COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
WEDNESDAY JUNE 14, 2006 7:00 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Savage at 7:02 p.m.
Chairman Savage, Vice Chairman Francis, Commissioners Fitzgerald, Hart, and Musante, Thompson (arrived at 7:08 p.m.)
Acting Chief Planner Eastman, Senior Civil Engineer Voronel, Senior Planner St. Paul, Acting Senior Planner Allen, and Recording Secretary Pasillas.
MOTION made by Commissioner Musante SECONDED by Commissioner Fitzgerald and CARRIED 5-0, with Commissioner Francis abstaining, that the Minutes of the MAY 24, 2006 meeting, be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
ITEM NO. 1
PRJ05-00781 – ZON05-00114 – ZON05-00115 – TRACT TR-17002 – LRP05-00111.APPLICANT:LUIS IBANEZ; PROPERTY OWNER:LPC FULLERTON, INC.
Staff report dated June 14, 2006 was presented pertaining to a request to demolish an existing industrial facility and construct a new industrial park development comprised of the following applications:(1) a major site plan to construct 20 industrial units (12 buildings) ranging in size from 5,400 square feet to 34,000 square feet (for a total of 289,370 square feet); (2) a Conditional Use Permit to exceed the base 45% Floor Area Ratio (FAR) with a proposed FAR up to 56%; (3) a zoning amendment to change the zone from Manufacturing Park – minimum lot size 100,000 square feet (M-P-100) to Manufacturing General (M-G); and (4) a tentative Tract Map to divide one parcel into seven parcels, including one for condominium purposes, on property located at 1550 Kimberly Avenue (south side of Kimberly Avenue, approximately 600 feet west of Raymond Avenue) (M-P-100 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (HAL) (Continued from May 10, 2006).
Acting Senior Planner Allen gave an overview of the project, explaining that this was the previous Johnson Controls facility.She identified the four items before the Commission, and gave a description of the project site.Drawings and a material board were provided to the Commission.The zone change from the current M-P-100 zone to M-G zone would facilitate the construction as designed to create an industrial park, and the uses would be the same under either zoning.
Acting Senior Planner Allen continued by explaining that the applicant had also requested a tract map to create two phases within the project; the first phase would be six individual, for- sale lots, and the second phase would create a seventh lot, which would be for condominium purposes.Each phase would have an owner’s association that would control the common areas, including parking, landscaping, and infrastructure.Access to the development was proposed in four locations; with circulation within phase one and phase two for both pedestrians and vehicles.
The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application was to exceed the base floor area of 45%, and the applicant had prepared a traffic analysis which had been reviewed and approved by the City’s Traffic Engineer in support of this request.The project was currently under an order with the DTSC to clean up the site from the prior user, and clean up would be completed prior to the start of building construction.
Staff recommended findings be made that:
·The zoning amendment and subdivision were consistent with the General Plan.
·The site plan, as conditioned, complied with development standards.
·The floor area increase was supportable based on the mitigation measures proposed in the traffic analysis and accepted by the traffic engineer.
·The project and uses were reasonably compatible with the surrounding properties.
·As determined by the environmental analysis, no substantial evidence of significant effect exists on the environment.
Acting Senior Planner Allen explained that this item would go before the City Council due to the project’s Zoning Amendment request.
Public hearing opened.
The applicant, Jamie Daugherty of Lowe Enterprises, stated he was a private developer based in Irvine.He added that the architect for the project was also available for questions.
Commissioner Hart asked about the clean up order from the DTSC.Mr. Daugherty explained there was a complete report provided by the Johnson Controls Battery Group for the DTSC.There was soluble lead and acid that had contaminated the soil and concrete.Johnson Controls was responsible for removing the contaminants from the site and hauling them to a legal landfill.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked why this site was chosen.Mr. Daugherty stated that this site had been marketed by Johnson Controls because they were moving out of the state.He further added that he had previously done work in the area and thought it would be a good site for a redevelopment opportunity.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked for more explanation regarding the industrial condominium type building.Mr. Daugherty explained that many “big box” companies had moved to the Inland Empire where labor and housing costs were lower.A condominium project would allow entrepreneurial enterprises to purchase a building for their business.
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel left the room at 7:13 p.m.
Chairman Savage asked what the selling price per square foot would be, and Mr. Daugherty responded he did not have exact figures, but it would be in the range of $150-$180 per square foot.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Fitzgerald stated she had seen more projects changing industrial zoned property to residential zoned.She believed this project was indicative of where the market was going, and who the potential consumers/business owners were.She liked that they wanted to improve the property and the area.She had no problem with going over the square footage for the floor area ratio and would support the project.
