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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
WEDNESDAY JULY 13, 2005 7:00 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Chairman Griffin at 7:02 p.m.
PRESENT: Chairman Griffin; Commissioners Bailey, Cowen, Francis, Griffin, Hart, Savage and Stopper
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Kusch, Deputy City Attorney Jee and Recording Secretary Baker
FLAG SALUTE: Chairman Griffin
MINUTES: Commissioner Stopper was absent and asked that it be reflected in the minutes. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded Commissioner Bailey and passed by a vote of 5 - 0 with 2 commissioners abstaining (due to absence) that the minutes of June 22, 2005 be APPROVED as AMENDED.

PUBLIC HEARING

ITEM NO. 1 PRJ05-00161 - ZON05-00011 & -00012. APPLICANT: SUSAN WEINGORD; PROPERTY OWNER: EUN-MIN YOO.

A request for a major development project and a Conditional Use Permit for a proposed child care center, with an enrollment of up to 24 children, on property located at 1418 S. Euclid Street (northeast corner of Euclid Street and Baker Avenue) (O-P zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15332 of CEQA Guidelines)

MOTION by Commissioner Cowen, seconded by Commissioner Savage and passed unanimously that this item be continued to a date uncertain. ITEM NO. 2 CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1031A. APPLICANT: JAMES BARNUM; PROPERTY OWNER: STEVE FORELL

Staff report dated July 6, 2005, was presented pertaining to a request to modify a previously-approved Conditional Use Permit to operate a beer garden (Type 40 ABC license) in conjunction with banquet and dance hall activities, on property located at 140 West Wilshire Avenue (south side of Wilshire Avenue, between 50 and 100 feet east of Malden Avenue) (C-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).

Assistant Planner Kusch reported that this was a request to amend Conditional Use Permit CUP-1031. The current dance/banquet hall is located at 140 W. Wilshire and zoned C-3. The improvements made in 1986 were for increased assembly hall use. At that time a CUP was not required for assembly hall use. The occupancy for an event could range between 375 - 600 people. Initially, staff was concerned if this was a compatible use with the neighboring residents and tenants. This property is located within a public parking district, and since the building is not more than two stories in height, on-site parking was not required. Mr. Kusch stated that there was ample parking with 150 spaces available south of Wilshire Avenue. There are more than 400 parking spaces available east of Harbor, along Wilshire Avenue.

Assistant Planner Kusch spoke of concerns in the past regarding noise and late night hours of operation. The original CUP required a six-month review. At that review, the number of incidents reported by the Police Department had been reduced and since the applicant was found to be in compliance with the conditions of approval, the CUP was approved. Since that time, there have been three notable incidents regarding noise and disturbing the peace, the Police Department was supporting this request with the recommended conditions of approval.

An aerial photo was displayed, as were photos of the front and back of the building, and the rear patio. Public parking areas were referenced and identified on the aerial photo. Mr. Kusch identified the nearby businesses and described the proposed floor plan.

Staff recommended approval, subject to the conditions in the staff report and also that the Planning Commission amend Condition #14 in the staff report that the beer garden shall close one hour after the end of an event (mistakenly listed as prior to in the staff report, but corrected in the Resolution). Staff notified the property owners within a 300-foot radius, in addition to commercial tenants and an expanded residential area. He said that he had not received any complaints or phone calls on the proposed project.

Commissioner Hart asked if the applicant could currently serve alcohol, beer or wine inside and was he planning to serve alcoholic beverages daily. Assistant Planner Kusch answered that they could not currently serve daily because they do not have an alcohol license. He said that a caterer had applied for a temporary alcohol license for one-time special events. He deferred answering the question on frequency of events and serving alcohol in the future to the applicant.

Commissioner Savage asked for a clarification to Condition #14. Assistant Planner Kusch clarified that the applicant would be able to serve alcohol up until one hour after the end of an event.

