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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes



WEDNESDAY FERUARY 23, 2000 7:00 P.M.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman LeQuire at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman LeQuire, Commissioners Allred, Crane, Godfrey, Munson, Sandoval and Simons

STAFF PRESENT: Director Dudley, Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Program Planner Linnell, Associate Planner Viado, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin and Recording Secretary Stevens

ALSO PRESENT: Community Services Manager Felz

Commissioner Allred noted that the date for the next regularly-scheduled meeting was incorrect. The date should have been February 23, 2000, rather than March 8, 2000. With that correction, MOTION by Commissioner Simons, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote, with Commissioners Godfrey and Munson abstaining, that the Minutes of the February 9, 2000, meeting be APPROVED AS AMENDED.


Staff report dated February 16, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide a 3.10-acre parcel to create five single-family residential lots on property located at the southeast corner of Laguna Road and Euclid Street (R-1-20,000 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (Continued from January 12, 2000).

Chief Planner Rosen reported that staff is recommending continuance of this item to a date uncertain. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that this item be CONTINUED to a date uncertain.

Staff report dated February 23, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide an existing 3.7-acre parcel to create six single-family residential lots on property located at 1731 Ladera Vista Drive (north side of Pioneer Avenue, approximately 300 feet west of Ladera Vista Drive (R-1-20,000 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (Continued from February 9, 2000, meeting).

Associate Planner Viado reported that in 1992 a previous tract was approved for this location. Subsequent extensions requested by the applicant and through the State Subdivision Map Act extended approval of the map to September 1999; however, the map was never recorded prior to that expiration date. There is an existing home which takes access from a driveway easement to Ladera Vista and will remain as one of the proposed lots. The remaining five lots will be accessed by the proposed extension of Pioneer Avenue. Because of the current physical state of the project site and its proximity to the designated wildlife habitat area to the north, staff required the applicant to submit a preliminary biological assessment of the site. Issues included in this report were wildlife and plant habitat, as well as a blue-line stream. Two California gnatcatchers were observed, however the total area of the property was found to be too small to support a habitat for these birds. Staff has required that the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service be contacted through a Section 10A permit, or a Section 7 consultation, as part of the mitigation measures. Riperian plant habitat was also found on site, requiring a Section 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Because of the blue-line stream identified on site, the applicant must also obtain a Section 1603 agreement with the Department of Fish and Game. Currently, a row of mature eucalyptus trees exists to the west of the proposed Pioneer Avenue extension; staff has recommended that these trees be saved and incorporated into a median within Pioneer Avenue on the final map. With all conditions of approval and mitigation measures, staff recommended approval of the request.

Commissioner Simons asked if the City was proposing to extend Pioneer Avenue to Acacia Avenue. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin answered that no such project is proposed at this time.

Senior Civil Engineer Wallin noted that a section for Street Lights was omitted from the Engineer's letter. He stated that he would submit a revised letter requiring that street lights be provided along Pioneer Avenue and Ladera Vista Drive.

Commissioner Sandoval stated that the staff report for this item did not contain a findings section. Chief Planner Rosen indicated that it had been inadvertently omitted from the staff report, but had been included in the final resolution.

Commissioner Godfrey mentioned that an extension of Pioneer Avenue was listed on the tract map reduction contained in the Commission packets. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin explained that in 1962, an offer of dedication was made for the possible extension of Pioneer Avenue up through this canyon, but it was never intended to connect to Acacia Avenue.

Public hearing opened.

Fred Tice, applicant, 1731 Ladera Vista Drive, felt that the project would enhance the neighborhood. Mr. Tice indicated that he had read and concurred with all of the recommended conditions of approval, including the installation of street lights on Pioneer which had been omitted from the Engineer's letter.

Commissioner Godfrey asked if the applicant was comfortable that proper authorizations could be obtained from the Department of Fish & Game, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Tice indicated that his biologist had been in contact with all three of the government agencies mentioned, and was told that there should be no major problems with the development.

Kurt Spradlin, 1720 N. Acacia Avenue, first thanked staff for their assistance in this matter. While he would like to keep the canyon as is, he realized that the development would most likely occur. He asked to see a detailed plan for the road elevation, as well as a drainage plan which would show the proposed sewer and storm drain locations. He was curious as to whether there would be a charge to existing homeowners to hook up to the new lines.

Aba Delush, 1937 E. Dana Place, spoke in opposition to the project because of loss of privacy and other environmental issues.