Commissioner Hart explained she was initially concerned with a large manufacturing area being divided into smaller areas, but understood with the changing market it became a question of how to utilize the manufacturing property without losing manufacturing uses.She did not want to loose manufacturing to residential, and felt it was a good compromise.She would support the project.
Commissioner Musante believed this project would bring new jobs and an increase in the tax base; it seemed to be in the best interest of Fullerton and he would support the project.
Commissioner Francis would support the project. He recently had lunch with a developer who was proposing to turn an industrial zoned property into a residential project, thereby losing some of the City’s industrial base.He was glad to see a project of this type.
Commissioner Thompson stated he would support the project.
Chairman Savage stated he had been in the Fullerton industrial community for 32 years, and the industrial community had changed.Many big companies were leaving the area, and California, because of the restrictive business climate.He was saddened to see Johnson Controls leaving for Phoenix, but was glad the property was being upgraded.He would support the project.
The title of Resolution PC-06-17RECOMMENDING that the City Council approve a request for (1) a major site plan to construct 20 industrial units (12 buildings) ranging in size from 5,400 square feet to 34,000 square feet (for a total of 289,370 square feet); (2) a Conditional Use Permit to exceed the base 45% Floor Area Ratio (FAR) with a proposed FAR up to 56%; (3) a zoning amendment to change the zone from Manufacturing Park – minimum lot size 100,000 square feet (M-P-100) to General Manufacturing (M-G); and (4) a tentative Tract Map to divide one parcel into seven parcels, including one for condominium purposes, on property located at 1550 Kimberly Avenue; and recommend that the City Council certify the mitigated negative declaration and adopt the mitigation measures and monitoring program of said project was read and further reading waived.MOTION by Commissioner Fitzgerald, SECONDED by Commissioner Hart and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained there was no appeal process at this point; this was only a recommendation to the City Council.
ITEM NO. 2
PRJ06-00168 – LRP06-00008. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.
Staff report dated June 14, 2006 was presented pertaining to a request to expand the northern boundary of the existing Restaurant Overlay District to coincide with the same boundary of the commercially zoned property in the Central Business District (on property generally on the north side of the 100 blocks of West and East Chapman Avenue and the 500 blocks of North Harbor Boulevard and Pomona Avenue to the channel and Ellis Place) (C-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15332 of CEQA Guidelines) (HAL).
Senior Civil Engineer Voronel returned to the room at 7:22 p.m.
Acting Senior Planner Allen gave an overview of the project.She explained the Restaurant Overlay District (ROD) and the Central Business District (CBD) and provided a map showing both the existing ROD and CBD, and the proposed ROD.This change would include commercially zoned properties only, not the two residential properties at the corner of Ellis Place and Pomona Avenue.
Acting Senior Planner Allen explained that one reason staff had requested this change was that the Fox Theater was now being preserved.When the ROD was originally proposed it included the Fox Theater area.Ultimately, because of the uncertainty surrounding the Fox Theater at the time, that area was removed from the proposed ROD before it was approved.Adjacent to the Fox Theater there were 178 existing on-site public parking spaces.The other reason for the modification at this time was that the Redevelopment Agency had entered into a long term lease, with the requirement to buy at the end of the lease, for a property on the west side of Harbor Blvd.This will add an additional 105 surface public parking spaces north of Chapman Avenue.
Staff recommended the Planning Commission adopt the resolution and recommend approval to City Council.
Commissioner Hart wanted to clarify that the ROD primarily dealt with parking and Acting Senior Planner Allen answered affirmatively.
Vice Chairman Francis wanted to know if Angelo’s & Vinci’s and McDonalds were exempt because one was a banquet facility and the other had a drive-thru.Acting Chief Planner Eastman responded that Angelo’s & Vinci’s utilized the current Redevelopment Agency parking lot as a restaurant with no on-site parking. He also confirmed that McDonalds would need to provide on-site parking because it had a drive-thru.
Chairman Savage asked how long Angelo’s & Vinci’s had been using public parking.Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that he did not have a date, but believed the restaurant was approved with the existing condition.
Public hearing opened.
The following persons spoke against the project:
·Roslyn Joyce, 613 Ellis Lane
·Leroy Pettigrew, 236 Jacaranda Place
·Rafael Calles, 536 S. Zeyn Street, Anaheim (owner of Big Slice Pizza at 523 Harbor)
·Shirley Laroff, 207 Miguel Place
·Wesley Kim, 501 N. Harbor (representing Spring Field Banquet Center)
·Jim Vanderburg, 1850 Fairway Drive #85
·Gene Savron, manager of the residential properties
·Robert Joyce, 613 N. Ellis Lane
Their points of opposition were:
·Impact on neighboring residences.
