Staff report dated February 7, 2001, was presented pertaining to a request to allow the development of up to 210 single-family residences, a biological habitat area, expansion of the Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, open space for the project and city master planned recreational trails on 86.3 acres, modify the existing West Coyote Hills Specific Plan, create a planned unit development, modify zoning and the General Plan to accommodate the proposed project, and consider annexation of the property located north of Rosecrans Avenue, east of Beach Boulevard, south of La Mirada Boulevard and west of the existing city limits (Draft Environmental Impact Report). Vicinity sketches were displayed.
Commissioners Allred-Blake and Sandoval recused themselves from this matter and left the Council Chambers.
Senior Planner Mullis reported that the property in question is a former oil field site, with 39 wells abandoned on the property. The site was used as an oil field from the early 1900's through the late 1980s. Since that time, the property has gone through some soil remediation and additional soil remediation is occuring onsite. Currently there are no General Plan or zoning designations for the site, and the applicant is requesting a "Greenbelt Concept" General Plan designation, and the zoning be a combination of PRD with Oil Overlay, and Open Space. The site falls within the existing West Coyote Hills Master Plan, which originally proposed 13 acres of commercial along Beach Boulevard, with 222 units and 37 acres of open space. The applicant is proposing to modify the master plan to include 203 detached dwelling units and approximately 41.2 acres of open space. Originally the applicant had proposed 207 units, but revised the plan in an attempt to mitigate the impacts to the existing gnatcatcher area.
The proposed development will include private streets, however the applicant is not proposing a gated community at this time. As part of the development, a new fire station and a three-million gallon reservoir will be constructed. The Ralph B. Clark Regional Park will also be expanded by 13.94 acres, public recreational trails will connect the park to the development and City-wide trail system. The project meets or exceeds the West Coyote Hills Specific Plan and PRD zoning requirements.
Senior Planner Mullis noted two changes to the staff report. One is improvements to Lot A of Tract 11674, and the second is a modification to the mitigation measures regarding the noise attenuation wall along Beach Boulevard. The Hawks Pointe Specific Plan document will also be modified to allow deviation in the connector trail, to be reduced below the 8-foot wide requirement in specific locations. Mitigation Measure 12.2.1a shall also be modified as stated in the final resolution.
Staff was in receipt of several letters of support from surrounding homeowner's associations, four businesses, and the Downtown Business Association. Staff is recommending certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report to the City Council and approval of all applications.
Chairman Simons requested that all items received by staff be included as part of the public record, including the revised engineer's letter.
Commissioner Wilson asked if the project would be required to pay as much park dwelling fees as other construction projects, when so much open space is being provided. Senior Planner Mullis explained that park dwelling fees are applied towards park improvements, and there are no public parks as part of this development. Further the majority of open space for Hawks Pointe would not be "useable" for such uses as ball fields and tennis courts.
Commissioner Crane wished clarification of the proposed street façade along Beach Boulevard and whether or not this issue was addressed in the specific plan. In particular, he wished to know the materials of the fencing along Beach Boulevard. Senior Planner Mullis stated she would defer this question to the applicant.
Chairman Simons asked the following questions:
Was a fiscal impact analysis prepared?
Yes, and the preparer was present to answer any questions.
How much open space will be project have?
40% of the development is open space.
Is the applicant responsible for paying a pro-rata share of the cost of installing a northbound right-turn lane and a second southbound left-turn lane on Beach Boulevard?
Yes, according to the traffic study.
Is it true that foundations may not be built over capped oil wells?
Yes, this is true. They will be located in parkways, side yards and streets.
Will there be any need for additional police officers with this new development?
What sort of vista improvements will be made by the applicant?
The precise designs have not been worked out at this time, but there are ongoing discussions whether some vista points will have natural seating.
Will there be visual intrusions from the high cliff areas?
A line-of-sight study was conducted from Rosecrans Avenue and the park area, and staff does not believe that any visual intrusions will occur with the development.
Commissioner LeQuire asked who was responsible for monitoring the oil well sites and their long-term maintenance. Senior Planner Mullis answered that the County and State is responsible for the oil well abandonment. Chief Planner Rosen added that the oil company will be responsible for any problems which may arise. Commissioner LeQuire also asked if the new fire station and equipment had been included in the fiscal impact analysis. Senior Planner Mullis stated that the fire station had been included, but the new equipment had only been discussed recently.
Commissioner Price inquired as to the status of the Chevron development and if this development was considered in any of the fiscal and traffic impact analyses. Chief Planner Rosen replied that the City has been in negotiations with Chevron for over 15 years. He was aware that Chevron was in negotiations with Fish and Wildlife agencies because of the many endangered species on the site, but to date no formal application has been received.
