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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE FULLERTON PLANNING COMMISSION

COUNCIL CHAMBERS - FULLERTON CITY HALL

WEDNESDAY MAY 23, 2001 4:00 P.M.

CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Simons at 4:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL:
Chairman Simons; Commissioners Allred-Blake, Crane, LeQuire, Sandoval and Wilson
ABSENT: Commissioner Price

STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley (4:00 p.m. session only); Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis; Program Planner Linnell, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin and Recording Secretary Stevens

ALSO PRESENT: Administrative Services Director Meyer; Engineering Director Hodson; Community Services Director Hunt

MINUTES:
MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote, with Commissioner Allred-Blake abstaining, that the Minutes of the April 25, 2001, meeting be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

ITEM NO. 1
FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
To consider the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (Fiscal Years 2001-2006) and its consistency with the General Plan.

Director Meyer gave a brief explanation of the City's proposed two-year budget which was presented to the City Council on May 1, 2001. The budget hearings will be heard by the City Council on June 11-12, 2001. Although a recession in California is not foreseen at this time, it is anticipated that economic growth will be substantially slower this year. Energy costs are a significant issue to the City, and increases as high as 60% for some rate types are anticipated in the upcoming year. As of the first week of May, the governor had not revised the state budget. However, the City had recently been notified that because of existing energy problems and the impact on the state's budget, certain programs would be cut. One of these programs, the Local Government Fiscal Assistance program, caused a $520,000 reduction to the City's budget. Overall, the City's budget is proposed to be $136.5 million in the first year, and $114.7 million in the second year, including any carryover project funding. Director Meyer gave a breakdown, by City departments, of the General Fund budget, and also gave a description of the new Unrestricted Capital Project Fund.

Chairman Simons asked if the 60% increase in energy costs would be for all utilities. Director Meyer explained that the City pays special commercial rates for services such as street lighting, water pumping power, parking lot lighting, and traffic signals, and these rates have not all moved a uniform percentage upward.

Commissioner Allred-Blake asked for the total amount in the Capital Projects fund. Director Hodson stated that the CIP fund was an accumulation of grant monies, and payments in cooperative agreements from other cities, so it was difficult to give an exact amount since it was constantly fluctuating. Director Meyer added that staff could anticipate what the number would be, and at this time the new budget is projected to start with a balance of $12.6 million. In addition, the City anticipates revenue of $6.6 million, transfers of $14.7 million, expenditures of $30 million, and an end-of-the year balance of approximately $3.7 million. Commissioner Allred-Blake also inquired if the recommendations of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee had impacted the budget. Director Hodson answered negatively, other than the utilization of available funding, which is inadequate to solve present funding problems.

Director Hodson gave a brief overview of the two-year, $40 million CIP budget. There is $21 million worth of projects in progress, and $22 million is programmed towards the City's infrastructure problem. He highlighted some of the major CIP projects. In particular, he noted the City is implementing a beautification project, in an attempt to beautify the City on all outlying major arterial streets, by adding median islands and undergrounding utilities.

Chairman Simons noted that the City was proposing to widen Santa Fe Avenue to allow truck parking along both sides of the street. He was concerned that this would negatively impact the parking of the proposed martini bar. There is also a fenced area east of the proposed lounge, and Chairman Simons felt that City should pursue its efforts to utilize this as a parking lot.

Commissioner LeQuire asked the following:

Page 03 - There appears to be $2 million less in funding sources in the second year. How can this be explained if the projections are positive?

Director Hodson explained that the City is attempting to put more money in the first year to coincide with the arterial reconstruction projects.

Page 031 - The sewer and drainage fund shows $400,000 for the first year, $200,000 for the second year, and $100,000 in the final year. Does this mean that the City is "catching up" or is the funding going away?

Director Hodson stated that in the first year the City has a need to do a higher level of maintenance on sewers. More of the Sanitation Fund will be allocated to maintenance to accomplish this, and a lower amount will be allocated to Capital projects.

