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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
WEDNESDAY MAY 11, 2005 7:00 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Chairman Griffin at 7:01 p.m.
PRESENT: Chairman Griffin, Commissioners Bailey, Cowen, Francis, Savage, Stopper
ABSENT: Commissioner Hart
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Engineering Director Hoppe, Senior Civil Engineer Voronel, Assistant Planner Kusch, and Recording Secretary Baker
FLAG SALUTE: Chairman Griffin

Commissioner Savage asked that on the second paragraph of page 73 his comment after staff report be changed to read, specifically paragraph two and asked him if he understood the conditions that he agreed to comply with. Mr. Tabaja answered that he misunderstood some of the conditions, he did not want to alter them.

Commissioner Bailey asked this be added at the end of his comment on page 73, ,since we were not reevaluating the CUP, just receiving an update.

MOTION by Commissioner Bailey , seconded by Commissioner Savage that the minutes of April 27, 2005, be APPROVED AS AMENDED.



Staff report dated May 11, 2005, was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide an approximately 44,128-square-foot parcel into two lots on property located at 1300 North Brookhurst Place (southwest corner of Brookhurst Place and Bastanchury Road) (R-1-20 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15315 of CEQA Guidelines).

Assistant Planner Kusch reported that a two-lot subdivision of the subject property was approved by the Planning Commission in 1993. The parcel map was not recorded with the Orange County Recorders office, and has expired. The proposed subdivision is similar to the previously-approved application. It is zoned R-1-20,000, which requires that each lot would be 20,000 square feet. The existing residence would remain, and the proposed parcel will have another residence. A sound attenuation wall will be required along the Bastanchury frontage to address the sound decibel limitations for the outdoor recreation area. The applicant will also be required to accommodate street dedication requirements, because the property is adjacent to an identified scenic corridor and, therefore, subject to adopted scenic corridor guidelines.

Assistant Planner Kusch said that subject property has had livestock, including horses. If approved, the properties would be less than acre, which would exclude having livestock or horses. Staff recommended recordation of a disclosure statement to give notice to future residents that there is livestock on adjacent properties. This would lessen future complaints regarding horses or livestock. Normally, there is a 50-foot buffer between horse property and a habitable dwelling. The underlying zone allows a building setback that is less than 50 feet; therefore, staff felt it was prudent to address these pre-existing conditions.

Assistant Planner Kusch displayed site photos showing neighboring properties. He identified a number of improvements, the need for sidewalk, street lights, curb and gutter improvements. He stated that the existing wall may be encroaching into the ultimate right-of-way for Bastanchury Road and may need to be removed to build a sound attenuation wall.

Staff believes that the design of an existing wall located along Bastanchury Road and north of the property met the scenic corridor guidelines. If the wall is necessary, staff recommended that the applicant keep the same uniform design of the wall with a landscape pocket, using the same materials, including a cap on the block wall.

Commissioner Francis asked if there was a barn in the photo. Mr. Cameron Irons identified it was a barn on his property.

Staff notified property owners within a 300-foot radius and received one phone call with general questions and concerns.

Staff recommended approval subject to nine conditions in the staff report, in addition to the conditions recommended by the Engineering Department.

Commissioner Francis asked if staff was concerned with a 20,000-square-foot lot without a proper setback for horses and livestock.

Assistant Planner Kusch answered that this was a pre-existing condition. Staff could not require the existing residents to remove their livestock to accommodate new residents. The zoning code requires a set distance between a habitable dwelling of at least 50 feet. Commissioner Francis remarked that it was out of code, and Assistant Planner Kusch concurred.

Commissioner Stopper asked Assistant Planner Kusch to display the site plan again and show which properties were out of code. Mr. Kusch pointed out various nearby residences that have horses and/or livestock. Some are single story, which only require a 25-foot rear yard setback. He explained that the applicant was currently eligible to have horses, since it was of an acre.

Commissioner Savage asked if the subject property had a deed restriction or a letter recorded concerning the keeping or presence of livestock, including horses. Assistant Planner Kusch said that he did not believe that there was a deed restriction or a letter recorded on the title.

Commissioner Bailey asked if staff was aware of any wall or treatments planned for the southeast side of the property. He also asked for clarification of the setbacks for single and two-story residences. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that there was not a requirement to put a fence or wall between single-family residences and the zoning code requires a 25-foot rear setback for single-story structures and the second story would have a 30-foot setback in the rear and require a 10 foot sideyard setback between the property line and structure.

Commissioner Francis asked staff to identify the sizes of the nearby lots. Assistant Planner Kusch went through the site plan and estimated the various lot sizes.

Senior Planner Mullis mentioned that the lot on the north side of Brookhurst Place, with an R-1-20,000 designation, had submitted an application for a subdivision, which means it was at least 40,000 square feet in size. She was not sure why the subdivision had not proceeded.

