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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

FEBRUARY 9, 2005


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


PRESENT: Chairman Griffin, Commissioners Francis, Price, Savage, Stopper

ABSENT:Bailey, Hart

STAFF PRESENT:Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Engineering Director Hoppe, Senior Civil Engineer Voronel, and Recording Secretary Baker


Chairman Griffin


Commissioner Price asked that the spelling of Dr. Kvetnys name be corrected. He also asked that the last sentence be stricken from the 11th paragraph on Page 14.

Commissioner Stopper asked that the revision to the motion be included before the vote on Page 15.

MOTION by Commissioner Savage seconded by Commissioner Price and CARRIED by a 7-0 vote, that the Minutes of January 26, 2005, be APPROVED AS AMENDED.



Staff report dated February 9, 2005 was presented pertaining to a request to modify the parking standards contained in Chapter 15.55 of the Fullerton Municipal Code, pertaining to retirement complexes.

Senior Planner Mullis reminded the Planning Commission that at the January 26, 2005, meeting this item was presented, and was continued to give a local developer additional time to review the proposal. She reflected on the seven types of housing in the zoning ordinance. She explained that there were two categories: independent living with kitchen units, and central dining with assisted living.

Senior Planner Mullis discussed the range of parking requirements, and reviewed staffs findings from reviewing existing senior housing facilities in Fullerton. She directed the Commission to the parking studies in the staff report. She stated that the senior housing projects in Fullerton reviewed by staff were Amerige Villas, Fullerton Fountains, Klimpel Manor and Hillcrest Senior Condominiums.

She reviewed other senior housing projects that staff visited in Orange County: Remington in Ladera Ranch, Vintage Canyon in Brea, Victoria Woods in Yorba Linda and Palm Island in Fountain Valley. Staff compared the number of parking spaces provided by a per unit and per bedroom requirement.

Senior Planner Mullis stated that representatives from the Morgan Group had discussed their proposal with staff. They provided a parking demand study of three other similar projects in Orange County. Their concern was to understand how Fullerton would address the empirical data requirement in the CUP process, since the number of parking spaces required was being increased. Staff felt that each project was unique, and staff believed that each project should be examined on its own merits. Staff wanted to move forward and bring the amendment to the City Council level. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission certify the negative declaration and recommend to the City Council adoption of the zoning ordinance amendment.

Commissioner Francis asked for an explanation of the various housing types. Senior Planner Mullis explained that all of them are for senior housing. Type I is for single-family detached homes, Type II, III and V are apartment or condominiums of which the height, density and bulk vary by type and are not permitted in all zones, Type IV and VI are assisted living developments and no change is recommended, and Type VII is a combination of all types in a mixed use development.

Commissioner Price asked if all the senior complexes that staff reviewed were Type III and Type V. Senior Planner Mullis answered that she believed they were mostly Type III and Type V.

Commissioner Savage asked how many bedrooms were in the units at Vintage Canyon. Senior Planner Mullis reported that 84 are one-bedroom units and 22 are two-bedroom units.

Commissioner Stopper asked how a unit could be considered less than one bedroom. Senior Planner Mullis explained that studio units are considered less than one bedroom. Commissioner Stopper also asked how the current senior complexes would be grandfathered. Senior Planner Mullis stated that these would be considered existing, legal nonconforming, and if any additions were proposed, the addition would need to comply with the code.

Chief Planner Rosen added that each project would be judged according to the extent of the proposed expansion and brought before the Planning Commission. Commissioner Stopper questioned the process of documenting those units not up to code. Senior Planner Mullis stated that staff would review the original file to see if they complied with the conditions mandated at that time.

Senior Planner Mullis clarified that all senior developments are required to go through the CUP process, and the Planning Commission would review and make decisions on the required standards.

Commissioner Stopper asked why City Council only wanted a review of parking standards for senior housing developments. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff had presented a report on the overall residential parking situation to the City Council. City Council felt that generally parking was adequate, but was concerned with the amount of senior parking.

Commissioner Price asked about the parking standards for apartments and condos, compared to senior housing standards. Senior Planner Mullis replied that it depended on the amount of bedrooms per unit, and she provided the Commission with the requirements.

Public hearing opened.

Derek Empey, Senior Vice President of the Morgan Group, appreciated staffs assistance and the opportunity to come before the Planning Commission. It was his opinion that City staff left one step out of a three-step review process. The three steps would be to review the parking standards of existing projects and other cities and conduct a parking demand analysis done by a registered traffic engineer, which the City had not done. He stated that the Morgan Group had reviewed three projects with similar characteristics to the project they have proposed and they provided 1.1 spaces per unit but found that 38 48% of the spaces were unoccupied. The project that Morgan Group is proposing was parked at 1.5 spaces per unit to ensure adequate parking. He believed the problem in Fullerton is when the parking provided is less than one space per unit. He stated that having a parking requirement based on worse case scenario code added subjectivity to the review of the project. He felt that having a clear process for how these emperical studies are reviewed needs to be developed. He also stated that the more land that was put into parking results in a loss of land available for open space and landscaping. He suggested that one space per unit for one bedroom units and 1.25 spaces per unit for two bedroom units could be a more realistic requirement.

