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Redevelopment Design Review Committee Meeting Minutes

COUNCIL CONFERENCE ROOM

FULLERTON CITY HALL

Thursday

June 29, 2006

4:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER:

The meeting was called to order at 4:02 PM by Chairman Daybell

ROLL CALL:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:

Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Cha, Duncan, Hoban and Larsen

COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT:





PUBLIC PRESENT:

Bill Angell, Steven Cohen, Tom Dalton, Guadalupe DeLaTorre, Marilyn DeLaTorre, Patty Galente, Barry Hanes, John Loomis, Patrick O’Connor, and Lauro Ramirez.

STAFF PRESENT:

Acting Chief Planner Eastman, Acting Senior Planner Allen, and Clerical Staff Leopold

MINUTES:

MOTION made by Committee Member Duncan, SECONDED by Committee Member Hoban and CARRIED by a 4-0, with Committee Member Cha absent, to APPROVE June 8 minutes AS WRITTEN.

OLD BUSINESS:

Item No. 1

PRJ05-00757 – ZON05-00108. APPLICANT: PATRICK O’CONNOR; PROPERTY OWNER: SELF-REALIZATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH.

Acting Senior Planner Allen presented the staff report for a request for a Minor Development Project application for upgrades to the main entrance of historically significant (potential National Register) property including the replacement of the existing concrete stairs, the construction of an ADA ramp, the installation of new decorative landscape and hardscape replacing the existing, and the installation of wrought iron perimeter fencing located at 142 E. Chapman Ave., generally at southwest corner of Chapman and Pomona Avenues. (C-3 Zone) (Categorically Exempt under Section 15301 of the CEQA Guidelines). (Continued from December 8, 2005 meeting) (HAL)

Acting Senior Planner Allen stated that since the prior meeting, the City hired 30th Street Architects to prepare a plan which integrated the ADA upgrades with the landscaping and hardscaping and followed the Secretary of the Interior Standards on Historic Preservation. She stated that a perimeter fence is proposed to follow the building setback line on the Chapman side and wrap around at about a 5 – 6 ft setback from the property line. The fence height is currently under discussion and staff will be working with another consultant who deals with creating defensible space to see if they can come to an agreement with a height that meets the needs of the church. Staff recommends approval of the conceptual site plan although requests that the RDRC’s action not include the height of the fence at this time.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman reiterated that the fencing on the plan is being pulled from the project at this time and not part of the RDRC’s consideration today. He stated that at the previous RDRC meeting, it was identified that the openness to the street is part of the historic context of the building. He explained that the applicant would like to have a fence because of vagrants sleeping overnight on the property. Staff recognizes this problem, but would like to explore other alternatives first. As a result, staff is working with a published planner that does work in creating defensible spaces to look at alternatives and create better security without any obstructions.

Committee Member Duncan questioned the proposed removal of a portion of the existing CMU wall currently limiting access to the rear of the building. Acting Senior Planner Allen stated that the original idea was to remove the wall to open up the gathering area further and provide an accessible path to the rear of the building. The applicant has expressed that whether it remains or not should be considered based on the height of the perimeter fence. Additionally, there are concerns that removing that portion of the wall will cause a safety issue in the area behind the sign. Acting Senior Planner Allen stated that all of these issues will be reviewed by the safety consultant.

Committee Member Cha arrived at 4:07 p.m.

Committee Member Hoban questioned if the trees on the sidewalk do exist because they were not listed on the plans. Acting Chief Planner Allen answered yes. She also referred to the renderings and noted that they show a larger setback of the fence than that currently proposed. As proposed there would only be shrubs between the fence and sidewalk; there is no turf.

John Loomis, 30th Street Architects, recapped the elements of the project. He said that the existing stairs are very tight to the building making it difficult to accommodate the ADA ramp. He is proposing new stairs which project out further, but keep the same basic configuration and angle parallel to the front entry. Mr. Loomis explained that the idea with the ramp was to put it to the side as opposed to making it a prominent feature in the front; it is also being used to screen the existing mechanical equipment. He explained the type of wrought iron materials for the fence. Mr. Loomis suggested simple running bond pavers, gray in color.

Pat O’Connor works for the church maintaining the property. He stated that the minister had some questions about the color of the paving stones and would like to make the color darker. He was told that the idea was to use a warm color for the pavers. Steven Cohen, church minister, stated the minutes from the previous meeting said they wanted to match the red color of the roof, and said this was not exactly the case. He explained that they would like to get a complimentary color for the paving stones, such as an earth tone, orange or other warm color. Mr. Loomis supported the idea of having a warm tone (gray or warm beige) that is compatible and complimentary while not detracting from the building. He stated that the pavers are removable. Committee Member Duncan asked if the size of the pavers has been determined. Mr. Loomis said he has not made a decision.

