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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 2005 7:00 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Chairman Griffin at 7:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Chairman Griffin, Commissioners Bailey, Fitzgerald, Hart, Savage, Stopper
ABSENT: Commissioner Francis
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Kusch and Recording Secretary Baker
FLAG SALUTE: Chairman Griffin
MINUTES: The minutes were deferred to later in the agenda.

7:00 p.m. Session

PUBLIC HEARING

ITEM NO. 1
PRJ05-00393 - ZON05-00045. APPLICANTS: FRANCISCO DIAZ FLORES AND PATRICK PANZARELLO; PROPERTY OWNER: BARRY CODISPOTI.


A request to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to expand an existing legal non-conforming bar, change from an existing ABC Type 42 license (On-sale beer & wine - public premises) to an ABC Type 48 (On-sale general - public premises) and reduce the number of parking spaces required for the site, on property located at 910-914 W. Williamson Avenue (southeast corner of Williamson Avenue and Euclid Street) (C-2 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines) (Continued from July 27, 2005 and August 24, 2005)

Senior Planner Eastman presented the staff report dated September 28, 2005 and reminded the Commission that this project had been scheduled previously and was continued to allow the applicant time to work with staff on the recommended conditions.

An aerial photo of the project site was displayed and the location and surroundings uses were described. The zoning map and site plan were also displayed listing the square footage and the zoning was discussed. Public notification was sent to residents within 300 feet of the property.

Senior Planner Eastman stated that the applicant was requesting an approval of a CUP. This would allow the applicant to expand an existing bar, expand the intensity of alcohol sales, and reduce the number of parking spaces required on-site for all the uses on the property. This would require removing an interior building wall and expanding into an adjacent tenant space. He explained that the existing bar expansion has already taken place and was done without acquiring the appropriate building permits. This request includes changing from a Type 42 license (beer and wine only) to a Type 48 license (on-site general, including the sale of liquor). The applicant is also requesting a modification of the existing floor plan to include a platform with a stage for live entertainment.

The history and background of the site was discussed. Senior Planner Eastman explained that the Health Department and the State Department of Alcoholic Beverages (ABC) noticed the building expansion during an inspection and advised the City of the modification. A revised, detailed floor plan was displayed. The initial floor plan submitted was inconsistent with the proposed modifications and after a revised floor plan was submitted, condition # 18 was deleted. The assembly occupancy limit is between 160 and 345 people, depending on whether there are fixed or non-fixed seats. The applicant is also requesting a live entertainment permit.

The Police Department felt some improvements were needed for safety. The existing windows remain, but are covered with drywall or plywood. Staff and the Police Department felt that a clear line of sight from the outside of the building should be maintained through the windows. The poor lighting and access through a curved hallway was a concern. Those improvements would be resolved through the plan check process. Code requires 101 parking spaces, currently 47 are provided based on the applicant's site plan. There are not any current off-site parking agreements with the surrounding property owners. Staff would require a perpetual parking agreement.

Staff felt this would intensify and expand a neighborhood bar into a nightclub venue, and a successful business at this location would create a parking overflow into adjacent properties. The area is industrial, not pedestrian or commercial, and night-time activity would create a negative impact. Staff felt that this would also negatively impact the safety and welfare of customers and property owners.

Staff recommended denial with six findings in the staff report justifying their views. If the Planning Commission would choose to approve the project, 19 conditions of approval were provided.

Chairman Griffin discussed the conditions listed in the attached staff report from August 24, 2005. Senior Planner Eastman stated that staff also recommended denial in August and had not changed their opinion. The applicant provided the Planning Commission with a tandem parking plan and it was made a part of the record. Senior Planner Eastman stated that the location is the key issue for staff. The property owner would have to concur with the proposal for a valet tandem parking plan.

Commissioner Savage asked what the alcohol use was at the other restaurant. Senior Planner Eastman answered that they sold only beer and wine, no hard liquor and the restaurant was currently not operating.

Commissioner Hart clarified that the applicant was short 50 parking spaces. Senior Planner Eastman responded affirmatively and referred the Commission to the parking table in the staff report. He also explained that in 1996 the CUP approved a substantial reduction in parking and this is requesting a further reduction beyond that. Since the other restaurant is currently under-utilized, staff was concerned that this would add to the parking problem if it became fully operational.

Commissioner Stopper also discussed the parking. He asked what was required by the Fullerton Municipal Code. Senior Planner Eastman stated that for a retail space four parking spaces are required for every 1,000 square feet of building. This project would require 44 spaces for 11,000 square feet for retail but requires 110 parking spaces because it is a restaurant. Currently there are 48 parking spaces.

