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RDRC Minutes April 8, 2004

CALL TO ORDER:

The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m. by Chairman Daybell

ROLL CALL:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Duncan (late), Johnson, and Silber
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: None
PUBLIC PRESENT: Peter Whittingham; Curt Pringle and Associates; Dino Savant, Brand Growth, Inc.; Cole Theel; JL Hare Associates, and Don Leake, Zaremba Group.
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis; Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Sowers, Sgt. Williams, Police Department, and Clerical Support Norton.

MINUTES:

January 22, 2004 APPROVED as written. February 26, 2004, APPROVED as amended (to reflect the change in the name from Silber to Coffman to the motion made on Item No. 3). March 25, 2004 APPROVED as written.

NEW BUSINESS:

  • ITEM 1
    PRJ04-00886 ZON03-00078. APPLICANT: EVERGREEN DEVCO; PROPERTY OWNER: PIERRE NICOLAS. (Continued from March 25, 2004)

    The proposed project is a request for a drive-through pharmacy located at 1250 East Chapman Avenue.

    Senior Planner Mullis stated that at the March 25th meeting the Committee recommended modifications to the architecture and site design.

    Architecture

    The building has been changed from a craftsman to a Spanish Mission style. Decorative features were added giving the building more character. A smooth finished block wainscoting is being provided at the base of the building with EIFS or stucco with diamond score lines and decorative title insets above. A cornice feature is provided along the roofline. An arching colonnade with a tile shed roof overhead is provided along the north and west sides of the building. A tower-like element is provided at the northwest corner of the building that acts like a second story element. In addition to tile accents, iron bars and decorative lighting is proposed to provide visual interest and continuity of design.

    The architectural plans continue to not be pedestrian friendly, and staff recommends that additional pedestrian level display windows be provided on the walls under the colonnade.

    Site Design

    The site plan was modified to lengthen and widen the landscape fingers and increase the landscaping around the trash compactor. Driveways were narrowed to a 30-foot maximum. The drive aisle was shifted to the west and the landscape area in front of the columns was increased. The landscape plans will need to be reviewed and approved by the Orange County Flood Control District and submitted to the RDRC for review and approval.

    Senior Planner Mullis said that the applicant was unable to be present for this meeting.

    Committee Member Silber feels that the revised design is arbitrary, and appears to be the same building with a new shirt, a pre-designed box plunked on a piece of land. Committee member Coffman said the sketch had some inconsistencies and allows artistic license, and the RDRC needs plans to better show how the building really works. Member Silber questioned why the building could not be moved closer to the Raymond/Chapman intersection. He said that there are issues that have not been resolved, and recommended that the item be continued.

    MOTION by Committee Member Silber, SECONDED by Committee Member Johnson and CARRIED unanimously to CONTINUE the project.

  • ITEM 2
    PRJ03-00286 ZON04-00038 (MISCELLANEOUS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT) APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: CITY OF FULLERTON.

    A request to review a monument for the Police and Fire Department Associations.

    Associate Planner Eastman stated that this is a review and discussion item with no motion involved. The Associations will be designing and constructing the monument in memory of our fallen heroes. A specific site for the memorial has not yet been finalized, the most likely location would be somewhere on the northern side of the Highland and Commonwealth intersection near the sister city trees, east of City Hall. There are three different potential designs. Staff would ask that the Committee consider the following in reviewing these concepts: 1) the memorial should provide warmth and intimacy where an individual could reflect upon a loved one; 2) the memorial would be a place of public assembly; 3) the memorial should be a symbol of the duty and honor by which police and fire personnel serve, and 4) the design shall take into consideration future addition, illumination, landscaping, hardscape, and maintenance.

    Associate Planner Eastman provided a site plan and an aerial photograph of the proposed location.

    Sergeant Steve Williams with the Police Department informed the Committee that the two associations will be participating in a fund-raiser to generate money for the construction of this memorial. No City funds will be used. Sergeant Williams went on to say that the idea for the monument was born from a desire to memorialize two police officers and one fireman who died in the line of duty since the Citys inception and reiterated the areas pointed out by Staff that the associations would like the Committee to consider in their design review.

    Committee Member Coffman asked if there has been any consideration of the possibility of creating life-sized statutes. Sergeant Williams explained that the cost for most life-sized statues is about a quarter of a million dollars, which would be a several year fund-raiser versus $50,000 to $60,000 for a smaller memorial, with a shorter fund-raising timeframe.

