Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE FULLERTON PLANNING COMMISSION
COUNCIL CHAMBERS - FULLERTON CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY September 27, 2000 4:00 P.M.
- CALL TO ORDER:
- The meeting was called to order by Chairman LeQuire at 4:00 p.m.
- ROLL CALL:
- Chairman LeQuire; Commissioners Allred, Crane, Godfrey, Munson, and Sandoval
ABSENT: Commissioner Simons
STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley; Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis; Program Planner Linnell, Assistant Planner Kusch; Senior Civil Engineer Wallin and Recording Secretary Stevens
- MOTION by Commissioner Munson, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote, with Commissioner Godfrey abstaining, that the Minutes of the September 13, 2000, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
- ITEM NO. 1
SITE PLAN SP-812 AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1032. APPLICANTS AND PROPERTY OWNERS: ANNE AND DAVID ALLOWAY
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to consider site and architectural plans for a new, two-story building consisting of 480 square feet of habitable space above a two-car garage on property with an existing single-family residence, and to allow a reduction in the rear-yard setback from 15 feet to 12 feet for this proposed building, on property located at 545 West Whiting Avenue (northeast corner of Whiting and Drake Avenues) (R-1-7,200 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 32 of CEQA Guidelines).
Program Planner Linnell reported that the proposed building would contain a two-car garage on the ground level, and an office on the second-level. The CUP was necessary to ensure that the proposed structure would be compatible to the area, the privacy of the neighbors would be maintained, and to guarantee that the second level would not become a rental unit. The applicant has submitted a letter which lists the neighboring properties who support the project, including the property owner to the east, who would be most affected. Slides were displayed showing the existing residence and location of the proposed structure. Staff recommended approval of the request.
Commissioner Crane noted that the staff report stated: "Staff believes that the floor plan is clearly designed for use as an office or accessory living space." Program Planner Linnell explained that this means the space could be habitable, but should not be utilized as a rental unit.
Public hearing opened.
Dave and Anne Alloway, applicants, desired to build the structure as a place to park their vehicles, and to use the second story as an office for a home-based business. They read and concurred with all of the recommended conditions of approval.
Public hearing closed.
There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. Chairman LeQuire thanked the applicants for obtaining the approval of their neighbors before proceeding with the project. The title of Resolution No. 6892 APPROVING site and architectural plans for the construction of a new two-story building consisting of 480 square feet of habitable space above a two-car garage on property with an existing single-family residence, and to allow a reduction in the rear-yard setback from 15 feet to 12 feet for this proposed building, on property located at 545 West Whiting Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Munson, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
- ITEM NO. 2
PARCEL MAP PM-00-172. APPLICANT: DEI PROFESSIONAL SERVICES; PROPERTY OWNER: SOO YEO YOON
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide an existing 1.75-acre parcel into two lots on property located at 1514 North Raymond Avenue (east side of Raymond Avenue between approximately 120 and 400 feet north of the intersection of Raymond Avenue and Miramar Place (R-1-20,000 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 32 of CEQA Guidelines) (Continued from July 26, 2000 meeting).
Assistant Planner Kusch reported that the subject parcel had originally been part of a tract map which was approved by the Planning Commission in 1986. At that time, the subject parcel was approved for a three-lot subdivision, but is now being proposed as a two-parcel lot split. There are no engineering conditions because most improvements are already in place. Staff received one letter from an adjoining property owner who had concerns regarding drainage. Staff recommended approval of the request.
Commissioner Munson inquired how staff would address the drainage concern as pointed out in a letter from Mr. Edward Malkowicz. Assistant Planner Kusch answered that the drainage problem is an existing condition of which staff is aware, and the subject site would not exacerbate this problem. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin explained that there is a canyon which accepts natural runoff from the rear of these lots, it is already graded and there is no diversion to the runoff as it presently flows. Mr. Malkowicz has experienced an on-going problem with his property because of the natural ravine to the rear of his yard which "scours and deepens" each time it rains. The City had been approached by Mr. Malkowicz to take over the maintenance of this ravine, but told him that a better alternative would be for a homeowner's group to form an assessment district to address the problem.