Commissioner Francis asked why the lot was zoned R-1-20,000, and Senior Planner Mullis replied that the subdivision pattern at that tract me the minimum requirements and was how the original property owner wanted it subdivided.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that the conceptual grading and site plan only showed that the proposed subdivision was feasible on the property, but must still go through plan check and meet specific code requirements. The Planning Commission was not approving the house pad, only a concept plan for a proposed subdivision.

Public hearing opened.

Myung Chung, 3380 Flair Drive, El Monte, architect for the applicant, had read the conditions of approval, and after the subdivision is approved, he will meet with planning staff to review and satisfy the required setbacks and other requirements.

Chairman Griffin asked if all the conditions of approval were agreeable. Mr. Chung stated that he understood the conditions, as presented, and agreed with them.

Cameron Irons, 1241 Valencia Mesa, discussed the following issues:

  • Drainage is important, prior owner filled the lot without a permit
  • Natural drainage swale filled in and wall was built over it
  • Water from the neighboring property comes through the lot and floods his property, rather than draining across the subject property as it used to
  • Asked for a condition of approval to relieve the drainage from his property
  • Designing plans to expand and build a swimming pool on his property
  • Cannot have livestock because of flooding problem
  • He requested a condition be added to require a view-obscuring fence or wall
  • He felt that residents who want to subdivide do not want livestock or horses nearby
  • The existing house on the subject property operates an after school program
  • He felt 20 children was too many
  • He was concerned that the subdivision was one more way to have a day care on the second parcel
  • He wanted restrictions against the number of children at each facility
  • He felt it should be a single-family residence, not a day care center
  • He wondered if the 50-foot setback was possible for a second story

Chairman Griffin asked which parcel operates the day care, and Mr. Irons answered that it was on parcel 1.

Commissioner Stopper directed Mr. Irons to Condition #4 in the staff report which addressed grading and drainage on the adjacent parcels, and that prior to issuing building permits it would be reviewed and approved.

Chairman Griffin stated that if the grading and fencing were done without a permit, it must be remedied. Mr. Irons suggested that staff look at an aerial photo prior to the fill.

Commissioner Savage asked where the back yard drainage went. Mr. Irons stated that his back yard is 40 feet lower than his front yard. Before the grading was changed, the drainage used to run on the subject property.

Commissioner Francis asked if Mr. Irons was planning on subdividing, and Mr. Irons answered negatively.

Claudia Stanger, 1201 Valencia Mesa, was thankful for public notification. She asked staff to display the site plan again. She suggested that staff increase the radius for notification because of the large lot sizes. Since the lot split approval was independent of the approval of building plans for the home, she asked that notification be sent to the immediate neighbors when the housing plans are submitted for approval. She felt that many of her neighbors desired to keep the rural, equestrian, ranch-style homes.

Chairman Griffin asked staff to explain the legal rules of public notification. Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff was required to send notification within a minimum of 300 feet. Staff routinely expands the notification area, especially if staff believed there will be controversy. He said that out of many community discussions, the result was the community responded that a lot split would be better than a child care center at this site. He encouraged the applicant to share plans with the community, as staff does when the request is made. He stated that there are no design controls and there was not an overriding historical context for the neighborhood. Staff reviews and makes suggestions, but cannot force those suggestions on the property owner.

Chairman Griffin was aware of the sensitivity in the past regarding lot splits and adding density. He stated that the Planning Commission and City Council do not have the authority to dictate beyond what zoning and code allow.

Ms. Stanger discussed the setbacks required on the rear and side property lines. She stated that there were height restriction violations in the neighborhood.

Don Bankhead, resident on Valencia Mesa, felt it was a shame that people come into a neighborhood with acre properties and intend to split their lot for commercial purposes. When that does not work, they are willing to split the lot and eliminate the ability to use it for horse property. He urged the Planning Commission to have a letter attached to the deeds of the homes to prevent future owners from complaining about horses or livestock on adjacent properties.

Commissioner Stopper suggested that the neighborhood join together to request a zone change. Mr. Bankhead stated that he attempted it, but they were not all in agreement.

Commissioner Bailey asked how the applicants garage was used. Mr. Bankhead stated that the garage is set up for recreation purposes. He also stated that the fence along the back of his property encroaches one foot onto his property. He asked that the fence be repositioned on the property line.

Public hearing closed.

The Planning Commission took a five minute recess.

The Planning Commission reconvened at 8:02 p.m.

Commissioner Francis asked what the proper setback was for the housing of livestock or horses. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the keeping of large animals on property requires 50 feet to a habitable structure and 30 feet to a pool. Commissioner Francis asked why staff would approve a variance. Chief Planner Rosen stated that code was written so that the burden is placed on the keeper of the animals. The Planning Commission could add a condition that this property be setback 50 feet from the adjacent property, and any pool structure be set back 30 feet because of the existing conditions. This would place the burden on the applicants property and keep the adjacent property from becoming non-conforming.

