The meeting was called to order at 4:19 p.m. by Chairman Daybell
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Duncan, Johnson, and Coffman (late)
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Committee Member Silber
PUBLIC PRESENT: Tony Bushala, PRJ04-00337; Ali Haidair, PRJ03-00461; Luke Giovanardi, PRJ03-00886
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis; Associate Planner Eastman, and Clerical Support Thompson
Voting of the minutes for the April 8, 2004 meeting was APPROVED as written.
Senior Planner Mullis addressed the committee regarding the staff report. At the first meeting in March, staff had concerns regarding the architecture and some site issues. At that time the RDRC gave the applicant direction regarding those issues and concurred with staff that a Craftsman style building would not work for this structure. They encouraged the applicant to be more creative with their design. The applicant re-evaluated their design and decided to go forward with a Spanish/Mission design. The RDRC had questions regarding the site plan. They wanted the building moved closer to the corner of the street; however the building cannot be moved any closer to Raymond because of a parking easement on the property. The RDRC previously requested the applicant to have the Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD) review the project to determine what improvements can occur within the Flood Control easement. The OCFCD advised that trees and light poles are prohibited within their easement. The revised plan reflects the restrictions.
At the last meeting the RDRC requested a more pedestrian friendly and accessible site design. Staff had conversations with the applicant about a pedestrian connection to the future bus turnout on Chapman; and making a pedestrian link to the pedestrian system that they are proposing on site with decorative pavement. Staff also discussed with the applicant the concept of adding an enhanced pedestrian entry to the building for creating a seating area, and adding landscape boxes, etc. In general this concept would expand the eliminate one or two surplus parking spaces. Staff also requested more detailed elevations. Vice Chair John Silber contacted staff regarding his concerns of the site design issues, and his greatest concern was that the project should be more pedestrian friendly, have better pedestrian connections to the public streets, and that it attempt to be at a more pedestrian scale.
There were no questions for staff. Chairman Daybell opened the discussion to the public.
Luke Giovanardi with Evergreen Devco apologized for missing the last meeting. The applicant took the opportunity of additional time to meet with staff and address items of concern from the RDRC. He felt that they have come back with a complete picture, and brought color samples, a proposal for the site plan to be more pedestrian friendly, and would like the RDRCs approval to move forward to the Planning Commission with specific comments or recommendations on improving the project. He advised the Committee that 250 feet of the property is covered by an easement, and had provided staff with additional documentation showing the easement. Previous site plans did not show the lines for the easement, but the plans were revised to show the easement on the plans. The applicant tried to negotiate with adjacent property owners to release them from limitations of the easement but their request was denied. Based on previous discussions the applicant wants to propose Spanish architecture. They believe staff and the RDRC; believe it to be a better style to match the surrounding area and for future redevelopments of adjacent commercial centers.
He thanked the Committee for advising them to contact the OCFCD, which they had done and received their recommendations. Based on conversations with staff, they propose to add a decorative pavement walking from bus stop to pedestrian path that leads up to building. He talked to staff about adding a pedestrian element in front of the building entrance with landscape, benches and tables for people to rest, decorative concrete planters with ground cover and plants. He presented a concept drawing for RDRC to review. This would result in the limitation of 1-2 stalls. Overall he felt that these modifications would provide adequate pedestrian access to the building and additional seating area with a covered arcade around the building, which make the building more pedestrian friendly. He brought building elevations for all sides of the building for staff and RDRC review. He pointed out that the less attractive elevation would be facing the adjacent building to the south. Significant landscaping will be against the building. He stated that this wall will be redone and landscaping added. He showed the color material samples and pointed out on the elevations where they would be on the building. Since the last elevations provided to the Committee they have added a window on the side of the tower, which adds more window area to the building. He summarized his comments and again asked for the RDRCs support.
Chairman Daybell asked staff for quick comments based on the elevations and proposal. Senior Planner Mullis suggested the handicap stall across the drive (to the north of the entry) be eliminated and the area be replaced with landscaping to match the proposed entry plaza next to the building entry. She noted that staff felt the applicant should lower the windows under the colonnade on the north and west elevations because they are currently too high on the building to provide pedestrian views into or out of the building. Mr. Giovanardi stated that he had researched this idea and unfortunately the design cannot accommodate the issue due to Walgreens set merchandise layout. They did however raise the height of the arch above the windows to allow more natural light in the building. Associate Planner Eastman asked the applicant if the windows are recessed from the face of the building. Mr. Giovanardi stated that the windows are recessed a couple of inches from the wainscot and would be almost flush with the building face.
Committee Member Coffman asked staff about the minimum width of landscape along Raymond Avenue. Senior Planner Mullis said it is 10 feet. Committee Member Coffman asked how many feet are being proposed. Mr. Giovanardi said 34 feet, not only have they provided an excess of 26 feet of landscape above the requirement they initially proposed 12 feet along Chapman Avenue. They widened that landscape as well, based on staffs recommendations.