Public hearing opened.
Edward Malkowicz reiterated the problems he has experienced with the ravine in this area since the late 1970s, and stated that he has attended Planning Commission meetings since 1986, to make the Commission aware of these problems. While he accepts the premise that the downstream resident must accept the upstream water, the velocity and volume must not be increased, and he feared this would happen with the new construction.
Jack Brooke, 1120 Miramar Place, also appeared before the Commission in 1997 to voice his opposition to the subdivision because of the fragility of the surrounding soil. He informed staff that in the last few months, the property adjacent and to the north of this property has added eight to ten feet of fill with a retaining block wall. He was concerned about the pressure of this fill on the northern boundary of the existing lot, particularly with no added landscaping. In addition, the residences across Raymond Avenue have experienced slippage in the past.
Joe Kubas, 1341 Hollydale Drive, also expressed concern about the drainage pattern for the proposed lot. The developer for the construction at 1314 North Raymond Avenue originally informed the homeowners that the water would drain towards Raymond Avenue. However, a retaining wall was constructed and the water drains along that wall into Mr. Kubas' property. Mr. Kubas did not feel that an applicant should be allowed to change the plans which were approved by the Commission and staff. He added that staff has been very helpful assisting him with this situation.
Chairman LeQuire wished staff to address the allegations that the developer for the 1314 North Raymond project altered the design of his drainage plans. Director Dudley reported that this project has been shut down numerous times because the developer continually violates approved plans and city codes. Before the homes on this project are finalized, all of these problems and issues must be resolved.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Godfrey asked staff to explain the drainage codes. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that an "uphill developer" has the right to develop, and the "downhill owner" has to accept the drainage, even if it is an increase, as long as it does not cause substantial damage. Commissioner Munson further inquired if it was staff's opinion that the proposed project would not cause substantial damage. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin replied that the property owners in question have already indicated that they always experienced substantial damage, and the drainage from one additional home would not increase said damage.
Director Dudley reminded the Commission that the problems being experienced by these homeowners are due to the fact that they live along a natural drainage course. Ten years ago, these homeowners approached the City about taking over this ravine and improving it. The City declined to do this, but offered to assist in putting together an assessment district for said improvements, but the residents did not favor that option.
Commissioner Crane asked if an approved drainage plan must be obtained by the developer before construction begins, and staff answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Godfrey sympathized with the homeowners' concerns, he was confident that this proposed project would not cause a significant difference in the present water flow and supported staff's recommendation as presented. There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6893 GRANTING a parcel map to subdivide an existing 1.75-acre parcel into two lots on property located at 1514 North Raymond Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
- ITEM NO. 3
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1031. APPLICANT: JAMES BARNUM/IMPACT PRODUCTIONS; PROPERTY OWNER: STEVE FORELL
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to allow dancing as part of an existing reception hall on property located at 140 West Wilshire Avenue (south side of Wilshire Avenue, approximately 500 feet west of Harbor Boulevard (C-3 zone) (Categorically exempt per Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).
Program Planner Linnell reported this facility has been in operation since 1996 as a reception hall. To date, dancing has not been allowed, and the applicant is desirous of allowing dancing at any event held at this location. The applicant has already staged a number of events at this facility, e.g. concerts and live entertainment. Noise has been a problem at this location, and the police have been called numerous times. The applicant has attempted to attenuate the noise, and since those improvements have been put in place, the police have seen a reduction in calls to this location. Staff was in receipt of letters from neighboring residents who are still bothered by the noise, and said letters were distributed to the Commission.
Based on the Building Official's estimate, occupancy for a dance event could go as high as 600 persons. The entire interior of the building would be utilized for dancing and as many as 375 persons could be accommodated in this space, with an additional 200-250 persons outside. There is sufficient parking for this use. Staff recommended approval of the request with a number of conditions, including: (1) all events must end by midnight; (2) the police department must approve a security plan; and (3) a staff review after six months. Program Planner Linnell noted that two of the letters received in opposition were from residents as far as two blocks away.
