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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

June 11, 2003

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Price at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Chairman Price; Commissioners Crane, Francis, Griffin, LeQuire, Savage, Stopper

STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Assistant Planner Kusch, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin, and Recording Secretary Baker

FLAG SALUTE:

Commissioner Griffin

MINUTES:

Commissioner Griffin asked that a change be made on page 52, the eighth paragraph reflecting that he wanted to hear what the rest of the commissioners felt about the design. MOTION by Commissioner Griffin seconded and carried by a 6-0 vote that the Minutes of May 28, 2003 be APPROVED AS AMENDED.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

ITEM NO. 1
PRJ02-00393 - TRACT 16478. APPLICANT: ROBERT JOHNSTON; PROPERTY OWNER: RONALD CARPENTER

Chairman Price recused himself from this item.

Staff report dated June 9, 2003 was presented pertaining to a request to approve a tract map for a six-lot subdivision on a 1.60-acre property located at 765 Carhart Avenue (west side of Carhart Avenue between approximately 315 and 420 feet south of the southwest intersection of Carhart Avenue and Pico Street) (R-1-7.2 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration).

Assistant Planner Kusch displayed a vicinity map that showed existing zone designations for the subject property and surrounding neighborhood. He explained that the subject property was in a neighborhood where the majority of the lots are the product of tracts created in the 1920's. From these tracts, further subdivisions of land have taken place over the last 70 years. As a result, single-family residences have been constructed sporadically, lot by lot, in the neighborhood (roughly bounded by Malvern Avenue on the south, Valley View Drive on the north, Stephens Avenue on the east, and Fern Drive Elementary School on the west). Many of the lots in this area - particularly those on Valley View Drive, Fern Drive, and Pico Street - are at least 50 feet wide, over 180 feet deep, and average over 11,000 sq. ft. in area. Most of the residences on these lots are set back at least 20 feet from the front property line. A map was displayed showing the location of existing rural roads. In the 1970's, at the request of the residents, most of the streets in this area were designated "rural roads", where curbs, gutters, lights and parkway trees are not required. This classification was intended to preserve pastoral qualities along a number of picturesque rural residential street frontages.

Assistant Planner Kusch displayed a chart indicating the chronology of application submittals, associated meetings and applications. He reminded the Commission that last October the Planning Commission heard a four-lot subdivision request for 1340 Pico Street, located directly adjacent and north of the subject property. At that public hearing, several residents spoke in opposition to the request, citing concerns with the small lot sizes and the development of large, two-story tract houses in an area primarily composed of one-story residences in a rural setting. The consensus of the Commission was that the four-lot subdivision was not in keeping with the rural character of the existing neighborhood and could not be approved. The application was eventually revised and subsequently approved for three 11,333 square foot lots. At the meeting, the Commission directed staff to take steps to initiate a proposed rezoning of the neighborhood in the future. In November, the applicant submitted an initial application.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that in February 2003, a community meeting was held, in part, to provide the neighborhood residents and property owners an opportunity for input. Over 100 people attended the community meeting and numerous concerns were expressed regarding the application including the density of the proposal, compatibility of the subdivision with the existing rural setting of the neighborhood, scale and design of the proposed architecture, grading and drainage of the property, school impacts, and issues related to reducing the amount of cross-thru traffic in the neighborhood. On March 4, 2003, the City Council held a meeting to consider the merits of an emergency moratorium on subdivisions within the Pico-Carhart neighborhood. The City Council adopted a moratorium and directed staff to commence with studying the possible rezoning of the neighborhood. The Council also directed staff to exclude the subject property from the subdivision moratorium.

Assistant Planner Kusch displayed an exhibit that listed characteristics of the neighborhood. He explained that the property was part of an established residential neighborhood and that the character of the neighborhood includes: rural streets, mostly single-story dwellings, detached or recessed garages, deep front yard setbacks, and eclectic architectural styles. He indicated that the property consisted of a single parcel having street frontage on Carhart Avenue. Photos were displayed of the subject property's existing streetscape along Carhart Avenue. Assistant Planner Kusch described the streetscape as thick mature vegetation, screening an existing single-family residence. He indicated that the proposed subdivision would establish a new cul-de-sac street off Carhart Avenue, thereby removing much of the existing vegetation.

