
  • Planning Commission, Wednesday, Nov. 9
  • Agency Council will review and consider it for approval on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Chief Planner Rosen announced to the committee that approximately 1,000 notices were mailed to the community regarding the meeting and several community members were in attendance to voice their opinions on the study.

Public hearing opened by Chairman Daybell.

Jim Ranii, 123 N. Cornell, was on the Pac 2 committee, which established the initial Downtown design review guidelines. Mr. Ranii expressed his concerns with the limited private and semi-public open space Downtown. He stated his "nightmare" vision of the Downtown, wherein development is limited to only two-story buildings, and as a result, every square inch of land was being taken up with buildings. He is pleased with the report and how it encourages higher buildings and higher density. Mr. Ranii said that is the only way we're going to get some valuable open space Downtown by allowing buildings to go up further in order to free up some square footage at the ground floor for public open space. He compared the city's population density with the largest cities, in 2000, including the number one city New York, 23,000 people per mile. He stated, in 2000, Fullerton had 5,600 people per square and is in one of the most densest areas in the United States, which is Orange County. He stated that we need to treat Fullerton more of an urban area than a suburban bedroom community. This plan identifies that and changes the tone of the Downtown, which is long overdue.

Bob Root, 56-year resident, gave the background on a study, paid for by the City of Fullerton, and done by the Arroyo group for the 1995 Transportation Center Study stating that the group talked about the benefits of adding a railroad activity or museum by the railroad station. Several community members came up with the idea of building a railroad museum built on the history of the City of Fullerton. In 1988/89 they incorporated the Fullerton Railway Association (FRA) and for 11 years have been working on a concept for a historical railroad museum. He stated that a railroad museum/attraction would truly be a great addition to the City of Fullerton and the developers should place more emphasis on this project. He said if a 48,000 square foot shell of a building could be acquired by the developers that the FRA could work with the state and federal government to develop it into the full size museum being contemplated.

Judith Kaluzny, 41-year resident who lives and works in downtown, said she participated in all four exercises, but the consultant did a great job in putting this together. She said there is a rumor that the bus station located across the railroad station is intended to move to the other side of Lemon. The city should get some farsighted transportation ideas to bring people Downtown. If the bus station was moved, it would discourage people to take public transportation.

Mark Carnigan, 2538 Wallace, had a concern with the overemphasis presented in narrowing the streets and broadening the sidewalks for pedestrian access. He supports pedestrian access and says it would be great for the Downtown, but doesn't think it would work on the major boulevard, because of the high traffic demand, which will continue. Expanded traffic studies should be conducted to find out the traffic demand in Fullerton. Perhaps if the city loses on-street parking, it can convert it to additional traffic lanes or adding/eliminating longer left turn traffic pockets. Mr. Carnigan agrees with modifying the FAR's stating it is restrictive in making Fullerton look like a two-story surburban shopping center. Fullerton is far more urban and will continue to get more urban. He questioned if someone could look into a system where FAR could be increased without requiring a CUP.

Public hearing closed by Chairman Daybell and turned over to the committee for comments.

Committee Member Duncan said the consultant did an excellent job and the community has demonstrated an excellent knowledge and caring attitude about what happens in the city. This project is a great planning tool with wonderful intentions of what will occur in the future. The process including staff involvement, developers, consultants, committee and community involved should result in and excellent outcome for future projects.

Committee Member Duncan stated he is in support of the train museum. In regard to the comments made on pedestrian circulation and green space into the Downtown area, a good opportunity would be to add green space along the existing Flood Control District channels. This would reduce the number of vehicular and pedestrian conflicts with crossings by creating pedestrian/bike paths. He would like to see a lot of things implemented from the document.

Committee Member Cha said he thinks the traffic and parking should be enhanced in this project area, since it is a core part of Fullerton and the future of Fullerton. And the city should keep in mind how much additional parking we'll need 10 years from now. He stated the height should not be limited in this project area.