Commissioner Francis asked if an event stopped at 12 a.m., could the beer garden operate until 1 a.m. Assistant Planner Kusch replied that because of another condition which required closing at 12 a.m., they would not be able to. Assistant Planner Kusch added that the applicant requested an extension of the time frame at the six month review. Since the public was not noticed of the requested revision of the hours of operation, it was never revised. Staff was not aware of the desire to extend operations and, because of community concern, they wanted to expand the notification area to allow for additional community input. Commissioner Francis also asked how many from the community appeared at the first hearing. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was not an overwhelming number, but many attended.

Commissioner Francis asked who applied for the CUP and if the ownership changed, would that eliminate the CUP. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that Mr. Barnum was the original applicant and if he no longer did business there, the CUP would run with the property. There would be no subletting, and staff desired a one-point contact.

Commissioner Francis asked about a previous homicide at this location. Mr. Barnum stated that the former owner had not done a background check on the promoter and the promoter was the victim of the homicide.

Commissioner Bailey reported that he could hear the venue from his home six blocks away. He asked if staff could add a condition prohibiting amplified sound. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the existing zoning code addressed noise issues. He said that the Planning Commission could add that condition, but he felt that the noise ordinance sufficiently addressed it. If there were numerous complaints, this application would return to the Planning Commission for revisions or revocation.

Commissioner Stopper questioned if there was another existing CUP allowing use of this facility as a church and was it still valid. Chief Planner Rosen stated that a church was using the facility, just not at the same time as the applicant. This CUP does not conflict with the church use and runs with the land, unless it is revoked.

Commissioner Stopper asked if a facility could have an unlimited number of CUPs. Chief Planner Rosen stated that technically they could, if there was no conflict with concurrent uses.

Commissioner Stopper referred staff to page 4, Condition #5 and asked if City staff or operations staff would monitor the cameras. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that it would be a member of their operational staff. The Police Department required that a recordable camera be installed.

Public hearing opened.

Applicant, James Barnum, stated that he has held between two to five special events per week at this location since 1997. The property owner had subleased to other businesses in the past for one-time party events. They had the caterer apply for one-day alcohol licenses to serve alcohol. Because the ABC limits the number of one-day licenses, they would like to allow alcohol at all events. The beer garden would be fenced off and patrons would have to show I.D. to enter and all alcohol would be purchased and consumed in that area. The Police Department was concerned with all ages being allowed into the venue and their ability to monitor the drinking. Therefore, they have agreed to install cameras and security would be hired to watch the customers. They will also increase the lighting throughout the site. Customers cannot leave the venue or go into the parking lot, or they would have to pay a re-admission fee. He stated that most events end at 11:30 or 11:45 p.m. and he hired one security guard per 110 youths.

Commissioner Francis asked what type of entertainment he would provide and what ages are expected to attend. Mr. Barnum stated that he would continue to book concerts and he expects 16 to 23 year olds and would only serve beer to those over the age of 21.

Commissioner Hart asked what days the concerts would be held. Mr. Barnum answered that he would only operate the beer garden when he had scheduled an event.

Commissioner Savage asked what type of event resulted in a homicide. Mr. Barnum said it was a rave, which was an underground party with no security or concern for the community or the surrounding neighbors, where the promoter was shot and killed.

Commissioner Cowen asked if the land owner currently subleased the facility to others. Mr. Barnum stated that he has taken a larger lease so the landlord would not need to sublease to many others. Commissioner Cowen explained that she lives in the Wilshire Promenade located across the street from the subject property on Wilshire Avenue and asked what he has done to contact the residents. Mr. Barnum explained that he has held a few meetings but no residents have attended, only the Police Department. He is taking precautions with the sound levels and they are operating within the noise ordinance.

Commissioner Bailey asked what type of music would be booked and what would he do to alleviate loitering in the parking lot, and alcohol and drug use outside the venue. Mr. Barnum stated that it is usually rock music and noted that he has a clean record. The Police Department will patrol and secure the parking lots, in addition to his security staff, who will also patrol the parking lots.

