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RDRC Minutes March 24, 2005

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
REDEVELOPMENT DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE

COUNCIL CHAMBERS FULLERTON CITY HALL
Thursday March 24, 2005 4:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER :

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

ROLL CALL :

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Vice Chairman Silber, Committee Members Duncan and Johnson
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Coffman
STAFF PRESENT: Senior Planner Mullis, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planners Kusch and Sowers, Clerical Staff Norton

MINUTES :

February 10, 2005 approved as written.
February 24, 2005 approved as written. (Silber abstaining)

OLD BUSINESS:

PRJ04-01094 ZON04-00108 APPLICANT: ROBERT SERRANO; PROPERTY OWNER: ALFONSO GARCIA.

A request to construct two additional two-bedroom dwelling units on a multi-family zoned lot currently occupied by one dwelling unit in the Community Improvement District at 204 East Truslow Avenue. (Continued from December 9, 2004 and non-hearing February 24, 2005). (HS)

Present were Alfonso Garcia, Gerardo Vargas, and Guillermo Lucuano.

Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the project was previously reviewed by the Committee at its December meeting. During that review, the Committee recommended some changes to the architecture and site plan. The applicant has addressed architectural concerns, but site plan issues remain.

Staff would like the Committee to discuss the use of (what appears to be) a wall on the second floor deck. The applicant is proposing to provide some type of wall to separate the balconies which are the private open space areas for the two units. Staff is concerned that the wall may not be appropriate or that it is not integrated into the design.

Staff has recommended a number of conditions as outlined in the Staff Report. Assistant Planner Sowers said she met with the applicant to review those conditions. He stated that he could adjust the porch and that the kitchen would be reconfigured to accommodate the relocation of the front door. He clarified that the proposed wall between the balconies is wood-frame covered in stucco and the balconies are proposed to be enclosed with wrought iron fencing. He agreed with all of Staffs conditions.

Public Hearing Opened.

There were no public comments.

Public Hearing Closed.

In addition to staffs recommendations the Committee Members made the following comments:

Committee Member Johnson supports staffs recommendations. The changes are an improvement from what was there originally but he is not completely comfortable with the project. The front house is very plain in material and elevation. The columns do not look like they fit. He would have preferred to see a color and materials board and thought that the standards for review should be the same for all projects. Associate Planner Eastman said that the buildings would be stucco. Staff has a condition that the rear building would match the front in terms of materials and color. A Redevelopment area (Community Improvement District) has no specific standards like those for a Preservation Zone. Staffs primary concern in a Redevelopment area is 1) to notify the adjacent neighbors to maintain community input on areas that are important to the City, and 2) to ensure a quality project.

Vice-Chairman Silber said in defense of the projects design it is an improvement over the prior submittal, and because the lot is deep and at the rear of the property it is less prominent. He liked staffs recommendation to relocate the front entry door under the second story window on the front faade and to provide a roof over the door for protection. The project is so symmetrical and what might give the building more definition would be to split the decks into two, and move them to the corners of the building. He suggested the applicant reconsider the columns in terms of something that is more in keeping with the design of the existing house. If the deck remains continuous across the top of the building a planter box with lattice work inside could become a green wall separation between the two units. To reinforce the idea of two houses the gable in the center of the common wall might be eliminated and the entry placed at the corners.

Committee Member Duncan said that splitting the decks with some screening in between would bring some individuality to the units. Instead of the metal railing along the decks; integrate a similar design as is in the posts of the front house; something strong and square up through the top of the deck; in wood with a pilaster at the corner. He suggested that the windows not be located in the middle of a floor but either above or below. He supports splitting the deck and staffs recommendations.

Chairman Daybell agrees with Vice Chairman Silbers comment to split the decks and modified roof line.

MOTION made by Vice-Chairman Silber and seconded by Committee Member Johnson and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote to APPROVE PRJ04-01094 ZON04-00108 subject to the conditions recommended by staff and with those proposed by the Committee. Associate Planner Eastman noted that some of the recommendations in the Staff Report may be modified based on the committees comments.