Commissioner Stopper felt that there was a possibility of a new design layout for the number of units. This was a variable parking ratio, which changed the design significantly. The setback requirement for lot coverage was more restrictive, whether a carport or parking surface. He felt it could be hard to get to a perfect final design and all aspects needed to be reviewed.

Paulette Marshall Chaffee has lived in Fullerton since she was five years old. She is a resident of the community, and had spoken to many other residents who have been impacted with what is her opinion of the Citys lack of foresight to provide sufficient parking. She felt that the seniors of today could have two vehicles and possibly divorced children with grandchildren living with them. She was concerned with the lack of parking affecting the surrounding neighborhood. She preferred higher parking requirements with nice landscaping.

Public hearing closed.

Chairman Griffin asked Chief Planner Rosen to clarify the process that Mr. Empey referred to, as to who would do the studies and analyze them at the staff level. Chief Planner Rosen stated that typically parking demand studies were done by registered traffic engineers. It is reviewed by Traffic Engineering and Development Services staff, and must be certified by the Planning Commission and the City Council whether it is adequate to address the parking requirements. He said that could be added to the code and staff could improve the language because the language is currently very broad, if the Planning Commission felt that would be beneficial. There are a number of uses that have no threshold requirements and are only set by the CUP process. Chief Planner Rosen stated that this amendment is an enhanced parking standard.

Commissioner Savage asked if the standards could be amended by a CUP. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively, adding that these were high bar standards.

Commissioner Francis asked why these were high bar standards. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff felt that they should plan for a worse case scenario. This proposal was in a remote location, with little access to transit and services which would require a higher parking rate. His father lives in the Palm Island complex and the parking there is full. It depends also on the management of parking and handling restrictions, and whether it would be included in the rent.

Commissioner Price thinks this change is overdue and the standards are too low. He asked if the Planning Commission was willing to entertain a reduction from 1.5 parking spaces to 1.25 parking spaces , based on emperical data.

Chairman Griffin asked for a clarification if Commissioner Price was referring to modifying only the Type I proposed standard. Commissioner Price answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Savage stated that his mother lives in Vintage Canyon. He thought that staffs analysis was correct. He felt that the current parking was barely acceptable. He felt that the CUP process would be fair to the City and the developer.

Commissioner Francis felt that if the standards were raised too high, developers might go to another city where the standards are lower. He felt the parking standards were too high.

Commissioner Stopper felt that society had changed and he agreed with setting a higher standard for parking. He felt that developers would find a creative way to use the space. He supported the recommendation of staff.

Chairman Griffin respectfully told Mr. Empey that he felt that City staff had many years of experience with developments specific to Fullerton. He felt there were issues with parking in senior communities. He felt that developers would still be drawn to Fullerton. He felt that each project could be dealt with in the CUP process and he supported the proposal, as presented by staff.

MOTION by Commissioner Savage that the Planning Commission certify the negative declaration, seconded by Commissioner Stopper and passed by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Francis voting no.

Commissioner Price stated his support and felt it would be better if they reduce the space for one bedroom (or fewer) to 1.25.

The title of Resolution No. PC-05-03, RECOMMENDING to the City Council APPROVAL of modifying Chapter 15.55 of the Fullerton Municipal Code pertaining to retirement complexes was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Stopper and passed by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Francis voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that this recommendation would go to City Council at a date uncertain, but it should be within 30 days.


Chief Planner Rosen directed the Planning Commission to the handout on affordable housing that was requested at the last meeting. He said that after it was reviewed he would answer questions at a future meeting. Commissioner Stopper asked if there was a stipulation that all redevelopment areas had to comply. Chief Planner Rosen said that all the redevelopment money had to be used.


    Commissioner Francis discussed the lack of items on the agenda and the possibility of canceling a meeting and combining items for a following meeting. Chief Planner Rosen stated that items were dropped for various reasons and staff did not plan to only have one item on the agenda.

    Chief Planner Rosen informed the Planning Commission of the meeting notice for the Congress for New Urbanism. He explained that 10 years ago staff began looking at developing mixed use, transit oriented developments. Planning staff will be involved with a mobile tour, the transit center and future proposed projects will be presented, and Chief Planner Rosen will be assisting with the tour.


    Chief Planner Rosen stated that the City Council reviewed the public notification and community involvement process and determined there would be no major changes at this time.

    Chief Planner Rosen advised the Planning Commission that the community meeting that was tentatively scheduled for February 16 was cancelled. City staff had not sent notices, however, since a local newspaper had printed the meeting as a firm date, City staff sent out a cancellation notice.

    The Sunrise Assisted Living Center will be discussed on March 29, 2005 at a community meeting in the Council Chambers at 7 p.m. A notice will be given to the Planning Commission.

    Commissioner Stopper asked when the water rate public hearing would be held. He was told that it would be heard at the 4 p.m. session on February 15, 2005.


    There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commissions jurisdiction.


    The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be held on February 23, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. Commissioner Price asked if there would be a public meeting. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively. He stated that the previous community meeting was at the Elks Club and a noticed public meeting will be combined with the next RDRC meeting. Chief Planner Rosen stated that there will also be a review of the CUP for 824 E. Commonwealth Avenue.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:07 p.m.

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