Commissioner Bailey discussed the seating and occupancy limit. He also asked what the situation was with the surrounding street parking. Senior Planner Eastman stated that there is some on-street parking that is not well maintained. Chief Planner Rosen stated that he was at the site recently and it is an older, industrial street with no curb but a gutter and little on-street parking. He said that if the proposed project would operate just as a nightclub and change the floor plan, staff would re-evaluate the occupancy and parking demand.

Chairman Griffin asked if the City had any control over or communication with ABC over a change in license. Senior Planner Eastman stated that the City does have communication with them and they had informed the City of the interior expansion and the request for a change in alcohol license. He also explained that an upgrade in license would instigate a CUP.

Chairman Griffin asked if ABC is waiting for City approval before granting the change in license. Senior Planner Eastman answered affirmatively.

Chairman Griffin asked what other factors were considered by ABC besides contacting a local agency. Senior Planner Eastman said that they review each case separately, review calls for service, the operation of the business, they do background checks and review the activity proposed.

Public hearing opened.

Patrick Panzarello, land use and restaurant consultant for the applicant, explained that the applicant was not aware when he purchased the site in 2004 that the former tenant had expanded the facility without acquiring the appropriate permit. Once he discovered this, he entered into the permit process. He was concerned that the ABC license would have to be re-sold if the Planning Commission did not approve it. He spoke about providing additional parking with the valet service and that there are no residents within 100 feet. He said that the applicant is willing to make a shared parking agreement a condition of approval. Mr. Panzarello stated that State-certified security will be provided on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. He also said that the applicant is willing to install security fencing between the property and the railroad. He stated that the applicant was willing to condition 100 fixed seats. Mr. Panzarello read from a letter written by Barry Codispoti and it was made a part of the record.

Chairman Griffin asked if Mr. Flores owned other locations. Mr. Panzarello stated that he owns one location on State College in Anaheim and the other location is in Santa Ana.

Chairman Griffin was surprised that Mr. Flores was not aware of the building expansion that was done without permits prior to purchasing the site. He asked if there were any documents showing that ABC has approved the license, pending the Planning Commission approval. Mr. Panzarello stated that he did have documents from ABC.

Commissioner Bailey asked if they had any statistics regarding calls for service on the other two businesses Mr. Flores operates. Mr. Flores stated that there was no history of police activity, violations or fines at his other two businesses.

Commissioner Bailey had a concern with the parking situation and asked if there was a valet parking contract in place. Mr. Panzarello stated that if the tandem parking is approved, there would be a contract on file. Commissioner Bailey asked if the security guard dealt with the interior and exterior and would one security guard be sufficient. Mr. Panzarello stated that the usually handles situations outside and he felt that two security guards during peak operations would be more effective.

Commissioner Bailey asked how long Mr. Panzarello had worked with the applicant. He answered that he had worked with him since last February.

Manuel Gomez spoke in support of the applicant.

Public hearing closed

Commissioner Stopper asked how condition #1 would be implemented. Senior Planner Eastman explained that the applicant showed a letter from adjacent tenants to allow parking on their property. Staff responded that the letters were given to the previous owner regarding restaurant expansion, but an endorsement has not been given to the applicant. One tenant is concerned with liability, and an agreement must be in writing with the property owner prior to the issuance of building permits.

Chairman Griffin asked if the seven parking spaces allocated in a previous CUP could also be allocated for this project. Senior Planner Eastman said that the CUP issued for the original restaurant was a different nature than this bar proposal. This proposal might not be supported by existing tenants.

Chief Planner Rosen read from the Fullerton Municipal Code and said that staff did not feel that there is sufficient parking with the proposed off-site parking.

Senior Planner Eastman said that if the Planning Commission approved this use, subject to the applicant having available off-site parking, the agreement should be with the property owner not the tenant.

Commissioner Stopper asked how condition #20 could be physically implemented. Senior Planner Eastman said that the windows should be uncovered, and the entry into the building should have a clear view of the entire facility. Staff will work with the applicant for the safety of customers and the Police Department. Staff did not state exactly how much visibility was required in the staff report because the initial floor plan was not accurate.

Commissioner Bailey stated that it is important to have good visibility into the establishment from the exterior and upon entry.

Commissioner Savage stated that he would recommend denial based on the findings of staff.

Commissioner Fitzgerald agreed with Commissioner Savage and staff and would be recommending denial.

Commissioner Hart commented that there is a huge parking problem in the City. She felt that the parking issues should have been settled prior to the meeting. Based on the findings and the lack of planning and arrangements for parking, she would be voting for denial.