Page 046 - When the Planning Commission approved the Lemon/Commonwealth housing project, it was proposed to be an upscale development. He understood that 70 units of subsidized housing for $805,000 are being proposed and he asked for clarification.

Director Dudley reported that when this project was approved by the Agency, the Agency offered $800,000 to assist in offsetting underground utilities and alley abandonments. In exchange, 70 units would be provided at moderate cost, or market rate rents, and the Agency would receive credit for spending its 20% set-aside funds. He added that the developer has not yet accepted this money.

Commissioner Wilson pointed out that on page 020, the alley program shows a total of $650,000 for the next three years, and inquired whether this is the entire amount allocated. Director Hodson answered affirmatively, because most of the critical alleys in the CDBG areas are already completed. Further, alleys are usually not a high-priority item, and funding is not available outside Redevelopment areas.

Commissioner Crane noted that $452,000 had been allocated for park maintenance and improvements and asked how many parks there are in the City. Director Hodson answered that there are 46 parks within the City, and added that the $452,000 only addresses the infrastructure repair to the existing parks. Commissioner Crane also asked for clarification on the $15,000 allocated to the Downtown Public Art Program. Director Hunt reported that these funds go towards projects such as the murals in the parking structure at the Transportation Center, and the proposed mural this year at the Wilshire Parking Structure.

Commissioner Allred-Blake asked for details on: (1) the proposed Museum Center Kitchen Remodel, (2) the funds set aside for Park Restroom Replacement; (3) the soils remediation necessary at Fire Station 5; (4) do cameras at traffic intersections fall under the Circulation and Transportation Element category; and (5) do the revenue bonds exist for the proposed reconstruction of the Hillcrest Reservoir.

Regarding Question 1, Director Hunt explained that this remodel will support the new Plaza, to enable caterers to prepare for large events held there. Responding to Question No. 2, a park inventory was conducted several years ago, and park restrooms were categorized according to the greatest need.

In response to Question 3, Director Hodson clarified that several years ago the underground tanks had been removed from Fire Station No. 5. Subsequent to receiving state clearance, the City conducted additional soils testing and found contamination, which must be taken care of. Question 4: The City Council will soon be receiving a recommendation for installation of red-light cameras at four or five intersections. Question 5: The revenue bonds have not been approved by the City Council at this time. If the bonds are not approved, staff believes this reservoir could last for another 5-10 years.

MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the proposed City of Fullerton Five-Year Capital Improvement Program is consistent with the General Plan.

7:00 P.M. SESSION

Chairman Simons announced that Items 4a, 4b and 4c, had been continued to June 13, 2001. MOTION by Commissioner Allred-Blake, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said items be CONTINUED until the next regularly-scheduled meeting of June 13, 2001. Commissioner Wilson asked how the public would be made aware of this change, and Senior Planner Mullis stated that courtesy notices had been mailed to all adjoining property owners.

ITEM NO. 1
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1041. APPLICANT: WOODGLEN RECOVERY; PROPERTY OWNERS: LARRY LOM AND ALI SHARIFI
Staff report dated May 17, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to allow a human service agency providing temporary shelter and treatment for up to 16 adults who are recovering from alcoholism and/or drug/substance abuse, on property located at 329 East Commonwealth Avenue (north side of Commonwealth Avenue between approximately 350 and 400 feet east of Lemon Street) (C-2 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 1 of CEQA Guidelines) (Revised Notice) (Continued from April 25, 2001).

Program Planner Linnell reported that this item had previously been continued by the Commission who requested that staff readvertise and renotify the adjoining property owners. Since the last meeting, the applicant had held an open house at his existing facility, however only one person attended. Staff was also in receipt of a memorandum of the PAC committee, advising the Commission to deny the application. Staff recommended approval of the request. Chairman Simons inquired if any of the PAC members had visited the existing site, and Program Planner Linnell replied that PAC member Hurst had driven by the existing facility at 771 West Orangethorpe Avenue, but did not stop.

Public hearing opened.