Committee Member Duncan questioned staff about the parking requirements. Senior Planner Mullis stated that the applicant had substantially exceeded the parking requirement. Committee Member Duncan asked if the bus bay configuration met the Citys requirements. Senior Planner Mullis confirmed that it did. Chief Planner Rosen noted that the plan might need some final design elements added to conform with OCTA requirements at the landing that accommodates the bus stop. Chairman Daybell asked if the new benches would be the Citys new decorative benches without advertisements. Chief Planner Rosen confirmed that they would be. Mr. Giovanardi noted that the cut and bay designs meet the necessary design code requirements.
Committee Member Duncan asked the applicant to explain the east elevation, which looks like a trash enclosure. Mr. Giovanardi stated that the area would have two compactors, which will be hidden from public view by an eight foot screening wall and landscaping. He pointed out roll up door for loading. Committee Member Duncan asked about an additional door and wondered if it was an employee entrance. Mr. Giovanardi explained that Walgreens uses recyclable plastic totes rather than boxes to haul their merchandise and the doors are to hide a tote storage area. The doors will be made from same materials as the rest of the building.
There being no further questions or comments from the public, Chairman Daybell returned the meeting for Committee discussion.
Committee Member Coffman stated that he thought the building has taken on a nice look, but was still bothered by allowing a prototypical design to dictate how the site gets used and he felt the design should adjust to the site. He was fairly supportive of practical design ideas, but felt that they were approaching the project from the opposite direction by using a backward philosophy of design. He noted that the project would greatly improve with windows to see in and out of the store rather than the use of solid walls. He understood the need for fixturization but noted that there is more than one way to fixture a store; fixtures can be set back to allow the exposure of merchandise through windows. He felt that the solid walls hurt the design too much with no ability to look in or out of the building and that the proposed windows would serve no purpose other than allowing natural light in. Committee Member Coffman noted that it is a pretty picture and the building has taken on a nice shape and some of the proportions are an artsy sketch and it has potential in terms of the look of the building, but he is not pleased with the way it sits on the site or utilizes the site, which is largely driven by the pre-design building and felt that there is a better way to utilize the site. He stated that there is nothing wrong with the look of the building but there is something missing from the project. Committee Member Duncan asked the applicant to clarify the easterly easement line preventing the project to move any further west. Mr. Giovanardi advised the Committee that there are three easements that lock them in. Committee Member Coffman asked if the adjacent property owner governs the easement. Mr. Giovanardi noted that it is governed by three different property owners. Committee Member Coffman stated that in the long term it would be to their benefit to collaborate on a redevelopment of the properties, and unfortunately if the project proceeds it will preclude the site from doing anything in the future. Committee Member Coffman said he had thought they could use the easements. This realization changes the design as far as utilizing the space, but not by bringing in a prefab design, and suggested that the applicant modify the prototype to be more sensitive to the site, by bringing in more visibility in to the building with windows that are eye level or below and his preference would be for the windows to go all the way down.
Committee Member Johnson stated that as far as the site, they are pretty much locked in. The comments made at the previous meetings have been addressed by the applicant including the issues of pedestrian circulation and elements. He does not have a problem with the project. He then asked staff if the Committee is given a building to approve but is then told that it cannot change, he wondered if it is a deal breaker. Chief Planner Rosen said that it is the Committees charge to make a recommendation to the Planning Commission, however at the end of the day it is up to the applicant. Recently a number of communities have succeeded in getting changes to similar types of proposals. Committee Member Johnson stated that as far as the building goes he did not have a strong feeling against the windows, and suggested the applicant meet halfway with panels of windows with 1/3 of the windows extend all the way to the ground. Associate Planner Eastman asked the applicant for some clarity on the stores shelving. Mr. Giovanardi stated that he did not know the exact height but could find out. Associate Planner Eastman noted that by the height of the building on the plans it looks like the shelving would be 8 feet in height. He then stated that he has seen other stores with windows above shelving. He clarified that the RDRC does not have a problem with merchandising, the issue to get the glazing low enough to see into the interior of the building. Committee Member Johnson noted that the current proposal of landscape along the wall of adjacent property has all low growing planting and some trees. He suggested adding different height and variety of plants. He suggested that every other window panel be extended to the ground under the colonnade as a compromise.