Committee Member Hoban stated he supports the rail station and had questions regarding the train usership. He favors the historic element of a museum and fully supports the document and recommends to uplift the rail station usage in the report. Committee Member Hoban supports the importance of outdoor zones for pedestrians and green space. He stated the buildings should go up rather than out, as you move away from the Harbor Blvd. frontage.

Chairman Daybell said if we overcrowd the traffic coming through the area via Harbor, we will choke Harbor and create a traffic jam and should create a better traffic flow. He thinks it's favorable to tighten Harbor rather than Lemon and Highland, but doesn't think it is feasible without creating a traffic jam. He stated he could see a lot of merit if the sidewalks on Harbor would be widened to 12 ft. The success of the Downtown is not only the people who reside here, but those who work, live and visit here. Chairman Daybell stated if we choke the incoming streets, we'll regret it.

Chairman Daybell recommended that the City work with the College District regarding the green space issue on Lemon and Chapman and work with the Orange County Flood Control District on the water channels.

With no further comments from the committee, Chairman Daybell closed this item.

The meeting was moved to the City Council Conference Room.

2. PRJ04-01164 - ZON05-00024. A request for the development of a 14-unit (per unit: 429 sq. ft. garage; 185 sq. ft. first floor; 462 sq. ft. second floor, 500 sq. ft. third floor) attached condominium project in Community Improvement District (CID) located at 918 S. Highland. (generally on the east side of Highland Avenue between 150 and 275 feet south of Knepp Avenue, west to Tamarack Drive) (R-3) (Categorically exempt under Section: 15332 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HS)

Associate Planner Sowers presented the staff report for this project. She stated the project complies with a code from the site plan perspective.

Staff looked at two main elements in the design of the site including:
  • The project did not look like a though street to Tamarack
  • Maximize open space
Both things have been accomplished.

Staff concerns included:
  • Architecture incorporates some craftsman elements but isn't a fully craftsman building in style. Staff recommendation is to essentially decide what architecture the buildings want to be and go in that direction either to continue with craftsman elements and staff would recommend certain details to be added; or simplify the building. Either approach would work as long as it's consistent.

    Staff recommendation is to revise the architecture and have that come back to the RDRC for review and ultimate recommendation to the Planning Commission. Associate Planner Sowers stated staff would like the RDRC to comment on the specifics of the architecture and staff recommendations, or make a recommendation on the project.

    Chairman Daybell opened the meeting for public comment.

    Property owner Xue Mei Ren and architect Chris Lo were present. Senior planner Eastman asked Mr. Lo if he read the staff report. Mr. Lo answered yes.

    Committee Member Cha asked why the street was blocked going to Tamarack Dr.

    Associate Planner Sowers answered it was created for emergency vehicle access only. The residents would only enter and exit from Highland; a through street condition would not be created. Staff does not want the driveway of this project to become a shortcut for residents on Tamarack.

    Committee Member Cha also questioned the wrought iron fencing. Associate Planner Sowers said the fence would have a gate that could be accessed by emergency personnel.

    Committee Member Hoban asked about the jog in the south property line. Associate Planner Sowers stated that one of the other applications was to abandon a portion of an alley terminus, which has never been developed. While the alley terminus was never constructed, the proposal does not worsen the existing conditions, and will not create a situation where someone comes down in the alley and is unable to turn around. Staff is requiring the applicant to jog the fence location, so the project can leave a turnaround in the alley to accommodate the abandonment.

    Committee Member Hoban asked if the split-face block is on both sides or is going to be only for the new development?

    Senior Planner Eastman answered that typically staff's recommendation would be for the block to be split-faced on both sides. Committee Member Hoban stated that often it is one side only to save cost.

    There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Daybell turned the meeting over to the Committee for comments.

    Committee Member Hoban said he wasn't excited about the project because of the box buildings in a box format. If it's going to be a craftsman-style building, it should have those elements. The air conditioning units need to be rearranged and relocated from the entrance. He said he was not completely opposed to a three-story building, but would not make every level of the building three story and in box format. They should vary in number of stories and in their roof lines. The units should be arranged differently. Committee Member Hoban stated he would not support this project at this time.