Walt Erickson, Program Director of Woodglen Recovery, gave a brief history of the facility and the day-to-day operations. He emphasized that the proposed facility would not have a detox center, and all incoming patients must be sober for ten days before being allowed into the facility. He assured the Commission that Woodglen takes pride in its appearance, and would be an asset to the neighborhood.

Commissioner Allred-Blake inquired as to why this particular site was chosen for Woodglen's new location. Mr. Erickson answered that his associate had driven by the property one day and noticed the "for sale" sign.

The following persons spoke in support of the request:

Mary Hale, Orange County Health Care Agency
Brandi Stone, 222 North Lawrence Avenue
Lloyd Kingham, East Amerige Avenue
Darrin Rey (Woodglen resident)
Paula Sullivan
Melody Marlor, 2331 East Santa Fe Avenue
Bev Schroeder
Chau Li
Robin Kingham, East Amerige Avenue
Mos Kahadi

The following reasons were given for supporting the request:

  • Facilities such as these are desperately needed in the community. Demand is great.
  • Woodglen keeps its facilities well-maintained, both inside and out
  • The facility must adhere to strict guidelines as mandated by the state, as well as county requirements. Inspections are made regularly by the county, and any deficiencies in the program are addressed immediately.
  • Persons who have gone through the program stated that the program is exemplary and rules are strict. Lives have been saved by going through Woodglen's program, and persons have become upstanding members of the community
  • When residents break sobriety or disobey the rules, they are not just "let loose." They are transferred to another location.

The following persons spoke in opposition to the request:

Michael Hurst, partner in the Landmark Plaza building (Amerige/Harbor)
Pat Hartnett, owner of the building at 350 East Commonwealth Avenue
Mike Dysenroff, 315 East Commonwealth Avenue
Tom Li, Realtor, representing adjacent property owner
Mario Valdez

The points of opposition were:

  • Detrimental to the image of the Downtown which the City is striving to maintain
  • There are already two existing drug rehab centers in this area-Western Pacific Fullerton Medical Clinic at 218 East Commonwealth Avenue and the County of Orange facility at 211 West Commonwealth Avenue, which serve approximately 1000 persons at any given time. The City is filling its pro-rata share of providing this type of service. There are also many unlicensed facilities within residential areas.
  • The purpose of the CUP hearing was not to determine whether Woodglen is a good facility or not, but rather a land use issue. The proposed facility would change the existing commercial use to residential.
  • The proposed structure is too small to house 16 people.
  • The adjacent property owner would like to develop his land as a mixed-use or income property, and was concerned that the Woodglen facility would have a negative impact.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner LeQuire applauded Woodglen and its residents for their hard work. However, there is already an SRO which is experiencing problems, the methadone clinic, and other such services in the area. He stated that while the existing program at 771 West Orangethorpe is successful, he could not approve this location. Because of opposition of the PAC 2 Committee and the Downtown Business Association, he could not support the project.

Commissioner Allred-Blake concurred that Woodglen is an excellent facility and there was a need for this type of service in the community. She appreciated all of the comments from both past and present residents of the Woodglen facility. She also felt this would be inconsistent with the plans for the Downtown, and was a land use issue. She also did not support the project. Commissioner Sandoval supported the project as presented. She felt that this use would fit in well at this location and would greatly enhance the property. She pointed out that the zoning would not be changed permanently-a Conditional Use Permit allows this use with conditions, including one which requires revocation of the permit if three or more complaints are received within a twelve-month period.

Commissioner Crane applauded the Woodglen residents for sharing their testimonies with the Commission. He reiterated that the zoning would not be changed, and that there were adequate conditions attached to the CUP application. He was in support of the request.

Commissioner Wilson did not feel that this was the right location for this use. While compassionate towards persons with drug/alcohol problems, he also had to appreciate the concerns expressed by the surrounding commercial owners. He could not support the request.

Chairman Simons also thanked the past and present Woodglen residents for sharing their experiences with the program. He reported that he had visited the site and found the home and the grounds to be impeccable. Neighbors on all sides of the facility had no complaints about this use. All information provided by the applicant concerning sign-out logs, etc. were found to be true. It was his opinion that the proposed use would greatly enhance the property on Commonwealth Avenue and he supported staff's recommendation.