An aerial photograph of the subject property and adjacent properties was displayed. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the subject property was 1.60 acres in size and improved with a single-family residence. Assistant Planner Kusch explained that the applicant intended to demolish the residence and subdivide the property to create seven parcels. Six of the parcels would be developed with single-family residences. The proposed tract map was displayed. The proposed subdivision would be oriented off a new cul-de-sac street. The proposed cul-de-sac street was a private street easement and included a modified rural street design. The proposed right-of-way includes rolled curbs and measures 29 feet wide (24 feet paved) with a 41.75' radius cul-de-sac at the westerly terminus of the street easement. For comparison, the right-of-way for Carhart Avenue is 60 feet, with 24 feet paved.

Assistant Planner Kusch explained the elements of the proposed tract. The proposed lot sizes would range from 7,450 net square feet to 9,526 net square feet. The average lot size is 8,550 square feet. Parcel No. 1 would be the only residential parcel fronting Carhart Avenue, with access from the new cul-de-sac street. A mitigation measure was proposed to ensure the home on Parcel No. 1 was consistent with the Carhart streetscape and not physically separated or oriented away from the neighborhood. An additional parcel (Parcel 'A') would be developed as commonly shared landscaping and maintained by the new residents through a newly established homeowners association.

In addition to the proposed private street easement, an 8-foot wide parking easement is proposed on the frontage of the numbered lots. Except at the location of proposed driveways and along Parcel 'A', the parking easement shall extend along the private street and the cul-de-sac to maximize on-street parking. Lot sizes shall not include the private street or the 8'-0" wide parking easement along the edge of the private street. All setbacks shall be those in effect at the time of building permit issuance. The setbacks along the private street shall be measured from the backside of the 8'-0" wide parking easement.

Four-foot high retaining walls are proposed along the south property lines of Parcel No. 1 and No. 2. A six-foot, non-view obstructing wrought iron fence is proposed on top of the retaining wall. The Municipal Code would allow a solid 6'-0" fence or block wall on the retaining wall, resulting in an overall height of 10'-0. This could have a negative impact on the adjacent property, and a condition of approval addressing this issue had been included. A land use deed restriction shall be recorded for Parcel No. 3 that stipulates the restriction of any solid wall on top of the proposed retaining wall. The deed restriction shall include a provision that a means of access is provided to the sloped area.

A drainage swale enters the north part of the property near proposed Parcel No. 6 and exits the property on the south part of proposed Parcel No. 2. The property is located on soil that is potentially expansive. Assistant Planner Kusch indicated that staff requested submittal of a preliminary geotechnical report but one was not provided. The geotechnical report would illustrate the proposed cut and fill grading activity and determine if over excavating is required for the site, and if so, what trees could be retained, and what the extent of import and fill would be required to compensate for a significant over-excavated condition. A condition of approval is submittal of the geotechnical report prior to the issuance of a grading permit.

Assistant Planner Kusch indicated that Parcel No. 1 shall have a front yard setback on Carhart Avenue and the private street. The minimum front yard setback along Carhart Avenue for Parcel No. 1 shall meet the minimum setback for the zone and current setback of the residence located north of the subject property at 773 Carhart Avenue, whichever is greater. Assistant Planner Kusch displayed an exhibit indicating the property line designation for each parcel.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the property contains a variety of mature trees, a natural drainage swale, and the potential to have a variety of plant species and animal habitat. The property may contain Federal or State-listed protected species including raptors and migrating birds. In addition, the plant species may support protected fauna and habitat. To address the proposed development's impact on existing biological resources, the submittal of a biological survey and analysis by a certified biologist will be included as a recommended condition of the proposed subdivision's approval.

Assistant Planner Kusch indicated that the proposed grading activity may also impact a mature Oak tree located on the adjacent property at 755 Carhart Avenue, south of the subject property. The canopy and presumably, the root system and drip line of the Oak tree encroaches onto the subject property. A mitigation measure proposes to address, where possible, the protection of existing trees.

Assistant Planner Kusch indicated that the Fullerton General Plan Land Use Chapter identifies the need to ensure the compatibility of the proposed residences to the character of the existing neighborhood (Land Use Policy LU-2.5, Neighborhood Preservation). To be compatible with the eclectic mix of architecture found in the neighborhood, the proposed residences need to be architecturally distinct from each other. Recommended conditions of approval have been added including design goals and design review of the new residences, common landscaped areas and streetscape by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee.

Assistant Planner Kusch indicated that public notification of the Planning Commission meeting was mailed to property owners within a 300-foot radius of the subject property. Staff did not receive any letters pertinent to the request.