    Committee Member Cha said if it would be costly to change the design and create a better looking building which he believed could not be justified economically. In comparing this project to the surrounding areas, this development is better than what currently exists. Committee Member Cha stated he would like to approve this project with the conditions recommended by staff.

    Committee Member Duncan gave his opinion that craftsman-style should not be included in this project. The design can go in that direction, but the building form does not typify the craftsman style. The garage elevation works, but it is the other elevations (front elevations and east and west ends) where there is a lack of correct proportion. Some of the forms can be worked with. A thin three story treatment which runs from the ground all the way to the top makes it look like a thin tower next to the smaller one. He encouraged different heights of the buildings and the architectural details and felt that the buildings appeared too narrow.

    Committee Member Duncan liked the site plan, central open space area, landscape. However, he was concerned with the front entries where the washer and dryer would be located and stated they could be reworked into a nicer entry. He agrees with staff recommendations to add a wall. Committee Member Duncan recommends the project come back before the RDRC for review.

    Chairman Daybell agreed with Committee Member Hoban's comments. He can't agree with a third story development that would be in a surrounding area of two story buildings. He stated the building is too boxy and should be no more than two story, or develop the split-level idea instead of being all three-story buildings. Chairman Daybell did not support this project.

    Committee Member Duncan asked if Chairman Daybell would be open two story elements with three stories and gaining a floor variety in certain areas of the design.

    Chairman Daybell answered saying perhaps on a limited basis, but that particular part of town is primarily two story buildings and is not ready to go up vertically yet. He said he would probably support something with a limited amount of third story, but not the entire project.

    Chief Planner Rosen stated that area is predominantly two stories.

    Committee Member Hoban agreed with Chairman Daybell and said he would like a variation of stories. He stated the committee needs to focus on the architecture of the project and make sure the fundamental design's best they can make it, and not be driven by the economics of the applicant or surrounding area.

    Committee Member Hoban made a MOTION to DENY project. SECONDED by Committee Member Duncan.

    Prior to a vote, Senior Planner Eastman asked if the committee wanted to entertain a continuance should the applicant be willing to revise the plan.

    Chairman Daybell recommended to continue the project rather than deny.

    Committee Member Hoban asked the applicant if she would be willing to take back the plan and revise it, taking into consideration the committee/staff comments.

    The applicant's realtor Joy commented that the applicant was frustrated because of the lengthy process this project was going through.

    The applicant, Xue Mei Ren, stated she has owned the property for two years and it has not been approved.

    Chief Planner Rosen stated the abandonment would be taken as a separate item and taken with a recommendation of the Planning Commission. The Commission would approve the site plan subject to the condition of the abandonment approval of the alley to the Council.

    Chief Planner Rosen said the RDRC can recommend denial without prejudice which allows the applicant to reapply at any time, or continue the matter to a future hearing date and allow the applicant to work with staff between now and the next meeting. Or they can accept the denial at this time and go forward to the Planning Commission with the denial recommendation from the RDRC.

    Senior Planner Eastman explained to the applicant the process the RDRC takes when making a recommendation to the Planning Commission and when denying a project. He asked the applicant if she understood the situation.

    Senior Planner Eastman said she had three options:
    1. Move forward to the Planning Commission with the project proposed and recommendation of denial.
    2. Ask for a continuance to revise the design per the RDRC and comments, and bring it back to the RDRC for a second review before going to the Planning Commission.
    3. To ask for a continuance to have two weeks to consider her options and bring back to the RDRC at a further meeting, and present a project with just minor revisions. At that time, the RDRC can make a recommendation. Associate Planner Sowers reiterated the options available to the applicant.

      The realtor inquired about allowing a two-story building with subterranean parking. Chairman Daybell said subterranean parking would not be a problem. He stated his recommendation would be a maximum of two stories and that a three-story building would be too high for the area as it is currently designed.