The Committee and the applicant had a discussion on the location of the gates. The Committee questioned John Loomis if the area of work had been surveyed and if the conceptual site plan reflected the actual finished location of the steps and ADA ramp based on the height and slope limitations. Mr. Loomis answered affirmatively.

Chairman Daybell stated he visited the site and saw the need to move only one palm tree and suggested that the applicant leave as much of the landscaping as it currently is around the mechanical equipment. He said there are some fairly mature bushes at the west side of the ramp, which do a lot to screen the air conditioning unit. The applicant agreed.

Mr. Loomis agreed that only one palm needed to be moved. Acting Senior Planner Allen clarified that the conceptual site plan did not include landscaping, other than the mention of the palm trees. Once the conceptual site plan is approved, the applicant’s next step is to have a landscape plan prepared utilizing the approved site plan. The area around the mechanical equipment is one that will be landscaped. Landscaping will be selected to both screen the equipment and make it an unattractive sleeping area. Mr. Loomis stated that the window located near the left side of the steps will not be impacted in the extension of the stairs. The concrete form can be placed to create a separation from the building if necessary.

Chairman Daybell also expressed concern that removing a portion of the CMU will be an attractive spot for night dwellers if not handled correctly. He said that security implications should be considered.

Public hearing opened.

Tom Dalton, Fullerton Heritage, is pleased that 30th Street Architects is working on the project and is confident they will do the right thing.
Public hearing closed.

Committee Member Hoban stated there were vast improvements made to the plan and have come a long way.

Committee Member Larsen said that he wasn’t on the Committee the first time the project was brought to the RDRC, but thinks the plan is fine. He commented on the pavers and said he would second a gray choice; he doesn’t think you could get a warmer color than a natural material. He stated that using the ultimate neutral gray lets the building breathe and doesn’t have to compete with the pavers.

Committee Member Cha stated he really liked the improvements made from the last design, with a perfect location for the wheelchair access and the landscaping outside of the fence looks beautiful.

Committee Member Duncan said the ramp and the front entry steps were resolved nicely. He stated that the project will be successful with what happens with the fencing issue. He does not think the fencing needs to be so far out against the sidewalk to provide the enclosure to stop vagrants from getting into the corners and suggested putting up fencing on each side and keeping the corner open. Committee Member Duncan stated he does not necessarily like pavers for the project because they are a trendy material right now that does not fit the historic nature of the church. He recommends scored concrete but would go along with the pavers because they are removable.

Chairman Daybell reiterated his comments regarding the trees and landscaping. He agreed with Committee Member Duncan’s comments about the fencing and said possibly not having a fence in front would be a solution to consider. Chairman Daybell stated he liked the openness of one of the most beautiful corners in Fullerton. He stated that hopefully the light gray pavers and/or the concrete will not detract from the beauty of the building and the palm trees that are there. He supports what has been done to the project.

MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban, SECONDED by Committee Member Cha and CARRIED unanimously by all voting members present to APPROVE the project with staff recommendations.

Mr. O’Connor reiterated that their desire for a fence stems from prior problems on the property, including vandalism. As long as these problems do not continue, there will not be a need for a fence. If problems persist, it is not a subjective issue, and something will need to be done.

Chairman Daybell explained to Mr. O’Connor what the Committee had just approved which allows the church to proceed with the next steps to construct the steps, ADA ramp, hardscape, and landscape. Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained the appeal process.

NEW BUSINESS:

Item No. 2


PRJ06 - 00185 – ZON06 - 00033. APPLICANT: BILL ANGELL; PROPERTY OWNER: DOUGLAS KNUDSON.


Acting Chief Planner Eastman presented a staff report for request for a Major Development Project review of plans to demolish an existing 400sf residence and construct two 2 residential units with attached garages at 201 N. Lincoln. The property is generally located on the northwest corner of Lincoln and Wilshire. (R-2P Zone) (Categorically Exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (JEA)

Chairman Daybell stated that the notice posted for Item no. 3 was removed. Acting Chief Planner Eastman informed the Committee that notices were indeed posted for this project and the one located at 318 E. Truslow. He explained the process on posting public hearing notices.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that the demolition of the structure in a preservation zone will require review and approval by the Landmarks Commission. Staff does not believe that the existing residents contribute significantly to the preservation area and does not overly detract from the character of the neighborhood because it is an extremely small structure located at the back of an existing lot, and is relatively obscured. It has some unique features such as the board and batten design, and it’s built on slab versus a raised foundation. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that in order to make the project livable, it would require a significant addition to the building. Staff supports the proposed demolition of the existing building.