Commissioner Bailey asked if he had explored providing valet parking. Mr. Barnum said that he was exploring that option.

Commissioner Savage asked if the one-day licenses were for beer and wine only. Mr. Barnum answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Stopper questioned if the public was normally invited to events and how did the applicant normally advertise them. Mr. Barnum stated that he used the internet, local magazines and newspapers.

Chairman Griffin asked the applicant if he had received the staff report, read it and was in agreement with the conditions and the changes. Mr. Barnum answered affirmatively.

Chairman Griffin directed the applicant to page 3 where the Police Department "calls for disturbances" were listed. He did not have the exact dates available of events he sponsored and felt that just a few were functions he managed.

Commissioner Hart asked if the applicant knew how many people would be attending ahead of time. Mr. Barnum said that it is judged by pre-sale ticket counts. There are only tickets sold at the door, if they are available.

Commissioner Francis asked if Mr. Barnum was concerned with the landlord subleasing to another who could possibly jeopardize the CUP, and he asked how the beer garden was constructed. Mr. Barnum said that he and the landlord are partners on the CUP; the resolution states that the applicant shall not sublet the operation of the beer garden. Mr. Barnum stated that the beer garden was in an area sectioned off on the east side of the patio, opposite the tents.

Chairman Griffin asked about the delineation in the staff report of the six-foot fence. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was not a condition that the Police Department was requesting. It was the applicant's proposal for the use, and the formal building plans had not been submitted yet. Mr. Barnum stated that the ABC rule for separation of a beer garden is a three or four-foot fence, and he extended it for security reasons and security guards will monitor the fence line. The patio area will still have the egress for a fire escape.

Commissioner Francis asked Mr. Barnum to show on the site plan where the beer garden would be located and Mr. Barnum complied.

Commissioner Bailey asked if it was a pen of chain link fencing and why would he not make the entire back patio area a beer garden. Mr. Barnum confirmed that it was chain-link fencing and because of the under-aged attendants, they wanted to provide an area for them to cool off.

Commissioner Francis stated that the downtown merchants are going to provide a valet service at the entrance of Amerige soon.

Landon Cole, property manager of the Wilshire Promenade, was opposed to anything that would increase the noise level. He complained of the noise level on Friday and Saturday nights and the resident's constant complaints. He felt that in addition to noise, vandalism and litter had increased.

Commissioner Bailey recommended that residents call the Police Department to handle the noise and should actively attend public meetings. Mr. Cole stated that residents are reluctant to call the Police Department.

Commissioner Francis stated that he used to live at the Wilshire Promenade and was aware as he moved there that it would be a noisy location in a commercial area in downtown. Mr. Cole stated that his corporate office asked him to put the complaints on record.

Commissioner Stopper referred to Condition #18 regarding staff review after six months of operation. He reiterated that residents should call the Police Department because the Planning Commission collects information received by the Police Department .

Chairman Griffin encouraged Landon Cole to tell the residents of their options and that decisions are driven by the number of complaints.

Landon Cole stated that the facility was built in an area to attract residents and he realized there were 40 restaurants in the same area that also serve alcohol. His argument was the close proximity of the proposed project to the property he manages.

Commissioner Francis clarified that this was in a commercial zone.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Francis felt that Mr. Barnum had a reputation of running a good operation with no major incidents. He clarified that where the concert promoter was killed was not one of the applicant's concerts. He felt the Planning Commission should let him try it, and be supportive if he agreed with the conditions and had support of the Police Department. The CUP could be revoked, if necessary.

Commissioner Stopper felt that the applicant deserved an opportunity to expand his business. The two conditions (#6 and #18) both allow the City to monitor any issues of complaints coming from the community. Staff would refer them to the Planning Commission to reconsider this. He was in support.