      The realtor told the committee on behalf of the applicant that she would accept the two weeks to make her decision.

      MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban to AMEND first motion and CONTINUE project rather than recommended denial.

      3. PRJ05-00665 - ZON05-00089. Minor Development Project for a 710 square foot room addition to the main residence on a two-unit property at 415 Jacaranda (generally located on the north side of Jacaranda, approximately 150 west of Ford Avenue) (R-1-7.2) (Categorically exempt under Section: 15301 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HS)

      Senior Planner Eastman stated the people in attendance were substitutes for the applicant. The actual property owner was out of the country and could not attend.

      Associate Planner Sowers gave the staff report on this project. The conditions recommended by staff are to make sure architectural details of the existing house are carried over into construction drawings for the addition.

      Chairman Daybell questioned if the rear detached structures were permitted. Associate Planner Sowers said they were. The dwelling is legal nonconforming and built with the benefit of permits. It's nonconforming because the lot is zoned R-1 and this is a second dwelling. That nonconforming unit could not be expanded.

      Committee Member Hoban questioned the setback was measured from the building wall or the eave line. Associate Planner Sowers answered that the setback is measured from the property line to the building face. Eave can encroach into the setback up to 18 inches.

      Chairman Daybell opened the meeting for public comment. He asked if those in attendance were able to act on behalf of the property owner. Susana Trejo, resident and daughter of the applicant, said she would be able to respond on behalf of the applicant. At this time she had no comments.

      Associate Planner Sowers said Katie and Tom Dalton with Fullerton Heritage were in attendance earlier and had some questions about the project. They wanted to know if the project met the floor area limitations of the preservation zone; and if the applicant was maintaining the exterior details of the house and carried them over to the addition. Associate Planner Sowers answered yes to all their questions.

      Chairman Daybell turned the meeting over to the Committee for comments.

      Committee Member Duncan said he was in approval of the project, along with the recommendations.

      Chief Planner Rosen asked the applicant if the owner had read the conditions. Ms. Trejo said she was unaware whether or not her mother had seen the conditions and said she would return on Saturday.

      Committee Member Hoban said it was a cute bungalow, but was concerned that the contractor should be told not put a seam where the new siding meets the old, or use trim to cover the seam. He stated that the new siding should be "feathered" into the existing siding. Committee Member Hoban was in support of the project.

      Chairman Daybell is in support of the project and recommended the applicant obtain some comments from building contractors on the feasibility of expanding as they are proposing.

      He said it may be difficult to get the space they're after because of the way the house is supported and built - a lot of the structural support members will be removed as proposed.

      Committee Member Duncan added the condition of the feathering or replacement of the front faade siding and that there be no vertical seam.

      Senior Planner Eastman recommended a second condition stating that, if the property owner should have concerns with the conditions of approval, that she have the ability to return the project to the RDRC within the 10 day appeal period without a fee. If she would like to appeal it to the Planning Commission, then a fee would be charged.

      Committee Member Hoban made a MOTION to APPROVE the project with the staff recommendations included in the report and the additional stated conditions. Passed 4 - 0.

      This following item was not heard at this time.

      4 PRJ05-00677 - ZON05-00094. A request to demolish existing buildings and construct a three unit condominium project on property in a Community Improvement District (CID) zone, located at 115 and 117 Southgate Ave. (R-3) (Categorically exempt under Section: 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (JE)

      Senior Planner Eastman identified that this project will be heard at a later date as the proposal submitted did not comply with the code, and there are a number of outstanding design concerns.

      STAFF/COMMITTEE COMMUNICATION:

      Senior Planner Eastman gave an update on the Planning Commission meeting from Oct. 26, 2005 regarding the Transportation Center Study Update, OC Transit Authority presentation and the Providence project, in addition to an update on the Olson project.

      AGENDA FORECAST:

      None

      ADJOURNMENT:

      MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban and SECONDED by Chariman Daybell to adjourn meeting at 6:15 P.M.

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