Commissioner Allred asked if staff verified the complaints as stated by the residents. Chief Planner Rosen answered that in this case, staff has worked closely with the police department regarding this issue, and confirmed that the number of complaints has been reduced. Director Dudley added that if the police department had any objections about this request, staff would have recommended denial.
Program Planner Linnell reported that the existing reception hall does not operate under a Conditional Use Permit.
Public hearing opened.
James Barnum, owner of Impact Productions, is a promoter of concerts. He stated that over the past three years, his company has hosted over 70 events at Wilshire Court. He emphasized that these are "positive" live entertainment functions. When asked by Chairman LeQuire if he had read and concurred with the recommended conditions of approval, Mr. Barnum stated that he was in agreement with all but one of them: the 12 midnight curfew for all dancing events. He did not understand why such a condition was being imposed on his operation, and asked that the Commission allow all events to be over by 2:00 a.m. He stressed that all events were "non-alcoholic" venues, and he was only asking for what is allowed by code. Program Planner Linnell explained that staff felt 12:00 midnight was reasonable, particularly because of the close proximity to residential areas.
Commissioner Munson pointed out that all concert-goers would be exiting the facility in a residential area. Mr. Barnum said that he uses the Amerige Avenue side of the building for the entrance/exit, and the Wilshire Avenue side of the building is only used for loading and deliveries. Commissioner Munson reminded Mr. Barnum that the Conditional Use Permit could be revoked at the six-month review, and Mr. Barnum stated that he understood that this was a possibility.
Commissioner Crane noted that Condition No. 5 only states that a staff review shall be conducted after six months to determine "if a parking problem exists." Chief Planner Rosen corrected that condition to read "if a parking or other problems exist. "
Commissioner Sandoval questioned whether a concert, without dancing, would be allowed to continue until 2:00 a.m., and Program Planner Linnell answered affirmatively. Chief Planner Rosen further explained that the code requires a Conditional Use Permit for "dance halls". It does not require a CUP for reception halls alone.
The following persons spoke in opposition to the request:
Fred Moehring, 128 West Wilshire Avenue Jane Reifer, 315 North Malden Avenue Laura Rense, 347 West Wilshire Avenue Steve Goodyear, 141 West Wilshire Avenue George Morrey, 141 West Wilshire Avenue Barbara Marr, Fullerton resident Alice Cutright, Manager of Wilshire Promenade apartments Marshall Simons, Fullerton resident David Schiffman, 141 West Wilshire Avenue
The points of opposition were:
- Trees and traffic signs were being damaged from flyers.
- Long lines of persons waiting to get into concerts damage the landscaping of residents in the area, glass windows have been etched, and graffiti is left on buildings.
- Attendees drink alcoholic beverages while waiting in line and leave trash.
- Persons are already utilizing the facility for dancing.
- A few years ago, someone was killed while attending a function at this location.
- Noise level is disruptive to adjacent residents, particularly when the bass levels are turned up.
- Behavior of guests as they leave functions is rude and disruptive.
- Wrong location for this type of business; police are continually being dispatched to this location.
- Not enough public parking because is utilized by other establishments in the area
Ralph Baker did not feel that the police department was qualified to determine how many security guards were needed at this location, and that a special subcommittee should be initiated to study this matter. He also did not think that any security guard should be "padding down" guests at the door.
Luci Coalson supported the request and stated that Mr. Barnum provides a safe environment for teenagers.
Sgt. Steve Matson, Fullerton Police Department, gave a brief description of "flyer" or "rave" parties. He confirmed that there is a lot of adult activity in this area, such as drunkenness, fights, and loud noise. While all of this activity cannot be connected to The Wilshire Court, the police department does receive calls regarding this location. Commissioner Allred asked what recourse the adjacent residents have when the noise from this facility is too loud. Sgt. Matson stated that they can always call the police department, who will respond to the site.
Commissioner Crane felt that security guards should be placed both inside and outside the facility during an event, and asked how many should be on site for an event with 600 people. Sgt. Matson suggested that one guard per every 125 persons would be advisable.