Committee Member Duncan appreciated the applicants presentation. He felt that by looking at the project if you take out the cars and pedestrian out of the drawing it looks good, looks like two different things happening. The building gets too big in relationship to the people and can be fairly sterile. It tends to be very uncomfortable for people and will not become a pedestrian space. He wondered about the building height versus the height of view angles and if they could be lower, so the building is not quite as massive. He recognized that signage is an important element. With that in mind the applicant could mass the building so the entry is the most important and the design shows that, and as you back away things dont become so massive like the east elevations where there is just a large wall, they can achieve a residential friendly feel. He agreed with the other Committee Members that the height of the windows at the front should be lowered. The predetermined shelving needs to be looked at and revised and felt that if done it could be pre-fabed for future projects. He thought that Committee Member Johnsons idea of breaking up the building with window panels to the sidewalk is a good idea, as it steps away from the entry. He expressed his dislike for the current landscape plan and felt that there could be more since there is an excess of parking. He suggested making the parking islands different shapes and sizes. He was concerned with the landscaping around the flood control easement, noting that it would look like they had forgotten to add trees, or the trees died and they were not concerned with replacing them. He suggested looking into adding landscape around that line. He liked the planting on Raymond and Chapman and felt the width is great. He suggested revising the plant material and using different heights. He asked Committee Member Johnson for his opinion. Member Johnson said that he was aware of restrictions for safety reasons and thought that was part of the reasoning of not introducing five feet high shrubs. Committee Member Duncan noted that they were introducing the height with the mounding. He felt that they could do away with the mounding and include taller plant material. He thought that part of the reason for using the mounding was to screen the parking lot view. Senior Planner Mullis said that the screening was part of the reason, as the original landscape plan used turf material, and as that time staff asked for the mounding. Then at the first RDRC meeting the committees comments were against the use of the turf and suggested if the committee would like they could recommend the applicant remove the mounding and use shrubbery to block the headlights. Committee Member Duncan stated that it might be a cheaper option than to haul in extra dirt to create the mounds and put the money into architecture. He clarified that it may look great when it is all done with the use of different planting material. He mention there is a nice entry off of Chapman Avenue with one tree on the East side, however the west side has nothing and would be a perfect spot for some sort of identity as an entrance.
Chairman Daybell stated that he was not sure he liked the Citys choice in using Chinese Elms and felt they caused real problems and are very invasive trees. He liked the idea of using balancing trees on the Chapman entrance. He liked the mounds but thought Committee Member Duncans recommendation of using variable height planting materials would work well too. Committee Member Duncan clarified that he recommends taller plants if not using the mounding. Chairman Daybell said that he would like to see the applicant use with the mounding. He then commented on the architecture of the building. He would like to see something done with the glazing, and is sick of looking at east side of buildings in this shopping center with plain ugly walls. He noted that there is nothing east of the building for 400 feet except blacktop paving. He felt that something is needed to dress up the east side to enhance the building. Now would be the time to try to do something that is more attractive on the east side. Committee Member Johnson suggested putting landscape planters in the ends of the parking lot aisles to enhance the view. Chairman Daybell noted that landscape might be the solution but felt that there is a need to do something. Committee Member Duncan asked the applicant if the parking lot to the east would be new or redone. Mr. Giovanardi said that it will not be done at this time, but it would be redeveloped eventually. Chairman Daybell stated that it is currently ugly and if the building is going to be redeveloped, utilize the opportunity to do something that will make this building an asset to the community.
Committee Member Johnson asked what specific conditions the committee would like to apply to the project. Chairman Daybell stated that he would like to see the glazing modified to be more pedestrian scale. Committee Member Coffman suggested that underneath the arcade needs to come down to the top of the scored C.M.U. He felt that there is nothing less compelling than to walk underneath a place that should be a pleasant place to walk and see nothing but solid walls without seeing inside the building. He thought that it is a nice finish but not something to look at. Chairman Daybell clarified that they are recommending approval with additional conditions to the staff report such as the windows, glazing, dressing up the east side of the building. He asked the committee how they felt about the east side of the building. Associate Planner Eastman asked the applicant if, from an operational aspect, could the drive-thru be relocated to the east side, and the containers added to the lane on the south side. This would allow the drive-thru to be seen from the street, with some landscaping, then the easement and have a drive lane as well as a place to pick up the trash bins. In terms of an operational aspect, obviously that has some implications to the internal layout, but in terms of practicality of the site, it turn a more used function to the street and providing illumination and dcor on the building. Brining the drive-thru to this area seems like a more practical solution for the exterior operational aspects, and exposed the drive-thru to the customer on the street. Chairman Daybell noted that there is an existing quasi street, with the publicly used alley with a fair amount of traffic, and he liked the idea of moving the drive-thru to the east side of the building. Associate Planner Eastman noted that the applicant has indicated