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RDRC Minutes August 25, 2005

RDRC Minutes August 25, 2005


Thursday August 25, 2005 4:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 4:12 PM by Chairman Daybell


COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Cha, Duncan and Hoban
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Committee Member Coffman
STAFF PRESENT: Associate Planner Eastman, Chief Planner Rosen, and Clerical Staff Leopold


Chairman Daybell requested a MOTION to review the July 28 minutes. He pointed out that the minutes should be modified to show that the Chairman does not make any motions. MOTION to approve by Member Hoban, passed unanimously that the minutes of July 28, 2005 be approved as AMENDED.






No public comments


Chairman Daybell discussed the last meeting of the Transportation Center Study update held on Tuesday night. He said the meeting went rather well and there was a large turn out. Daybell also stated that there was a better representation of the business people at this meeting.

Associate Planner Eastman noted this was a summary meeting. The previous meetings were informational participation type meetings whereas this one summed up everything and gave an explanation of what the consultant perceived the communities' comments were. They will formulate a report.

Chief Planner Rosen said they have gathered all of the information and looked at some big picture issues such as: where do we want to see more density in the Downtown in terms of higher buildings; how do we want to enhance pedestrian movement within the downtown - in terms of physical improvements or hardscape and softscape improvements, traffic improvements, bicycle and pedestrian activity, and parking expansion.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that there were some issues regarding the educational district. Chief Planner Rosen said that there could be more unifying and pedestrian-friendly connections from the educational district to the Downtown area. Such as widening sidewalks, uniform treescape, and creating pedestrian places in the infill projects. He also discussed the Fox Theatre block, parking lot, the Firestone building and proposing a plaza.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was a very good discussion and that the facilitator took all of the pieces of information and overlayed it on different maps. The pedestrian connections, traffic circulation, and a one-way cuplet idea on Harbor and Lemon are being studied.

Chairman Daybell and Chief Planner Rosen discussed other options to be considered for the study, including the intersection at Lemon and Berkeley.

Chief Planner Rosen said that within two months they would write their report based on the information gathered from the community and their professional judgement, as how they see it fitting in Fullerton. He stated they are very experienced and have a lot of insight into this Downtown area.

The initial idea is to have a joint meeting of all the major groups including RDRC, Planning Commission, and City Council as one meeting and present the report together. Where all of the groups can have a discussion at the same place and the RDRC, Planning Commission and City Council could take an action at the same time.

Chairman Daybell reiterated that the group hired by the city has done an excellent job at all four meetings. He also said there was a lot of discussion about open space within Downtown developments.

Chief Planner Rosen spoke about the Amerige Court project, also known as Vintage Square. ("Vintage Square" is the name the winning team presented as part of their response to the city's request for qualifications.) The council-approved RFQ covered the two parking lots on Amerige, on the North and South side of the street. Chief Planner Rosen said there is a development opportunity for those parking lots and the council set some parameters in what we wanted to see, which was having 150 percent of the public parking put back in, self-park and ownership condos.

Chief Planner Rosen provided background information regarding the winning team, a group out of Huntington Beach, called the Pelican Group. They have joined forces with John Laing Homes and have selected KTGY, an architectural group based in Irvine, who has many years of experience in mixed-use downtown development.

Chief Planner Rosen handed out a conceptual plan to the committee to give them a sense of the scale of the development proposed. He explained that the city is not locked into the site plan or architecture design. However, there will be some subterranean or above-grade parking, or both.

Committee Member Hoban asked about the parking ratio. Chief Planner Rosen stated that they wanted 150 percent for the public parking. In exchange for a development project, we'd get back 50 or 60 percent more parking. One idea proposed was a subterranean garage, which spanned the street.

Chairman Daybell recommended that in the interest of the project, one thing to think about while planning it is that Amerige be closed off to traffic and this will affect the businesses. He also pointed out that having to deal with traffic in a construction site increases the cost of construction considerably. Associate Planner Eastman suggested some ideas on rerouting traffic from Harbor to Wilshire and Commonwealth.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that most of the tenants realize that development of this project would be good for businesses in the long run. They know that there isn't enough parking now and that the end product would provide more parking, as well as more tenants to frequent their businesses.

Committee Member Duncan asked about the sidewalk level if it ought to be retail shops etc. or ground level living. Chief Planner Rosen answered that something they were proposing were live-in work flex units that could be commercial or residential spaces. The rest of the block would be for office or commercial uses on the first floor. Chief Planner Rosen also discussed structured parking on Commonwealth side.

Chief Planner Rosen talked about the special meeting scheduled for Sept. 13 where the design team and developer will introduce themselves. They may be laying out the site plan view and discuss what they see now and some of the opportunities and constraints of the site, circulation, existing infrastructure and lead a discussion on the site. Chief Planner Rosen expects the community to be there and provide their input.

Committee Member Hoban asked if there was any opposition about this project. Chief Planner Rosen answered that there are a few people in the community who are concerned about density and open space.

