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TCC Minutes March 3, 2003

MINUTES

MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2003 - - - 4:00 P.M.
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS ------ CITY HALL

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT

David Bailey
J. Michael Cochran, Chairman
Brent Hardwick
Angela Lindstrom
Rosa E. Nowels
John Olmsted
Patrick Robeson, Vice-Chairman

COMMISSIONERS ABSENT
STAFF PRESENT

Robert Hodson, Director of Engineering
Mark Miller, City Traffic Engineer
Dave Langstaff, Traffic Engineering Analyst
Teri Carlson, Senior Traffic Engineering Aide
Lieutenant Stanko, Police Department
Sergeant Matson, Police Department
Amy Inzunza, Recording Secretary

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Cochran called the meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to accept the February 3, 2003 minutes. Vice-Chairman Robeson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

  1. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO REMOVE THE OVERNIGHT PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON BOTH SIDES OF SWEET AVENUE BETWEEN WILSHIRE AVENUE AND CHAPMAN AVENUE.

    Mark Miller, City Traffic Engineer, presented staff's report to remove the overnight parking restrictions on both sides of Sweet Avenue between Wilshire Avenue and Chapman Avenue. Staff received a petition from Mr. Sun Oh, the property owner at 325 Sweet Avenue.

    In December 1993, City Council adopted Section 8.44.080 of the Fullerton Municipal Code, which provides for overnight parking exceptions. Section 8.44.080 states that with a majority of the property owners on both sides of the street in favor "exemptions may be granted for an area having an off-street parking deficiency. The smallest area which may be excepted is one city block, either one side or both sides". Eighty-six percent of the property owners on the west side of the street and fifty-seven percent of the property owners on the east side of the street signed the petition satisfying the majority requirements.

    The code also states in defining a parking deficiency as "not meeting current minimum parking requirements for the same type of land use". In the past, a single-family R1 property (1-4 bedrooms) simply required a minimum off-street parking requirement of a two-car garage. Current zoning requirements now dictate that in addition to a two-car garage, a garage must be set back at least 25-feet from the street right-of-way line if facing a public street and 5-feet if facing an alley. The assumption is that a property owner would have the ability to park additional vehicles on-site if the garage faced the pubic street or could park additional vehicles in an alley if available.

    The homes on the west side of the street are not considered parking deficient based on typical single-family R1 zoning requirements. The homes on the east side of the street are not considered parking deficient based on typical single-family R1 zoning requirements.

    Staff recommends that the T&CC deny the request for overnight parking on either side of Sweet Avenue based on the absence of an apparent deficiency in off-street parking as defined in the Fullerton Municipal Code.

    Commissioner Olmsted mentioned that either property at 320 or 324 had been added onto. Mr. Miller replied that staff does not look at the number of bedrooms.

    Commissioner Hardwick asked Mr. Miller if when he says there is no parking deficiency, is it the case that the properties at 300 and 324 have short driveways and that parking may be a problem. Mr. Miller replied yes, however they have a two-car garage.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked how one would judge whether or not there is a parking deficiency given that there are four homes with short driveways. Mr. Miller stated that over the year's staff looked at the garages to see if there was a parking deficiency. Then the question would be whether it was a two-car garage or a large one-car garage. Staff went to the Building Department and talked to them about how their existing code read. It stated that the driveway lengths were now being considered. Staff decided to put this in. That is why staff decided to indicate to the commission what homes have short or long driveways or standard sizes as well as two-car garages. Mr. Miller stated that overall the majority of the homes are not deficient.

    Commissioner Lindstrom stated that the count of the homes that have short driveways compared to the total count is about 25 percent, which are questionably deficient. It is very common now days, to have two working parents and perhaps one or more teenager driving. This would bring up the count to three cars; therefore a two-car garage would be deficient in this case.

    Commissioner Hardwick asked if there are any other streets around Sweet Avenue that are currently exempt from overnight parking. Mr. Miller said that there are not any streets in the area that are exempt. The closest would be on the west side of Basque, north side of Chapman, and the east side of Woods.

    Commissioner Olmsted commented that he rode his bike on Sweet Avenue, and it did not appear to him that any of the cars were overhanging the curb or close to the sidewalk. He asked how staff would define short driveways. Mr. Miller said that they define them in comparison to other driveways.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked what some of the down sides of overnight parking may be. Mr. Miller stated that it is a concern to the Police Department in light of enforcement during those hours for them to look down a street to see if there are no cars parked. If there are cars parked on the street then they become suspicious that something is going on in the neighborhood. Most cars that park overnight stay parked through the morning and our streets do not get swept.