that there is an easement that runs 30 feet, but looking at the plans there appears to be 22 feet to adequately accommodate the drive-thru. Committee Member Coffman mentioned to the Committee that the site is full of easements. Chairman Daybell said that the east side has not been used in years and the relocated drive-thru would bring variety the building. Mr. Giovanardi noted that they have looked into that option, first of all the easement would interfere with the drive-thru, secondly the alley is greatly used by the patrons for the business to the south. The delivery area is utilized once a week, the nice thing is that the residents would not see a truck parked there but for once a week. The applicant thought that the proposed area for the drive-thru is ideal because it hides the drive-thru stacking; creates less conflict by avoiding traffic; will screen the drive-thru; and the area on the east side of the building can not accommodate the drive-thru because of the easement and use of the alley. In addition, the store layout is so fixed they would have to rotate the entire building to achieve the request. Committee Member Duncan stated that there is some architectural treatment with the canopy that scales it down and makes the relocated drive-thru a positive change, versus the rollup doors and the container storage areas, understanding other issues such as traffic. Chairman Daybell stated that having the drive-thru on the other side is a security issue. Mr. Giovanardi stated that if the committees desire is to dress up the east elevation, they should look into doing something with the faade. Committee Member Coffman stated that by rotating the general stock area to the area where the pharmacy is now, and bringing the pharmacy and drive-thru to the east side of the building, it seems like it would work. Chairman Daybell thought that this could be done, and at the same time some glass could be put up on the East side. He noted that the project is a peninsula that will be very visible on two sides, and asked Chief Planner Rosen for his opinion. Chief Planner Rosen stated that corporate chains make incremental changes over a period time. When working with Target at the Amerige Heights Center they did not want to do glazing along the front so staff suggested the use of display windows. Now Target is using display windows in their design all over the country. The point is that this Committee could influence change; however, it is hard. Committee Member Coffman stated that they do have landscaping that will help screen somewhat and at some point the easement will eventually get developed and there will be a building there.
Chairman Daybell stated that they could approve the project with modifications. Committee Member Johnson made a motion to approve the project with recommendations to the Planning Commission with the glazing in front to be brought to a more pedestrian friendly level (that being, at minimum, the top of the vertical scored C.M.U. wall for the full length of the arcade wall on the north and west elevation); and the east elevation should be modified to incorporate a more aesthetically pleasing faade; that the landscape at the adjacent property to the south should be revisited to incorporate various heights of planting; that the pedestrian access as presented by the applicant in terms of connecting to the bus turnout on Chapman and adding a small pedestrian plaza at the building entry be incorporated in the revision; and include staffs recommendations. Senior Planner Mullis stated that some of staffs recommendations from the April 8, 2004 meeting staff report no longer apply.
Senior Planner Mullis asked the Committee if they would like the final architecture to come back to the Committee for review. Committee Member Coffman stated that if the windows go down to the bottom there is no longer a need to come back, however now with the discussion of the east elevation, it is unclear if there are to be revisions that would need to be reviewed. Committee Member Duncan asked if the Committee would be making the recommendation that the applicant consider relocating the drive-thru to the east elevation. Committee Member Coffman stated that would be an option, but is not sure if it is a solution to the east elevation. Chairman Daybell stated that they should leave it open. Committee Member Coffman stated that in that case, if the applicant did address the issues with the east elevation, and staff is happy with the proposal, then there is no need for the project to come back for further review. Chairman Daybell stated that they should make the east elevation subject to Staffs approval.
Senior Planner Mullis stated that other items that will still apply include the pedestrian path to consist of decorative pavement approved by the Director of Development Services, trash enclosures to be provided, the landscape plans to be reviewed by the RDRC, and she wondered if the RDRC wanted to review the plans. The consensus of the committee was that should be left at staff level for approval. She continued with all equipment to be stored out of public view, all shopping carts if stored outside are to be screened from view, and a bike rack to be incorporated into the project. Committee member Duncan asked about staffs recommendation to relocate the handicap stalls. Senior Planner Mullis stated that it was to expand the landscape area in the handicap stall on the east side of the west driveway at Chapman, and expand the pedestrian access area as previously described by the applicant, and the decorative pavement to the bus turnout access and connect through to the pedestrian plaza.
Mr. Giovanardi asked the RDRC to consider giving more flexibility on the windows by allowing display windows, rather than just to lower the windows, and would like an option to bring back before the Committee. Committee Member Johnson amended the motion for the applicant to recommend an alternative. Tony Bushala, asked the applicant for the reason why they didnt put windows on the east elevation. Mr. Giovanardi stated that it is for security concerns, the buildings layout is very complex on the inside, there is not an opportunity for windows in the storage area, and it would require a lot of time to modify. He suggested that they could do display windows, and would like the flexibility to add display windows to the faade. The Committee said their motion was to the satisfaction of the Director, and the Director may forward a display window request to the RDRC if needed.
Committee Member Coffman seconded the motion and it passed unanimously by a vote of 4-0.