    Associate Planner Eastman commented on the suggested location for the memorial on the north side of Highland and Commonwealth near the sister city trees saying it would be a reasonable location because it is away from the intersection, traffic noise, and the building itself can serve as a backdrop. There are also opportunities to provide for shade and landscaping and still be integrated into the City Hall campus. Committee Member Duncan asked Sergeant Williams what process was used in developing the three conceptual designs. Sergeant Williams replied that the associations conveyed their ideas to a monument company. Associate Planner Eastman clarified that the original design was intended for a park setting, and included flagpoles. The flag poles would not be needed if the memorial is located near City Hall or the Police Station.

    Committee Member Silber said that there is a history of some well-designed monuments and memorials that were very thoughtfully developed such as the Vietnam War Memorial. It was chosen as a result of a design competition. The associations should consider a process that either involves solicitation proposals for public art or a design competition in order to get away from the marker concept. The associations can also draw on the ideas of the Citys Public Art Committee. The memorial should be integrated into the landscape and the desired site in such a way that it avoids the plunked-down look and creates the opportunities for reflection that may be desired. Perhaps the associations can glean ideas from Joe Felz with the Community Services Museum. Silber suggested a design competition with an honorarium if time was not of the essence.

    Sergeant Williams asked if Committee Member Silber is referring to where the monument is located on the whole site or just structural issues.

    Associate Planner Eastman thought that what Committee Member Silber is referring to is that the monument should come from the context of the site, and not have it look like a store bought plaque. There are issues to consider such as the design, landscape, pathways, backdrops, illumination, and a memorial that serves many different functions. It is important to determine the location and then choose the monument.

    Sergeant Williams asked the Committee if they have a preferred location.

    Committee Member Silber stated that the locations are not so much of an issue as the monument itself and how it relates to that particular location. For example, Commonwealth Avenue is a fairly noisy street; what you might want to create is a sheltered pathway of stone and plant materials that provides a quiet and serene entrance to the monument, something you would pass through as a symbolic gesture, and that would lend itself to a more reflective state of mind. Committee Member Silber though that there needs to be a process to pull out the possibilities of the site and monument design. Committee Member Johnson agreed with Silber, and felt the monument design would be derived from site planning, and the monument itself would sit within the context of the site.

    Sergeant Williams said that it sounds as if the Committee is talking about taking up more area than the associations had discussed. Perhaps the City would be interested in donating an area that could be courted off. The association has indirectly, through the Chief of Police, discussed plans with the City Manager for the memorial, but again did not specify a particular area or size of the memorial.

    Associate Planner Eastman said that this is a brainstorming process to obtain feedback and direction from the Committee to offer the associations some suggestions for the design and construction of the memorial.

    Chairman Daybell indorsed Committee Member Silbers recommendation to work with the Museum on a design that would encompass all of the aspects desired.

    Associate Planner Eastman stated that once the associations objectives and the scope of the project are clear then the memorial could be viewed based on that criteria.

  • ITEM 3
    PRJ0400004 - ZON04-00002 SUB04-00001. APPLICANT: PETER WHITTINGHAM AND PROPERTY OWNER: MAYO FAMILY TRUST

    A request to construct a 13,880 square foot drive-through pharmacy (CVS) located at 2200 North Harbor Boulevard.

    Assistant Planner Sowers stated that this project is proposed to occupy the site of a currently vacant restaurant. It is before the Committee because of its location at the intersection of two arterial streets. The building is split between the first floor and a mezzanine level. The first floor would be the retail area and office space, the mezzanine would be used for storage. The building is oriented toward the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Bastanchury Road and is situated toward the northeast corner of the site to provide for circulation, parking and landscaping in the front of the building. Because of the nature of the site, staff believes that a building of this scale is potentially appropriate for the site. However, there are some details that could be incorporated into the site and architectural features to make it more consistent with the neighborhood and provide some relationship to the pedestrian traffic -- especially from Harbor Boulevard and the convalescent homes.

    The site and design features proposed by staff are summarized as follows:

    Site Design

    Integrate the building into the site. Open up the corner to provide a pedestrian access from Harbor/Bastanchury and at the same time connect that access to the walkway from the bus stop providing multiple pedestrian access points to the site.

    Architectural Features

    Staff pointed out that the drawings before the RDRC do not reflect Staffs recommended conditions, but provide a starting point for discussion. Staff identified some of the positive elements of the submitted design.