·Developers would buy out the area on Ellis Lane.
·Turning the parking area into a restaurant row.
·Parking already a problem with students, people attending banquets, etc. - this would create a larger parking problem.
·The City should build a parking structure behind Ace Hardware to provide additional spaces.
·Parking overflowed into the neighborhoods whenever there was an event downtown.
·Traffic was bad; people used residential streets to avoid the intersection of Harbor Blvd. & Chapman Avenue.
·Traffic creates an unsafe situation for children in the residential area.
·Customers already complaining about a lack of parking.
·Possibility of parking permits for residences.
·The new “Miller Automotive” parking lot should be a one- or two-level structure to allow for more parking.
·No environmental impact study was done to look at the effects of this decision on traffic and parking.
·This would allow a restaurant to open without a CUP, which also regulates hours, noise, activities, etc.
·Someone could feasibly build a 199-seat restaurant and not be required to provide any parking.
·If a new restaurant wanted to open it should apply for a CUP like everyone else.
·Was there a report available showing current and proposed traffic circulation.
·Would like the City’s assurance as to what the long-term plans were for the area.
·ROD in this area would bring more business to the area, thereby increasing the already existing parking and traffic problems.
·Existing ROD was OK, but now it would be pushing in next to people’s houses.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated he was not aware of any pending private development, nor had any applications been submitted.The Fox Theater had been acquired by the Fox Preservation Group in conjunction with the City, and a successful theater would necessitate additional parking.He continued that it was not the City’s intention to create a “restaurant row”, although some restaurants were currently located at the site. McDonald’s was currently being relocated by the Redevelopment Agency to allow more parking.
Chairman Savage explained that historically, there were an excessive number of applications for CUP’s from restaurants trying to get approval for off-site parking.The ROD allowed staff to work with these restaurant applicants to develop a parking situation that would work for both the restaurant and residents.Acting Chief Planner Eastman further explained that without the ROD, a new restaurant would need a CUP to obtain off-site parking.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman continued by stating that as far as development in the area, most current businesses at the location were already restaurants.There would be no new restaurants based on the current buildings, but he could not promise anything in the future.The history of this area was explained – the buildings downtown had no parking because of the age of the area, and this discouraged restaurants.To allow parking without mass applications for off-site parking or demolition of the historic buildings, the ROD was created.Originally, the area under discussion was included in the ROD, but was removed primarily because of the unknown plans for the Fox Theater.
A question was asked about building a parking structure behind the Ace Hardware store and Chairman Savage explained that the current plan called for adding a hundred spaces in that area.Acting Chief Planner Eastman confirmed that there was a development proposal in process to add parking at that location.
Vice Chairman Francis acknowledged the busy downtown traffic and parking situation, but explained that he lived in the downtown, and some traffic and parking issues came with living in a downtown.
Commissioner Thompson added that the City wanted a successful and vibrant downtown, yet needed to be vigilant to ensure parking and traffic laws were being followed.He felt the mission of the City was to be business friendly, and they wanted to attract patrons to downtown businesses, while also encouraging new business.The expansion of the ROD would work to this effect by providing accessible public parking for current and future businesses.He noted that the parking and enforcement issues should be forwarded to the City Council.He stated that he enjoyed traveling through the nearby residential neighborhoods and looking at the beautiful houses when he traveled to the downtown.
Chairman Savage asked if a new building/restaurant within the ROD would be possible without providing any additional parking.Acting Chief Planner Eastman responded that there would be a mechanism in place requiring an individual request to find off-site parking or deal with the parking arrangement in some way if they were not in the ROD zone.The City would allow a restaurant use, as it was a permitted use, but restaurants had a parking requirement which was higher than a normal retail/office use, and would need to accommodate that higher requirement if they were not in the ROD.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman clarified that the parking lot under construction would be a public lot, and therefore could typically be used by any of the businesses nearby.He was not familiar with any exclusive arrangements.No overnight parking would be permitted.He stated that the public lot was being developed by the Redevelopment Department and directed anyone with questions to contact them.
Commissioner Fitzgerald asked for clarification on exactly what this change would do. Acting Chief Planner Eastman responded that the issue at hand was parking, whether or not it entitled a restaurant at a location where it would otherwise be permitted; it did not change uses allowed in any particular area, just made it easier for restaurant business to locate in the downtown.
Cameron Irons, 133 W. Chapman Avenue, explained his plans for the 6,000-square-foot office building he had purchased at the location.He planned to renovate the building and turn it into a four- to five-unit retail center.He was currently working with architects, and a tentative tenant list included a chocolate shop, a gelato shop, and a Philly’s Best.For the most part it would be daytime, quick service establishments.
