||JULY 6, 2005
||7:00 P.M. |
|CALL TO ORDER:
||The meeting was called to order by Chairman Griffin at 7:02 p.m. |
||Chairman Griffin; Commissioners Bailey, Cowen, Francis, Hart, Savage, and Stopper |
||Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Assistant Planner Sowers and Recording Secretary Baker |
||Chairman Griffin |
Commissioner Hart stated that because of a conflict of interest, she would recuse herself from this item and left the chambers.ITEM NO. 1 PRJ04-00901 - ZON04-00094 - ZON04-00095; LRP04-00019 - LRP04-00020 - LRP04-00021. APPLICANT: WAYNE SANT; PROPERTY OWNER: OTTO KAHN.
Assistant Planner Sowers presented staff report dated July 6, 2005 and reported that this request was for a 68-unit, 85-bed, two-story residential care of the elderly facility. There have been six applications, including a Major Site Plan, a Specific Plan, conditional use permit, a zone amendment (R-1-20,000 to SPD) and two General Plan revisions (Low to Medium Density Residential with "SPD" added as a consistent zoning classification. The property is located on the east side of Euclid Street, south of Laguna Road. She displayed aerial photos and photos of the site from the east, southeast and south of the project site. She discussed proposed square footage and access. The plan accommodates a 10 foot right of way dedication and a 12 foot recreational trail dedication. Staff noted the applicants proposed Specific Plan to establish development standards and uses unique to the project, superseding the Zoning Ordinance.
Assistant Planner Sowers addressed the following issues with the Specific Plan and staff recommendations:
Density - Staff recommended that density be based on a lot size reduced by all dedications. The project should be reduced to 76 beds accordingly.
Building height and setback - Staff recommended that the 30 foot height be reduced to 20 feet within 50 feet of single-family residential property line.
Lot Coverage - Staff recommended that lot coverage be calculated consistent with the Fullerton Municipal Code (FMC) definition. Staff is willing to exclude the EVA driveway from the calculation if constructed as proposed with turf and decorative hardscape.
Open Space - Staff recommended consistency with FMC definition as the project is adequate under this definition.
Parking - Staff recommended Parking Management Plan to address overflow.
Assistant Planner Sowers pointed out that the Specific Plan proposed two uses are allowed for the site, both requiring a CUP. These uses are the current application (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly) and a Congregate Low Rise Retirement Hotel. She recapped the community meeting on March 29, 2005 in which 30 attendees questioned density, compatibility with surrounding uses, open space, parking and noise. Additionally on April 21, 2005, the RDRC recommended denial 3-1 expressing concern with building size and institutional appearance in addition to lack of buffer to Yuma Way residences.
Assistant Planner Sowers referenced the 30 letters of support and 172 letters of opposition received to date, providing several new letters to the Commission. She also referenced a public outreach binder prepared by the applicant and distributed to the Commission.
Staff concluded that the use is commercial and multi-family in nature and as such is fundamentally incompatible with the surrounding low-density zones. Staff believed that a compatible development for the parcel was a four- to five-lot subdivision with access taken from Yuma Way, not from Euclid Street. Staff believed that the Specific Plan District (SPD) was not appropriate for the site. The SPD designation could be applied in certain circumstances, but staff did not believe this project met the intent of the application of a Specific Plan. There was not a substantial amount of land, nor a unique mix of land uses specific community design objectives as required.
A Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared and adequately addressed environmental impacts. Six areas were determined to have impacts that would require mitigation, after which would be insignificant. The areas were: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, and noise.
Staff recommended that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration and corresponding mitigation measures and a mitigation monitoring report. Staff recommended denial to the City Council of the project. Staff noted that they had been working with the applicant for a year and the project had significantly advanced. Should the Planning Commission approve the project, staff had prepared a list of conditions which could be added.
Commissioner Savage asked if the project would comply with the R-3-R zoning if the proposed conditions were implemented. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the conditions would bring it into compliance, but that R-3-R is not the current zoning of the property. Commissioner Savage stated that there would not be a need for a Specific Plan District if the site met the R-3-R zone requirements. Assistant Planner Sowers agreed that there would be no need for a Specific Plan from a development standard prospective; however, the Specific Plan could still be used to limit the uses on the property.
Commissioner Savage asked if the CUP limited the use, and Assistant Planner Sowers answered the CUP could impose restrictions on the operations of the use. The use itself could be limited through the specification of permitted uses in the Specific Plan.
Chief Planner Rosen explained that R-3-R was a general, multi-family zoning with some restrictions. If that zoning was applied to the property without a specific plan restricting the uses, a subsequent owner could convert the residential care facility for the elderly into an apartment complex.
Commissioner Francis asked Assistant Planner Sowers to review staff's recommended conditions on the Site Plan.
Assistant Planner Sowers reviewed the conditions pertaining to the Site Plan:
- Reduce the bed count to 76 rather than 85 beds
- Construct the emergency vehicle driveway of turf and decorative hardscape
- Calculate lot coverage based on the FMC definition including a reduction of the lot size by all dedications
- Define open space consistently with that of the FMC
- Reduce to 20 feet any portion of building within 50 feet of a residential property
Commissioner Savage noted that the initial background in the staff report discussed the assisted living aspects, but there was no reference to a retirement hotel potential. As a retirement hotel, rooms could possibly be rented to 60-year-old tenants with automobiles. Assistant Planner Sowers said that was correct, however, the Specific Plan sets out the two uses which are permitted. Both of these uses require the approval of a Conditional Use Permit to operate. She explained that the Planning Commission was only considering the operations of the residential care facility. If someone wanted to operate another conditionally permitted use, the item would come back before Planning Commission for consideration.