Commissioner Bailey said he was approached by business owners in town. He encouraged Mr. Barnum to keep the area clean and patrolled because others have had pressure from the Police Department to monitor the juvenile drinking in the parking lots.

Commissioner Cowen was in support. She did not have a personal complaint living across the street from the proposed site. She encouraged Mr. Barnum to work with the neighbors of the 149 units. There can be tension with mixed use districts. It is a vibrant area combining commercial and residential uses.

Commissioner Hart was concerned with the concerts and possible deterioration of the area, but was in support. She felt that adding 16 - 23 year olds would make it difficult to control. She felt that conditions #6 and #18 would give it the opportunity to succeed.

Commissioner Savage agreed with the other commissioners. He suggested using plantings as a sound buffer. He warned Mr. Barnum of the potential to be reviewed or have the CUP revoked, but was in support.

Chairman Griffin stated that the majority were in favor, but he would be voting against it. Serving alcohol will exacerbate the noise problems. He felt that serving alcohol with minors in the same area was not a good mix. He was concerned with public safety.

The title of Resolution Number PC-05-21 MODIFYING a previously approved Conditional Use Permit to operate a beer garden for events held in an existing banquet/reception hall on property located at 140 West Wilshire Avenue was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Francis and carried by a 6 - 1 vote with Chairman Griffin voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Commissioner Bailey told Mr. Cole that he was a former law enforcement officer and it would not be helpful to call the day after an event. An officer must assess the situation as it is happening and report it that night.

Chief Planner Rosen suggested that calling Code Enforcement the next day would also be helpful. ITEM NO. 3 PRJ04-00979 - ZON04-00102 - SUB04-00009 - LRP04-00025 - LRP04-00026. APPLICANT: THE OLSON COMPANY; PROPERTY OWNER: FULLERTON HOLDINGS, INC.

Staff report dated July 6, 2005, was presented pertaining to a request for a zone change from M-G, General Industrial to R-3, Limited-Density Multiple Family Residential; a General Plan Revision changing the land use designation from Industrial to Medium Density Residential; a tentative tract map, and a major site plan for a 50-unit town home development on property located at 1600 W. Commonwealth Avenue (southwest corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Basque Avenue) (proposed R-3 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration.)

MOTION to continue to July 27, 2005 by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Hart and passed by a vote of 7 - 0.

Commissioner Stopper was concerned that the RDRC would not be able to review the architecture before that date. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission condition it so that the RDRC would review it.

ITEM NO. 4 PRJ04-00238 - LRP04-00007. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: LSF II FULLERTON.

A request to amend Amerige Heights Development Agreement DA-00-01 to provide an extension of time to complete certain public facilities in the Amerige Heights Specific Plan, including the Amerige Heights Community Center and Barrett Park (Trailhead Park). The Amerige Heights Specific Plan is generally located north of Malvern Ave, east of Gilbert St, south of Pioneer Ave, and west of Bastanchury Road (Specific Plan District) (Previously certified EIR)

Chief Planner Rosen stated that he had not received the necessary information requested from the City Attorney's Office, so staff would need a continuance of this item.

MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Savage to continue this item to August 10, 2005. Passed by a vote of 7 - 0.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:16 p.m. until the 7:00 p.m. session.

Reconvened at 7:05 p.m.

ITEM NO. 5 PRJ04-00919 - ZON04-00098 - LRP04-00022 - LRP04-00023 - SUB04-00008 - SUB05-00003. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: ACCRETIVE LAGUNA PARTNERS, LLC.

Staff reported dated July 6, 2005, was presented pertaining to a request to demolish an existing retail center and construct a mixed-use project comprised of 52 residential condominiums, retail space, food court, office space and a medical office building; a zone change from C-2 (Commercial) to SPD (Specific Plan District); a Specific Plan document, and an abandonment and realignment of public service easements; a three-lot tract map for condominium purposes and a major site plan, on property located at 300 West Bastanchury Road (southwest corner of Bastanchury Road and Laguna Road, encompassing an area between Bastanchury Road, Laguna Road, Laguna Drive, and Sunny Crest Drive) (C-2 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (Continued from June 22, 2005).