Associate Planner Eastman presented the staff report. He noted that this project is related to other projects previously reviewed by the Committee. Basically, due to the Olson Companys project moving forward, structures on the property north side of Truslow Avenue are being relocated. This proposal included two sites, each which will receive one structure. The applicant has submitted two site plans, but is processing them as one project. The site at 122 E. Truslow Avenue currently contains a Queen Anne architectural style building, which Assessors records indicate was constructed in 1906. That property will be receiving a structure from 133 E. Truslow Avenue. The applicant will be constructing an addition of a kitchen and a bathroom. There will also be additional open parking spaces provided. The applicants representative indicated to staff that the parking at the front of the property would be removed and landscaped to provide open space. There will be adequate parking to meet code at the back of the property to accommodate both units. The recommendations that staff has made includes the addition of landscaping in rear yard at the parking area. Staff has prepared a revised site plan that indicates the recommendations. Staff discussed the revisions in the revised site plan. Staff noted that the site plan submitted shows a property depth of 180 feet; according to Assessor records, the property depth is 175.2 feet. Staff is comfortable with moving the project forward prior to verifying the actual property dimension because there is adequate space in between the two structures to accommodate the difference. The applicants plans show an 18 feet setback, although staff would only require 16 feet from the actual building faces.
The RDRC decided to address each site separately.
There being no further questions or comments for staff Chairman Daybell opened the discussion to the public.
Tony Bushala with Bushala Brothers Incorporated clarified that he (as property owner) is moving the houses as apart of the larger project. He said it is not a requirement, but rather a voluntary effect to save some of the structures. They hope to save the six buildings that show the best architectural significance, in attempt to preserve some of the history of Fullerton. The house at 122 E. Truslow Avenue is from the Victorian era circa 1906. The house to be moved onto this property has a similar architectural style. Although boarded up this house has an ornate window with Victorian like features. There is some glass missing but they plan on restoring all the windows, repair all the siding, set the building down on a new foundation and give it a new roof.
Committee Member Coffman stated that the plans show a porch, and wondered if they are adding a porch. Associate Planner Eastman explained that currently there is not one, however a porch or stoop is needed because of the raised foundation. Mr. Bushala noted that they had moved a house five years ago and it was a very successful project. They own the property at 122 E. Truslow Avenue and accept staffs recommendations of adding landscape in the front, to remove the eight-foot wrought iron gate, get rid of the truck, and overall look forward to proceeding with this project.
There being no further comments from the public Chairman Daybell returned the meeting for Committee Member comments.
Chairman Daybell stated that the house has already been removed from 133 E. Truslow and is sitting on blocks at 122 E. Truslow Avenue. He felt that this will be a nice project once completed, however was concerned with the condition of the garage. Mr. Bushala stated that the garage currently has commercial storefronts, which will be removed and replaced with a garage door. Chairman Daybell felt that this project would be an enhancement. He stated that he is prepared to approve the project as recommended by staff.
Committee Member Coffman asked staff about the 16-foot minimum setback between structures shown on staffs revised site plan, and if it is a code requirement. Associate Planner Eastman that it is a code requirement. Committee Member Coffman asked about the kitchen addition and the location of windows. Some discussion followed. Chairman Daybell noted that he is in favor of removing the existing garage. Associate Planner Eastman noted that it is an existing garage in which the applicant wants to keep and restore to its original condition. Committee Member Coffman asked if the applicant would get caught up in restoration. Associate Planner Eastman stated that, even though it is an old building and good example of a Queen Anne, it is not officially designated in the Citys Historic Building survey. It could be a contributing structure and is located in the Fullertons original town site area. But it is the Citys policy not to force preservation on property owners when a property hasnt been identified as historic. However, staff does encourage the applicant to look into designating it as historic, for the benefit of future preservation.
Committee Member Duncan asked if the existing garage is a three-car garage. Mr. Bushala confirmed that it is. Committee Member Duncan asked if there will be a gate along the new addition, along the East side, and if a path will lead up to the front door, unless adding a back entrance. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the applicants site plan illustrated the path of travel better, and showed a rear door. Committee Member Duncan asked if they needed five parking spaces. Mr. Bushala stated that they need those spaces. Committee Member Duncan stated that it would be nice to see the final building and agreed with saving the buildings.
Committee Member Coffman asked if there was a historical precedence that a building like this would get rotated at an angle to where they are not back to front. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff is not aware of any precedence. Typically an accessory structure would, depending on the uses, be located away from the building or with a straight line to the rear exit. Committee Member Duncan asked about the height of the wood fence separating the units. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff requires each unit to have a private fenced yard, but there are no height requirements. Committee Member Coffman asked if there are no historical issues and no color issues, why is it before the RDRC. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it is in a redevelopment area, and additional dwellings on a property require RDRC approval.