Commissioner Cowen questioned staff's policy to not count trail dedications when looking at equivalent dwelling units. Chief Planner Rosen answered that a purpose of looking at density in a residential zone is to soften a project's bulk and mass. To do that analysis, staff believed it was appropriate to do the analysis against the most restrictive parcel size. The Planning Commission could direct staff otherwise, at its discretion.
Commissioner Cowen asked if the developer had to dedicate the trail. Assistant Planner Sowers answered that Engineering Director Hoppe required those dedications and they would be recommended conditions of approval.
Commissioner Savage discussed the sidewalk and trail at the front of the property and noted that north of the property there was only a trail and no sidewalk. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the current recommendation of approval is for the construction of an eight-foot sidewalk within the right-of-way easement. Since the single-family properties to the north were oriented to Yuma Way, they were required to construct a recreational trail, but no sidewalk. Chief Planner Rosen added that they were required to dedicate enough space so that a sidewalk could be constructed in the future. There are major links where sidewalks are missing and staff anticipates linking sidewalks in the future. When we have had a project that is oriented to a major arterial we have always required that a sidewalk be established under current codes. Additionally we anticipate a bus stop to be contiguous to the property; a sidewalk would be required to provide access to the bus stop.
Commissioner Bailey asked where the sidewalk would terminate at the south end of the project. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the recreational trail would connect to the existing trail at both ends of the property. Commissioner Bailey asked for a history of the property to the north.
Senior Planner Mullis stated that the property was zoned R-1-20,000 and was subdivided and intended to be subdivided for single-family homes. Because there were no sidewalks to connect to, the five lot subdivision was not required to install sidewalks. It was intended for sidewalks to be provided in the future so the dedication of right of way was required. Staff did not anticipate that the development of the subject property would proceed so quickly.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that if this project developed as envisioned - access from Yuma Way, oriented to Yuma Way and backed up to Euclid as the other properties - Engineering might not have required the construction of a sidewalk. The applicant would dedicate the area, but not be required to install the sidewalk.
Commissioner Bailey asked for the history of the property. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the General Plan designation dictates the future policy for the property. The current designation was a low density residential zoning, which allows a maximum of six dwelling units per acre. After considering the space necessary for driveways, four or five units could be built, if it was subdivided.
Commissioner Bailey asked for further clarification.
Senior Planner Mullis said that the tract to the north was required to accommodate access through Yuma Way to the site. There is a private driveway seen only on Yuma Way and the block wall would be removed to allow access.
Commissioner Savage asked if there was room for a sidewalk and the recreational trail south of the property. Chief Planner Rosen said that there was not sufficient space; additional dedications would be needed to construct a sidewalk with the recreational trail.
Commissioner Bailey asked why bus stop transportation would be required at this location. Chief Planner Rosen stated that because of the nature of this development, staff recommended that the applicant provide a bus stop in front of the property. Transit could be necessary for elderly relatives who need transportation, and workers who might need transit to access the facility. Good planning looks at trying to provide this connection.
Commissioner Francis questioned whether staff could come to an agreement with the developer. Assistant Planner Sowers answered that although the developer had met many of staff's recommendations they could not agree on the density of the project and the height.
Public hearing opened.
Roger Green, Development Officer with Sunrise Senior Living, explained that his entire design team was available for questions and introduced them: Karen Sully, Sheldon Group, (Specific Plan); Marlo Neighbor, Sheldon Group, (public relations outreach); Wolfgang Hack, (project architect); Todd Schmeider, Boyle Engineering, (project engineer); Harold Mestinek, Ivy Landscape Architects; Justin Kempton, Kleinfelder and Associates, (geotechnical analysis); and Denis Bilodeau, DKS Associates, traffic and parking analysis).
Mr. Green gave an overview of Sunrise and explained that they are a high-quality residential care facility licensed with the State, and have been providing services for over 20 years. He discussed the development proposal, primary land use issues, their community outreach efforts, and the modifications made to the site plan since the plan's inception.
He also described the nine homes they operate in Orange County and stated that they operate 380 homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The average age of a resident is 84 years old. Residents receive assistance with bathing, dressing, medication reminders, and a laundry service. They are provided three meals a day, opportunities to participate in daily fitness programs or group trips. They have a registered nurse on staff for limited assistance, but they are not a skilled-nursing facility.
Mr. Green explained that they are under contract with the current property owner, Otto Kahn, to purchase the approximately two-acre site. He discussed the need for senior housing because Fullerton has 14,000 residents currently over 65 and statistics show the number will double by 2030. He noted several other sites in the City that were considered by Sunrise and stated why they were not selected. He explained that they prefer to build in residential communities because seniors typically desire to stay in familiar communities and have their families nearby.
An aerial photo was displayed showing the project location and surrounding land uses taking access from Euclid. Mr. Green spoke about the unique triangular shape of the parcel, the street, sidewalk and trail dedications, the drainage channel, and the slope. Mr. Green displayed sections showing the relation of the project to the surrounding residences noting that there is an approximately 41 foot building separation between the residence of lot 5 and the proposed Sunrise facility. On the south there is approximately 128 ft to the top of slope. He stated that Sunrise prepared a Specific Plan because of the unique conditions of the site and to restrict the use of the site to that of an assisted living facility.