    The public comment segment was opened.

    Sun Oh, 325 Sweet Avenue, stated that he was never informed of a parking restriction when he moved into the neighborhood. He and other residents have received overnight parking tickets. He asked other residents if they were informed about the parking restriction and they also were never informed. He stated that since the law came in effect, times have changed and people have bigger cars and smaller garages. Mr. Oh stated that the cars stick out and block their driveways. He mentioned that he works for the Emergency Response team for the Sheriffs Department and carries a lot of equipment in his car. He feels that it is safer to park in front of his home in case of a burglary. He mentioned that the majority of the residents approved the petition except for three residents that are not property owners but are for the exemption. Mr. Oh stated that he worked for the law enforcement for 15 years and does not see a downside for vehicles parked on the street. Mr. Oh stated that there are a lot of teenagers that get off work late, and for safety reasons should be able to park in front of their home instead of Chapman Avenue.

    Commissioner Hardwick asked Mr. Oh how many vehicles he owns. Mr. Oh stated that he owns three SUV's.

    Commissioner Nowels asked Mr. Oh what year most of the residences were constructed in his neighborhood. Mr. Oh said that they were built in 1953, 1956, 1957, and possibly 1958.

    Commissioner Nowels asked if a garage that was built in those days would not be appropriate for a standard SUV at this time. Robert Hodson, Director of Engineering, stated that staff goes by what the parking requirements are in the general plan and in the ordinances. He said that it does not talk about sizes. He said that if you have a two-car garage then that is what staff goes by. He said that some of the trucks and SUV's cannot fit into the garages that were built back then.

    Commissioner Nowels asked if the reason the trucks and SUV's cannot fit in the garages because there are two cars or because they are too long. Mr. Hodson stated that there could be a number of issues but some older houses just do not fit them because of their size.

    Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Oh if there is a parking deficiency at the corner lots or all the lots on the street. Mr. Oh said that there is a parking deficiency in all of the lots.

    Commissioner Bailey stated that the pictures that were presented to the commission appear to show a parking deficiency in the corner lots. He said that he went out to the neighborhood and it appeared to him that there were a lot of large driveways that could fit many SUV's. Mr. Oh said that the driveways are not that big. He stated that they need on-street parking.

    Commissioner Olmsted said that the pictures confuse him because most of them appear not to be of Sweet Avenue. Mr. Oh said that some of the pictures are of Sweet Avenue and others of streets that are exempted.

    Nick Polson, 304 Sweet Avenue, stated that he never saw the petition. He stated that there is adequate parking on Sweet Avenue except for 300 and 301 Sweet Avenue. He said that Mr. Oh has adequate parking on Chapman Avenue. Mr. Polson mentioned that he has called the police due to beer bottles on the street. He is not in favor of the petition.

    Joseph Nevadowsky, 312 Sweet Avenue, stated that a petition was not presented to him. He said that for the 12 years he's lived on Sweet Avenue, this is the first time a petition has come up. As a homeowner, he does not agree with the proposed change. He said that the houses were built between 1954 and 1956. He stated that there is adequate off-street provision. The residential area between Euclid and Basque consists of houses with two-car garages and moreover everyone has a large driveway. He mentioned that he has four cars in his family. He mentioned that once in a while people do have guests that stay overnight but they leave the next day. He is not in favor of the petition.

    Commissioner Hardwick asked what the relationship with Rebecca Nevadowsky is because she signed the petition. Mr. Nevadowsky said that Rebecca is his wife and he was never aware that she had signed the petition.

    Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Nevadowsky if he has ever been cited in his area. Mr. Nevadowsky replied no but his son has been cited.

    Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Nevadowsky if he thinks the enforcement is arbitrary or a response to telephone calls that are made in response to the parties in the area. Mr. Nevadowsky said that there are a lot of parties at night that last until 2 a.m. He said that the people occasionally stay after the parties and other vehicles pull in and they begin to drink. When he wakes up he cleans up all the bottles and Dixie cups that are left behind.