Assistant Planner Kusch informed the commissioners that the handout they received was correcting mitigation measure IX.a. which should have stated that "Lot sizes shall not include...". He also made a correction of the Assessor's Parcel Number, which should have been 031-013-19. He recommended approval of the project based on the findings contained in the report and subject to the report's mitigation measures and recommended conditions of approval.

Commissioner Savage asked the following:

  • How many square feet is Parcel 'A', the common landscape parcel adjacent to the street?
    Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was 750 square feet.
  • How wide is Pico Street? Is Pico Street a comparable width?
    Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that the pavement on Pico Street is about the same width as Carhart Avenue. He stated that the proposed street in this tract is wider because of a 2 foot gutter on each side, however, the pavement is the same. He told them that Carhart Avenue is approximately 24 ft. wide.
  • Why was the four-lot subdivision on Pico Street originally recommended by staff not approved?
    Chief Planner Rosen stated that it did not fit the general pattern of development in the neighborhood.
  • What about flag lots?
    Chief Planner Rosen stated that the primary reason for the subdivision's denial was due to the size and orientation of the lots.
  • Staff was recommending approval for this project, which is similar to the four lots on Pico Street. Why recommend this one versus not recommending the other one?
    Chief Planner Rosen viewed them differently. He said that the project on Pico Street was a flag-lot issue. He looked at the issue of size of lots in gross terms and net terms. By discounting the flag lots and seeing the orientation of the buildings as they relate to the neighborhood, this creates a whole new street.
  • What is the impact on Carhart Avenue?

Chief Planner Rosen stated that the project will have a minimal impact on the houses on Carhart, if approved. The architectural impact on the neighborhood will be reviewed by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee. There will be modified rural street conditions, because it fronts on a rural street and it is a cul-de-sac. If it were in a different location, there would be different conditions. The lot size is a factor and may not be consistent. All factors made it supportable and he viewed them each differently.

Commissioner Crane asked the following:

  • What is the reasoning behind the staff report change?
    Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the revision to mitigation measure IX.a was not a change, but rather an omission of the word "not".
  • What is the affect of a rezone or minimum lot size and code requirements.

Assistant Planner Kusch said there is a separate rezoning petition pending for the neighborhood. Since required lot sizes are based on net square footage (excluding right of way or street parking easements), any rezone of the property to a larger minimum lot size may result in the proposed parcels to be deficient from the newly established minimum lot area.

Chief Planner Rosen said that if the property was rezoned prior to permits being issued, any new houses would have to conform to the new zoning, setback, lot area, and floor area ratio development standards. Staff has conducted some analysis of a rezone for the neighborhood, but we are not discussing the rezone issue tonight. Staff has informed the applicant of the petition to rezone the subject property and the neighborhood. We are discussing the gross and net lot area and what the setbacks are for this particular project.

  • Do we intend to include this parcel in the zone change?

Chief Planner Rosen responded affirmatively and told the Commission that it will be put before the Planning Commission and the City Council. The property is included in the zoning study area. The direction of the City Council was to exclude the property from the moratorium.

Commissioner Francis stated:

  • He is concerned if a zone change is approved, the current subdivision request is approved, and the required setbacks change. He asked if the Planning Commission has the authority to stipulate a condition for certain minimum building setbacks due to the possibility of the property being rezoned in the future. He also asked if setbacks can be greater than what is required.

Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively - the Planning Commission or City Council could stipulate greater setbacks than the minimum required.

  • Can they freeze setbacks? Chief Planner Rosen stated that we cannot vest this map with the current zoning.
  • He was concerned that they may be approving something that might change.

Chief Planner Rosen said that whatever zone designation is applied to the property in the future, they can submit the tentative tract map as proposed. Any home constructed would need to conform to the underlying zoning.

Commissioner LeQuire asked the following:

  • What is the staff position with the mature trees? He asked if any are proposed to be retained. If so, will they pose any traffic issues by hindering residents being able to see up and down the street. Will it affect ingress and egress?

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that staff is awaiting the submittal of an arborist report to see which trees can be retained. As a recommended condition of the tentative tract map approval, the applicant will submit a biological assessment of the property's existing flora and fauna. He's not sure if the trees are part of sensitive species habitat. The Municipal Code currently requires vision clearance within the required street setback. Landscaping such as continuous shrubs and hedges shall be no more than three feet in height in the front yard setback. Trees within the street setback should have their canopies trimmed below the six-foot line.

  • Where is the biological report referred to as IX.a in the mitigating measures.

He also had a question about when the setbacks are finalized.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the biological report is mentioned in IV.a, not IX.a.