Mr. Green felt that the R-3-R standard suggested by staff was not appropriate because their operation was not an apartment or condominium complex. Without a change in zoning or a Specific Plan, other conditionally permitted uses could occupy the site having. Mr. Green believed the other possible uses to have a greater impact on surrounding properties than their project.
Mr. Green discussed various trees and plantings being considered. He spoke about the 15-foot landscape setback behind the recreational trail and a 35-foot setback from the curb face to the building. He discussed the EVA decorative driveway, retaining wall design and height, the terraced planter, the vine pockets at the base of the retaining wall, and that noted that trees would be planted between the project and Yuma Way lots 4 and 5.
Mr. Green believed the proposal to be compatible with the surrounding land uses because it is a low trip generator with few driving residents, has peak hours at the off-peak hours of surrounding streets, is a transitional use among other non-residential uses, and takes access from a major arterial rather than on a residential street.
He displayed photos of other facilities built in residential areas, parking structures, surrounding residences, greenery, landscaping and open space. He discussed that Fullerton was proposed with 38% open space while La Palma had 34% and San Marino had 33%. He felt this was adequate for the residents and noted that the amount proposed for Fullerton exceeded the open space provided at other locations. He also displayed photos of the interior of the facility stating that their residents spend most of their time indoors avoiding sun exposure and heat. They devote 40% of the facility to common areas to make it a home-like, comfortable living area for residents.
Dennis Bilodeau, DKS Associates in Irvine, stated that the strawberry field currently generates 120 trips per day and noted that 137 trips per day are proposed for Sunrise. He displayed a comparison chart showing the impacts of potential uses of the property in terms of trips. He discussed the parking demand and the condition of approval (to which the applicant agreed) for providing off-site parking for holidays or special events. He disagreed with the condition in the Engineer's letter dated June 29, 2005 (attachment 5) which stated that if five or more accidents occurred in a 12-month period, the developer would need to provide alternate access through Yuma Way. He felt this was too cumbersome, would be difficult to design after the fact, and would be a detriment to the residents of Yuma Way. He stated that the proposed project met and complied with all engineering standards as proposed, and he asked that staff strike that condition.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Bilodeau what his recommendations were on left turns out of the subject property. Mr. Bilodeau felt that if it was safe, and there would be no reason to limit the left turns, after evaluating the speeds and sight distance.
Marlo Neighbor, Sheldon Group, discussed the community outreach including an open house, neighborhood canvassing, and a mailing to local merchants. She regularly attended the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs meetings, the Lions Club, and the Fullerton Business Council. Sunrise sponsored a Chamber mixer and spoke with business owners in the area. She also placed an ad in the Fullerton magazine and the Senior Center bulletin. She received many calls and discussed the various letters and cards received in support.
Ms. Neighbor highlighted the changes Sunrise made to the site plan after reviewing all the input received from city staff, residents and businesses. She stated that the setback on Euclid was increased to 15ft and the building was repositioned to accommodate a visual buffer with additional landscaping between the project and Yuma Way lots 4 and 5. To reduce noise impacts the air conditioning units and parking garage vents were relocated to the roof and noise absorption panels were added to the rear wall.
Roger Green spoke additional changes including the addition of turf bands and decorative paving to the EVA driveway, the relocation and the reduction in of height in the retaining wall system, the reduction to one primary access point, the addition of a bus stop, the screening of rooftop equipment from properties up slop, and the relocation of project signage onto the property.
In closing, Mr. Green reiterated the unique site condition, the limited impact to neighboring properties, the Specific Plan regulations designed for the property, the environmental clearance with impacts able to be mitigated through site design and mitigation measures, and the city-wide need for assisted living.
Mr. Green and his team concluded their presentation at 8:16 p.m.
Commissioner Francis asked if this was approved, was his team familiar with staff's recommendations and would his team be comfortable implementing them. Mr. Green answered that he and his team were not comfortable with a number of the conditions and wanted to review them. He presented a letter to the Planning Commission dated July 6, 2005 outlining these issues.
Commissioner Francis suggested that the Planning Commission listen to questions from the audience and then the team could come back. Chairman Griffin agreed.
Commissioner Savage asked if there were two options: either provide an assisted living facility, or a retirement hotel facility. He also asked for a scenario of what type of a retirement hotel would fit into the site.
Mr. Green stated that the only two uses listed in their Specific Plan were for a residential care facility for the elderly, and congregate care. Mr. Green read the definition of a congregate care retirement hotel.
Commissioner Savage questioned the congregate care retirement hotel definition. Chief Planner Rosen explained that the Municipal Code has categories of retirement complexes. This particular type includes common dining and other facilities and is not licensed by the State. A residential care facility also has common dining and other facilities but is licensed by the State.
Commissioner Savage asked the applicant why it was included in the Specific Plan if they had no plans of functioning that way. Mr. Green stated that staff recommended included the use because certain development standards in the Specific Plan were derived from the standards for the retirement hotel. Mr. Green said that he could adjust the Specific Plan to remove that use and limit approved uses to only a residential care facility for the elderly.
Chief Planner Rosen said parking for the project was based on the standard for the retirement hotel. The retirement hotel standard was referenced in discussions, so it was added to the Specific Plan as an allowed use. Staff would support removal of the congregate low-rise retirement hotel use from the Specific Plan.
Commissioner Savage was concerned that while the average age of an individual in the residential care facility is, according to the applicant, 84, the average age of an individual living in a retirement hotel would likely be a younger senior who could drive.