Chairman Simons thanked staff for giving the Commission the "follow through" on all of the mitigation measures. Senior Planner Mullis clarified that the Mitigation Monitoring Program presented to the Commission did not include any of the potential revisions discussed by staff during their presentation.
Public hearing opened.
Richard Douglas, Centex Homes, indicated that a consulting team was present to answer any of the Commission questions, and also thanked staff for all of their assistance during the negotiation process. He introduced Susan Lindquist, also from Centex Homes.
Ms. Lindquist gave a brief overview of the project, and displayed a slide show depicting the site. She outlined the project and emphasized that the site plan has been endorsed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the City Planning and Engineering Departments. She pointed out that the planned 203 units is a less-intensive project than the existing specific plan allows, and the designated open space is more than what is required by code. Further, the project enhances Beach Boulevard, yet retains the cliffs along Rosecrans Avenue. A new reservoir and fire station are included as part of the project, including a new Pierce fire pumper which Centex will purchase and donate to the city. Several community outreach meetings were held by Centex Homes, and homeowner's associations adjacent to the site support the project. Meetings were also held with Fullerton Joint Union High School District and the Buena Park Elementary School District. Collectively, the Hawks Pointe proposal will contribute 1.17 million dollars to both districts, based on the state-mandated payment of $2.05 per square foot of residential development. Of this amount, $.68 would go to the FUHS District, and $1.37 to Buena Park. The Buena Park Elementary School District accepts this proposal, however, the FUHS District believed that Centex Homes should pay more to the district than the state mandates. Lengthy discussions were held with the school district, and Centex offered an additional $.20/square foot, for a total of $.88/square foot, or $115,000 above state mandates. This offer was rejected, with no counter offer.
Ms. Lindquist reported that the applicant has read and concurred with all of the recommended conditions of approval.
The following persons spoke in favor of the project:
Julia Emerson, 3502 West Flower Avenue
Sam Abdulahi, 6239 Allison Circle, Orange
Michael Forrest, La Mirada resident
Charles Gentillalli, La Habra resident
John Phelps, 1840 Lexington Drive
The points for supporting the project were:
- The development will improve the look of the present parcel, and make parkland areas more accessible.
- The project will increase property values of surrounding residential areas.
- The new development will increase the tax base of the City.
- It is a well thought-out plan and good use of the former oil field.
- Will improve the looks of Beach Boulevard.
- Will be beneficial to surrounding businesses.
The following persons spoke in opposition to the project:
Constance Spenger, 1318 East Glenwood Avenue (submitted a letter to the Commission and showed a slide program)
Carol Bostman-Anderson, 15547 Talbot Drive, La Mirada
The points of opposition were:
- The EIR was biased because the developer paid the consultant.
- The development will destroy a large parcel of natural open space, which contains many endangered species. The project will upset the ecosystem in the area, which affects many types of animals. There is too much "edge" with the development. Most endangered species require at least 300 acres to sustain them.
- The development will upset the natural features of the land.
- Will increase traffic and congestion on Beach Boulevard.
Bob Ward, 454 Pinehurst, confirmed that he had met with the developer to discuss the project. He did not feel that there was enough open space with the project, and much of the proposed open space was not viable and usable by the public.
Bernard Lipman, 2208 Via Caliente, wished to see as much open space as possible remain in the plan. Sheri Lipman, 2208 Via Caliente, hoped that the developer would take into consideration the invasion of the ecosystem and habitat.
George Giokaris, Assistant Superintendent, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, urged the representatives of Centex to again meet with the school district in at attempt to arrive at a mutually-acceptable agreement. The FUHSD felt that the Centex offer did not match the level of the Sun Cal mitigation agreement. The latest offer would not address the needs of the additional students generated by the Hawks Pointe project, without negatively impacting the current student programs. The proposed project is within the Sonora High School District, with a capacity of 1800 students and a current enrollment of 1927. While there are a number of students at Sonora on an inter-district permit, enrollment studies project that internal growth and new housing development will increase the student body well beyond 2000, exceeding student capacity.
Chairman Simons asked for the number of out-of-district students presently attending Sonora High School, and how many additional students were anticipated from this project. He expressed concern that the FUHS District was giving priority to out-of-district students, and taking up valuable class space for students who live in Fullerton.
Mr. Giokaris replied, that while he was unsure of the exact number of out-of-district students, they anticipate an additional 33 students from the project. He reiterated that projections indicate that students who live in Fullerton will cause enrollment at Sonora, and other high schools within the district, to reach capacity.
Commissioner Wilson asked how much open space from other cities, as well as Fullerton, surrounded the proposed development. Ron Baers from Centex Homes reported that there will be 280 acres of open space with the proposed Chevron project, 160 acres in the La Habra portion of the hills south of the Los Coyotes Golf Course, and 73-acres in the Coyote Hills Nature Park.