Commissioner Stopper asked:

  • Does staff feel that overexcavation will be required for this site, as discussed in mitigation measure VI.a.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that, in the past, in order to get a competent bottom, overexcavation has been required for development in streambeds.

  • He also asked about the flow rate mentioned in VIII.a. He asked if there was no question that there will be a larger volume of water that will collect and the runoff will be greater than it exists today.

Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that the water should leave in the same manner and location so as to not negatively impact the downstream flow. He answered affirmatively that there will be a greater runoff than what exists today.

Commissioner Griffin asked why no geotechnical report has been presented yet . He asked staff why they thought the applicant has not presented it yet.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that he thought the reason was timing and cost.

Applicant and representative:

Ryan Gregory, 130 Hillcrest Drive, Fullerton, Johnston Real Estate. He spoke as a representative of the Carpenters, who live at 765 Carhart Avenue. He began by explaining that he approached the Carpenters to purchase their property. They submitted an application and plans in November. There were subsequent resubmittals. The proposed subdivision consists of six single-family dwelling units. All six parcels exceed the minimum lot size for the property's, R-1-7,200 zone designation. The lot sizes range from 7,200 to over 9,000 square feet. He feels that the project will greatly benefit the neighborhood. He stated that they will be keeping with the character of the neighborhood and they plan on building six homes. They have conceptual elevations and he displayed several photos and renderings of potential styles, i.e. a craftsman style home, a traditional style home, a traditional single story unit, a Spanish style home, and a cottage style home. He said that they are open as to the types of homes to build. He also stated that he has some issues with the conditions of approval and he asked if he should address those issues now.

Commissioner LeQuire responded that he should raise the questions now.

Mr. Gregory said that his main concern was that the change to one of the conditions of approval made today by staff was drastic. He believed that the parking and street easement should be credited toward required lot area and that street setbacks should be measured from the street centerline. He was concerned with the correction and the time frame of the change made by staff to mitigation measure No. IX.a. He preferred that it was left as written before, and he got the idea to go to centerline from staff. They originally submitted the plans and staff came back with a five unit alternative plan with the property lines measured to the street centerline. He said they didn't think of measuring the proposed parcels to the street centerline until staff presented the option to them.

Commissioner LeQuire asked that Mr. Gregory present the information he would like to have considered and the Planning Commission will consider it. Mr. Gregory said that his first preference would be to include the parking and street easements in the parcel's square footage as originally written. He said that the setback requirements as recommended by staff would go into affect by tract map approval by the Planning Commission. Those were his two main problems.

Commissioner Le Quire asked if he was in agreement with all of the other requirements, other than the two exceptions. Mr. Gregory stated that he was in agreement, other than the two exceptions.

Commissioner Francis asked Mr. Gregory to go over the easement again.

Mr. Gregory stated that the initial proposal included measuring the lot sizes to the street centerline and the parking easement was included in the required lot area. Commissioner Francis asked if it was the gross area and Mr. Gregory stated that it was.

Commissioner Francis asked Mr. Gregory if he was comfortable with that and if he would like it changed back. Mr. Gregory answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Griffin asked Mr. Gregory to expand on how the first requested change affects them. Mr. Gregory explained that the square footage of the lot would be larger, if the easement was included, which is a better marketing point in selling.

Commissioner Griffin asked if there was better marketing potential because of the eight foot parking easement? He asked what the lot size is in the official record in the County of Orange. What is it that changes the coverage calculations? Mr. Gregory said that the private street included in the easement would make the homeowner responsible for it because it would be included in the homeowner's lot.

Commissioner Griffin stated that he was missing the significance, was it directly related to coverage or how big of a house you can build?

Chief Planner Rosen told the commissioners that the staff report was incorrect as written, however, it was verbally transmitted to the applicant that this condition was amended. He apologized for the unintentional omission of the word "not" and that the language of the amended mitigation measure as proposed by staff intends to exclude the parking easement toward required gross lot area. It is typical to not include the street easement toward required lot area. The street is being designed as a street and implemented like a street. Typically, street right-of-ways include paved areas eight to ten feet wide and includes curbs, gutters and the sidewalk. It is usually not included in lot sizes and floor area calculations. The property line technically goes to the street centerline and gross lot area is measured to the street centerline. For zoning purposes we look at the net area excluding right-of-way easements. The proposed tract map does not have a sidewalk and the road easement extends beyond the paved area. Gravel areas are included as street parking in the roadway easement across future homeowner's properties. Setbacks are from the right-of-way, not where the pavement ends. It is consistent to exclude parking areas from lot area calculations.