Chairman Daybell asked staff to present a report on the property located at 204 E. Truslow Avenue.
Associate Planner Eastman stated that the applicant is proposing to move a 925 square-foot structure from 213 E. Truslow Avenue to 204 E. Truslow Avenue. Staff described the project per the staff report. In reviewing the submitted site plan there were a few issues that staff felt were substantial. Staff has recommended changes as shown on staffs revised site plan. Associate Planner Eastman discussed the changes as outlined in the staff report. Committee Member Duncan asked if parking requires six spaces? Associate Planner Eastman stated five spaces are required with six being proposed, and the project currently meets code. Committee Member Duncan asked if Truslow Avenue has a lot of curb cuts along the street. Associate Planner Eastman stated that there are existing curb cuts along the street.
There being no questions for staff, Chairman Daybell turned the time over to public discussion.
Mr. Bushala gave a brief history of the project. He noted that he agreed with staffs recommendations to flip the house around with the living room and kitchen receiving southern exposure. The relocated building has a large plate glass window and a big living room. He tried to discourage the property owner from stuccoing the existing and relocated home and noted that the relocated home is worth preserving. He then made a few comments off the record. He mentioned that the property owner is on a limited budget and the addition of the four-garage is difficult for the owner to do and he like the suggestion of moving the garage to the alley. Mr. Bushala noted that he would like to see more older homes relocated with in the city, and to encourage homeowners by dropping the application fees. Associate Planner Eastman indicated for the record that the fees collected are processing fees, which includes notification to the neighbors, staffs time, etc. Associate Planner Eastman then noted that the City of Anaheim has implemented a program called the Housing Improvement Holiday (HIH), in which they have waived building permit fees to encourage property owners to rehab existing buildings. This is not an item that would be voted on tonight.
There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Daybell returned the discussion to the Committee.
Chairman Daybell stated that he had looked at site and felt that this project is going to enhance the property.
Committee Member Duncan asked staff or the applicant about the building orientation, if 90 degrees to face Truslow Avenue would be accessible. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff would have to look at the setback for the sides of the property. Mr. Bushala stated that the property owner has an existing avocado tree that they would like to keep.
Committee Member Coffman asked what the garage would look like. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the structure would have to be compatible to the existing buildings on site. It will likely be a gable roof to staff to approve, the pitch and materials are arbitrary, and he guessed the property owner would rather use stucco versus siding.
Committee member Coffman stated that he is ok with the project, and would rather see the garage and existing house be changed to siding; but he is ok with stucco.
Committee Member Johnson had no comments.
Chairman Daybell liked the project, and felt that the relocated house siding should be fixed and suggested that the stucco of the house on the property be changed.
Associate Planner Eastman asked if the Committee is adding a condition that the siding be preserved. There was discussion regarding siding and the structures.
Committee Member Duncan would like to add a condition if the avocado tree dies the applicant could reposition the house.
Chairman Daybell motioned and Member Johnson seconded to approve the project as conditioned by staff and adding a condition that the relocated structures siding be preserved and that the garage have siding that is compatible. The motion passed unanimously by a vote of 4-0. Associate Planner Eastman clarified that the garage would have a composite siding.
Committee member Johnson had to leave for a prior engagement, so he excused himself from the meeting.
Associate Planner Eastman presented the staff report on the landscape plan for the approved project at the northwest corner of Commonwealth and Lawrence. The applicant has submitted a preliminary landscape plan that contains discrepancy. The plans approved by City Council had a jog on the corner of the buildings and that area was included as paving, and there was decorative paving along Chapman Avenue. The landscape plans include paving outside of the City sidewalk, which was not included in the original submittal. However it has always been expected that changes would be made with the intent being that it come back to the RDRC for final approval. Staff listed a number of conditions; Associate Planner Eastman identified the recommendations in the report. He stated that the street trees on Commonwealth are Washingtonian and Magnolia, the same trees as in front of the BRE project. Staff recommends that this projects landscaping be similar to the BRE project for consistency, which includes tree grates, more sidewalk space, and less parkway along Commonwealth. Staff recommends the streetscape on Lawrence to be consistent with the residential street beyond. Committee Member Duncan asked if staff meant for the sidewalk to extend to the curb. Associate Planner Eastmans recollection is that the BRE projects parkway is paved. Staff would encourage the applicant to look at the BRE project to see what staff is looking for.
Associate Planner Eastman stated that the landscape plans were referred back to the RDRC because there is a courtyard on the second floor above the parking garage. There were concerns about the types of plant material that would work in a courtyard space, and there were questions as to the type of material to be used. Staff was concerned with ponding or drainage that creates stains. Staff has indicated a couple of conditions related to drainage and irrigation issues. Staff clarified that the recommended revisions called for the typical street tree spacing of 30-40 feet as identified by the Citys Landscape Superintendent. Staff clarified that between the types of trees, so there should be 15-20 feet between each street tree. This creates a layering effect.