Mr. Barnum again spoke at this time. He emphasized that he is not involved in rave or flyer parties in any way. The concerts consist of named artists and flyers are not posted, rather they are left in coffee houses, music stores and schools. They have recently made improvements to the property to decrease the sound levels, and recorded police calls have been reduced. They are constantly monitoring sound levels throughout the area, and their findings are within the code requirement. They use a security company for all events, and guests are "padded down" at the door as an extra security requirement. Mr. Barnum pointed out that he has never been contacted regarding damage or vandalism; they do not allow crowds to line up outside the building after an event is sold out; and in the three years they have operated at this site, they have a clean record of police calls.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Godfrey felt that if the Conditional Use Permit was granted, it would place additional restrictions on the facility, and would be beneficial to surrounding residents because they would have recourse to inform the Commission of on-going problems and the CUP could be revoked.
Commissioner Sandoval asked the applicant if he would be willing to conform to the 12 midnight curfew. Mr. Barnum inquired whether that restriction could be placed on any "live" entertainment, and perhaps a 2:00 a.m. curfew on any music played through a sound system. Commissioner Sandoval also suggested placing "no loitering" signs on the outside of the building, plus additional security, to discourage concert-goers from loitering outside the building after an event is sold out. She supported the project as presented, including the change to Condition No. 5. She asked that all letters received in support and opposition to the project be entered into the public record.
Commissioner Crane also agreed that a Conditional Use Permit imposed on this use would be beneficial. He suggested that a condition be added which states that all loading and unloading shall take place on the south side of the building.
Commissioner Allred was empathetic to the concerns of the adjacent residents. She supported the Conditional Use Permit request.
Chairman LeQuire also felt that the CUP held the applicant accountable for the events held at this facility and supported staff's recommendation.
Chief Planner Rosen wished to make another correction to Condition No. 5. The words "staff review" shall be changed to "Planning Commission review" after six months, with notification to all the surrounding residents. There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6894 APPROVING a Conditional Use Permit to allow dancing as part of an existing reception hall on property located at 140 West Wilshire Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, including the two modifications to Condition No. 5, and the addition of a condition to address the location of loading and unloading.
- ITEM NO. 4
SITE PLAN SP-804 (MAJOR), PARCEL MAP PM-00-189, AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1033. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: DYNAMIC BUILDERS, INC.
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to construct nine industrial buildings totaling 252,580 square feet on 13.12 acres, increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) on certain lots within the project from .45 to .51 and subdivide the property into nine lots on property located in the 1900 block of Raymer Avenue (between the AT & SF Railway and 239 feet north of the AT & SF Railway, and from the terminus of Raymer Avenue and 1770 feet east of the terminus of Raymer Avenue) (M-G zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (Continued from September 13, 2000).
Senior Planner Mullis reported that this site is in close proximity to a residential area to the northeast. Because of the low scale development and additional provisions established within the zoning ordinance, staff is confident that the types of uses can be regulated to avoid any negative impact to those residential areas. An emergency access will be provided from this project to the existing Legacy project as a secondary emergency access. Two areas of concern are: (1) that the rear of the buildings facing Commonwealth Avenue would be of an "upgraded" design; and (2) that small landscaped pockets with vines be placed along the rear of the building to mitigate graffiti. Further, Condition No. 2 of the staff report pertaining to a fence along the southerly property line, shall be deleted in its entirety, and a new condition shall be added concerning the proposed extension of Brookhurst Road as follows: "The possible extension of Brookhurst Road is currently under study. No modifications to the site plan or improvements to the property shall be made which would preclude the extension of Brookhurst Road."
Public hearing opened.
Mike Napolitano, Dynamic Builders, 2114 South Hill Street, indicated that he had read and concurred with all the recommended conditions of approval, including the new condition No. 12.
Anne Marie Bowlby, 1901 Thomas Way, supported the project, and noted that Condition No. 8 of the staff report states that all lighting will be arranged to prevent rays from entering residences to the "west" and she stated this should be corrected to read "east and northeast." Staff indicated they would make that correction. She also mentioned that adjoining property owners are experiencing a problem with glare from another business in the area, and Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff would investigate this problem.