Staff is comfortable with the architectural style that has been proposed. Acting Chief Planner Eastman expressed one of his concerns with the pitched roof, which has a gable end with eaves. Staff recommends that the eaves on the gable ends be removed and have a coping provided on the edge. Staff recommended a front patio space be provided on the southeast corner in front of unit “A” with a low stucco wall. The intent is to provide for some architectural feature that extends out to the intersection, and to also allow for a designated usable space with screening of household items. Staff has recommended the enclosure because they feel the rear yard while it meets code in terms of dimension, is relatively small. Staff has also recommended that some accent tree be placed in the front yard of unit “A,” and provided examples of flowering trees.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that staff would support a two-car garage on Lincoln Ave. with some revisions to the plans including:

  • Provide a ribbon driveway because the garage would have a driveway width that exceeds 9 ft. maximum width provided by code.

  • The garage door that faces Lincoln shall be of a high quality and decorative, something characteristic of a carriage garage door which reflect a historic residential context.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that staff usually does not support sliding windows in a preservation area, but the proposed sliding windows on the North elevation are not visible from the public street and staff does not believe it’s an issue with this project. He requested discussion from the applicant regarding additional detailing for the parapet wall on the garages. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated there was an additional detail provided on the gable ends having exposed rafter shown and explained it usually is stuccoed from the base up to the coping, with rafter tails only exposed at the end. Staff recommended that the rafters be framed on top of the wall, and stuccoed over. Staff recommends approval with 21 standard and specific conditions.

Committee Member Duncan questioned the ribbon driveway. Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained there would be three bands, typically one at 2 ft on each side, and one 3 ft. in the middle, with a 16 ft. overall width accommodated. Staff looks for an equal proportion in terms of space between turf and paving.

Staff and Committee Member Hoban discussed the roofline.

Bill Angell, Blue Ribbon Design Builder, contractor for the homeowner is in agreement with staff regarding the eaves and stated he needed to come up with some coping detail for the flashing on the flat roof section over the garage. He stated he would work with Acting Chief Planner Eastman to come up with a solution. Mr. Angell stated that the fire egress on the bedroom windows that face Wilshire will have to be looked at because the size may not meet the requirement. Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained what staff would look for in terms of proportionality of height and width of windows.

Mr. Angell said the owner will have two air conditioning units that will be placed at the rear of the property and shielded by the building and does not see a need for additional screening. He stated he would place carriage garage doors to keep the building consistent. Mr. Angell questioned the mature tree listed in the conditions and stated he was in agreement with saving it, but was concerned with this condition because the project requires a 2 ft deep re-compaction of the soil to within at least a 5 ft. perimeter around the building pads. He stated he did not think it would be a problem, but wanted to make sure it would not be a problem after the fact. Mr. Angell stated the tree is in conflict with the City tree that is in the parkway because they are growing together. He said the owner is thinking of taking the tree down and putting a feature tree that would match the feature tree put in the front as a replacement tree in the proper location relative to the building design. He asked the Committee for guidance on this matter. The Committee recognized the problem and staff said they would work with the applicant if the tree couldn’t be preserved.

Mr. Angell and Committee Member Larsen discussed colors for the doors. Committee Member Larsen felt the house doors should match the garage doors. Mr. Angell said they would be stained to match. Committee Member Larsen commented on the parapet coping and stated that the easiest thing to do would be a typical stucco coping detailing and slope the roof behind it.

Mr. Angell commented on the conditions of approval for the sidewalks dealing with replacing the handicap ramp at the corner sidewalk. He stated there currently is a ramp in place. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that Engineering recommended that the ramp be replaced to comply with the current ADA standards. He suggested that Mr. Angell speak to the City Engineer. Mr. Angell asked for clarification regarding replacement of the sidewalk. Staff read Condition No. 2 pertaining to the sidewalk.

Mr. Angell asked for clarification on the type of finish required. Acting Chief Planner Eastman asked the Committee what would be appropriate? Staff’s recommendation is simply a smooth finish. The Committee discussed various finishes and specified that a float or dash finish would not be appropriate.

Tom Dalton, Fullerton Heritage, stated he is happy to see that something is being built on that corner. He stated he was in agreement with staff and doesn’t believe the house adds architectural integrity to the community and staff has done an excellent job reviewing the project. He explained that if sidewalks are replaced, since it is a preservation zone, the sidewalks are to be scored to reflect the historic patterns. He suggested if possible it would be nice to save the tree.

Patti Galente, resident, commended the fact that the project is one story.