There being no further comments from staff Chairman Daybell opened the meeting to for Public comment.
Mr. Haidair, the project architect, apologized for changing the site plan from what was approved. He had changed the plan because of his structural engineers recommendation. The only concern he has is about the planters along the alley. The 15-gallon trees will have large bell on top and may be a problem for cars. Also, during building plan check the City has required handicap access from all the garages, and the Building division suggested using the alley as a pass of travel. He did not think this would be possible because the slope for a walkway is .8% for handicap access, but asphalt pavement is 1%. He felt that they could put a nice plant on the walls or decorative pavers. As far as the second floor, he has over designed the landscaping, and he is going to have a continuous metal gutter in the center that will pick up draining from under the planters. However he would like to eliminate the middle planter box to open up the space. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the original landscape plan indicated a free flowing open space; and it is an interior court for the residents, which isnt open to public spaces. Staff encourages a design that focuses on the path of travel for the residents, maintenance issues, and a good living environment. Staff is concerned that a big open space becomes an echoing environment, and ends up being a big void space in front of front door. From a public benefit perspective, staff is less concerned with the space than they are with the landscape on the front from the publics perspective.
Committee Member Coffman asked if the applicant would prefer not to have the planter in the middle. Mr. Haidair stated yes because drainage wise, everything would be over a continuous gutter. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff has no objections to the direction the RDRC takes regarding the courtyard. From the perspective of conditions of approval and what has been approved by the City Council, it was always indicated that the courtyard landscaping was to be revised to whatever is appropriate for the RDRCs approval. Chairman Daybell asked what about including benches between the buildings, to break up the space without landscape, it is his understanding that the applicant is trying to go back to the original blueprints, and that would be fine.
Committee Member Coffman stated that the plans do not have a pleasant composition to it, but once it was planted and walking around from the ground level it might work fine. He thought it does not have any flow, it has a random shape, and that it lacks design.
Mr. Haidair asked about placing of a bench in a cut above along the side, Committee Member Duncan said that it would disrupt the planter even more, and suggested putting the benches on the outside.
Associate Planner Eastman stated staff would give direction to look at the livable space of the tenants, staff would typically look at the usable space, such as benches and seats, things that would be a benefit to the residents. Staff would look favorably on benches, tables, picnic facilities, etc. Chairman Daybell said that he felt that it should be up to applicant. He suggested that the project needs some individuality, and thought that benches would be good. He understood that there will be modifications and the plans will be brought back for review. Associate Planner Eastman stated that there are issues such as the urban scale and the appropriateness of the front setback landscaping, staff is looking for something similar to the urban environment created at the BRE project. At previous meetings the Committee had expressed similar views. Committee Member Coffman stated that he recalled the Committee discussing the large multi-use building then stepping down to the smaller building that would replicate the same architectural flavor. Chairman Daybell asked if it is going to replicate BRE project. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff is looking to compliment the buildings architectural style, and allows this building to relate to the public right of way through decorative paving and planters.
Mr. Haidair asked if they could discuss the location of planters. Associate Planner Eastman stated, staff would require the applicant to provide ADA access from the public-right-of-way onto the property, and improvements on-site be accessible. It is his understanding that the City would not hold the applicant responsible for the Citys right-of-way, in terms of slope. He understood that the slope of the alley would not be a limitation for developing the back of the property. Mr. Haidair stated that Chi Yang, in the Building Division, said that as long as the slope of the alley would conform to the ADA requirement that it would be ok. Associate Planner Eastman asked if ADA requirements are 2%. Mr. Haidair said that it is .8% for a walkway and the asphalt pavement requires 1% sheet flow and technically no handicap person should walk on the street or alley, they should have their own walkway. Committee Member Coffman stated that he really thought the path of travel was a 5% maximum slope with a 2% maximum cross slope, but 0.8% is nothing really. He thought that after 5% it becomes a ramp, so a disabled person could travel upon the surface, which is sloping up to 5%, provided it doesnt contain more than 2% in cross slope, so that when traveling it is not going downward and tilting to the side at the same time. He thought the alley would be ok. Associate Planner Eastman said that there is no difference them if someone is crossing a parking lot. He then stated that there is a condition of approval from the City Council that the applicant provide 15-gallon trees in the spaces. The gallon size is relative in terms of the plant species, and staff would encourage looking at a different species versus eliminating trees all together. Chairman Daybell asked the applicant to clarify their concerns about encroaching tree branches. Mr. Haidair stated that they are concerned with the branches hitting handicap persons, cars, and even the building if the canopy got to be too large. Mr. Necono stated that they all proposing Carolina Cherry at the alley which can be a large shrub, with a maintained height. Committee Member Duncan stated that Carolina Cherry can be edged into a formal shape, (which that plant is good for) but will not provide a canopy. Associate Planner Eastman said that staffs intent is not to create a canopy; staffs intent is to soften the building facade from adjacent residential. The 15-gallon requirement was a basis coming out of Amerige Heights where the specific plan requires 15-gallon trees in the alleys. Committee Member Duncan asked about the height of the faade. Associate Planner Eastman said that it has a sloping roof and 16 feet at the peak on the eastern edge. Mr. Haidair said it is 8 feet 2 inches to the top of the garage with an eave that makes it 9 feet to the bottom of the fascia board.