    Staffs recommendation include adding decorative tile designs to reduce the faces to a more intimate pedestrian scale while providing a variety of material textures through out the building faade. Provide decorative lighting on the building to add depth and interest. The material for the exterior finish is specified as split face block. Staff believes that brick is a more appropriate material. The buildings entry is an important feature, and staff believes some opportunity exists to soften the entrance with different materials such as decorative wrought iron trellis. Staff supports pedestrian areas but the pedestrian arcade proposed only on the west side of the building creates an unnecessary asymmetrical treatment to the entry. Although red is indicative of the CVS brand and is the proposed color for the entrance doors staff recommends the door be bronze to be more consistent with the overall color scheme.

    Signage

    There is an opportunity to add pedestrian oriented window signage and a unique secondary product sign on the west and south facades.

    Roofline

    A decorative parapet is an important design feature that should be viewed from all sides of the building and adequately screen roof mounted equipment.

    Landscaping

    The landscaping should be carried through to the entire site because the building is visible on all sides. Staff recommends the addition of tree wells into the east parking area to add to the canopy of shade trees.

    Committee Member Silber asked Staff if the existing building was built closer to the corner. Staff clarified that it is.

    There were no questions for Staff so the meeting was opened for public comments.

    Committee Member Silber asked the applicant if Carter-Burgess was the architect. The applicant said that they were, but were not present tonight.

    The applicant, Peter Whittingham, thanked staff for their recommendations. He displayed a rendering of a project that was recently approved in the City of Placentia. He said he and his team would respond to any questions the committee may have.

    Committee Member Silber asked if this was the first time CVS has built this design. Don Leake said it was the first time for this particular design.

    Committee Member Silber inquired about the type of material used for the storefront and side windows. Assistant Planner Sowers said the lower windows would be frosted; the upper levels clear. The building will be slightly different than presented in the rendering. As proposed, this project only has a wing wall coming off the side of the building that faces Harbor Boulevard, there is not a similar structure coming off the side that faces Bastanchury Road. Staff recommends eliminating the single wing wall for a flat faade on both sides.

    Member Silber asked the applicants how their site plan relates to the pedestrian paths of adjacent properties. He asked the applicant if they are building on the lot because of their adjacency to St. Jude, or because of the traffic volume. The applicant said that all the above applies. Member Silber asked the applicant to explain how the project relates to the pedestrian traffic from St. Jude. Dino Savant identified the pedestrian linkage as being a valid point brought up by Staff. As conditions by Staff, they are opening up the corner of the site to pedestrian traffic.

    Committee Member Coffman asked about possibilities of shifting the building more toward the front and providing landscaping at the rear. Mr. Savant responded that they had gone through many iterations over 12 months and this is the best site plan they could come up with to maximize parking as well as flow. Member Silver asked Staff about the recommendation for landscaping. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that Staff is proposing diamond tree wells on the east side of the building for additional canopy landscaping in that area.

    Chairman Daybell noted that the drive-thru comes in off of Balboa Road and out towards Harbor Boulevard and was concerned that stacking would occur onto Balboa Road. The applicant stated that traffic staking studies have been done for a number of pharmacies in Southern California area. It is rare that more than two cars at a time are waiting. Chairman Daybell said that he is opposed to a private business occupying a part of a public street. A part of Balboa Road (a public street) is proposed to be used as a driveway and parking area. Assistant Planner Sowers explained that the applicant is requesting to abandon Balboa Road and it would become a private street. The street would return to the four underlying property owners. Access would remain the same but maintenance of the street would be the responsibility of each owner. She stated that staff has conditioned pedestrian access too remain unchanged. Chairman Daybell stated that he would like to see the abandonment occur before he approves this project. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the site plan and abandonment applications are being processed concurrently; and ultimately cannot be approved without the other. There was additional discussion regarding the technicalities of abandonment, property ownership, and access agreements.

    Chairman Daybell asked the applicant if it was feasible to preserve the trees around Cocos Restaurant, in particular the sycamore tree. CVS prefers to maintain visibility and there are no plans to preserve or protect the trees. The applicant does not believe they can maintain the existing trees. Chairman Daybell identified Fullerton as a Tree City. Assistant Planner Sowers mentioned that this project has a dedication to construct a bus stop on Harbor Boulevard. Chairman Daybell said hed like the trees to be preserved.

    The Committee closed the public hearing and opened the meeting for Committee deliberation.