Commissioner Savage asked for clarification on the emergency vehicle access lane. Mr. Green presented the landscape plan to the Commission.
Commissioner Savage questioned if the noise analysis determined if the building would provide a buffer to Yuma Way residences or if the project would created more noise for these properties.
Emilie Johnson, Environmental Consultant with Michael Brandman and Associates, reported that the noise consultants did determine that constructing the building would reduce the noise for residents on Yuma Way.
Commissioner Bailey was concerned with the slope in the rear during the rainy season. He asked if they had a design to alleviate any slippage.
Justin Kempton, licensed geotechnical engineer for Kleinfelder and Associates, said that he had done a geotechnical and geological review of the site including the evaluation of the adjacent slopes. The proposed construction of the retaining wall is designed to mitigate the potential for slope failure.
Commissioner Bailey asked if the emergency vehicle access lane was counted towards open space.
Mr. Green answered affirmatively in reference to the Specific Plan. Chief Planner Rosen clarified that Staff counted it toward visual, not usable open space.
The Planning Commission took a ten minute recess and returned at 8:41 p.m.
Mr. Green stated that the emergency vehicle access lane is located in the southern part of the property, referencing the site plan, and added that there is a hammerhead turnaround for the fire department.
(Note that the next section of the minutes groups points in support and opposition of the project. As such, the discussion is presented out of the order in which it occurred. All information has, however, been included.)
The following people spoke in support of the project:
Debra Pember, Fullerton resident, stated that she lives across the street from a retirement facility. She said it is quiet and there are no traffic problems. She felt that senior housing should be considered a residential use.
Vickie Solomon, Fullerton resident, spoke about the lack of senior residential facilities and the long waiting lists. She canvassed the neighborhood and found a majority in support of the project.
Joyce Phetteplace, Fullerton resident, spoke of the project being an asset. She lives nearby and hoped that noise would not become a problem.
Jim Arabia, spoke of his experience with difficulty in finding assisted living for his grandmother. He felt it was a benefit for people who did not want to move out of the city. He read a letter from his mother who was in support of the facility.
George Bloomfield, a resident of Santa Monica, tearfully spoke of his mother's death and how grateful he was for her care at a Sunrise facility. The facility made it feel like "home".
Herschel Green was in favor and felt it was needed in the city.
Shawn Fago, Fullerton resident, felt that the property owner had a right to sell and the developer had a right to develop however they wanted. He felt there were more benefits than impacts on the neighborhood.
Catherine Green, 19-year Fullerton resident, felt there was a great need for assisted living facilities.
Dr. Watson, a gerontologist, referred to studies analyzing the negative impact on family members as care-givers. She spoke of the long waiting lists for elder-care facilities. She also spoke of Sunrise appealing to a certain lifestyle and recommended that the facility be located in this type of neighborhood.
Commissioner Francis asked Dr. Watson if she felt it would be best to have this type of a facility in a residential area given the level of service vehicles/deliveries. Dr. Watson felt that it would be fine in a residential area because the surrounding residents have deliveries to their homes also. She noted her belief that property values have increased wherever this type of facility has been built.
Commissioner Bailey asked Dr. Watson if she had toured other facilities, including Sunrise. Dr. Watson answered affirmatively and described Sunrise as a premiere, luxury residence. She felt it belonged in this neighborhood where people are accustomed to luxury and a high level of service. She has been in many facilities that are institutional, dormitory types. Sunrise noted that Sunrise facilities also have areas specifically developed for Alzheimer's patients. She felt that these areas presented a familiar, comfortable environment to these residents which provide mental stimulation and keep them from being disoriented.
Commissioner Bailey stated that the La Palma facility he toured was more like a large house than a commercial facility. He also asked Dr. Watson if there have been negative impacts from such a facility. Dr. Watson stated that it depends on who is running the facility. She felt that if there is a quality management company providing sufficient staff, there will not be a problem.
Pat Ritchie, 530 E. Commonwealth, has been a Fullerton realtor and was a Marketing representative for Morningside. She noted that Morningside is located in a residential area felt that it enhanced the neighborhood. She spoke of the waiting lists for assisted care in Fullerton.
Deanna Mandish, Director of Community relations for Sunrise in La Palma, spoke of the operations of that facility noting that her facility also abuts residential properties. She stated that laundry, food preparation, and cleaning is all done on site and is not outsourced. She spoke of the entitlement process in La Palma noting that residents against the facility at that time now find Sunrise to be a great neighbor. She stated that the founders of Sunrise intended a home-like environment where seniors could age gracefully. She encouraged all to visit a Sunrise facility.
Commissioner Francis asked Sunrise staff how many ambulances are called a month. Ms. Mandish stated that the average for her facility of 71 residents is once a week.
The following people spoke in opposition to the project:
Allan Herschbein, 2975 La Travesia, did not feel a commercial project was appropriate for this site. He felt that since staff and the developer have not come to an agreement, it should be denied.
Catherine Lancaster, North Fullerton Homeowner's Association representative, recalled her experience working with the developer of the Yuma Way tract to design a project compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood. She understood that this property would also be developed with single family homes. She wanted a low profile development without a change in the zoning. She felt this development requires a larger parcel and recommended an area south of Commonwealth.
Commissioner Bailey asked Ms. Lancaster if she thought this development would cause additional noise. Ms. Lancaster answered affirmatively, because of the 100 employees, visitors, food services, cleaning services, etc.