  • Split the decks; moving them toward the ends of the building.
  • Use wood or similar material with the appearance of wood for the deck railing.

Committee Member Johnson made a motion seconded by Vice-Chairman Silber to move Item #3 to the end of the agenda. Motion passed 4-1.

NEW BUSINESS:

PRJ05-00124 ZON05-00008. APPLICANT: RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ; PROPERTY OWNER: JESSE RAMIREZ.

A request for an additional dwelling unit at 119 Malvern Avenue. (HS)

Those present included Rafael Rodriguez, applicant, Jesse Ramirez, property owner; Judith and Henry Berg (adjacent neighbors), Andrew Blough and Tom Dalton (with Fullerton Heritage).

Assistant Planner Sowers stated that this project is in a Preservation Zone. The lot is currently occupied by a dwelling in the front. The garage in the rear was later constructed and modified. A prior owner modified the front house by changing the orientation of the siding and by removing some of the original windows without permits. The proposed project is a rear second dwelling unit over two two-car garages. The second dwelling unit first floor includes the living room, dining room, and kitchen; the bedrooms are on the second floor. In reviewing the plans against the Preservation Guidelines, staff recommends consistency with the existing dwelling in terms of the windows and materials, such as wood siding.

There are issues with the site plan complying with the Code. The proposed plans show a 42% floor area, exceeding the 40% floor area limit for a dwelling in a Preservation Zone. The side yard setback at 9 feet (cumulative) would also need to be modified to meet the 10-foot side yard requirement. Staffs recommendations include returning the siding and windows at this existing dwelling to their original state with horizontal siding and wood windows. The garage is part of the block wall on the property, the adjacent property owners have expressed an interest in leaving the wall in place or replacing it so that the wall remains continuous once the garage is demolished.

Public Hearing Opened

The applicant, Rafael Rodriguez said his intent is to create a new unit in the back, and to preserve the existing architecture (Craftsman style). A portion of the block wall will be removed with the demolition of the garage and it will be replaced with a 6-foot wall to match the existing that remains. Mr. Rodriquez asked if he would be required to replace the siding since the change took place prior to his purchasing the property. Associate Planner Eastman said yes and explained that it is in a Preservation Zone, staff is recommending the change. From the Design Guildelines perspective, staff looks at integrating new buildings into the community and mitigating any impacts that have been done to the neighborhood that were not permitted. In order to obtain a permit the siding must match the original house. This would also include the windows.

Mr. Rodriguez said that he has exceeded the floor area in order to provide more family space. He asked if there is any way that this can be allowed. Chairman Daybell stated that the Committee takes a dim view of making allowances to exceed the floor area limit. If one exception is made it would then set a precedence for future projects.

Judith Berg commented that the original windows in the front of the existing house were not sash windows. Also, that the windows were moved out when the porch was enlarged. She proposed an alternative upper floor window for privacy. She voiced concern with the removal of the wall and requested the existing garage wall remain as part of the plan. Chairman Daybell said that there may be some constraints that may have to be dealt with in leaving one wall at the garage standing as opposed to building a new block wall. Associate Planner Eastman mentioned that there may be some foundation issues. A recommendation can be made that the lower portion of the wall be preserved if feasible. A temporary fence can be provided during construction.

Henry Berg voiced his concerns about access, security and the impact of any demolition. There is a fragile structure adjacent to the garage wall and debris could easily fall and do damage. He would also like to know when workers would be present so that he can make sure their dog is not in the backyard.

Mr. Ramirez assured his neighbors that he would do his best to provide a quality project.

Tom Dalton, Fullerton Heritage said he supports staffs recommendations.

Public Hearing Closed

Vice-Chairman Silber advised Mrs. Berg that the window proposed would not provide adequate egress from the bedrooms so the alternative suggested would not work in the proposed location. Some type of screening for that area could be part of the landscape plan to take privacy into consideration.