Commissioner Bailey was concerned with the lack of parking, and was not comfortable with the location. He would be supporting staff's recommendation for denial.

Commissioner Stopper was concerned with the safety and security of the citizens. He relies on staff's review and felt that this business did not fit at this location. He supported denial.

The title of Resolution Number PC-05-34 DENYING a conditional use permit to expand an existing legal non-conforming bar, change from an existing ABC Type 42 license (on-sale beer and wine - public premises) to an ABC Type 48 (on-sale general - public premises) and reduce the number of parking spaces required for the site, on property located at 910-914 W. Williamson Avenue was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Bailey and passed 6 - 0 by members present, that said Resolution be DENIED.

Chief Planner Rosen advised the applicant of the appeal process.

ITEM NO. 2
PRJ05-00541 - SUB05-00006. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON; PROPERTY OWNER: LEO BILL.


A request to abandon a ten-foot wide by 100-foot deep alley that bisects the property located at 320 S. Highland Avenue (north side of Truslow Avenue, between 140 and 150 feet east of Highland Avenue) (M-G zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15312 of CEQA Guidelines)

Senior Civil Engineer Voronel presented the staff report dated September 21, 2005 and discussed the size, location, and displayed the public notification map and an aerial photo. She explained that a settlement contract was signed with the property owner which includes the dedication of a permanent right-of-way for street purposes. In 1998 the City agreed to vacate the alley. Since there is no public access, it is a dead-end, there are no utilities maintained in the area and the alley is separated from the street by a wall, staff recommended that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council approval of the abandonment.

Public hearing opened.

Terry Simonten, spoke on behalf of her father, the applicant. She encouraged the Planning Commission to approve the abandonment. Her father has maintained the property for over 60 years.

The title of Resolution Number PC-04-35 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the abandonment of a ten foot wide by 100-foot deep alley that bisects the property located at 320 South Highland Avenue was read, and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Fitzgerald and passed by a vote of 6 - 0.

ITEM NO. 3
PRJ05-00543 - SUB05-00007. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON; PROPERTY OWNER: FRED ORTIZ.


A request to abandon an 8.5-foot wide by approximately 90-foot long portion of street right-of-way on property located at 130 S. Highland Avenue (east side of Highland Avenue, between Santa Fe Avenue and the alley between Santa Fe Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue) (M-G zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15312 of CEQA Guidelines).

Senior Civil Engineer Voronel presented the staff report dated September 21, 2005. The public notification map and an aerial photo was displayed and the location was described. Photos of the site were shown along with the assessor's map. Public notification was sent to residents within 300 feet of the project. The City requested a temporary construction easement with an option to expand, as needed. During the recordation process, the right-of-way was recorded as a permanent street right-of-way. It is located behind a wall that separates it from Highland and cannot be used by the public. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission recommend that the City Council approve the abandonment.

Public hearing opened.

There was no one present who wished to speak on this matter.

Public hearing closed.

The title of Resolution Number PC-04-36 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the abandonment of an 8.5-foot wide by approximately 90-foot long portion of the street right-of-way on property located at 130 South Highland Avenue was read, and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Bailey and CARRIED by a vote of 6 - 0.

The Planning Commission took a short break.

The Planning Commission reconvened at 8:37 p.m.

ITEM NO. 4
PRJ04-00387 - ZON04-00047 - ZON04-00053. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: ABRAHAM TABAJA.


A review of compliance with conditions for a previously-approved Conditional Use Permit, and possible setting of a revocation hearing for same Conditional Use Permit, for an automobile repair and sales business, on property located at 801-811 West Commonwealth Avenue (C-H zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15332 of CEQA Guidelines).

Assistant Planner Kusch presented the staff report dated September 21, 2005. An aerial photo was displayed, along with photos of the site and the location was described. He reminded the Commission that in August 2004, they approved a CUP for auto sales and repair at this location. In September 2004, the applicant appealed to the City Council to amend certain conditions and it was granted. In April 2005, the Planning Commission reviewed the applicant's compliance with the conditions of approval and directed staff to conduct a three month follow-up review.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the conditions on the property had not changed since April. The following items were discussed:
  • Delineating drive aisles and parking stalls in the parking area
  • Commonwealth Avenue entry drive aisle partially blocked with vehicles
  • Vehicles at the rear of the property parked on unpaved surfaces with weeds growing around them
  • Vehicles blocking drive aisle from circulating to or from Jefferson Avenue
  • Commonwealth Avenue driveway exit blocked with vehicles and a chain
  • Vehicles parked along the intended open drive aisle along the west property line
  • Inadequate landscaping along Commonwealth Avenue, sporadic groundcover
  • Support posts remain from removed sign/fence
  • Field conditions do not match the landscape plan
  • Planter in the rear parking area not installed
  • Landscape planters must meet zoning requirements
  • Signage does not conform to the zoning code
  • Additional banners were installed without permits. Banner hanging from posts along Commonwealth Avenue is not allowed.
Commissioner Bailey asked about past discussions with the Planning Commission. Assistant Planner Kusch reviewed what had been discussed.