Commissioner Francis asked why she suggested the area south of Commonwealth as a better area for this project. Ms. Lancaster answered that there were more industrial and commercial developments there.
Michael Fischer, 2240 Yuma Way, did not support a commercial project at this site. He felt it was unacceptable and the zoning should not be changed. He suggested other larger sites nearby.
Commissioner Bailey asked Mr. Fisher where his home was located. Mr. Fisher stated it was above the subject property.
Commissioner Cowen asked Mr. Fisher about referring to this as a commercial business, even though staff has zoned this residential. Mr. Fisher stated that he felt that it was a commercial business.
Wayne Alvey, 913 Paloma Place, was against the project because of the requested change in zoning. He felt it was not appropriate for this site.
Robert Reese, 915 Verona Drive, was against the project at this site. He lives up the slope from it and felt that it would not blend with the neighborhood. He was concerned with the potential slope failure and the retaining wall planned for a 16-foot height.
Commissioner Savage asked Mr. Reese if he had visited a Sunrise facility. Mr. Reese answered that he had not, he also felt that the pictures shown of the architecture of the other facilities would not match the surrounding neighborhood.
Richard Rothenberg, 941 Laguna Road, felt this was the wrong place for this project.
Doug Chaffee, Fullerton resident, felt that the project is an abuse of the intent of the use of Specific Plans and suggested a possible vote on the use of Specific Plans. He was against changing the zoning and felt the density was too high, the mass to large, and the design not appropriate for the site. He was against the use of a Specific Plan to override the Municipal Code and expressed a concern with noise disturbances as a result of the project. (A resident at 2917 Berkeley yielded his 10 minutes of public comment to Mr. Chaffee.)
Edward Moorlach, 113 Rose Drive, was opposed because of the request to change zoning. He agreed with the suggestion of having it near the downtown. He was concerned with parking and the effects of having a bus turnout.
Lynn Frutchey, 911 Rancho Circle, discussed her concern with emergency vehicles using Laguna Road and using residential neighborhoods to transport patients to the hospital and the impact of off-site parking to the neighborhood.
Anca Barbat, 3024 Rancho Vista Drive, felt the facility should not be built at this site.
Ken Frutchey, 911 Rancho Circle, spoke of his concern for left turns on Euclid. He wondered where residents would go when they were in need of nursing care. He was against the additional traffic generated.
Marguerite Barclay, 2971 Juanita Place, a 32 year resident, felt that Euclid was too busy for this type of facility.
Paul Jenican, 29051 Juanita Place resident since 1964, was concerned about the lack of parking and suggested considering other lots for sale in Fullerton.
Following these public comments, the Commission sought clarification on several points as well as provided input on several issues of concern expressed by the neighbors as follows.
Commissioner Francis asked Sunrise how many employees would be at the facility be at one time. Mr. Green stated that there would be 20 employees between their peak hours of 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. During a 24 hour period, the total number of employees coming and going from the facility would be 40.
Commissioner Cowen responded to Mrs. Fruthchey's concern over possible traffic and pedestrian deaths by increased emergency vehicles traveling on Laguna Road. Additionally, she asked staff to clarify that they have required an off-site parking management plan. Chief Planner Rosen stated that a part of the parking management plan would be to show staff how they would retain a shuttle for special events. Staff believed that the parking provided will meet their day to day needs.
Chairman Griffin responded to Mrs. Frutchey by stating that a condition of approval is that the developer will submit this parking management plan identifying a suitable location for off-site parking.
Commissioner Bailey also responded to Mr. Frutchey's concerns with traffic by discussing the difficult traffic situations throughout Fullerton.
Emily Johnson, referred to the Mitigated Negative Declaration in which it was estimated that on average three to four emergency calls would be required to serve the proposed facility. After contacting the Fire Department, it was determined that emergency vehicles would leave the Harbor Fire Station, travel on Hermosa, Lakeview and then Euclid.
The Planning Commission took a break at 10:25 p.m. and resumed at 10:43 p.m.
Commissioner Bailey asked the applicant about the engineering of the retaining wall and the percentage of residents that drive. Mr. Green stated that two to three residents bring vehicles, and most others rely on the shuttle van. Justin Kempton addressed the retaining wall design. He explained that they took a conservative approach at analyzing the slope. They calculated the amount of force potentially coming down the hillside and determined that the design will be able to handle 150% of the force of potential slope slippage. The geotechnical study provided parameters to the structural engineer who will construct the retaining wall.
Commissioner Francis asked the applicant to address the list of concerns he submitted, referencing applicant's letter dated July 6, 2005, regarding the conditions of approval recommended by staff.
Mr. Green stated that staff suggested a reduction of density by 10% which would require a complete revision of the project and site plan. He reiterated that the site is a unique site and a Specific Plan was prepared to address these unique site characteristics. He felt that exterior open space is consistent with other facilities, and reiterated that residents spend most of their time indoors. He concluded that the size of the building and number of units is essentially the number they need to be successful.
Commissioner Stopper referred to Mr. Green's written comment "implementation of this plan is not economically or otherwise feasible." He asked if 76 beds would put the project below its economic threshold. Mr. Green stated that the level of public improvements required, the dedications and the number of beds all impact the financial feasibility of the property.
Commissioner Stopper asked if the developer had to reduce the density by 10% would the financial viability be compromised.
Commissioner Francis asked staff if this issue was a "deal breaker" for the City.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff recommendations were based on their best professional judgment for this community. He described density as an aesthetic and community value and stated that staff's recommendation was what it felt was appropriate for this location, based on the history of the City.