Chairman Daybell suggested that the cement block wall be painted after the project is completed.

Associated Planner Eastman said staff would like to add to the recommended conditions to include:

  • That the partition of the existing block wall provided by the garage be preserved if feasible up to 6 feet in height. If not feasible, that the wall shall be replaced to match the existing wall in terms of height, material and location.
  • That temporary fencing shall be provided if the wall is removed, and measures shall be taken to protect structures on the adjacent property during demolition.
  • That the temporary protective fencing shall be in place before the end of the construction workers shift during which time if the wall is taken down.

There was a consensus among Committee Members to support the project with staffs recommendations as addended.

MOTION made by Vice-Chairman Silber, seconded by Committee Member Johnson and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote to APPROVE PRJ05-00124 ZON05-00008 subject to conditions recommended in the Staff Report and addendum conditions.

PRJ04-01180 ZON04-000125. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: CITY OF FULLERTON.

Conceptual plans for a 5,040 square foot neighborhood medical clinic in Richman Park located at 615 South Highland Avenue. (MM)

Present were Burnie Dunlap, Bill Eveloff, David Higginson, Doyle Harris, (representing St. Jude); Randy McDaniel, and Pat Trotter (Community Services Department).

Senior Planner Mullis stated that this item has been heard by the Community Services Commission on two occasions; and City Council on two occasions to discuss the potential of placing a medical clinic in Richman Park. Two alternate locations Lemon and Valencia Parks were considered but ultimately the Community Services Commission and the City Council concurred that Richman Park was the best location. The issues before the Committee are to discuss site plan and architectural issues.

Public Hearing Opened

Mr. Higgins stated the clinic would be a modular structure and come in 12x60 foot sections. Their intent is to give the building a permanent appearance even though it is modular, and to make the elevation facing Elm less bare than it was initially. This will be done by adding shutters and exterior wainscot.

Doyle Harris, 621 S. Highland #A

Mr. Harris said he is concerned that the clinic would generate more trash and traffic.

Bernie Dunlap, applicant said that the clinic would not generate any additional traffic. The people who visit the clinic would use public transportation or walk. As far as trash is concerned, St Jude would be responsible for maintaining the premises and picking up any trash generated by the clinic.

Vice-Chairman Silber said that at the University of California San Diego campus he saw a good example of a clinic that looks very much like a modular structure. They used screen walls, trellis arbors and offsets. In looking at the proposed plan, the waiting and exam rooms appears to be very compact, which may force families outside. He is not sure that the porch would be adequate for people to gather for shelter from the weather. Screen walls, trellis, arbors, or roof structures that create shelter would be very useful. He does not see any value in dressing up the elevation. The building is boxy and he would not recommend dressing it up. He suggested putting the building in the background and creating something in the foreground that is useful. Jogging the modules would be good. Landscape elements could be wire mesh, or vertical screening elements. He added that the clinic is orthogonal and anything that is added to the building needs to take that into account so that it does not appear as an appliqu.

Committee Member Duncan suggested wrapping the porch around the corner and making the building look more permanent by bring out the small detail of the columns by working them in and around the walkways. Another possibility is a rail fence. Create something modular and fun in the landscape to give it a front yard.

Bernie Dunlap responsed to the permanence of the clinic. Although the clinic has 3 5-year leases the building may be moved as the community needs change. Doing something too permanent may not be feasible.

Chairman Daybell suggested that the clinic match the exterior design or something similar to the Community Services Center.

Randy McDaniel mentioned that Community Services will be making some improvements to the park and may enhance the Community Center in the near future. Senior Planner Mullis said that this location would then become more visible.

This item was for discussion only; no motion was made.

PRJ03-00671 PM2003-211. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: JOHN SHIPMAN.