Bill Slate, 1721 Ladera Vista Drive, favored the development as presented.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Godfrey asked if staff had corresponded with any of the government agencies. Associate Planner Viado explained that staff had not heard from the Dept. of Fish & Game. However, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had indicated they would forward their comments in time for the Planning Commission meeting, but staff had not yet received them. Chief Planner Rosen explained that Fish & Wildlife permits tend to be difficult to obtain. Since the biologist has reported that this is not a prime habitat area, staff does not foresee any difficulty in obtaining the necessary permits. Although the area to the north of the proposed project has been reserved to the Federal Government as a natural habitat area, this could be a mitigating factor, and the applicant may be required to provide additional enhancements or refurbishments. Commissioner Godfrey expressed his concern that the parcels in question are in the process of being sold, without benefit of the necessary governmental permits. Chief Planner Rosen reminded him that staff had included a number of mitigation measures, however there was no guarantee that these measures would satisfy federal requirements.

Commissioner Simons questioned whether these same biological impacts were addressed with the approval of the previous tract map. Associate Planner Viado responded that the only relevant issue at that time pertained to the blue line stream. Chief Planner Rosen added that the habitat area to the north had not been established in 1992 because the gnatcatcher was not on the endangered species list at that time.

Commissioner Sandoval wished to have the letter received from the property owners at 1817, 1741 and 1823 Ladera Vista Drive entered as part of the public record. She felt that the project was ambitious, but favored the project as presented, and was confident that all of the issues could be mitigated. Commissioner Allred concurred.

Commissioner Godfrey reminded the neighbors in attendance that they had the option of purchasing these parcels and leaving it in an undeveloped state, should they so desire. Because the project met all development criteria, he supported staff's recommendation.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously, that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be CERTIFIED. The title of Resolution No. 6866 APPROVING a tentative tract map to subdivide an existing 3.7-acre parcel to create five single-family residential lots on property located at 1731 Ladera Vista Drive, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Godfrey, seconded, and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Staff report dated February 15, 2000, was presented pertaining to a request to expand an existing 7,000-square-foot industrial building by 1,716 square feet and to increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from .41 to .52 which exceeds the FAR established for this zone on property located at 524 East Walnut Avenue (south side of Walnut Avenue, approximately 229-349 feet east of Balcom Avenue) (M-G zone) (Categorically exempt per Section 15301(e) of CEQA Guidelines).

Senior Planner Mullis reported that the expansion is proposed for the rear of the existing building and will abut the railroad right-of-way area. Additional floor area will be used for warehouse and storage functions for the existing metal fabrication business. Additional parking spaces will be provided on site to accommodate the expansion. Further, the applicant wishes to exceed the FAR of .41 to .52, and there is adequate roadway capacity to accommodate this request. Staff recommended approval of the project.

Commissioner Godfrey referenced Item 2 of the Analysis section of the staff report which stated that "the door shall be used for ventilation purposes only, and not for any loading, unloading or storage into the railroad right of way." He felt that this would be difficult to enforce and asked why staff included this in their analysis. Senior Planner Mullis explained that it was more of a safety disclosure, to make the applicant aware that there could be a potential conflict between the railroad and potential users of the site. Chief Planner Rosen added that this was not a condition of approval, but for informational purposes only.

Public hearing opened.

Arthur Schade, one of the property owners, stated that the expansion is necessary for storage of metal racks and pallets and the roll-up door would only be used for ventilation. He was also concerned about a landscaping condition requiring an additional 400 feet of greenbelt. Director Dudley mentioned that he had discussed this issue with Chet Schultz. Director Dudley informed him that this additional landscaping was not necessary, and that the staff would meet with Mr. Schade to further discuss this item.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Crane inquired about minimum landscaping requirements for parking lots. Director Dudley said that while there is criteria for new parking lots, this was an existing lot and therefore any improvements would be minimal.

There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6867 APPROVING a request to expand an existing 7,000-square-foot industrial building by 1,716 square feet and to increase the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from .41 to .52 which exceeds the FAR established for this zone on property located at 524 East Walnut Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Sandoval, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Staff memorandum was presented pertaining to review and comment by the Planning Commission regarding the proposed transfer of vacant Redevelopment Agency property to the City of Fullerton.

Commissioner Crane excused himself from this matter and left the chambers.

Director Dudley reported that the property in question is located at Wilshire and Pomona Avenues and is owned by the Redevelopment Agency. Because the Agency is required to dispose of any surplus property, the parcel was put up for sale. There was no interest in the property; however the Agency was approached by the Fullerton Museum Association who desired to construct a Leo Fender Museum. On January 18, 2000, the Agency received a recommendation from the Agency staff that the property be transferred to the City's ownership for public purposes. The Council/Agency received that recommendation and directed that the Planning Commission, Community Services Commission, PAC 2 and the Museum Board of Trustees review the Agency staff recommendation and comment on it. A letter from the Agency staff to the Agency was also presented to the Commission, which outlined the Museum's request for possible use of the property. At the very minimum, the Agency staff recommended that, if transferred to the City, public improvements should be made, such as grass, sprinklers and benches.