Steve Sheldon, Sheldon Group, felt that the underlying rationale of staff for the reduction in beds was that the applicant is not conforming to the overall density. He noted that this is based on staff's calculation using a lot size excluding the recreational trail. He stated that if the trail was counted in the lot size, the project would conform to the density requirement of the Municipal Code. Because the applicant would continue to own the trail in fee title while providing an easement to the City, would be building the trail and fencing, and be providing on going maintenance of the trail and fencing through a maintenance agreement with the City, he felt that the trail should be counted in the lot size.
Chief Planner Rosen responded that if the applicant is offering to maintain the trail and fencing in front of the property, staff would reconsider allowing this to count towards lot size.
Mr. Sheldon stated he did not know if a 10% reduction in beds would undermine the economic feasibility of the project, however, he did discuss the expense associated with constructing and maintaining a first-class operation. Such a reduction would at a minimum, limit the ability of Sunrise to do this.
Chairman Griffin asked Chief Planner Rosen if he had the authority to utilize the trail easement as part of the calculation of the overall density.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that he did because it was basically a policy decision.
Commissioner Stopper asked how the project would "pencil out" as equivalent dwelling units if lot size was adjusted to include the recreational trail.
Planner Rosen stated that it would meet the density standard design objectives of staff and the Municipal Code, which was 24.8 equivalent dwelling units per acre.
Commission Stopper sought clarification if this changed calculation would eliminate the need for Condition #1, referencing the staff report.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that the remainder of the Condition addressed usable open space. He noted that the project met the basic zoning Municipal Code standard, however, staff believes based on the location of the space provide, additional usable space should be required as a design goal. He stated however that the Commission could modify the condition.
Commissioner Stopper asked if staff would support 85 beds. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively.
Chairman Griffin asked Mr. Green to respond to their additional concerns, referencing applicant's letter dated July 6, 2005. Chairman Griffin read each condition for clarity and the applicant and or staff responded.
Mr. Green stated that they would comply with Condition #2 limiting maximum residency as long as the limitation was a maximum of 85 beds.
Mr. Green stated that he would like to eliminate Condition #4 regarding lot coverage and allow the Specific Plan to regulate how the lot coverage is defined. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff was seeking consistency with the Municipal Code definition. Eliminating the condition would not change the site plan and staff would be agreeable to remove the condition.
Mr. Green stated that he would like to eliminate Condition #5 regarding open space and allow the Specific Plan to regulate how open space is defined. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff was seeking consistency with the Municipal Code definition. Eliminating the condition would not change the site plan and staff would be agreeable to remove the condition.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that Condition #6 regarding building height in proximity to the adjacent single-family residences was based on a height restriction placed on all multi-family zones in proximity to such properties. He said removal of this condition was a policy question for Planning Commission and City Council.
Mr. Sheldon agreed that the height restriction is a standard for all multi-family zones. He noted, however, that the applicant did not feel that this project was a multi-family use. He asked for relief from that condition and stated that enhanced landscape screening can be provided along the perimeter abutting the residences. He referenced the sections and felt that the impact would not be a full-two story. He felt that there will not be an invasion of privacy for the adjacent property.
Chairman Griffin asked if they would accept a condition that required installation of landscaping at a 15 foot height. Mr. Sheldon said that he would accept that condition.
Mr. Green stated that along the property line abutting Yuma Way lots 4 and 5 they would be installing 24 inch Fern Pine box trees, 10 feet on center. They will grow to a maximum height of 30 feet.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that, technically, the applicant was not in compliance with the Municipal Code requiring a 50-foot setback for the two-story building on all sides. It is a policy decision for the Commission to remove the requirement or to apply the standard only to the side most impacted. Staff has been clear to the applicant about this Code provision and requested that the condition be retained by the Commission.
Commissioner Savage asked what the property line setback was. Chief Planner Rosen stated that from building to building it is 41 feet, from the property line it is 38 feet. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the northeast property line is 30 feet from the building to the residential property line. On the south it is 31 feet from the closest point on the building to the property line.
Mr. Sheldon noted that the building did jog so that the setbacks stated by staff were not uniform; there are larger setbacks in sections.
Commissioner Francis sought clarification that the first story setback was sufficient and that the issue was with the second story. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively.
Mr. Green stated that he would like to eliminate Condition #13 and asked that staff, not the RDRC, review the final construction plans. He stated, however, that they can however go back to the RDRC if that is the Commission's pleasure.
Commissioner Savage asked about the scope of the RDRC and questioned their initial review of the project. He questioned what RDRC review after entitlements have been obtained would do for the project.
Chief Planner Rosen expounded that the RDRC reviews architectural details on the final construction drawings as well as colors and materials.
Commissioner Savage asked if the RDRC would be reviewing the other applications and determining consistency with the General Plan, for example. Chief Planner Rosen stated that when the RDRC reviews a project after it is entitled, they are making sure the character described, and approved as a framework by Planning Commission and City Council, is fully implemented in the project. Chief Planner Rosen also reiterated that the RDRC felt the project was not compatible with surrounding neighborhood.
Chairman Griffin confirmed with Chief Planner Rosen, who answered affirmatively, that Condition #15 regarding plan check corrections was standard language. Mr. Green stated that they will accept the condition.
Chairman Griffin confirmed with Chief Planner Rosen, who answered affirmatively, that Condition #18 regarding screening of the transformer could be modified as proposed by the applicant to add approval by the utility company.