Committee Member Coffman clarified if staff would be ok with shrubbery of some height. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff is ok with any kind of plant material that soften the faade. Chairman Daybell stated that the Carolina Cherry would soften the facade. Committee Member Duncan said that it would get pretty broad spread if not maintained however is a great hedge plant. Associate Planner Eastman stated that plant material must work in a 4 x 5 foot planter, so what grows in that space would need a root structure to support that size without damaging the building and garage. Chairman Daybell noted that it is on the north side of the building. Committee Member Duncan asked if the applicants intent is to go back to the original plan, with the landscaping along Commonwealth, and if the recommendation with BRE concept is to go to the curb to the back of the sidewalk with the street trees and nice paving, and from the back of the sidewalk to the towards the building with landscaping. He asked staff about the recommendation to get away from a large amount of paving. Associate Planner Eastman stated that there was concern with the large amount of paving on the previous plans; staff recommends that there be more landscaping than the BRE project because of the larger street setback. The BRE is a downtown urban core, this project is required to have a 10-foot setback, so staff is looking at landscaping the setback and encourages large amounts of paving to be decorative rather than plain concrete.
Chairman Daybell asked what steps needed to be taken. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff is looking for further direction from the Committee, specifically with the alley trees, the style and aesthetics of the landscaping along the frontage of the building, and looking at the landscaping issue in terms of the courtyard space. There are a few errors that have been previously talked about between the architect and staff, and these parts need to be addressed to meet code. Chairman Daybell asked the applicant how he felt about what was discussed. Mr. Haidair said he felt comfortable with the conditions discussed at the meeting. Chairman Daybell recommended that he just apply these conditions to his plans.
There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Daybell returned the meeting for Committee discussion.
Chairman Daybell said that he did not have much input on the project, but tried to think of another tree that is tall and vertical, and suggested consulting with their landscape architect.
Committee Member Coffman said that he did not care about the plant material at the alley, but did not want to eliminate the planter itself. He thought it possible to use a very slender tree that would get just above the eave of the roof. If the applicant wanted to use a formal shrub, that would accomplish their goal.
Mr. Haidair asked about growing ivy over the wall. Committee Member Duncan said that he doesnt mind putting vines on the buildings, but there are other aspects, like maintenance. Committee Member Coffman said that as far as extending the right of way similar to the BRE project, that would be fine. Committee Member Duncan added that the applicant should provide more landscaping between the back of the sidewalk and the building.
Associate Planner Eastman provided some direction regarding the Councils condition of approval for a 15-gallon tree, and staff would have some concerns about eliminating the tree. He stated that staff agrees that there are problems providing a large canopy tree at the alley and has to maintain clearance for trash and fire trucks. He clarified that the plant species issue is to be determined appropriately by the RDRC. In perspective on Lawrence, in terms of landscaping, generally staff would like to maintain landscaping consistent with the residential area to the north. The street scaping in terms as the front the Committee should look at the BRE for further direction, staff would like to see more landscaping on the property side, and more hardscaping on the street side. There is an opportunity to create an interesting archway canopy effect with the trees on the applicants property, however staff identified potential signage conflict. In terms of the second floor, staff has no issues as long as it is a livable space and provides for the community, and would leave it up to the RDRC to review the appropriateness of the revised plans; staff is looking for circulation through the space. Chairman Daybell recommended the applicant revise their plans to closely resemble their original plans and forget eliminating the center row. Committee Member Coffman agreed that if the applicant would make the landscape closer to the original site plan they would be good to go. Associate Planner Eastman said that in terms of the plant materials most were shade kinds of trees appropriate for potting, staffs concern is for the drainage and incorporating into the actual structure of the building. Mr. Haidair, expressed his concern with the pavement in the front and asked if they could use a stamped concrete. Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff has no concern with stamped concrete and suggested using a different color, compatible with the current building.
Chairman Daybell stated that there is no motion necessary, just for the applicant to revise the landscape plans and bring it back for further review at the next scheduled meeting.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.