Senior Civil Engineer Wallin said that in all the streets in this neighborhood, 95% are easements. (i.e. Carhart Avenue, Pico Street, Johnson Place). Gross lot area is measured out to center of streets, but the lots are normally based on the net area since the only usable lot area is outside of the public right of way.

Chief Planner Rosen told the commission that the five-lot plan proposed by staff was different from the current subdivision proposal. The five-lot alternative plan retained the natural drainage course of the existing streambed and included building a bridge for the street to span over the stream. The five-lot plan also retained the natural grade of the property with no extensive retaining walls and included decorative paving elements with a circular roundabout at the street cul-de-sac. From Carhart Avenue the entry to the subdivision would appear as a private driveway and not the appearance of a "public" street. Under those circumstances, staff would consider measuring the lot areas to the center of the street. He said that the proposed subdivision is very different.

Commissioner Griffin asked Mr. Gregory why the geotechnical report was not submitted as requested. Mr. Gregory stated that it was requested along with eight other items and they chose not to spend the money for the requested items due to staff's reluctance to support our proposal.

Commissioner Crane asked if the condition regarding drainage (mitigation VIII.a) is feasible.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that the proposed development would impact the downstream flow, but should not have more of a downstream impact. Mr. Rosen discussed that recommended mitigation measure VIII.a should be reworded. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that he would come up with appropriate wording.

Commissioner Stopper looked at the large tract map plan provided to the commissioners. He asked about the tract house on parcel No. 2 on the tentative tract map. He was concerned that the pad is built on all fill (at a depth to 12 feet).

Tom King, King Civil Engineering Corporation, 101 S. Kraemer Blvd., Suite 225, Placentia, is the civil engineer for the applicant's proposed subdivision and clarified the proposed building pad elevations and grading and drainage in relationship to the property's natural swale. If the proposed storm drain that transverses parcel No. 2 and No. 6 were to backup, any overflow would be confined by the street curbs and flow down the street rather than across # parcel No. 2.

Commissioner Stopper mentioned his concern about debris gathering in the storm drains in an area near Carhart Avenue and draining south to Malvern Avenue. He felt that there had been problems with handling water draining from the north to the south. He feels that existing infrastructure does not have the ability to handle the water with the debris.

Mr. King stated that there are new inventions on the market and they could put a junction structure on the storm drain, which picks up debris and throws it out into a basket. There are different sizes and there is a possibility of incorporating that into this drainage system.

Commissioner Stopper felt that one of the drainage issues is receiving the run off from the properties located north of the subject property and how the proposed storm drain system, especially when clogged with debris, would impact the safety of the residents on parcel No. 2.

Mr. King does not see it as a problem. He stated that the water would have to raise four feet to go over the catch basin.

Senior Civil Engineer Wallin will look at this issue and, if the storm drainpipe could be blocked, he will require that the building pads be raised to an elevation to prevent flooding from a 100-year flood. He said that the pad may have to be raised or change the grade of the road for positive overflow

Commissioner Stopper reiterated that the combination of drainage and large fill under lot #2 is a problem and the Planning Commission, with City staff, should not pass it on, but address it now before the matter is voted upon.

There were no more questions of the applicant.

Public hearing opened.

Betsy Warner, 1332 Pico St., Fullerton, resides directly north of the subject property. She stated that she does not see the applicant is willing to compromise. She said that having a homeowners' association is not consistent with the existing neighborhood, because there are no associations currently in the neighborhood. She wondered why the City drew up a five-unit proposal and the applicant did not go for it. She urged them to be consistent with what is currently there. She is against the project as it stands, and wants to see the natural streambed remain. She feels there are many questions regarding the grading, and is concerned about the height of the retaining walls. She stated concerns about flooding for upstream properties. She objects to measuring the lot areas to the street centerline because it isn't consistent with the neighborhood. She stated she is also against the proposed subdivision because of the small lot sizes.

Mike McNamara 1336 West Fern Drive, Fullerton, felt that the three homes at the end of Pico Street look out of place. He hoped that some of the homes will be single-story ranch-style homes. He did not understand or accept the lot area/street centerline issue.

Melinda Guinaldo, 781 N. Carhart Avenue stated that she prefers five homes on the subject property. The applicant has a right to develop, but she is concerned with the compatibility of the development. She feels it sets a precedent for future development in the neighborhood. She also stated her opposition to a homeowners' association. She feels that the trees on Carhart Avenue and the vegetation are a signature to the neighborhood entrance. Part of the neighborhood's rural aesthetics is the neighborhood trees, which are a habitat for wildlife. She urged the Commission to save the trees. She is also concerned with drainage. She felt that the runoff would be substantial and wondered what the impact would be on parcel No. #2 and other residences that are located upstream.