Chairman Griffin sought clarification from Chief Planner Rosen on Condition #19 regarding signage. He responded that the condition was standard language but that staff would review the Specific Plan while the Commission continued to discuss the remaining issues to determine if it was sufficient in detail to remove or modify the condition.
Chairman Griffin confirmed with Chief Planner Rosen, who answered affirmatively, that Condition #20 regarding landscape plans and a maintenance bond was standard language. Mr. Green stated that they will accept the condition.
Mr. Green questioned Condition #32 referencing the Engineer's Letter as it addressed the storm drain construction reimbursement costs. He understood that Sunrise would be paying a fair share for the work done on Euclid. He stated that Sunrise believed based on estimates originally received from the City that their portion was $93,000. Mr. Green stated that Engineering is now requiring $188,000 in fees.
Civil Engineer Voronel stated that staff asked that the condition remain unchanged. She explained that as a condition of the improvement on Yuma Way, that developer constructed a storm drain south on Euclid that benefited both the Yuma Way and the property to the south . The City agreed to front a certain amount to help construct the storm drain until the application for the new development south of Yuma Way was received. She felt it was a misunderstanding during initial discussions because the total amount fronted to Yuma Way was $254,000. She stated that the City does not usually pay for storm drain development and felt that is was fair to request a reimbursement from this applicant, if the project is approved.
Mr. Schmeider stated that he had met with the City and understood that when the Yuma development built the storm drain, they were required to place the storm drain in Euclid rather than tie into the existing channel near the south property line which was a shorter distance. He stated that there was a condition in the April 19, 2000 staff report to the Planning Commission that indicated that the City was willing to offset additional costs. It also stated, he said, that the Yuma Way developer could approach a developer for the south property to request reimbursement of 50% of the costs for the remaining portion. Mr. Schmeider stated that in November, 2003 City Council repeated this condition and stated that the City would fund 252 feet and the remaining 500 feet would be split between Yuma and the developer of the property to the south. Mr. Schmeider stated that he understood that each would share 1/3 of the cost.
Engineering Director Hoppe stated there was an agreement for the City to require a future developer to pay a share of the storm drain construction. He stated that the City indicated they would pay a share for the portion being diverted onto Euclid, because the property owner on the south at the time of the Yuma Way development would not allow the storm drain construction on his property. Director Hoppe noted that the City did not anticipate the property to the south to be developed so soon and noted that the applicants request would essentially give them 750 lineal feet of storm drain line for $93,000, which is very un-reasonable. Director Hoppe stated that it is staff's recommendation to require the developer to reimburse the City for its portion. The Planning Commission, Director Hoppe stated, can accept, reject, or modify staff's recommendation. He noted that staff felt it was a fair cost for the storm drain improvement. Director Hoppe reiterated that had the recent storm drain improvements not been done, the Sunrise project would have to build all the storm drain improvements for their property at their sole expense.
Chairman Griffin asked who would pay the remaining portion of the storm drain costs if Sunrise did not. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that the City would be required to pay the remaining share.
Commissioner Francis suggested to leave Engineer's Letter as submitted and encouraged the developer to work with Engineering to resolve the discrepancy. He noted that if there was still an issue with this condition, the applicant could raise it with the City Council.
Chairman Griffin was not willing to change the current condition written by Engineering.
Mr. Sheldon stated that he did not want to subsidize another developer but would support the money going back to the City.
Engineering Director Hoppe said that it would go back into the drainage fund to be used for storm drain projects in the City.
Mr. Sheldon accepted the condition and agreed to work with the Engineering Department on the exact amount to be paid.
Chairman Griffin asked for clarification regarding the applicant's issue with the Yuma Way access condition also in the Engineer's Letter. Denis Bilodeau stated that this was the condition highlighted earlier in his presentation. Chairman Griffin recapped the condition.
Engineering Director Hoppe asked the developer to consider a counter proposal. Senior Civil Engineer Voronel stated that Engineering would not usually allow a main access point from Euclid for this location. She noted that once 12 months had passed, if there were less than five accidents, access could remain from Euclid. Since felt that since the traffic analysis deemed the access safe, the project would be able to meet the condition. However, she proposed an alternative condition allowing a right turn in and out only at the main Euclid access point with a raised median island at that location. This condition would not be contingent on a 12-month period revisitation, but would require construction immediately.
Chairman Griffin clarified that the alternative condition would replace that proposed for access from Yuma Way. He recapped the proposal for a raised median preventing left turns and allowing only right turns into and out of the main driveway.
Mr. Bilodeau felt that the churches depended on the acceleration lane in the center median of Euclid. He felt installing a raised median would negatively impact the churches and cause U-turns at Laguna Road. He discussed that there was not currently a history of accidents at this location. He felt that the design as proposed was safe situation because it adheres to the City and Caltrans criteria.
Commissioner Stopper asked what would be the result of moving the entrance from Euclid to Yuma. Mr. Bilodeau felt that the residents would not want the additional 130 trips on their street. He felt it was more appropriate to access Euclid and it was not inherently unsafe.
Commissioner Stopper asked if they could change the driveway pattern and exit on Yuma. Mr. Bilodeau discussed the change in parking spaces.
Mr. Sheldon asked for the ability to work with Engineering on another alternative - possibly a no left turn exiting on Euclid, which he thought was the biggest problem.
Engineering Director Hoppe suggested that the Planning Commission direct staff to continue to meet with developer to work it out a condition regarding automobile access.