Chairman Daybell recommended to staff to incorporate a standard condition when modifying buildings in preservation zones in order to remember when someone will be putting in a new driveway that they do match the existing.

Emily Evans, resident, stated the architecture is very interesting, but is concerned about it being too big of a footprint for the house and not enough green space around it. Chairman Daybell explained that the City has its codes and staff is very careful about reviewing the codes for each project. He clarified that the project does not exceed what is allowed by code.

Public hearing closed.

Committee Member Duncan asked for the addresses of both units. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated that the front unit will be addressed off of either Lincoln or Wilshire and the rear unit will be addressed off of Wilshire Avenue.

Committee Member Hoban asked staff about the ADA and public access requirements.

Committee Member Duncan stated the applicant did a nice job in complementing and including architectural forms that are within the neighborhood. He expressed his opinion stating that the design was not strong enough to be facing Wilshire. He stated it should’ve been part of the design process to know the entry point locations and addresses. Committee Member Duncan stated that the project is simple and would’ve been nice to see something more on that corner. Still, he is in support of the project and staff recommendations.

Committee Member Hoban stated he is in support of the project. However, he would prefer one home and garage and prefers ribbon driveways that go to the back and around the corner. He does not think the porch and walkway that go straight out to the alley are appropriate, but stated since this design is driven by financial feasibility, he will support it.

Committee Member Larsen agreed with the Committee Members’ comments primarily with the idea of the entry and turning into a corner entry where both sides are addressed. He recognized that the smooth stucco is a lot of work, but looks a lot better and would like to see it done. Committee Member Duncan explained that the really smooth, crisp stucco is a very expensive finish and tough to do, but there is an alternative, a stucco with some texture. Acting Chief Planner Eastman’s concern, from staff’s perspective, is if the Committee would condition the project to have a particular finish, they will need to identify the type of finish, so a building inspector can recognize and understand it. Committee Member Larsen explained the Committee’s preference that the finish not be a float or dashed finish.

Committee Member Cha stated the Spanish colonial style will make the area better than what it is right now. It will be an improvement and likes the project.

Chairman Daybell expressed his concerns regarding adding a condition when the existing house is torn down that the rest of the lot should be cleaned up promptly within a two weeks time. He stated he did not particularly like the garage facing Lincoln, but does not know of any solution to offer as an alternative and therefore will support what has been turned in. He was concerned about putting in the ribbon driveway and in the future having the ribbon gutter become a solid driveway. Chairman Daybell recommended that the tree in the back will need to stay and suggested preserving the orange tree, if possible. He stated the Committee is in support of the project as conditioned by staff, with a clarification of the finish.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman clarified on the type of finish recommended by the Committee and indicated a non-float, non-dash finished. Staff modified Conditions 3 based on what the Committee indicated, and added a sentence that the ribbon driveway shall be preserved and maintained in perpetuity and will be a condition of approval. Acting Chief Planner Eastman indicated that an alternative to this would be a deed restriction. He stated that in Condition No. 5 “Stucco shall maintain a smooth appearance, and shall be a non-dash, non-float finish.”

MOTION made by Committee Member Larsen, SECONDED by Committee Member Cha and CARRIED unanimously by all voting members present, to recommend approval of the project to the Landmarks Commission with staff’s recommended conditions and the RDRC’s modifications.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman clarified since this is a recommendation item, it cannot be appealed. The project will go to the Landmarks Commission as presently scheduled July 12, 2006.

Item No. 3

PRJ05-00198 – ZON05-00018. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: TOMAS V. DIAZ.

Acting Senior Planner Allen presented a staff report for a request for a Minor Development Project to construct 4 apartment units on property located at 318 E. Truslow in the Community Improvement District (CID) on property generally located on the south side of east Truslow from approximately 200 to 250 feet east of Lemon Street. (R-3 Zone) (Categorically Exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HAL)

Chairman Daybell told staff that he visited the site today and did not see the notice posted. He explained to those in attendance the notice posting process.

Acting Senior Planner Allen presented a background on the project and explained it does meet code, but that the entry to the rear unit is awkward. There is one entry from the interior of the property. A person going to the rear unit must pass the front unit to get to the back unit and will also be passing the patio areas of both units to get to the back. Staff recommended there be a low wall installed to provide some separation.

Staff recommended specific conditions to the project. Staff explained that the patio was conditioned to be at grade; based on the location, if it is higher than grade, it is too close to the property line. Staff also conditioned lighting for the alley.

Chairman Daybell asked staff if the applicant has read the proposed conditions and agreed to them. Acting Senior Planner Allen stated that they had been provided to the property owner and his architect.