To consider the conformity of proposed architectural plans with the Pico-Carhart Rural Design Guidelines as conditioned from a previously approved 3-lot subdivision for three residences located at 809-817 Arroyo Place. (AK)

Present were John and Ying Shipman, applicant/owners; Rick Crane, architect; Mark Blumer, design architect; Albert Tobey, Cliff Ashcroft, Liz Anderson, Michelle Scolard, Annette Bilardo, Edward Moorlach.

Assistant Planner Kusch presented the project noting that the Staff Report outlines the applicable Pico Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines. He addressed each of the three parcels noting the areas of the proposed residences architectural design that do not comply with the Pico-Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines.

Parcel No. 1

  • When a residence faces a public street, the Pico-Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines require second story elements to be stepped back from the plane of a first story of a single-family residence be stepped back from the public street. The single-story elements on the proposed east elevation are shallow in depth. In Staffs opinion, the elevation does not meet the requirement or the intent of the design guidelines.

  • The proposed residences along Arroyo Place are not in scale with adjacent residences.

One possible mitigating measure might be that the proposed residences are set back 60 feet from the property line as opposed to the adjacent residences at 35 feet. Staff still does not believe that the design of the residences meets the portions of the Pico-Carhart Guideline identified.

Parcel No. 2

Staff believes that, based on its orientation, and that it does not have a real presence to Arroyo Place, that this parcel meets the guideline requirements. The angle of the house is a mitigating factor.

Parcel No. 3

The applicant has addressed the need for additional articulation on the west elevation facing toward the rear of the property. This parcel now meets the intent of the guidelines. The Staff Report noted some code deficiencies. Staff met with the applicant and has a comfort level that the deficiencies previously noted have been addressed.

Staff did receive a number of calls, concerns, comments and in particular a letter from a resident on Fern Drive who believes the residences on Parcel 1 are out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood and urged that the residences across the street should not be used for comparison since they were built prior to the adoption of the Pico-Carhard Design Guidelines. Parcel No. 1 includes a proposed limited second dwelling unit; it does meet the setbacks for habitable structures.

Staff asks for the RDRCs input as it relates to the design concepts and compliance with the Pico-Carhart Design Guidelines. That the RDRC provide any comments and conditions namely:

  • Direct the applicant to revise elevations of the new residences in Parcel No. 1 along Arroyo Place to comply with the guidelines.

  • Reduce the scale as it relates to the bulk image to more closely match the adjacent residences.

Vice-Chairman Silber asked if there is a distinction in the Zoning Code for lot coverage versus floor area ratio or any other consideration. Assistant Planner Kusch said that the Code restricts the second story floor area to 70% of the first floor area. Staff feels comfortable that the Code is being applied properly.

Public Hearing Opened

Mr. Shipman stated that his neighbors support the project and that he has worked within the framework of the Design Guidelines to maintain the rural quality of the neighborhood and to be good neighbors. While he understands that there is a difference in scale with regard to the residents in Lot 1, there are significant mitigating factors. He noted that the Staff Report mentioned a concern that Parcel 1 lacked a single-story element at the east elevation. The proposal has included single story on that elevation. The Staff Report also noted that the bulk and scale of the property may be out of scale with other properties on Arroyo Place but for the purposes of comparison, the setbacks may be a mitigating factor. (Photographs displayed of other homes) Mr. Shipman pointed out additional mitigating factors regarding bulk and scale and said that his property is not visible from the street.

Rick Crane addressed the limited second dwelling. He said instead of building a third structure he would like to use the existing structure. The property line would be separated with an area separation wall and have it as two separate structures. The structure which would be closest to the west property line would be uninhabited and is allowed to be at zero property line. A two-hour separation wall 15 feet from the property line would create a secondary structure. A similar separation wall is proposed on the north property line. Staff identified that Mr. Cranes interpretation of the Code is incorrect. He can appeal Staffs interpretation to the Planning Commission.

Mark Blumer, design architect stated that the reason the Pico-Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines were formed was because people were putting big mansions on postage sized stamp parcels. This structure, in proportion to the size of the property, is justified.