Chairman Griffin confirmed with Chief Planner Rosen, who answered affirmatively that, Condition #35 regarding complaints was a standard condition.
Mr. Sheldon stated that he was concerned with complaints versus actual violations. Chief Planner Rosen said that the intent is verifiable complaints that are in violation of the CUP.
Chief Planner Rosen said that staff would bring verifiable complaints back to Planning Commission and the Planning Commission would decide if there was sufficient information to set a hearing.
Mr. Sheldon accepted the condition.
Chief Planner Rosen responded regarding the previously discussed Condition #19 on signage. He stated that if the requirement for a sign program is removed, the project should be conditioned that signage detail and type comply with Specific Plan Exhibit 5.6.
Mr. Sheldon accepted the condition as modified.
Commissioner Francis asked if the Planning Commission would discuss the project and subsequently modify the conditions.
Chairman Griffin answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Savage asked if staff and the developer were still in agreement to strike the term "congregate retirement hotel". Mr. Sheldon was in agreement. Staff also agreed.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Francis said that he initially was not in favor of the project, but after viewing the facility he was amazed. He did not see much traffic and observed it to be very quiet place. He felt this location was the right place for this home. He felt that the existing strawberry filed was already a retail use in terms of traffic generation. He felt that since the building faced Euclid, which was not a residential street, the site was appropriate. He was in support of the project but did not like voting against staff.
Commissioner Cowen commended staff on their work on this project. She agreed it was not easy to go against staff. She felt that to make a change in the General Plan there must be an important reason and a major community benefit. She felt that Fullerton needs a high-end senior housing facility, and stated that she believes this project to be compatible with the surrounding area. She felt that when a community takes care of its seniors, it is a compassionate community, caring about the strongest and the weakest. She stated that when you are looking at a denser use you should also look at the intensity of the project. She believed that this is the least intense development possible for this property. She also believed that the land owner and neighbors all have property rights. She toured the facility and felt they would be good neighbors and expected property value would rise as a result of the project. She stated that the community will benefit by having a Sunrise facility at this location.
Commissioner Bailey spoke of how Sunrise, based on his observations a facility tour, was like a large home; it was not like other facilities he was familiar with. He stated that this is a good use to transition from the busy street to the residential neighborhood. He spoke with the residents and felt that this low intensity use would be the best use for the area. He was in support of the project.
Commissioner Savage stated that he had spoken with Sunrise twice, once on a tour, regarding the project. He felt there was a need for this type of facility and stated that both of his parents had been in care facilities. He stated that care facilities are not busy places and that they have few visitors; they are quiet places where people live out their lives. He felt that changing zoning should not be done lightly, especially from R-1-20,000 zoning. There should be a community benefit to changing the zone and believed this project to have that benefit. He identified the benefits of this project as providing a luxury, high-quality senior housing facility, with a trail, sidewalk, and attractive streetscape, which will act also as a buffering to adjacent residence from the noise on Euclid. He was in support of the project and directed staff to work out the lose ends before going to City Council.
Commissioner Stopper felt that Sunrise provided a good, quality facility as evidenced by the personal stories and professional opinions presented. He spoke about the history of the General Plan and the zoning ordinance and the responsibility of the Planning Commission for land use. He stated that when he looked south to Malvern and north to the city limits, he found no commercial properties on the east side of Euclid and only one commercial area on the west side at Rosecrans. He felt there is good reason for the zoning of an area. He thought that this would make a great project elsewhere in the City where a zone change was not required. He was not in support of the project because he could not support the zone change. He did not feel that this was an exceptional case to warrant a zone change.
Chairman Griffin stated that he had met with the applicant and had a great deal of respect for the Sunrise staff. He reiterated that the Commission was not in a position to judge the service that Sunrise offers nor are they to question the need of this type of facility in the community. He was concerned with land use, compatibility and appropriate use and changing the historical zoning of a property. He did not support the project as it is not an appropriate use for the site.
Chief Planner Rosen reported that the consensus of the Commission was to recommend approval. He indicated that staff could return at the next meeting with modified conditions, and give Engineering staff time to discuss its conditions with the applicant. Staff would bring the approved resolution back on July 27, 2005.
The title of Resolution Number PC-05-21 RECOMMENDING approval of a request for a major site plan to develop an irregularly shaped parcel into a 68 unit, two-story assisted living facility for the elderly, with 37 parking spaces, a General Plan revision to change the zoning designation from low-density residential to medium-density residential, a General Plan revision to add SPD as a zoning designation consistent with a Medium Density Residential general plan land use designation, a zone amendment to change the zoning from R-10 to Specific Plan District, a Specific Plan and a Conditional Use Permit for the use, on property located at 2226 North Euclid Street was read and further reading was waived.
MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Cowen, and passed by a vote of 4 - 2 (Commissioners Bailey, Cowen, Francis, and Savage voted in favor, Commissioners Griffin and Stopper voted against and Commissioner Hart was absent) that the Planning Commission RECOMMEND to the City Council approval of the project with modifications subject to the recommended conditions, as modified by the Planning Commission and recommendation of the Certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration and directed staff to return at the next appropriate Planning Commission meeting with the modified resolution.
Commissioner Cowen asked if staff would bring this item back on July 27, 2005. Staff answered affirmatively.
MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Stopper and passed unanimously by a vote of 6 - 0 to continue Commission/Staff Communication and review of Council Actions until the next meeting on July 13, 2005.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.
The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:49 p.m.