    Nick Wurzbacher, 301 Sweet Avenue, said that he lives on the corner of Sweet Avenue and has a small driveway. He stated that he has a garage however his Ford F150 does not fit in his garage. Mr. Wurzbacher stated that he does not have a problem parking on the driveway however if he has a guest then they will need to park on the street and will get cited. He asks that the commission take into account if not everyone on the street then at least the corner houses.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson commented that the issue is if the commission decides to approve the exemption on Sweet Avenue, then it becomes a safe haven for the surrounding streets to park.

    Mr. Wurzbacher asked if a permit system can be used in this situation. Vice-Chairman Robeson said that unfortunately the City of Fullerton does not offer that at this time but they are looking into it.

    The public comment segment was closed.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson asked Lieutenant Stanko if it is a safer environment with or without overnight parking. Lieutenant Stanko stated that he has worked for the City of Fullerton Police Department for 26 years and statistics have shown that where there are the most cars they have had the most vehicle problems.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that this issue has been brought to the commission many times. He feels that the home owners need to be responsible and make sure that they utilize their garage in the way it should be utilized. He is in support of staff's recommendation.

    Chairman Cochran asked Lieutenant Stanko if a homeowner knows that they will be having an overnight guest is there any type of procedure that can be used so that their guest will not be cited. Lieutenant Stanko stated that the resident can contact the Police Department front desk and they will grant it.

    Commissioner Olmsted complimented the residents for having a very nice neighborhood. It did not appear to him that there was a need for overnight parking due adequate parking. He is in favor of staff's recommendation.

    Commissioner Hardwick feels that the general principle still applies. He stated that there is a petition process and they have the right to go through the process. He said that it is the case that the commissions grant exemptions to the overnight parking law. The commission does it in areas that have a lot of cars. He mentioned that he has a hard time telling citizens in this town that they can't park in front of their own homes on their street.

    Commissioner Bailey mentioned that it seems to him that some of the residents have been using this ordinance as a way of battling people standing out in front of their homes and drinking. He said that Mr. Wurzbacher's truck overhangs onto the sidewalk and has never received a citation. He said that it shows that the law enforcement is only responding as needed and using this as a tool to keep people out of there. He is in favor of staff's recommendation.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson made a motion to support staff's recommendation to deny the request. Commissioner Bailey seconded the motion.

    AYES: Bailey, Cochran, Nowels, Olmsted, Robeson
    NAYES: Hardwick, Lindstrom

    The vote was 5 to 2 and the motion passed.

  2. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO INSTALL A 15,000 LB. VEHICLE WEIGHT RESTRICTION ON THE FRONTAGE ROADS ON BOTH THE NORTH AND SOUTH SIDES OF ORANGETHORPE AVENUE BETWEEN GILBERT STREET AND BROOKHURST ROAD.

    Mr. Miller presented staff's request to install a 15,000 pounds (lb.) vehicle weight restriction on the frontage roads on both the north and south sides of Orangethorpe Avenue between Gilbert Street and Brookhurst Road. The request came about as a result of numerous complaints to staff and the Police Department from residents about semi-truck parking adjacent to their homes. Drivers routinely leave their engines and refrigeration units running for extended periods of time and at all hours of the day, whether the vehicle is attended or unattended. Although truck parking is restricted to 3-hours of continuous parking and there is no "Overnight Parking" allowed on either frontage road, both restrictions are frequently ignored and difficult to enforce on a routine basis. Therefore, staff is looking at a stricter enforcement where they have posted a number of streets in the city with a 15,000 lb. commercial vehicle weight restriction.

    The residents made the request to help them relieve the burden of the trucks parking in front of their homes in all hours of the night. There has been an issue with a retail establishment. The Mexican restaurant at 2301 Orangethorpe Avenue has been having trucks leaving or visiting the site. Code Enforcement is involved with this issue.

    Staff recommends that the commission approve and recommend to Council the installation of a 15,000 lb. commercial vehicle weight restriction on the frontage roads both north and south of Orangethorpe Avenue between Gilbert Street and Brookhurst Road.

    Commissioner Olmsted commented that trucks are parked there for some reason and if we restrict them to park there then they will go to another city. Mr. Miller stated that there are areas in the city where truckers are directed to park overnight, for example on Kimberly and Valencia. He stated that the difficulty that the city has is that there are more truckers in town with the trucking being opened up in California in the past few years.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson asked Mr. Miller if there is any reason that an 18 wheeler needs to utilize the proposed streets that are weight restricted. Mr. Miller replied no.