Cliff Ashcroft asked about what appears to be second story elements. Rick Crane stated that these are window pop-outs with balconies on top. The elements are only one story. Committee Member Duncan noted that there is a conflict between what is written in the Staff Report and what the architect is saying regarding the single story elements on the east elevation. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the issue is still unresolved. Rick Crane said that it is a matter of interpretation.

The following people spoke in favor of the project:

Al Toby
Liz Andersen.
Michelle Scolard.

Public Hearing Closed

Committee Member Duncan suggested that he would like to see more landscaping at the proposed turn-a-round.

Assistant Planner Kusch advised that Condition Nos. 1 and No. 2 in the Staff Report have been satisfied.

The Committee Members unanimously supported the project.

MOTION made by Vice-Chairman Silber, seconded by Committee Member Daybell and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote to APPROVE PRJ03-00671 - PM2003-211 striking Conditions No. 1 and 2 of the Staff Report, specifically noting the fact that the lot is in extraordinary size; that the applicant has provided a 60 foot front yard setback mitigating the need for a stepped elevation at the street with a recommendation to staff to favorably consider retaining the limited second dwelling unit on Parcel No. 1.

PRJ05-00007 ZON05-00002. APPLICANT AND PROPRTY OWNER: CECILIA CARRIEDO.

To allow a two-story, second single-family residence approximately 2,900 square feet located at 333 East Valencia Drive. (AK)

Present were Ricardo and Cecilia Carriedo, Guillermo Luevano, and Gerardo Vargas.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the Committee reviewed the project in January and voiced concerns with the architecture. Their comments are summarized in the Staff Report. The applicant has submitted revised elevations addressing those concerns. Staff noted in the report that there was an open space deficiency. That open space can be captured by eliminating the surplus open guest parking space, but in order to do that, they would need to shift the footprint to the east property line.

Staff believes that the applicant has made an effort to address the Committees and Staffs concerns. The design appears to be more compatible with the existing house and the surrounding neighborhood; therefore, Staff recommends approval subject to the conditions listed in the Staff Report.

Public Hearing Opened.

Ricardo Carriedo said that the front deck is 8-feet in depth and asked what would be the minimum depth allowed by Code, and wondered if he would be allowed something else in its place. Assistant Planner Kusch replied that a deck is not required from an open space standpoint, but may possibly be from a design aspect.

Public Hearing Closed.

Vice Chairman Silber commented that any less than 5 or 6 feet is not practical and if the project is approved as is the deck would then be a part of the project and could not be removed.

Committee Member Duncan thought the project would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The homes in the neighborhood have very distinct architecture; he would have preferred to see some of that architecture pulled into the project, such as low peaked roofs, to complement those homes.

Committee Member Johnson suggested allowing the applicant the option to keep or to eliminate the deck. His preference would be to replace it with a window.

Vice Chairman Silber said he would feel comfortable having staff work with the applicant on keeping the deck or replacing it with a window. He suggested that if the deck stays as part of the design it would be better to enclose the deck with a more solid material versus wrought iron. The deck could be narrower across the front while keeping the depth.

MOTION made by Vice Chairman Member Silber, seconded by Committee Member Johnson and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote to APPROVE PRJ05-00007 ZON05-00002 as proposed subject to Staffs recommended conditions with a modification to Condition No. 5 and that the resolution of the deck be worked out between staff and the applicant.

PRJ04-00874 ZON04-00091. APPLICANT: GEORGE BEHNAM; PROPERTY OWNER: PACIFIC PLUS INVESTMENTS, LLC.

The applicant is proposing to demolish the single story residences, one detached garage, and construct an 8-unit condominium development, seven of the units would be two bedrooms; with one being a one-bedroom at 321-323 East Amerige Avenue. (Continued from November 18, 2004) (AK)

Present were George Behnam, architect, Donna Chessen, Alireza Azari, Homcin Jupt, Caroline Kulinger

Chairman Daybell noted for the record that he has met with the applicant to discuss the project.

Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the Committee reviewed this project in November 2004. The Staff Report identifies their comments and concerns. The revised plans reflect a change in the number of bedrooms since last reviewed. The site is adjacent to an historical landmark (the Cusick House with a Queen Anne style of architecture) and within proximity of a Preservation Overlay Zone. The design and mass of the structure has not changed from what was originally presented. The project is three-stories with an overall height of 35 feet. He described the areas in which the project was changed and those areas that currently do not comply with the Fullerton Municipal Code. The project cannot be approved as submitted; however, staff is requesting that the Committee review and make recommendations. Staff recommends that the RDRC recommend denial to the Planning Commission.

Donna Chessen, project representative, stated that the 3-foot wide landscape will go away. She has applied for a 1% Zoning Adjustment to help the project go forward. In regard to parking -- the two parking spaces that are not covered could be signed Visitors Only to keep visitors from parking there. Exceeding the lot area per dwelling unit by requirement was never mentioned in previous Staff Reports. The architect would be willing to make some architectural enhancements such as shrubbery, a fountain, window treatment, overhead trellis and landscaping. Ms. Chessen requested that the project be moved on to the Planning Commission.

Caroline Kulinger, owner of the Cusick House took issue with the bulk and mass of the project. She pointed out that the paperwork she has seen does not show that there is also a 319-319-1/2 on that property.

Jose Tajekie explained it is only one property but separate addresses on each unit. Associate Planner Eastman said for the purpose of writing staff reports the information is based on the Assessor parcel information, but the point is well taken. As the project moves forward to the Planning Commission, staff will be sure to identify that there are more than one unit on the property. Associate Planner Eastman stated that he had a conversation with Fullerton Heritage and it identified that the site is not identified on the Citys historic survey. While the homes are old, they are not considered historic.

Vice-Chairman Silber mentioned that the floor plans have not been submitted and looking at the plans it is not clear as to what is being done. There are some elements that appear to jog but are not consistent. George Behnam, architect for the project said that the site plan is the only exhibit that they have prepared. We wanted to show that the project could be done without losing any lot coverage, or open space. Vice Chairman Silber stated that he believes that there is more work to be done on the project and does not feel comfortable with the project as presented.

Committee Member Johnson stated that the massing of the three stories has not been addressed and questioned if the project should go forward to the Planning Commission. Associate Planner Eastman advised the Committee that staff cannot take a project to the Planning Commission if it does not comply with the Zoning Code regardless of whether it has significant design issues. The Committee would need to make a recommendation to give them direction.

Committee Member Duncan said he has concerns with the scale of the building fitting in with the historic home next door. The design needs further refinement so that a more informed decision could be made. He would like to see more landscape treatment on the west elevation as it relates to the historic home and more thought given to the south elevation facing the street in regard to the scale. Although he thought that the change in roof line from a parapet to a capped peaked roof makes the building look even bigger.

Chairman Daybell said he would recommend denial to the Planning Commission. The building looks like a motel being built next to an historic house. Vice Chairman Silber added that it is possible to build a three-story building on this site with a more thoughtful design, and feels that there is enough land to refine the site plan.

Associate Planner Eastman pointed out there appears to be a Zoning Adjustment to exceed lot coverage (the amount exceeded is a percentage which allows for the request, and asks the Committee to include this in their motion.

The applicant was asked if they wished to revised the plans and return to the Redevelopment Design Review Committee (RDRC) or to move forward to the Planning Commission. The applicant stated that he wished to move forward to the Planning Commission.

Senior Planner Mullis advised the applicant that the project cannot go forward to the Planning Commission until the Zoning Code issues are addressed.

MOTION made by Vice-Chairman Silber, seconded by Committee Member Johnson and CARRIED by a 4-0 vote to RECOMMEND DENIAL of PRJ04-00874 ZON04-00091.

OTHER BUSINESS:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 PM.

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