Public hearing closed.
Chairman Savage called a five minute recess 8:42 p.m.The meeting was reconvened at 8:50 p.m.
Vice Chairman Francis stated he was a business owner in downtown, though not in the area that was being voted on.He explained that there was a time when he first started in business, that the downtown area was not attractive.There were pawn shops, adult book stores, and thrift stores.The City had been very aggressive and had created an attractive downtown, spending millions to provide public parking in the area.He stated he had looked at a space in Orange and was told he would have to pay for parking, at $15,000-$20,000 per space. He did not want to spend that money on parking, so he spent his money here in Fullerton and opened a new restaurant.Vice Chairman Francis further explained that he had another business, The Continental, prior to the ROD.The City told him he would have to find 25 parking spaces on Santa Fe Avenue, which almost prevented him from completing the project.He was in full support of this project and would support recommending to the City Council to expand the Restaurant Overlay District.
Commissioner Musante stated he had mixed feelings, and would not support the expansion at this time. He believed it would eventually pass, but felt there were too many questions about parking. Amerige Court, if passed, would add 150 parking spaces, and there was another lot within walking distance.He felt that some type of education could be used to promote these parking areas to the public.He stated the people had real concerns about traffic and parking in their neighborhoods and he would like to see the City have a complete plan relative to parking in this area.He did not feel comfortable voting for the project at this time.
Commissioner Fitzgerald disagreed with Commissioner Musante. There would be 105 new spaces on the west corner and 178 existing spaces on the east.She felt this proposal made perfect sense, encouraged restaurants to come into the vibrant downtown, and she would support the expansion.
Commissioner Hart believed there were pluses and minuses of living in a downtown or historic area.There was higher density and increased traffic, yet you were close to downtown and could walk to the restaurants.It was the reality of the location, a choice of living on that street.The Fox Theater was already included in the ROD but then taken out. There would not be much change in the area, the buildings were already there, the City was increasing parking on the west side, and only a small area was available to add a few new businesses.The water channel behind was a nice separation from the residences.The traffic issue was real, but separate, and this would not exacerbate the issue.She believed this was consistent with the downtown district and the overlay, it made sense, and she would support the expansion.
Commissioner Thompson was generally in favor of anything supportive of downtown business within reason, and felt there would be no substantial impact to parking or traffic based on the ROD change. The success currently within the downtown was positive and the people living nearby had a desirable situation. He was extremely supportive of the expansion.
Chairman Savage questioned where the City would stop; theoretically the ROD could expand throughout Fullerton.He believed the original intent of the overlay was to take the existing stock of old historic buildings in downtown, and make it possible for people to utilize them for a purpose other than originally designed, primarily restaurants. As you move away from central downtown, there are fewer historic buildings, and this expansion would not have an effect on the Fox Theater. New construction would be possible, but it should not be allowed without providing parking. It was required for industrial and other new buildings to provide adequate parking, and he would not expect the taxpayers to support additional parking for these uses. If the ROD were not expanded, there would not be an impact on what type of projects could be done, but the public would be part of the process. He believed this to be a good thing in a transitional area, near residences.He did not disagree with anything the other Commissioners had said, but believed everything intended to be done by the ROD had been accomplished - the downtown had been preserved.He felt the boundary needed to be at Chapman, and the public given the chance to be involved in projects north of Chapman.He would not support the expansion.
Commissioner Thompson believed Chairman Savage’s comments were compelling, but was not moved to change his position because he believed it to be a fairly natural addition to the existing zone for the purpose as described.
Chairman Savage felt the real problem was with new construction within the area. He saw no reason the overlay should be applied to new construction.
Commissioner Fitzgerald felt this area was part of the downtown; it was a natural part of the downtown, especially with the historical buildings, Fox Theater and the Spring Field Banquet Center.Commissioner Thompson commented that the City was spending millions supporting the Fox project and the implication was that the whole area was part of the downtown.
Commissioner Musante felt the Planning Commissioner’s were both pro-business and pro- residents, and this change would eventually pass. This area was part of downtown and part of the expansion that needed to happen.The restaurants in the area were successful and drew from a large area, which meant more traffic in the area.He did not feel the City had a clear plan for parking in the downtown.
Commissioner Fitzgerald believed the current City Council had done more for parking in downtown than any previous City Council.She believed that the City did have a parking plan.
Commissioner Musante stated that there had been discussion about several parking lots in the area, and he thought issues would be worked out when a number of residents had come before the City with a problem in their neighborhood.He thought it behooved the Commissioners, as leaders in the City, to look at things that could be done to ease the situation.