Chairman Griffin asked if there were time frames set for the various conditions. Assistant Planner Kusch answered that some were within three months of approval, most were within six months of approval.

Public hearing opened.

Bobby Mir, co-owner of Bank Repo Autos, spoke about operating a vehicle sales business for 13 years. He indicated that he is the business operator of the subject property's truck sales business. He informed the Planning Commission that he previously had a vehicle sales business across from the subject property at 820 W. Commonwealth Avenue. He said that he relocated his business to the subject property after a vehicle sales office was destroyed by fire in October 2004 at the 820 W. Commonwealth Avenue property. He mentioned that the property owner is in the process of rebuilding the office building. He is awaiting the construction of the office building to relocate vehicles across Commonwealth Avenue from the subject property. He apologized for the discrepancies. He said that he was willing to do what was needed to satisfy the Commission.

Chairman Griffin asked for him to expound on the agreement for storage of vehicles. Mr. Mir explained that the subject property owner, Mr. Tabaja, offered that they could store their vehicles on his lot until they could rebuild. He stated that it was a temporary move, but was not sure if they could resume the vehicle sales business at 820 W. Commonwealth Avenue. He also stated that the window signage and signage on vehicles parked along Commonwealth Avenue would be removed.

Chairman Griffin asked who owned the business. Mr. Mir answered that he and his father own the business.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Savage viewed the property and felt that it was a bigger mess than before. The weeds are overgrown, planters are not planted correctly, and banners are not attached properly. The truck is still parked in front with a sign. He felt that there has been no goodwill effort to comply with the CUP. Commissioner Savage made a motion to set a revocation hearing which was later amended.

Commissioner Stopper thought that in the past an understanding was reached and some things would change, but they have not. The applicant appealed to the City Council and relief was given. His patience had also run out and he felt it was time to schedule a revocation hearing and get the property up to code.

Chief Planner Rosen reminded the Planning Commission that it was his understanding that the applicant, Mr. Tabaja, was currently out of the country tending to a family emergency. To allow for Mr. Tabaja's attendance, he recommended that the Planning Commission amend the motion to set a possible revocation meeting to a date in November.

MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Bailey to set a revocation hearing for November 9, 2005 at 4 p.m., seconded by Commissioner Bailey and passed by a 6 - 0 vote.

Approval of Minutes from the regular meeting of September 14, 2005

Commissioner Hart asked that her comment on the third paragraph from the bottom on page 152, be replaced by "Commissioner Hart felt that the developer should honor the agreement because it would be more difficult and costly to find another builder to build the community center."

MOTION Commissioner Fitzgerald, second by Commissioner Bailey to APPROVE the minutes of September 14, 2005 as AMENDED and passed by a vote of 4 - 0 with Commissioner Stopper and Commissioner Savage abstaining.

OTHER MATTERS

COMMISSION/STAFF COMMUNICATION

Chairman Griffin asked if Code Enforcement staff could follow-up on the condition of the property at 910 -914 Williamson. He was referring to signage, paint or material blocking the window, etc.

Commissioner Fitzgerald mentioned that several citizens have complained about a common area near the Community Center at Garnet and Placentia. Chief Planner Rosen stated that he was familiar with the situation and would report her concerns to the Police Department and Community Services.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that there will be a public hearing on the Providence Center, and the Transportation Center Update report will be presented to the Planning Commission on October 26. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the Amerige Court preliminary concept plan will be reviewed by the RDRC. He spoke about the legal challenge on the Sunrise project and that staff is waiting for a legal opinion from counsel. The Jacaranda hearing was postponed, there was a mix up in the noticing and some people were in attendance expecting the issue to be discussed.

Chairman Griffin asked if there were plans to hold more community meetings on Providence. Staff felt that there have been sufficient meetings, however, the developer might plan to hold some community meetings.

Commissioner Savage asked if the staff report regarding Providence would discuss the project area and the correct zoning. Chief Planner Rosen answered that it would be covered.

REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief update on recent City Council meetings.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

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

AGENDA FORECAST

The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be October 12, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. Staff reviewed the proposed items listed in the agenda forecast.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:12 p.m.
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