    Chairman Cochran asked what type of truck fits a 15,000 lb restriction. Mr. Miller said that it is a Bobtail truck.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if the City of Fullerton has designated truck routes. Mr. Miller replied no. He stated that we base our truck restrictions on weight limits. If the truck is over 12,000 or 15,000 lbs. then they need to pull a permit.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked staff if it will help to have truck routes in the city. Mr. Miller replied no.

    Mr. Hodson stated that there has recently been legislation which does not allow the city to have truck routes anymore.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked Mr. Miller if there is enough parking available for truckers in these areas. Mr. Miller replied yes.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that there are also a few staging areas where the trucks can go.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked how much it costs to put up one sign at each one of the frontage roads. Mr. Miller said that the signs cost around $75 to $100 installed.

    Commissioner Nowels asked if this frontage road has pavement that can handle this much weight. Mr. Miller replied no. He said that it will eventually destroy the pavement.

    Commissioner Hardwick stated that these are residential streets that the trucks are parking on and it must be hard for the trucks to get in there.

    Commissioner Lindstrom mentioned that the letters that were submitted to staff stated that there are signs prohibiting parking. There seems to be a lack of enforcement which makes the truckers park without impunity. Commissioner Lindstrom said that she noticed in the Municipal Code that there is a 20 to 50 dollar fine. She feels that if perhaps that amount would be increased then the truckers would think twice before parking in the areas that are restricted.

    Lieutenant Stanko stated that Mr. Borris has called several times and they have responded by going out and citing the truckers. However, citing them does not necessarily mean that the truckers will move.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson thinks the issue is the disturbance to the property owners and the damage to the street.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if there is a way to change the amount of the fine. Lieutenant Stanko stated that there has not been a bail change since 1994.

    Commissioner Bailey commented that it is his understanding that if we cite them and they continue to violate the restriction then there vehicles can be impounded.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson said that most of the truckers seem to be going to the local warehouse east of the area. He thinks that once the signs are posted the truckers will see them and they will avoid the area.

    The public comment segment was opened.

    Gladys Lionbarger, 2201 W. Orangethorpe Avenue, stated that she has been fighting this truck problem for years. She said that the truckers park in front of her home and run their refrigerator units and make a lot of noise. Mrs. Lionbarger stated that recently some trucks were parked across the street for days. Since the "No Stopping Anytime" signs were installed, she noticed one day that while a semi-truck was parked in front of her home two police cars drove right by her home. She stated that there is "No Overnight Parking" allowed therefore they should not be allowed to park on the street. There was one car out in front of her home for 6 weeks and it took her that long to get it removed. Since the construction on Orangethorpe and all the heavy trucking coming up and down the street she has not seen damage.

    Commissioner Hardwick asked Mrs. Lionbarger who she has been talking to for the past years. Mrs. Lionbarger said she has called the Police Department. She mentioned that there was a time when a man left his truck running and was gone for hours.

    Commissioner Nowels asked Mr. Miller if this would drive truckers to park on Pine Drive, Courtney Avenue or Cedar Avenue. Mr. Miller stated that they have to go through the signs to park at those streets.

    Conrad Huyg, 2207 W. Orangethorpe Avenue, stated that over the Christmas Holidays there were two trucks parked in front of his home for 10 days. He called the Police Department and nothing was done. Mr. Huyg stated that at a time there was a period of 6 weeks straight that the street sweeper could not sweep in front of his home. He said that the front of his home has turned into a used car lot.

    Commissioner Nowels asked if people that park in front of his home are leaving their cars with signs that say "For Sale". Mr. Huyg replied yes.

    Carl Borris, 2013 W. Woodcrest, stated that he has been fighting these trucks since 1994. He said that the trucks come from the City of Anaheim because they do not allow them to park on their streets. Mr. Borris said that since the "No Stopping Anytime" signs were posted, they would pull into one entrance to the frontage road and back into the cul-de-sac that ends at Gilbert Park. He said that when they were trying to get "No Stopping Anytime" on Orangethorpe, there was a question raised for the possibility of posting the weight limits on the frontage roads. He has followed one truck driver home. The truck driver got off his truck and walked south on Gilbert to apartments in Anaheim. Some of the truckers have other people drive them back to their truck. Mr. Borris has called the police to get them cited. He appreciates the consideration for the weight limits.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that he thinks that it is a priority with the Fullerton Police Department. They have taken the initiative to place one person that understands the trucking laws and weight limits. He said that there is a designated person in the city that deals with this type of problem.