Chairman Griffin noted, for the record, a letter from Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger received on July 11, 2005 relating to this project. The letter indicated that they represent "Fullerton Citizen's for Smart Growth and Overdevelopment." Also, a letter was received from the applicant on this project.

Chief Planner Rosen commented on the receipt of the two letters and how it challenged the adequacy of the Mitigated Negative Declaration, which is the environmental document prepared for this project. They have requested that an Environmental Impact Report be prepared. Staff felt the Planning Commission should not take action or make any recommendations to the City Council on this application until staff has had time to prepare an appropriate response to the letter.

Chief Planner Rosen gave the Planning Commission options of staff providing a brief report, open the public hearing or not, or continue this item to a date uncertain or not. The applicant could make a presentation and staff could take public testimony to identify any additional environmental impacts of the project. Staff would then recommend a continuation of the hearing to a date uncertain because of the length of the letter and the time needed for the response.

Chief Planner Rosen also spoke of the request in writing of the applicant's desire to continue to August 24, 2005 and his suggestion to not open the public hearing.

Chairman Griffin asked the Planning Commission their ideas of how to proceed.

Commissioner Francis asked if they should continue and before the City Council reviewed it, could staff answer the letter from the attorney.

Chief Planner Rosen felt that staff would need to respond to the letter prior to making a recommendation to the City Council on the adequacy of the environmental documentation.

Commissioner Francis asked if the City Council might require the developer to submit an environmental impact report. Chief Planner Rosen could not respond because he felt he needed to review the document, and had no opinion on it.

Chairman Griffin reviewed the two options. Staff felt that continuing to August 24, 2005 would not be sufficient time to review and respond to such a lengthy letter and recommended waiting until a date uncertain.

Commissioner Savage asked for an explanation of "date uncertain."

Chairman Griffin explained that a date uncertain meant that no specific date would be set for the next public hearing, it will be some time in the future. Another public notice would go out in the mail and the newspapers.

Commissioner Stopper asked Deputy City Attorney Jee to comment.

Deputy City Attorney Jee stated that the applicant has requested the continuance, in light of the attorney's letter. It was detailed and staff is seeking time to consider all the issues referenced. The Planning Commission has options to take into consideration. The Planning Commission could allow public testimony if there were people who made special arrangements to attend. If there was a future particular date set, and people who will not be able to attend on that date, would they be allowed to make public comment at the present time. The public could also present objections in writing.

Deputy City Attorney Jee also stated that she was aware that an attorney for the developer would not be present and if the applicant was ready to make a presentation, she wondered if the attorney's presence would be required. She suggested that the Planning Commission hold it all over and take all the testimony and evidence at the same time. There was a potential to forget testimony if there is a delay of several months, or it would not have the same value or impact.

Chief Planner Rosen said that staff was prepared to present a full report and would present it again when this item is brought again to refresh everyone's memory.

Commissioner Stopper preferred waiting until all the documents have been reviewed.

Commissioner Hart felt it was an inconvenience for the audience, but did not feel it was in the best interest of all parties to consider it at this time. She recommended a continuation to a date uncertain.

Commissioner Francis felt that a date should be set because staff would respond more quickly when there was a deadline.

Commissioner Savage agreed with the continuance to a date uncertain. He apologized to the large group in attendance for the inconvenience.

Commissioner Cowen agreed and also apologized to the audience for the time wasted. She felt that, in the end, the Commission would need to make a more comprehensive, more informed decision and not hurry it along. She recommended continuing to a date uncertain.

Commissioner Bailey was apprehensive to continue it, but felt it should be continued to a date uncertain. He felt confident that staff would determine the best date to bring it back.