Max Sing lives north of the proposed project and objected to the increase of the Floor Area Ratio (FAR). He also felt that the street should be widened to accommodate the larger trucks.
Public hearing closed.
There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. MOTION by Commissioner Munson, seconded, and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6895 GRANTING a parcel map to subdivide 13.12 acres into nine lots, approving site and architectural plans for the construction of nine industrial buildings totaling 252,580 square feet and increasing the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from .45 to .51 on property located in the 1900 block of Raymer Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Munson seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, deleting Condition No. 2, adding a condition concerning Brookhurst Road, and changing the word "west" to "east and northeast" in Condition No. 8.
- ITEM NO. 5a
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT DP-00-4 (MAJOR); AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1022. APPLICANT: THE MORGAN GROUP; PROPERTY OWNERS: FULLERTON REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY; FULLERTON FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH AND CALIFORNIA FEDERAL BANK.
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to consider site and architectural plans for a mixed-use development consisting of approximately 3,100 square feet of commercial space and 195 apartment units within a five-story building with subterranean garage; and to allow the proposed use with a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 2.38; on property located in the 100 blocks of East Whiting and Chapman Avenues (C-3 zone) (Negative Declaration) (Continued from August 23, 2000 meeting).
- ITEM NO. 5b
ABANDONMENT AB-00-4. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.
- Engineering staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to abandon approximately 300 feet of East Whiting Avenue between Harbor Boulevard and Pomona Avenue (C-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 12 of CEQA Guidelines).
Chief Planner Rosen stated that Items 5a and 5b would be heard simultaneously.
Program Planner Linnell reported that the property in question involves a 2.07-acre site, presently under numerous ownerships. Three parcels are owned by the City or Redevelopment Agency, two parcels are under private ownership, and Whiting Avenue will be abandoned. The mixed-use development is similar to the Wilshire Promenade Apartments in concept. He presented a slide of the Wilshire Promenade, showing public parking at ground level, a small amount of retail/office use and a subterranean garage. The development will be under terms of a DDA with the Redevelopment Agency, outlining the type of units (market rate, no subsidies). The total number of apartments is 183, with 168 public parking spaces provided at grade level, and another 259 spaces in the subterranean garage. The proposed building is over 58 feet in height and has been reviewed by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee (RDRC). Slides were shown of surrounding structures and property lines. The major impact of this project is that public parking would be eliminated during construction, which would be at least six months. The church to the east and commercial property to the west have relied on this parking to accommodate their needs, and the Redevelopment Agency will formulate an interim parking plan to assist these property owners. Staff recommended approval of the project as presented.
Commissioner Crane asked whether the RDRC had completed its review and comment of the exterior design features. Program Planner Linnell stated that this project has been reviewed by the RDRC three times, but a final review of the architectural plans by the RDRC would be a condition of approval.
Chairman LeQuire asked that the letter received from Joanne Brannick be entered into the public record. He also questioned whether staff could accommodate her request for a barrier on the south side of Whiting Avenue and reserved parking during construction. Program Planner Linnell replied that a condition for the barrier could be imposed by the Commission, but reserved parking along Pomona Avenue would have to be determined by the Transportation and Circulation Commission or the Redevelopment Agency.
Public hearing opened.
Derrick Empey from the Morgan Group, gave a brief history of the company, and the tenant profile of people living in their apartment complexes. This project is a classic example of "in fill" development and will be beneficial to Fullerton's downtown. During planning and design stages, The Morgan Group conducts proactive community outreach programs with potential neighbors, by the way of meetings and forums.
Mr. Empey reported that they intend to incorporate the renovation of the American Savings Bank building to the west. The area between the two buildings is open at ground level, integration will be free flowing, and the required setback has been expanded. The open courtyard in the interior of the apartment is open through Whiting Avenue and will contain a staircase that descends into the outdoor seating area/food court of the bank building.