Chairman LeQuire, while supportive of a Leo Fender museum, did not feel that there was an urgency in the transfer of this property. He felt that the Redevelopment Agency Director was asking for decisions on information which was not complete, and a study to review both the business plan and financial issues of this parcel should be conducted. Once a complete cost analysis of the proposed museum project is completed, then the Agency can reach a more sound decision. If costs are prohibitive, then the Agency should entertain the idea of private sector development to enhance the City's tax base.

Commissioner Simons concurred that a cost study should be prepared before any decision is made by the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Godfrey asked for a brief summarization of the December 21, 1999 memo from the Museum Board of Trustees. Community Services Manager Felz reported that the Museum Board had internally studied the benefit, from a Community Services standpoint, of having another museum as an attraction. However, the Board is committed to seeing a feasibility study before making a stronger recommendation to the Agency. In addition, the Board desires to see the property dedicated for public purposes. Commissioner Godfrey also inquired if a museum concept would fit into the Downtown development plan, and Mr. Felz answered that it would be consistent.

Although this was not intended as a public hearing, Chairman LeQuire allowed public comment at this time.

Jay Kraemer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the First Baptist Church of Fullerton, 741 Pebble Beach, La Habra, stated that the church is located adjacent and east of the property in question. While they were not interested in the property when it was previously for sale, they are now expanding and renovating the church, and may wish to purchase the parcel at this time.

Judy Lawson, 1464 Domingo Road, reported that on January 4, 1999, her company had written a letter to Gary Chalupsky, indicating their interest in purchasing this property. As of this date, they had not received a reply to that letter, but they are still interested in obtaining the property to expand their business.

Commissioner Godfrey suggested that while a business on this parcel would not fit into the "theme" of the downtown area, Ms. Lawson could still contact the Redevelopment Agency indicating their interest in purchasing the lot.

Director Dudley explained that this property had been identified as surplus property, was put on the market by the City Council for 18-24 months, and now the Agency has received a recommendation to put it into public use. This was the recommendation before the Planning Commission at this time. If the Agency/Council decides that they will not accept it as public use, it would then go back on the market.

Kurt Sanderome, 2700 Sequoia, felt that the City should strongly consider a Leo Fender Museum to preserve a piece of Fullerton's heritage.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Munson did not feel that the land should be turned over for public use, and because there is private interest in the parcel, they should be given first consideration.

Commissioner Godfrey desired to see the land incorporated as part of the Downtown master plan, and that the museum concept be implemented.

Commissioner Simons reiterated that a feasibility study should be conducted before any decisions are made by the Planning Commission.

Chairman LeQuire also expressed concern about having to make decisions without having the "clear picture." He concurred with Commissioner Munson's comments about giving the private sector a chance to develop a project that would generate tax revenue, and he felt to give away any parcel of land without that consideration is irresponsible.

Commissioner Sandoval was comfortable that every opportunity had been given to the public to purchase this property. Because it had been on the market for almost two years, it was now time to dedicate it for public use and move forward with either a Leo Fender Museum or a park.

Commissioner Allred had spoken with the Chamber of Commerce who informed her that they were in favor of a Leo Fender museum, and she concurred with that recommendation, following a feasibility study.

Chairman LeQuire stated that the decision of the Commission was unanimous for a feasibility study, and a 3-3 split that the land be dedicated for public purposes.

Commissioner Crane returned to the Council Chambers.

Staff report dated February 16, 2000, was presented pertaining to review and comment by the Planning Commission on a draft of proposed revisions to the following chapters of the Fullerton Zoning Ordinance: Oil Overlay Zone, Open Space Zone Classification, and Oil Gas Zone.

Senior Planner Mullis reported that the proposed changes are minor in nature.

Commissioner Sandoval noted the specific dollar fee ($150.00) for an oil well application is listed in the code itself and asked if this was a normal procedure. Chief Planner Rosen explained that this has been the fee since 1971 and, because there are so few permits issued for oil wells, it has remained unchanged.

There were no other Commission comments.


Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report on recent City Council meetings


There was no one present who wished to speak on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction.


The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be March 8, 2000, at 4:00 p.m.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:32 p.m.

Becky Stevens
Clerk to the Planning Commission
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