Cecil Swenson, 1324 Pico Street, Fullerton said that the rear of her property had flooded in the past. She is the eldest of the residents and has lived at her residence since 1946. She stated that 57 years ago they were told that there was a 10-foot easement at the back of the property. She said that if those plans have changed, she had not been notified. She asked if the U.S. Department of Fish and Game have reviewed the abundance of raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rats and snakes, in addition to the many birds. She asked how many animals will be misplaced, especially if trees are removed. She also said that she feels there are too many cars currently parked on Carhart Avenue. She feels there it is hazardous to make a left turn from Pico Street to Carhart Avenue and that there are many who do not obey the speed limit.

Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that he is not aware of a public alley easement along the west side of the subject property. He stated that the only alley he is aware of in this neighborhood is on the north part of Pico Street, which appears to be a private easement.

Chief Planner Rosen explained the setbacks for the proposed parcels. He stated that there is a 20-foot proposed storm drain easement for the storm drain along the east property line of Parcel No. 6.

Ron and Wendy Carpenter, 765 Carhart Avenue, Fullerton, stated that they purchased their home in 1974. They felt that having the option of developing the land was their great American dream. They did not imagine the zoning would be changed. They were disturbed that their individual rights were being denied by the dreams and whims of a few people. They feel that the neighbors imposing their values on them was morally wrong. Improvements of their property will improve the value of their neighbor's property. Their land was eventually going to be subdivided at some point and that is why they are here.

Greg Hoster, 1336, 1340, 1344, Pico Street, Fullerton stated that he knows Bob Johnston and believes he will do what is best for the property. He believes the Commission is diligent and conscientious. He agreed that the parking situation is bad, and feels that the development will improve the situation. He stated that the stream is only polluted water. He agreed with Chief Planner Rosen that the R-1-10,000 rezoning will affect setbacks.

Jose Rodriguez, property owner across from subject property on Carhart Avenue. He stated that he purchased the property because of the trees. He suggested that they build five homes and a park. He feels everyone will be happy if they keep the trees.

Commissioner LeQuire asked if the applicant wanted to make a rebuttal.

Mr. Gregory stated that they would love to keep the trees and will retain as much of the foliage to keep it as it is and wants to hide the project away. He stated that the retaining wall along Carhart Avenue can be adjusted or moved. They are going to build a good product. He said his family goes back to 1870. Three generations were born and raised here and he wants what is good for the city.

Commissioner Crane asked what are the true net lot sizes.

Staff gave him the exact sizes. Lot #1 7,210 square feet, Lot #2 8,750 square feet, Lot #3 9,260 square feet, Lot #4 8,890 square feet, Lot #5 7,530 square feet, Lot #6 8,560 square feet.

Commissioner Crane also asked if the setbacks are the only thing the zone change is affecting. He also asked what may be the ramifications of a zone change.

Commissioner Francis stated that his understanding was that the first proposed development was for seven lots, the City came back with five lots proposed, including street and parking area easements. Then the developer came back with a compromise of six lots and the City took away the lot area credit that resulted from previously counting the street and parking easements. He asked if the developer knew why the City took it away.

Chief Planner Rosen said that materially it only changes where setbacks are measured from. Mitigation measure IX.a pertaining to excluding the street easement toward lot area and measuring setbacks from the extent of the easement was not made today. Staff made an unintentional omission to the mitigation measure contained in the staff report. It was discussed previously with applicant, but maybe it wasn't understood. The content of the staff report and Initial Study leads to the revised mitigation measure. Based on the current proposal, it was never staff's intent with the proposed subdivision to count the street right of way toward lot area .

Mr. Gregory stated that city staff is not compromising enough to allow the proposed parcels lot area to include the street right of way and parking easement.

Chief Planner Rosen said that it is more than just the location of lot lines, but all factors are in play. He said that there have been five iterations of the tentative tract map. Staff and the developer have gone back and forth on a number of things. The applicant did not propose the five-lot version someone was hired at the city's cost to do the conceptual plan. The intent of hiring the consultant to draw up a five-lot map was to help the applicant to a goal line to process and get the project through.

Commissioner LeQuire asked if there were any other questions.

Steve Collier, 1168 Valley View, Fullerton asked if the drive was private not gated. He also asked if it were possible five properties on larger lots could sell for the same price as six properties on smaller lots. He thought that would equal out to make everyone happy.