    Commissioner Olmsted told Mr. Borris that he lives a block away from where the proposed restriction will be. He asked Mr. Borris if he thinks it will get worse for him. Mr. Borris replied no.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked Mr. Borris if he wants the weight restriction in the area or just on the frontage roads. Mr. Borris said that the weight restrictions on the frontage roads are fine.

    Karen Swindell, 2201 W. Orangethorpe, mentioned that although there is a weight restriction on Gilbert they are driving down Gilbert and going around Porter and Pine to get in front of her house. She stated that if there are cars parked in front of her home then the street becomes a one way street. When trucks park in front of her home then the situation becomes worse.

    The public comment segment was closed.

    Chairman Cochran asked how the truckers are made aware of where the staging areas are in the city. Mr. Miller said that most truckers that come into Fullerton on a regular basis know where they are.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that most of the companies that receive these truckers hand out pamphlets and brochures of their designated staging areas.

    Commissioner Lindstrom stated that it seems that traffic is not being ruled out in these streets. She asked if we can allow overlimit vehicles when they are making an immediate delivery to the surrounding area. Commissioner Hardwick said yes because it allows moving vans and other trucks that would exceed that weight limit to still do business.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if any vehicle over that weight can still be on the streets. Mr. Miller said that if they are over weight trucks then they have to get a permit, the exception are the moving vans.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if they were making a delivery to the 99 cents store on the corner of Brookhurst and Orangethorpe, would they need to have a permit to go down the frontage street. Mr. Miller said yes but the way the law reads is the most direct route to that.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked if by posting the weight restriction is going to solve the problem. Lieutenant Stanko said that there calls are prioritized and they are looking into putting a parking patrol officer on the weekend. Their motor officer on the weekend, between Brookhurst and Gilbert, wrote 37 parking tickets.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson made a motion to accept staff's recommendation. Commissioner Olmsted seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

NON AGENDA ITEMS

Commissioner Lindstrom mentioned that on Friday, March 7, 2003, there will be a Transportation Financing in California Seminar.

Chairman Olmsted mentioned that the next Parking Hearing meeting will be in March and Commissioner Hardwick will be attending that meeting.

COUNCIL REVIEW

Mr. Hodson stated that the "No Stopping Anytime" on Imperial went to Council and was approved. Staff is ordering the signs, but they are trying to get an encroachment permit from the state to put them in.

The West Princeton Circle issue also went to Council. Staff made a two part recommendation; the first was to wait until next semester because there are things that staff is trying to encourage Fullerton College. The second recommendation was to put one hour parking on West Princeton Circle only. Council approved the second recommendation. If this comes back because of issues on other streets then staff will look into a community meeting. Staff has a design from Albert Grover & Associates to restripe Berkeley to create additional on-street parking.

Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that the college has tennis courts and softball courts that should be utilized as parking while they are going through their transition period.

Mr. Hodson said that they may consider expanding their shuttle service and use the court house which is closer than the bowling alley. Staff thinks that an on-site parking management plan is a good idea. Cal State Fullerton has used it effectively for a couple of years now but it is a cost to the college. The parking structures in theory would only deal with the increased student body and the displaced parking due to the structure. It would not do much for the existing problem.

Commissioner Nowels said that she would have liked to ask the representative from the college if they were offering any incentives for carpooling, bicycling, etc. Commissioner Nowels stated that during the T&CC meeting the commission asked about the one hour parking and staff was very discouraging at the time. Mr. Hodson said that at that time the problem was growing in the general area. It wasn't that staff was opposed to any of the restrictions but staff needed to see what was fair and reasonable for all the surrounding neighborhoods.

Commissioner Nowels stated that she felt that staff overruled the commission at the City Council meeting. Mr. Hodson apologized for the way she may have felt. He stated that staff had discussions at staff level for offering Council a couple of options.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Jane Reifer, 149 W. Whiting, stated that she had a meeting with Dr. Michael J. Viera, President, Fullerton College, regarding Transportation Demand Management, which would reduce the amount of vehicles coming into the campus. Ms. Reifer works for the Transit Advocates of Orange County. The group worked hard last year to save routes going into the Fullerton College campus that were going to be eliminated, but are still there. She said that Dr. Viera mentioned that the College would be happy to add into the schedule all the bus stop locations. The City can help by suggesting that there be bus shelters at the campus.bus stops.

ADJOURNMENT

The regular meeting of the Transportation & Circulation Commission adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

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