Mr. Empey added that they would be more than willing to provide a construction walkway for the benefit of the adjacent property on the south side of Whiting Avenue. The construction period for this project is complicated and they will be submitting a detailed construction sequence report to staff, to return the public parking spaces as soon as possible. Chairman LeQuire suggested that staff provide a copy of the letter from Ms. Brannick to Mr. Empey so he would be aware of her concerns.
The height of the building facing the Self-Realization Fellowship Church has also been reduced and an additional 13 feet of setback will be provided. Heavy landscaping will also be provided on this side of the apartment building. Pedestrian access will be provided for the tenants which will come directly out of the building into the Fullerton Plaza, and overlook areas on the second floor will face the Plaza. Mr. Empey also described the many amenities of the proposed apartments. Because the project is consistent with the C-3 zone, Fullerton's General Plan, the Transit Corridor Center Study, Central Business Guidelines and is compatible with surrounding properties, The Morgan Group feels this would be an excellent addition to the City of Fullerton. Mr. Empey also stated that they had read and concurred with the recommended conditions of approval.
Commissioner Allred inquired as to why the project was delayed in being presented. Mr. Empey explained that the project was started approximately two years ago. The option of a separate parking structure was discussed, finding the right mix of units was reviewed, the environment surrounding the site was studied in depth, and an elaborate market study of other apartment projects in Orange County was also studied. Other issues requiring an extensive amount of study were: security, courtyard configuration, open space, access, parking, utility relocations, and alley abandonment. Commissioner Allred asked for the sizes of the apartments. Mr. Empey stated that there will be 129 one bedroom, one bath units and 54 two bedroom, two bath units. The sizes range from 669 to 881 square feet for the one-bedroom units, and 1120 to 1152 square feet for the two bedroom units.
Commissioner Crane questioned why the developer eliminated the commercial portion of the building at the street level. Mr. Empey explained that they originally wanted a retail component in the project, but it was difficult to design commercial tenant space after the loss of property to allow for a full bus turnout as requested by city staff.
Jane Reifer, 315 North Malden Avenue, felt that the City was missing an opportunity to provide public interaction on the largest side of the building with some type of retail establishment.
Gary Frasier, representative of the Self Realization Fellowship Church's real estate department, 3208 Humbolt Street, Los Angeles. He reported four items of concern by the church:
- The permanent parking situation. They asked that a parking management plan be prepared now, rather than in the future.
- Phasing. What is the exact timing of the temporary inconvenience to the church, and what protection they would receive regarding this inconvenience? When are the earliest and latest starting dates of the project? What will the maximum duration of the construction phase?
- Temporary parking. SRF utilizes its facility regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, in addition to Sunday church services. They feel the applicant should make every effort to accommodate existing neighborhood conditions. Applicant should prepare a study of the supply and demand of parking in this area. What will the cost be, if any?
- Building setbacks. SRF's facility contains eight windows on its west property line. The light coming into the building through those windows will be permanently impacted by the current plans for the development. Because of the historic value of this building, the height of the proposed building will have a permanent detrimental impact on property value and the church's enjoyment of its interior spaces.
In closing, Mr. Frasier stated that consideration should be given to reducing the density along the property line that is shared with SRF.
Brad Kuish, adjacent property owner of the American Savings Bank building, thanked the applicant for keeping him informed of the plans for the project. His concern centered around the parking issue for his building during the development phase. He was told by the Redevelopment Agency that some temporary facilities may be provided on site (10-15 spaces), or valet parking may be provided. He informed the Commission that he currently has secured tenants for his building (Kinko's, Baja Fresh, Starbuck's Coffee, and Century 21), but at this time, these tenants are reluctant to move forward without having the parking issues addressed. He reminded the Commission that he is in possession of an Operating Agreement which governs the parking lot, and did not feel those rights could be taken away. He would be willing to work with staff and the applicant, but he needs a written agreement which he can present to the proposed tenants. He also wanted assurance that the parking structure would be opened before the completion of the building.
Director Dudley indicated that there have been numerous discussions between Mr. Kuish's attorney and the attorney for the Redevelopment Agency regarding parking and Mr. Kuish's rights as the adjacent property owner. Mr. Kuish explained that it was not his intention to pursue legal action at this time, but he was seeking something "concrete" from the Redevelopment Agency.