The title of Resolution No. 6915 APPROVING a Conditional Use Permit to allow a residential rehabilitation facility (human service agency) providing temporary living accommodations and treatment for up to 16 adults who are recovering from alcoholism and/or drug/substance abuse, on property located at 329 East Commonwealth Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION was made by Commissioner Sandoval and seconded by Chairman Simons, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN. Commissioner Sandoval reminded the Commission that on issues such as this, findings must be made. The two findings, as stated in the staff report were: (1) that adequate parking is provided; and (2) the proposed rehabilitation facility will be a compatible use near existing commercial and multi-family residential development, and will not be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the surrounding residential neighborhood. She was uncomfortable with denying the request for the reason that there are "too many uses" of the same type in the area.

Commissioner Wilson asked staff if findings must be made if the matter is categorically exempt from CEQA Guidelines. Chief Planner Rosen answered that as part of the CUP review, findings are required. The code specifies that if the use is found to be incompatible with surrounding uses, conditions may be imposed to make it compatible. Further, in order for the denial of the request to be defensible, due to an "over concentration" of like facilities, the City must have a justifiable standard already set as part of the code. The courts have found that arbitrary standards are unreasonable, particularly for these types of housing uses.

Commissioner Wilson's opinion was that a concentration of these types of facilities could be detrimental to surrounding businesses and residences.

With a motion on the floor, Chairman Simons called for the vote: AYE by Commissioners Sandoval, Crane and Chairman Simons, and NAY by Commissioners Allred-Blake, LeQuire and Wilson. With a tie vote (3-3), the application was DENIED. Chief Planner Rosen announced that this item may be appealed to the City Council within ten days.

ITEM NO. 2
SITE PLAN SP-820; CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1040; AND ABANDONMENT AB-01-02. APPLICANT: JAY REYNOLDS; PROPERTY OWNER: D.D.R PROPERTIES
Staff report dated May 17, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to consider site and architectural plans for a new 23,000-square-foot, multi-story building for general and/or medical office uses; to allow a .650 floor area ratio (FAR) for this development, and to abandon surplus public street right of way and utility easements, on property located at 2240 North Harbor Boulevard (east side of Harbor Boulevard between approximately 600 feet and 930 feet north of Bastanchury Road) (O-P zone) (Negative Declaration).

Commissioner Allred-Blake abstained from this matter and left the Council Chambers.

Program Planner Linnell reported that this particular parcel has severe physical constraints, i.e. slopes and small size of the parcel. The developer is proposing to construct an office building that does not require any variances for this site, and the proposed structure will meet all code requirements. Staff recommended approval of the Site Plan and Conditional Use Permit, and the abandonment request will be forwarded to the City Council for approval.

Commissioner LeQuire asked for clarification regarding the prior soils failure, as noted in the staff report, and subsequent remedial action. Program Planner Linnell explained that the applicant had researched the prior soils report and also conducted a geotechnical report. The applicant is satisfied that the property can be developed in its present state.

Public hearing opened.

Jay Reynolds, architect, indicated that he had read and concurred with all of the recommended conditions of approval. Because of the two-levels of subterranean parking, the engineer has taken five or six borings on the site, and designed the footings to adequately support this structure. The remediated soil will be fully removed, and the parking structure will be below grade, and shoring will not be necessary on the Harbor Boulevard side of the retaining wall.

Commissioner LeQuire was concerned that left-turn exits will be allowed from the property, along Harbor Boulevard. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin clarified that there is presently an acceleration lane, which will be striped for a dual left-turn. This will allow for vehicles to pull out into this lane and yield to vehicles coming from the north.

Commissioner Wilson asked for the direction of the drainage flow. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that because of the "blue-line" stream located in the golf course, the applicant only need to pump that water flowing down the garage ramp up to Harbor Boulevard.

Mike Hawkins, who represented the apartment building adjacent to this property, wished to know the proposed location of the trash containers, and the applicant pointed out the location on the vicinity sketch.