Chairman Griffin concurred with the Planning Commission and also apologized. He told the audience that the Planning Commission had never denied a continuance requested by the applicant. He also supported continuing to a date uncertain.

MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded Commissioner Hart to continue this item to a date uncertain and passed unanimously by a vote of 7 - 0.

The Planning Commission took break at 7:25 p.m.

The Planning Commission reconvened at 7:40 p.m.

COMMISSION/STAFF COMMUNICATION

Commissioner Savage stated that he would not be at the August 10, 1005 meeting.

Commissioner Bailey said that after reviewing the RDRC minutes he received, he felt there were more planning issues being debated. He asked staff to speak to that. Chief Planner Rosen said that they take action on specific projects, they review and approve small projects in the Redevelopment Area, and preservation zones. They can comment on the site plan, adequate pedestrian circulation, parking layout, landscaping, conflicts, but not on traffic. Commissioner Bailey felt that their comments were regarding mass and planning rather than looks.

Chief Planner Rosen told him that massing is part of their review in how it relates to adjacent properties, street, traffic issues, and sometimes they will have a side discussion.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that a number of projects have gone to the RDRC. Most people want to speak to land use issues. Staff allows the applicant to express their opinion, but reminds them that the purview of the RDRC is architectural review.

Commissioner Savage felt he was out of line when he mentioned at the last Planning Commission meeting that he felt the RDRC had not reviewed Sunrise appropriately. He had not gotten what he wanted out of their testimony regarding the architecture, and apologized for his bad attitude.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that no offense was taken.

Commissioner Stopper reminded the Planning Commission of the third community meeting July 21, 2005 at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, regarding the update of the Transportation Center Study Plan. He will send out reminder e-mails.

Chairman Griffin thanked the Planning Commission for their patience. Chief Planner Rosen was invaluable to Chairman Griffin in their many discussions regarding how to proceed on the continuance.

OTHER MATTERS

Chief Planner Rosen stated that he would be on vacation for the July 27, 2005 meeting.

Commissioner Bailey stated that he would be out of town and asked staff to not deliver his packet.

Commissioner Hart asked for a clarification of the Specific Plan District, that it was not clear. She was not comfortable making decisions without a better understanding. Chief Planner Rosen stated staff would have a Planning Commission workshop on how it came about and how it was being used. Commissioner Hart felt that the applicant was using it differently than it was intended.

Commissioner Stopper was concerned that the 49 single-family residential units planned for Basque and Commonwealth would not be reviewed again by the RDRC. He suggested a condition to have them review it because he valued their review of architecture, colors, materials, etc.

Chairman Griffin asked staff to explain their intention and conditions for the Basque and Commonwealth project. Chief Planner Rosen said there were many options, including RDRC review before or after it goes to City Council.

Commissioner Savage asked what would trigger a project being reviewed by the RDRC. Staff responded that the specific triggers are if it is located in a redevelopment area, or in a preservation zone, if it was an historical landmark, and it is also at the discretion of staff.

Commissioner Francis asked regarding the Olson Company project, if they were not required to submit an Environmental Report, could a group use something similar as a tool to postpone a project. Chief Planner Rosen stated that they would have to identify specific flaws in the document.

Deputy City Attorney Jee stated that what she has reviewed in the letter submitted was generic and there are boilerplate complaints in CEQA used to stall projects. The Planning Commission and City Council have the task to review the issues. No matter what time the challenge is brought in, they must take into account legitimate issues raised. She told the Planning Commission that they would not want to make a final decision without a complete document review. Commissioner Francis was concerned with this setting a precedent.

Commissioner Cowen referred to Dede Ginter's letter to the editor in the Tribune.

REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings

PUBLIC COMMENTS

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

AGENDA FORECAST

The next Planning Commission meeting is be scheduled for July 27, 2005 The Olson Project will be reviewed at 7 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:02 p.m.
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