Phil Brunt, Chief Financial Officer of Hidden Villa Ranch, 310 North Harbor Boulevard, stated he had never been contacted by any representative of the Morgan Group. He also expressed concern about the parking situation, and he wished assurance that his employees who are in possession of full-day parking permits would be able to use those permits. During construction, they will require access through the alley, and he would also like a construction walkway to be installed.
Barbara Lemerak, Regional Director of Starbucks Coffee, reiterated her concern about the parking situation. She asked for a guarantee that the availability of the parking structure would be restored within a six-month period. Further, for the 10-15 spaces that would be made available, she requested that a restriction be placed on them so that they are reserved for the customers of the American Savings building. She also desired to have parking passes for the employees of those businesses.
Dennis O'Keefe, a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship Church, calculated that only 1.4 parking spaces will be allocated for each apartment tenant. He felt the parking would be inadequate for the development.
Wesley Kim spoke on behalf of his father, Benjamin Kim, who is the owner of the Spring Field Banquet Facility on the northwest corner of Harbor Boulevard and Chapman Avenue. He spoke on the positive influence this facility has had on the city, and stressed that the business relies on public parking at the subject site. He also feared that there would not be ample parking for both residents of the apartments and the public. He said that no representative of the Morgan Group approached them regarding the proposed project.
Jim Blake, Fullerton Business Council, indicated that this group supports the project as presented. He stressed the significance that this project will have on the revitalization of the downtown. He was confident that the parking situation could be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
Leland Wilson, 613 West Amerige Avenue, also favored the project. He encouraged the City to again consider adding parking adjacent to the Spring Field Banquet Facility and Miller's Automotive.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Godfrey requested staff to point out all the public parking spaces available in this area, and Program Planner Linnell showed those locations on the vicinity sketch. Commissioner Godfrey questioned whether staff had ever considered a tram or shuttle service to those areas. Program Planner Linnell responded that, to his knowledge, this had not been discussed as part of the interim management/parking plan.
Commissioner Crane asked for the number of apartment units and parking spaces in the Wilshire Promenade, as opposed to the proposed project. Program Planner Linnell reported that the Wilshire Promenade has 128 apartment units with 168 tenant spaces (.88 per bedroom) and 64 spaces for visitors. The proposed project would have 1.10 parking spaces per bedroom.
Commissioner Allred asked if the proposed subterranean parking would be gated, and Program Planner Linnell answered affirmatively.
Chairman LeQuire wanted to know what parking will be available during the interim phase. Gary Chalupsky, Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency, addressed the short-term parking during construction. He confirmed that he had numerous discussions with Mr. Kuish, and is aware of the need for parking for the new businesses. Also, the Agency has been in discussions with a landowner adjacent to the Spring Field Banquet Facility regarding utilization of that land for short-term parking. The Wilshire Promenade is available to the public for parking. Currently, approximately 50-60 spaces are being used for overnight parking, which is not allowed. The City will approach the Transportation and Circulation Commission to determine whether a prohibition of overnight parking may be imposed on that structure. The City also owns one-third of the parking structure across from the Plummer Auditorium, and spaces may be available there.
Commissioner Munson, while in favor of the project itself, was hesitant to vote on the issue without having a complete package before him. He was uncomfortable with the fact that there was not a parking plan in place at this time, and expressed disappointment with staff and the Morgan Group in not addressing the parking situation in a more manageable fashion.
Commissioner Allred concurred with Commissioner Munson and felt that the plan before the Commission was ill prepared and not comprehensive. She was uncomfortable, not only with the parking issue, but with the size of the proposed apartments, and indicated she would not be in favor of the project.
Commissioner Sandoval supported the project, but also hesitated to move the project forward, when surrounding businesses would be crippled because of the lack of parking. She wished to see an interim parking plan which would accommodate the businesses during construction, and a long-term plan which would satisfy the needs of the entire area.