Commissioner Savage asked the applicant why he opposed the revision to mitigation measure IX.a concerning not counting the parking easement toward required lot area and measuring setbacks from the extent of the easement. He asked what the advantage was to the applicant. He asked if the property is included in the zone change would they lose square footage? He also asked if the concern was floor area ration, or the setback of 25 feet versus 15 feet.

Mr. Gregory asked if the Commission could condition setbacks so that if, and when the zone changes, and they fall underneath the minimum lot size of the new zone designation, they will not have to come back and redo the whole plan.

Commissioner Savage stated that he is not opposed to the project. He stated that with the floor area ratio changes, the map would change tonight. He feels there is a potential for a setback change.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that a change in zoning from R-1-7,200 to R-1-10,000 decreases the floor area ratio by 5%.

Commissioner Crane asked if the applicant can be required to abide by everything except the minimum lot size.

Chief Planner Rosen answered that he could not condition the methodology for determining required lot area one way or another and that the mitigation measure was included just for reference purposes.

Chief Planner Rosen could not reduce the setbacks beyond what is required when permits are being issued. Commissioner Crane asked if all setbacks should be those at the time of tentative tract map approval. Chief Planner Rosen said the Commission could not do that.

Mr. Gregory asked if he could rescind the two requests on conditions of approval. Chief Planner Rosen stated that all setbacks go into affect at the time of the tentative tract map approval.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Griffin asked if the private street would be maintained by the homeowners association. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Griffin asked about the covenants, conditions and restrictions and the potential future for security gating. Chief Planner Rosen stated that he intends to address any security gating in the covenants, conditions and restrictions. Commissioner Griffin asked who will maintain the storm drain system discussed earlier. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin told the Commission that the Homeowners' Association will maintain the storm drain and be legally liable for damages that occur if the storm drain does not function correctly.

Commissioner Stopper asked for a 5 minute break.

Chief Planner Rosen clarified the reason for the five lot subdivision proposal. The five lot alternative would minimize grading with no retaining walls, retain the streambed with some vegetation needing to be cleared. The street and parking easements were counted toward lot areas due to the street having decorative elements. The right of way appeared as a private drive and did not have a typical street appearance. There would be decorative pavement and other landscape features. The five-lot subdivision alternative was not an ultimatum, but was rather presented to the applicant in order to facilitate discussion. The applicant was appreciative of staff efforts. He suggested that perhaps there could be agreement tonight on 7,200 square foot minimum lots.

Commissioner Francis voiced his concerns with taxpayer's money being used on plans for private property. He felt that it is not the role of the City. He thought it should be looked at objectively.

Commissioner Crane asked for an explanation of a vested tract map. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it would require filing an application that proves it is a vested tentative map designed with final house locations, grade elevation, size of pad, storm drain size and this would give a vested right to continue. He also said that the proposal is more conceptual now and the applicant needs to work out the bugs.

Commissioner Savage asked if the five lot rough sketch had no retaining walls. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively and stated that there was no underground drainage and there was a surface drain, except for a small bridge culvert.

Commissioner Crane stated that he would support the project because the development meets standards to ensure it is compatible with Carhart Avenue. He feels that parcel No. 1 is consistent with the public street because it is long and narrow. He stated his disappointment that the Commission does not have control over the developer selling the property to another developer and if they didn't develop for five years, it could be under new standards. He highly recommended that the developer eliminate the retaining walls from the street location and they look at eliminating other walls. He suggested that to solve the grading problem, the developer look at using the natural terrain for split level residential designs. He thought the engineer and architect could solve design issues using the natural topography. He thought that the mix of one story housing would be a benefit.

Commissioner Savage agreed that it meets the R-1-7,200 zoning. He stated that it met the general pattern of development in the neighborhood. He feels that a lot of work had been done to try and make it fit in with the existing neighborhood, and the subdivision will be hidden away. He asked what the other commissioners thought about the five lot suggestion. He thought it was nicer with five lots.

Commissioner Stopper stated that he looks at this from the perspective of an engineer. He said that he was troubled with the amount of fill on Parcel No. 2 and the construction of the storm drain throughout the property. He feels it could be a safety problem and any hint of that possibility drives him to not support the project. In regard to staff's recommended areas of mitigation, he suggested that the Commission let the Director of Development Services review and approve reports concerning soils, geology and hydrology. He did not know about the five- lot alternative plan suggestion by staff until tonight. Commissioner Stopper thought a future problem would be created with taking drainage runoff from adjacent properties and passing it under the subject property Currently, the land absorbs a lot of water which eventually runs off naturally. Even if the proposed storm drain worked fine, debris collecting in the neighborhood's existing storm drain system is already a problem. The City continues to send out crews to clean out storm drains in the Malvern Avenue area. He would support five lots on the property without parcel No. 2. He has a concern with the safety and security in Parcel No. 2 and until he is comfortable with it, he cannot support the project.