Commissioner Savage asked Engineering Director Hoppe what the Citys role would be in the drainage correction. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that without reviewing the documentation he could not give the Planning Commission a solution, but he would review it. After discussing it with the applicant during the recess, he had a better understanding of how it happened and how it drained in the past.

Commissioner Savage asked if it was unusual that adjacent properties drain into their neighbors yards. Engineering Director Hoppe stated that it was not unusual, but the property owner is responsible to handle the drainage and should not exacerbate, change, or accelerate the velocity of the water leaving their site.

Commissioner Savage asked if there was a requirement for a fence along the rear property line. Engineering Director Hoppe and Chief Planner Rosen both stated that there was no such zoning requirement in an R-1 zone.

Engineering Director Hoppe added that the proposed building is very close to 50 feet back from the property line to the house. If the Planning Commission set that as a condition of approval, it would probably work.

Commission Cowen asked if conditioning a fence is done often. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it is done, but not often. He said that there can be unique conditions, more often on larger subdivisions.

Commissioner Bailey asked staff to explain the recent day care center proposal, due to his absence at that meeting. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was a large building proposed to increase the amount of children allowed, because having 14 or less children does not require City approval. He informed the Planning Commission that there is a code provision prohibiting a large child care center in a home closer than 300 feet to any other child care home or center.

Chairman Griffin asked if the City was aware that parcel 1 was being used for day care and Chief Planner Rosen answered negatively.

Commissioner Francis talked about lot splits in his childhood neighborhood, which changed the dynamics of that neighborhood, and he felt that it is a trend that should be reviewed. He said that he respected the private property rights of the property owners, however, but he was not in support of the request. He added that there should be a 50-foot setback from the other lots.

Commissioner Savage thought that the neighbors should try changing the zoning to R-1-40,000. He said that he would approve it if there was a required 50-foot setback for a two-story home, and a disclosure statement indicating livestock and horses on the adjacent property.

Commissioner Stopper discussed how zones are changed and how the standard zone had become R-1-20,000. He believed that property owners have rights, so he felt it was difficult to tell them they could not split a lot. He was concerned with drainage, the noise consultants report, and a disclosure statement indicating livestock and horses nearby. He supported staffs recommendation to approve the lot split with a minimum 50-foot setback in the rear.

Commission Cowen believed that a lot split would not infringe on the rights of neighboring property owners. She supported the 50 foot setback and was in support of the lot split.

Commissioner Bailey discussed codes that allow for subdivisions. He felt that after reviewing the nature of the surrounding property, there was a compatibility problem and he would not support the subdivision. He felt that the neighboring property owners purchased these lots because they desired a rural neighborhood.

Chairman Griffin was in support of the subdivision and asked the Planning Commission to consider adding a requirement for a 50-foot setback in the rear yard. He also wanted a condition for any future owner that another day care facility could not operate within 300 feet of another day care facility. Chairman Griffin, Commissioner Stopper, and Commissioner Savage concurred with that condition.

MOTION by Commissioner Stopper, seconded by Commission Cowen, that there would be a requirement for a 50-foot rear setback to any habitable structure; and a 30-foot rear setback for any swimming pool. Also, no child care would be allowed on this property if there was an existing child care facility within 300 feet of property. Staff will revise the wording and return with the revised resolution. The motion passed by a vote of 4 2 with Commissioners Bailey and Francis voting no.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that this item could be appealed with a fee of $143 after the adoption of resolution at the next Planning Commission meeting.


A request for a Conditional Use Permit to operate an adult day health care center in a converted office building, including a 1,846-square-foot addition to the existing building, on property located at 1309 West Valencia Drive (approximately 560 to 740 feet east of Basque Avenue) (O-P zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines)

Staff stated that clarification and revisions to the site plan for this item could not be provided by the applicant in time for the hearing. Staff recommended that this item be continued to a date uncertain.

MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commission Cowen, and CARRIED unanimously, that this item be continued to a date uncertain.


Commissioner Stopper reminded the Planning Commission of the May 19 Transportation Study Plan Updated meeting to be held 6:30 at the Senior Multi-Service Center. Subsequent meetings will be held June 16, July 21, and August 23.


Chief Planner Rosen reminded the Planning Commission of the June 9 Conference held by the Congress for New Urbanism in Pasadena. There will be a mobile workshop tour in Fullerton and Chief Planner Rosen will be conducting a tour of the downtown.


There were no items to review.


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 May 25, 2005, at 7 p.m.

Chief Planner Rosen informed the Planning Commission about the Jacaranda combined community meeting and RDRC. He informed them also of the hearing on Providence scheduled for June 22 and asked the Commissioners availability for a Special hearing on Sunrise in July.

The Commission discussed the alley behind Ziings Restaurant, and the removal and abatement of debris at 923 E. Commonwealth.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:32 p.m.

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