    Committee Member Coffman stated he would like the applicant to continue to explore ideas on how to move the building toward the corner of the property. It could create an interesting design in terms of emphasizing the access from the corner to the entrance of the building and make possible additional entrances from the side of the building to facilitate customers coming from the adjacent properties. As far as Balboa Road is concerned, it is looking more like a service road due in part to the location of the trash enclosures. He has some concerns with drive-thru stacking onto Balboa. The building has large blank areas particularly the area that faces Harbor Boulevard, and to a lesser extent the side toward Balboa Road. Clear glass windows instead of glazed are preferable. If there is a way to maintain a clear view into the building from the street and parking area, it would be a plus.

    Committee Member Johnson reiterated the sentiments of Committee Member Coffman regarding the location of the building. As the building is proposed, it creates two alleys, the drive-through and Balboa Road. He agrees with Staffs recommendations for pedestrian circulation and access at the corner.

    Committee Member Silber had the same concerns voiced by Member Coffman. He was concerned that the building is a stock plan and was disappointed that the project architect wasnt at the meeting to discuss the design. He felt that the project was not well planned -- specifically the buildings orientation to Harbor Boulevard; the lack of a practical and strong pedestrian link between the bus turnout and Harbor Boulevard; paths of entry and travel; the buildings stock design and lack of creativity, and blank walls which are without windows to allow natural light for occupants inside; and the lack of sensitivity in the landscaping and urban qualities along Balboa Road to the convalescent home. He was unable to support the project as presented, and urged the Committee to either require the applicant to return with revised plans, or deny the project because of site plan and design issues.

    Committee Member Duncan supported Member Silbers sentiments. He said that the doors should be open for the applicant to draw on their architects ingenuity, and creativity, and to develop a building that bestows the context of the corner and the City.

    Chairman Daybell concurred with all of the comments made by his fellow committee members, expressed concern with the site layout, and urged the applicant to save the Sycamore tree.

    Chief Planner Rosen clarified that the project goes on to the Planning Commission, so the RDRC can make a recommendation to the Commission, or ask the applicant to come back with a revised concept.

    Associate Planner Eastman advised the Committee that the project is tentatively scheduled for the next Planning Commission meeting, and it sounds as though the recommendation is for denial of the project unless the applicant would like to revise their plans and return for further review.

    The applicant asked the Committee if they saw the project going forward. Member Silber said he thinks this is a good use of the corner, but he has issues with the site design, making the building better for the people that work there, and improving pedestrian movement on-site.

    The applicant said that it was not quite clear to him how the recommended changes might be effectively incorporated into the existing plan and they would like to make changes so the project that goes forward is not offensive to anyone. On a second issue with, this type of building, 5% of CSVs customers are pedestrian and 95% are vehicular. Committee Member Silber said if that is the case, than this is not an appropriate site for this project because he thinks the site and particularly the use will become more pedestrian related over the next 20 to 30 years. There needs to develop, over the long haul, a pedestrian-oriented project for this site, but would agree with Committee Member Coffman that if the site plans and design could be modified, and an effort was made to reduce the size of the building and parking requirement, the project would be more acceptable. The applicant responded by saying that three different architects have tried a number of different designs and none of them worked. Committee Member Silber agreed that it is a challenge and the design remains an issue. He said there are lots of things that can be done to make the project work. Member Coffman indicated some revisions that would help make the project work, including something more interesting off on the east site, such as another store entrance, although that might not be possible; and better design of the faade facing Harbor Blvd. He said the existing Cocos, while an old building is well oriented to Harbor Boulevard. Perhaps it may not be appealing with any of the orientations, but he would like to see an attempt at making it work. Committee Member Silber would prefer to recommend that the project be revised to address the discussion and come back to the RDRC. However, if the applicant wants to move on to the Planning Commission, then he would recommend denial based on three main reasons.

    MOTION made by Committee Member Silber to DENY the project, SECONDED by Committee Member Coffman, and carried by those present, for a 5-0 vote based on the following three reasons.

  • The building entrance, as proposed with its corner orientation, is impractical because it is not oriented to Harbor Boulevard and the bus stop.

  • The project, as proposed, lacks a gracious pedestrian link between the bus stop and sidewalk on harbor Boulevard and the front of the building.

  • The building facades and landscaping, as proposed, do not sufficiently consider interaction with the surrounding convalescent hospitals, particularly on Balboa Road. The building and landscape design as submitted is not a good neighbor.

ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.


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