Public hearing closed.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that the Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6916 APPROVING a site plan for a new 23,000-square-foot, multi-story building for general and/or medical office uses and to allow a .650 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the development, on property located at 2240 North Harbor Boulevard, was read and further reading was waived. The title of Resolution No. 6917 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the abandonment of a surplus public street right-of-way and utility easements for property located at 2240 North Harbor Boulevard, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, with Commissioner Allred-Blake abstaining, that said Resolutions be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Commissioner Allred-Blake returned to the Chambers.
ITEM NO. 3
GENERAL PLAN REVISION GPR-01-02 AND AMENDMENT A-1470. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON
Staff report dated May 29, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to amend Title 15.21 of the Fullerton Municipal Code to modify the criteria for establishing a specific plan and modify the Land Use Element of the General Plan and to allow specific plans as a means of implementing the Greenbelt Concept (Negative Declaration).

Senior Planner Mullis reported that in reviewing some recent residential projects, staff has experienced difficulties applying the PRD zone. As a result, staff is recommending that the Specific Plan District zoning designation be modified allowing it to be applied to smaller developments. This would be accomplished by removing the requirement that the development be a minimum of 200 acres, and now require that the minimum requirement be 40 acres. Thus, each smaller project will have a unique characteristic and its own Specific Plan document, and the new language will reflect this. A revision will also be made to the General Plan Land Use Element, which will allow the Specific Plan District to be a means of implementing the Greenbelt Concept. She clarified that these changes would only apply at the applicant's request.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6918 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval to amend Title 15.21 of the Fullerton Municipal Code to modify the criteria for establishing a Specific Plan District and modify the Land Use Element of the General Plan to allow specific plans as a means of implementing the Greenbelt Concept, 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.

The following three items were continued to June 13, 2001.
ITEM NO. 4a
EAST COYOTE HILLS PLANNING AREA 1 AND 2 SPECIFIC PLAN. APPLICANT: STANPAC DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.
A request to create a Specific Plan for Planning Areas 1 and 2 of East Coyote Hills on 48.98 acres located on the south side of Bastanchury Road, west of Brea Boulevard (Mitigated Negative Declaration, tiered from previously certified Environmental Impact Report)
ITEM NO. 4b
TRACT 14562, AMENDMENT #7 to MASTER SPECIFIC PLAN 1A, AND AMENDMENT A-1468. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: STANPAC DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.
A request to allow a subdivision for the development of 85 single-family dwellings, revision to the Master Specific Plan to change the designation of the property from multi-family to single-family residential, and reduce the number of dwelling units allocated to the lot (PA 1 of East Coyote Hills Specific Plan) from 100 units to 85 units, and change the zoning on the property from O-G (Oil-Gas) to SPD-O (Specific Plan District with an Oil Overlay), on an 18.61-acre lot located on the south side of Bastanchury Road, west of Brea Boulevard and west of the Sports Complex (P-L zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration tiered from previously certified Environmental Impact Report).
ITEM NO. 4c
TRACT TR-15338, AMENDMENT #8 TO MASTER SPECIFIC PLAN 1A, AND AMENDMENT A-1469. APPLICANT: AND PROPERTY OWNER: STANPAC DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
A request to allow a subdivision for the development of 145 single-family dwellings, revision to the Master Specific Plan to change the designation of the property from multi-family to single-family residential and reduce the number of dwelling units allocated to the lot (PA 2 of the East Coyote Hills Specific Plan) from 390 units to 145 units, and change the zoning designation on the property from O-G (Oil-Gas) to SPD-O (Specific Plan District with an Oil Overlay) on a 30.37-acre lot located on the south side of Bastanchury Road, west of Brea Boulevard and east of the Sports Complex (P-L zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration tiered from previously certified Environmental Impact Report).
ITEM A
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.
ITEM B
PUBLIC COMMENTS
There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
ITEM C
AGENDA FORECAST
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be June 13, 2001, at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:31 p.m.
Becky Stevens
Recording Secretary
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