Commissioner Thompson explained that as a leader in the City he was looking at the expansion of the overlay zone, and the possibility of the Amerige parking structure.There would be 105 spaces to the west and 178 spaces to the east.With respect to the residents who spoke, he appreciated their taking time and caring about the City. He felt as a leader there were usually one or two people who came to speak, but the Commissioners were not compelled to slow the process and prevent the advancement of pro-business policy, just because people came to speak.
Chairman Savage stated he had trouble seeing any downside risk if the expansion were not approved.
Commissioner Thompson explained that a restaurant owner could go to the counter and experience a simpler process, which would make it easier and facilitate the process.
Chairman Savage asked if Commissioner Thompson agreed that the original concept of the ROD was to save buildings from demolition and allow their use for businesses other than they were originally designed for.
Commissioner Thompson was not on the Commission when the overlay was originally approved, but he liked the old, original architecture. He felt the City had to allow people to park on the street so the character of the area would not be destroyed.
Commissioner Hart commented, that during the past summer there were community meetings regarding where the downtown started, where to expand, etc.One of the comments was in regards to Chapman Avenue, being a major artery that brought people through the City, and the City needed to incorporate the business district on both sides of Chapman to bring people through Fullerton.This was a natural inclusion for this district.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman read the intent stated in the original resolution that adopted the ROD and clarified that the Planning Commission was voting on the ROD, not the CBD.Furthermore, he clarified that the official intent of the ROD was not to preserve historic buildings, but to further redevelopment objectives.Reuse of historic buildings, however, was a positive outcome of the ROD overlay.
The title of Resolution PC-06-18RECOMMENDING that the City Council approve a request to expand the northern boundary of the existing Restaurant Overlay District to coincide with the same boundary of the commercially-zoned property in the Central Business District was read and further reading waived.MOTION by Commissioner Hart, SECONDED by Commissioner Francis and CARRIED by a 4-2 vote with Chairman Savage and Commissioner Musante voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained the item was a recommendation to the City Council; therefore there was no appeal process at this time.
Commissioner Thompson commented that he would never support a project that involved private investment taking a resident’s home.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman told the Commission that a community meeting would be held Monday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss EV Free issues.Commissioner Thompson would like to receive an email regarding any community meetings discussing the EV Free project.
Commissioner Thompson stated that several weeks ago he had attended a meeting that the Mayor had held with the EV Free church and residents living near church.
Chairman Savage asked if there were any Brown Act implications of Commissioner Thompson speaking on an item that may come before the Commission in the future.Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained that Commissioner Thompson was speaking of attending a public meeting, and what he believed he observed, all under commission/staff comments, therefore there would not be a problem.
Commissioner Thompson explained that the residents had a flyer prepared that stated “parents and residents were concerned with this project” and had it distributed by asking the school district to send the flyer home with the students.He had heard that the district had apologized and acknowledged that this was an error.He also stated that he had written an email to Cameron McCune, and copied the school board, the City Council, and Acting Director Rosen, stating they should apologize to the people who received these flyers because there was an implication that the school district had a position on this proposal.Mr. McCune responded that he supported the decision to send flyer out, and stated that they frequently help the City when possible. Commissioner Thompson wanted to let the Planning Commission know the superintendent stood behind the decision to let this “biased, anti-EV Free expansion” flyer be distributed to residents through the students.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Acting Chief Planner Eastman gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings.
Chairman Savage asked for clarification on the status of the EV Free project, and Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained that there was a motion to agendize the City Council decision of May 2, 2006 where the City Council upheld the appeal and overturned the Planning Commission approval of the project.The motion to agendize was continued because not all City Council members being present.
Roslyn Joyce, 613 Ellis Lane, did not believe that Commissioner Thompson was representing the people.She added that even though there were only a few citizens present, they were speaking as the voice of the people.
Commissioner Thompson did not discredit Ms. Joyce as being representative of the people, but explained that he had listened to what she had said, reviewed the various issues associated with the project, and sometimes the Planning Commission voted to agree or disagree with the people.He did not feel he had discredited anyone.
Ms. Joyce responded that, as a Commission, they were supposed to do what the best was for the City.The citizens were here because they cared about their city and their residences, and felt it would be comforting to know that was what the Planning Commission also wanted.
Chairman Savage assured Ms. Joyce that the Commissioners were there as a community service, they were paid very little. He added that sometimes there can be misunderstandings, and the public had a forum here, which was not discounted. He believed Ms. Joyce had misunderstood Commissioner Thompson’s comment.
Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated he would be available after the meeting to address any other issues or questions.
The next regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be June 28, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 9:36 p.m.