Commissioner Francis feels the Commission is selling staff a little short. They have dealt with bigger projects. He thinks it is a walk through the park, he believes in the staff. With regard to the storm drain, making it the responsibility of the homeowners association is better off for the City. He feels that since it is private property and it is zoned correctly, the applicant has certain property rights. The project has merit. Commissioner Francis discussed the density of the project and mentioned the proximity of an existing apartment complex a few properties south on the corner of Malvern Avenue and Carhart Avenue. The nature of the neighborhood is eclectic. He knows that Mr. Gregory would not put forth a project that does not have merit. He supports the project, but feels that the commission should credit the street and parking easements toward the required lot sizes. Commissioner Francis believed that since the City will not maintain the street, the street right-of-way easement should be reflected in the lot sizes.

Commissioner Griffin said that he feels the same as Commissioner Stopper. He has concerns with the storm drain and the drainage on the entire site. He is a proponent of private property rights. He feels the current zoning isn't a problem and he feels it is good that the homeowners association will be liable for the drainage system. He wants to see the drainage pattern and mitigations change before he supports it. He cannot support it as is.

Commissioner Stopper asked if the developer would support a continuance to look at it further.

Commissioner Le Quire said that it is not a decision for the applicant to make. The Planning Commission would have to move for a continuance. He also shared the concerns raised by fellow Commissioners. If the development goes forward, the resources would be much better spent working with the site's existing topography and site constraints. He agreed with the same issues raised by Commissioner Crane. He feels that a higher quality development can be put together to eliminate the issues.

Commissioner Crane said that staff does a good job and can work with the applicant to modify the grading concept proposed here. He felt the Commission should approve the number of lots presented tonight. The grading concept can be modified to achieve the previously discussed goals. He does not want to delay the approval process, Adding or modifying the conditions of approval can address most of the Commission's concerns. The Commission will have to move on and make a decision.

Chief Planner Rosen said that the height of cut and fill slopes is based on how steep they are. He stated that the slopes are not that steep and the retaining walls are not that high.

Commissioner Crane encouraged staff to look at an alternative, but not mandate it.

Commissioner Savage felt that the retaining walls on Carhart Avenue are minimal measuring two feet high. He felt that drainage is not an issue. He would vote to support the project as it stands.

Commissioner Le Quire stated that they needed a consensus of four Commissioners.

Commissioner Francis said that he accepts staff's recommendation, and feels that, because it is private property, staff should include in the square footage the entire right of way easement, including the street and parking area.

Commissioner Francis asked about the size of the property and if it would include the street and parking easements.

The title of Resolution No. PC-03-19 APPROVING a tentative tract map for a six-lot subdivision on a 1.60-acre property located at 765 Carhart Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded and CARRIED by a 4-2 vote, that said Resolution be adopted as written. Commissioner Griffin and Commissioner Stopper voting no.

There was no further discussion.

Chairman Price returned.

OTHER MATTERS

  1. RESOLUTION OF INTENTION

    Chief Planner Rosen discussed the purpose of the proposed resolution of intention. He told the Commission that staff is considering waiving the requirement of a conditional use permit for auto sales businesses meeting certain development criteria. Staff felt the requirement of a conditional use permit was excessive. A future public hearing has been scheduled to discuss the proposed code revision.

    The title of Resolution No. PC-03-20 DECLARING its intention to consider amending Title 15 of the Fullerton Municipal Code to permit sales of new autos in the C-2 and C-H zones without a Conditional Use Permit if certain development standards are met, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Crane, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that the Resolution of Intention be approved as READ.

  2. REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

    Chief Planner Rosen stated that there was a question of setting a hearing date to discuss the proposed abandonment of a street easement at the terminus of east Valencia Drive. The item was continued indefinitely. He was not sure what will happen next. There was a letter to the City Council from the property owner of the mobile home park

  3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

    There were no further comments from the public.

  4. AGENDA FORECAST

    Chief Planner Rosen reminded the Commissioners that the meeting of June 25, 2003 had been canceled. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be July 9, 2003, at 4:00 p.m. and 7 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

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