Commissioner Godfrey said that he appreciates the needs of the surrounding businesses and church, but stated that in all the years this parking lot has been in existence, he has rarely seen more than a few vehicles parked there. He supported the project and felt that the parking issue could be resolved.
Commissioner Crane wished to know the anticipated construction date. Mr. Empey stated that the timing is dependent on the approval process, both through the public hearings and the building permit process, but estimated that the starting date would be early summer, 2001.
Chairman LeQuire gave Mr. Empey additional time to discuss an interim parking arrangement. Mr. Empey clarified that the number of spaces in this public lot is 90 spaces and this amount will be expanded with the completion of the project. The Wilshire structure is only 50% full, the parking lot across Chapman Avenue has adequate space and construction sequencing will not preclude any parking currently available. The Morgan Group feels that there is an ample parking supply during construction.
Commissioner Munson reiterated that at this time the Commission wants the assurance that the Morgan Group will sit down with all parties involved to assist them during the construction phase. Chairman LeQuire asked if an additional condition could be added requiring the developer to present a parking plan to staff prior to groundbreaking, and Director Dudley indicated that staff could add this condition.
MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6896 APPROVING site and architectural plans for a mixed-use development consisting of approximately 1,700 square feet of commercial space and 183 apartment units within a five-story building with subterranean garage and to allow the proposed use with a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 2.38 on property located in the 100 blocks of East Whiting and Chapman Avenues was read and further reading was waived. The title of Resolution No. 6897 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the abandonment of a portion of East Whiting Avenue, between the alley east and parallel to Harbor Boulevard and the alley west of and parallel to Pomona Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolutions be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.
- ITEM NO. 6
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-914. APPLICANT: URBAN COMMUNITIES & SAN GABRIEL PARTNERS; PROPERTY OWNER: 224 EAST COMMONWEALTH APARTMENTS, LTD.
- Staff report dated September 20, 2000, was presented pertaining to a one-year review of a 137-unit Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) residential hotel on property located at 224 East Commonwealth Avenue (south side of Commonwealth Avenue between Pomona Avenue and Lemon Street) (C-2 zone) (Categorically exempt per Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines). Senior Planner Mullis reported that this facility was approved by the Planning Commission in 1994, and occupancy was granted on September 29, 1999. As of this date, the facility is fully occupied and rents range from $350-$485 per month. The concept was for a four-story development with subterranean parking and some surface parking to the rear. There are some handicapped units available, and some of the amenities include small refrigerators, stoves, and laundry facilities, plus common kitchens and a courtyard fountain. A one-year review was imposed as a condition and was intended for the Commission to review the operation. Staff works closely with a citizen's advisory committee on a monthly basis to address any problems which may occur. These issues were addressed in a report from the Fullerton City Lights Citizen Advisory Committee. The trash chute issue still remains and staff is working with the owner to resolve this. A condition of approval has been added which reads: "By November 7, 2000, a city-approved resolution to the trash chute problem shall be installed and operational." Another outstanding issue is water seepage from the basement. The owner has sealed the north wall where the seepage has occurred, but staff will continue to monitor the situation.
Commissioner Godfrey asked how much of Redevelopment funds have been spent on the project, and Senior Planner Mullis answered $1,000,000.
Public hearing opened.
Gwen Ferguson, 724 Hermosa Place, is the chairperson of the citizen's advisory committee. The committee will continue to meet and monitor the facility and will bring any problems to the Commission's attention.
Barbara Marr suggested retaining this committee to keep a close check on the operation of this facility.
Public hearing closed.
Chairman LeQuire wished to go on record by stating the problems identified at the original hearing have now surfaced, he did not feel this facility was an asset to the City of Fullerton, and it was a mistake to construct it.
There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6898 ALLOWING the continued operation of the 137-unit, single-room occupancy residential hotel on property located at 224 East Commonwealth Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED by a five-to-one vote, with Commissioner Allred voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
- ITEM A
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
- Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.
- ITEM B
- Ralph Baker wished to know the names of the Commissioners whose terms were up in December and Chairman LeQuire informed him staff could obtain that information.
- ITEM C
- The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be October 11, 2000, at 4:00 p.m.
- There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:31 p.m.