Committee Member Cha asked about parking for apartment “B”. Acting Senior Planner Allen explained unit “A” parking will be in the two-car garage and unit “B” will have a one-car garage and space or one of the two-car garages under the rear structure. Barry Hanes, architect, explained the parking situation. He stated that the applicant previously presented another plan that had a more typical parking layout but was not oriented to the street.

Chairman Daybell stated that patios are not practical in apartments “C” and “D” because they are very public. If patios are considered for those apartments, they should be re-positioned and perhaps be moved back to the other side of the building.

Mr. Hanes explained that after reading the staff report he agrees the patios need to be re-designed.

Public hearing opened.

Lauro Ramirez, resident, doesn’t like the project because there are no apartments on that block only houses.

Marilyn DeLaTorre, resident, is concerned about parking and stated this project will draw in more teenagers and multiple families living in one apartment. She stated there will be more traffic and problems with parking. She is not in support of the project and stated that currently there are problems with trash accumulation and bad odors. She also expressed a concern that this would be used as a cut though behind the market. Acting Senior Planner Allen explained that a gate could be installed across the required path in such a way that visitors will still be able to enter but it would not be used as a short cut. The gate would have to meet fire Department access requirements.

Ms. DeLaTorre translated for her mother Guadalupe DeLaTorre and stated that she was concerned with having apartments on that street because there are currently too many people on this street. She explained that on the 400 block of Truslow there are apartment complexes and the area looks runs down because of all the trash that accumulates. There are also multiple families living in apartments.

Ms. DeLaTorre stated more neighbors would like to speak against the project, but were unable to attend because the meeting time was scheduled too early.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained the Committee’s role to the public. He stated that staff recognizes there are problems within the 400 block and other areas. Community Preservation has been more proactive in those areas and looking for illegal construction and converted garages. They have been trying to resolve these community issues. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated the applicant has designed the project within the parameters of the code. He told the public staff can do some improvements to that neighborhood through new construction and quality design.

Chairman Daybell suggested to those present to visit the Community Preservation Division, and voice their concerns about the problems mentioned.

The architect and Committee Members discussed the design of the garage. Committee Member Duncan suggested having the garage for apartment “B” placed differently. The architect stated the issue with moving the garage is that four units could not fit there otherwise.

Public hearing closed.

Committee Member Duncan expressed his liking toward the architecture. He agreed with the comment about the patios and thinks there is some opportunity to re-work it. He suggested some landscaping in the back, if possible. Committee Member Duncan recommended conditioning the project to include a gate up in the front unit, so access can be restricted only to the people entering the units. Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained that staff would prefer the gate to be placed in the back due to guest parking access.

Committee Member Hoban is in support of the project, but stated he wishes it wasn’t so dense. He explained he would like to see the patios brought out and wider rather than deep. He recommended having it re-worked. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated staff considered whether it should not be covered by a roof. It would have implications of the roof design, but would allow for some natural light to get into that space.

Staff and the Committee discussed the private open space code. Chairman Daybell expressed his concern and stated he could not support a project with useless space. Committee Member Hoban explained that although he did not like the proposed space, he said if the roof is completely covered the space it will become a storage area.

The Committee discussed the staircase and possible solutions for an individual set of stairs. Committee Member Cha explained the stairs and parking areas did not look reasonable.

Acting Chief Planner Eastman explained the options available for the Committee if they had some issues in approving the project.

Chairman Daybell suggested having the architect come up with an alternative on that particular feature. Committee Member Larsen recommended that the architect include the roof line on the site plan.

Staff believes there is some solution in terms of the deck and access. The architect suggested flipping the units and placing them back to back with the patios at the end on the plans. The Committee agreed that would be a good solution. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated if the deck is placed on the southern side of the building, it would not be good in terms of light perspective. The deck should be placed on the alley side.

Chairman Daybell recommended approval subject to the condition that the units be flipped to reconfigure the entrance and private opens spaces. Acting Chief Planner Eastman stated staff will need to verify it meets code and will work with the applicant.

MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban, SECONDED by Committee Member Larsen and CARRIED unanimously by all voting members present to APPROVE project with staff recommendations and with the following conditions 1) that floor plans of apartments “C” and “D” be modified to provide for a better entrance and private open spaces and 2) an access gate be included to restrict cut through pedestrian traffic while allowing access for residents guests.


MEETINGS:

Acting Chief Planner Eastman discussed the City Council and Planning Commission meetings.


         ADJOURNMENT:


MOTION made by Committee Member Cha, SECONDED by Committee Member to Committee Member Hoban to ADJOURN meeting at 6:15 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,


_________________
Ruth Leopold
Clerical Support

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