Committee Member Hoban also asked if the City is selling the property contingent on the proposal that is coming in or are they swapping the property for 450 spots? Chief Planner Rosen said that the deal hasn't been cut yet. What they proposed is that the developer buy the property and provide public parking, which was proposed through RFQ. The City hired Meeks Partners Architectural firm and did some preliminary concept plans then met with all of the business owners in the area and talked through the ideas about how we could do this and what issues they had if we were to develop this.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that the city wants to bring more people to the Downtown, increase the parking supply and we don't have the money to do that. Here is an opportunity to do that and what are your concerns? They came back and said parking, parking, parking - access and impact during construction. So, they are proposing a mitigation fund to offset their business losses as part of their plan. In the RFQ, issues addressed were interim parking through channel systems and off-site parking lots and other things. Increasing parking supply, making sure we are recognizing businesses there, designing to the existing businesses there not over the top of them. All of that is part of the RFQ process. We had 3 or 4 meetings with the surrounding business owners and before we drew up plans we met with them. There are a couple of business owners who are concerned. The developer is doing a good job in talking and listening to them. When they drew up the proposal they tried to meet all of the concerns of local business owners.

Chief Planner Rosen said there is no development agreement yet. We are in the negotiation phase now and they have performance requirements and have to produce certain preliminary plans by a certain date. We have an exclusive negotiating agreement in place that says we will only negotiate with them on these properties.

Associate Planner Eastman and Chief Planner Rosen encouraged the committee to ask questions and participate at the meeting and identify constraints and opportunities, based on their experiences in the Downtown.

Associate Planner Eastman recommended the committee walk downtown and take a look at land uses and consider how a new development might work in the existing spaces, and to keep in mind the concept and quality of architecture, creating buildings with identity, while fitting into the colors, shapes and materials of Downtown. Associate Planner Eastman stated that one of the comments made at the Downtown Transportation meeting was that new downtown development should be quality architecture.

Committee Member Hoban inquired about the thought process in developing the Downtown Fullerton Plaza. Chief Planner Rosen discussed the process and explained how he heard the community wanted a unique space.

Chief Planner Rosen explained that what John Loomis from 30th Street Architects was trying to do with the "Vintage Square" conceptual design was to show how he tried to break the buildings up to make it look like there was a pattern of development that occurred over time along with some different architectural styles.

Chief Planner Rosen described a variety of architectural styles including some from San Francisco, and the Santa Fe area around the Continental in Fullerton.

Chairman Daybell spoke about the Santa Fe area growing vertically in the next 10 years. He said the concept of the Transportation Center was more height of buildings down east of Lemon to Lawrence. As that area grows in the next 10 years, the concept is that there will be taller buildings. Chief Planner Rosen explained the zone of taller buildings seemed to have some consensus that it should be closer to the train station on South side of Commonwealth, for the most part. When they mention tall they're talking 100 ft. or 10 stories high.

Associate Planner Eastman said there was some discussion about the historic buildings in Fullerton. He discussed the Downtown Design Guidelines that currently regulate Downtown architecture. Chief Planner Rosen said that one of the recommendations was to revisit the guidelines and zoning ordinances, seek quality architecture, infill to complement the architecture of the existing buildings. And added that the policy we adopted 20 years ago may need to be updated, since we are going to expect new kinds of development.

Committee Member Duncan compared the architectural styles and old community feel of Pasadena to Fullerton. Chief Planner Rosen explained that we looked at how their circulation worked, outdoor dining, their valet parking, and guidelines. He proceeded to say that we should create something unique for Fullerton and that the zoning code specifically references the central business district design guidelines. Since it's a legal document, if we would want to change it, it would have to be amended by the council.

Chief Planner Rosen described the thought process and style of architecture of John Loomis from Thirtieth Street Architects. He provided background information about projects Loomis has been involved with while designing them for Fullerton during the past 20 years. Associate Planner Eastman reviewed the plan and compared the buildings and architectural style to existing buildings in Fullerton.

Chief Planner Rosen stated that one of the things said by the Transportation Center Study consultant was that we need to do vertical modeling of our Downtown and put it in blocks. At this time, he said not to look at the architecture.

Chairman Daybell suggested that we need to draw people in from Harbor for the commercial part of this to make it viable for the developer. Associate Planner Eastman replied that from a retail perspective, if it is to be made a retail destination, a space should be created that works for tenants with a regional draw.

Public improvements including landscape, lighting and a gateway feature through Harbor were discussed by staff.

Committee Member Hoban said he would not be able to attend the special meeting held at the library Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m. Rosen recommended he forward his questions to him before the meeting so they can be addressed.

Chief Planner Rosen excused himself from the meeting at 5:20 p.m.

Chairman Daybell asked if there was an agenda forecast. Associate Planner Eastman said he anticipated a project or two, but was not sure at this time. He gave a brief update on the Brickhouse Pizza project.




MOTION by Committee Member Hoban to adjourn, seconded by Committee Member Duncan. Meeting adjourned at 5:25 P.M.