Commissioner Crane asked what the FUHS District was asking of the Commission. Mr. Giokaris replied that they had only one meeting with the Centex representatives, and were open to further negotiate a contract.
Director Dudley reminded the Commission that this was not an issue for their consideration, and was a matter between the school district and the applicant.
Commissioner Wilson did not feel that the school district was prepared for this project, or other upcoming projects, in relationship to the affect of these projects on school enrollment. He did not feel the developer should be "penalized" for problems experienced by the school board.
Reese Taylor, one of the Emery Ranch heirs and property owners, read a brief history of his family, and how they came to acquire this property. He assured the Commission that the decision of choosing a developer was carefully considered, as the desire was for a project that would be a credit to the family and the memory of his grandparents. They did not opt for a project that would maximize density, or compromise environmental concerns. He supported the project as presented.
Jim Talbot, representing Chevron Corporation, informed the Commission that the existing 39 wells are under the purview of the California Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources. Should there be a problem with any of the wells, Chevron is responsible for taking care of them. He added that Centex Homes has a strong feeling for the property in question, and will design a quality project, which will reflect positively on the Emery family.
Karen Marvin, 3055 Colt Way, wished further clarification on how high the building elevations would be along the western property line.
Chairman Simons allowed Ms. Lindquist from Centex Homes a chance to rebut any arguments heard during the public testimony.
Regarding the question about the elevation, Ms. Lindquist displayed a cross section showing the relationship between the Westside Homeowner's Association condominiums and the proposed development. It was shown that there was a 30-foot yard space, a 51-foot landscaped slope and a 27-foot rear yard, so the actual separation between buildings will be over 120 feet, and the proposed homes will be only minimally visible.
Regarding the on-site wildlife, Ms. Lindquist reported that the coyotes would be humanely trapped and relocated.
Bob Ward again spoke and reiterated that the City can maintain adequate open space, by reducing the number of units along Beach Boulevard, and adding "patio-type" homes instead of all single-family residences.
Commissioner Crane asked for clarification of the landscaping and architecture along Beach Boulevard. Ms. Lindquist reported that there is a provision in the specific plan which requires the developer to utilize enhanced building elevations at all open corners or where a home backs up to an open space. Each residence which backs up to Beach Boulevard will have this enhanced elevation. The fencing material is still being discussed, but the developer is considering using plexi-glass on top of four feet of precision block. Commissioner Crane did not feel that this would be an appropriate design along Beach Boulevard, and encouraged the applicant to further architecturally enhance the fencing.
John McKenna, landscape consultant, stated that the precision block would be an integral color, with a decorative cap and climbing vines which would adhere to the wall, creating a "green wall" concept.
Ron Baers addressed the open space issue. He explained that there were many environmental issues with this development, including a "dump site." The bluffs visible from Rosecrans Avenue will remain as is, as well as the expansion of Ralph B. Clark Park. Another aspect of the Central Valley is that it will be graded, revegetated and recreated natural area, with a trail system open to the public. The final reason for the "shifts" in the location of the residential were to provide an avoidance plan to keep away from the gnatcatcher sites.
Commissioner Crane urged the developer to work closely with the school district to arrive at an amicable agreement.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner LeQuire thanked all those in attendance for making their positions known. He felt this was a "top-quality" project and stated that the developer had a fine reputation in the community. He appreciated that they went beyond the requirements placed on the land, exceeded the open space, lessened the density and assisted the City with infrastructure needs, such as the fire station and water reservoir. He expressed concern over the disagreement between the school district and Centex, and cautioned the district that what had been received from one developer, does not necessarily constitute a precedence with another developer. He was satisfied that Centex met and exceeded their financial obligation as mandated by the State and suggested that the district concentrate on Fullerton, not out-of-district, students. He supported the project as presented. In conclusion, he suggested that the new fire station be named in honor of deceased Fullerton Fire Chief Steve Magliocco.
Commissioner Crane was satisfied with the proposed project and mitigation measures. He supported the project. Commissioners Price and Wilson and Chairman Simons concurred.
MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED by a five-to-zero vote, that the Draft Environmental Impact Report, and adoption of the mitigation measures, as amended, be RECOMMENDED to the City Council for certification.
There was a consensus of the Commission for approval. The title of Resolution No. 6909 RECOMMENDING to the City Council the granting of a tentative tract map to subdivide an approximately 86.3-acre parcel into 203 numbered and 29 lettered lots for a single-family detached subdivision, including a biological habitat area, and expansion of the Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, on property located north of Rosecrans Avenue, east of Beach Boulevard, south of La Mirada Boulevard and west of the existing city limits, was read and further reading was waived. The title of Resolution No. 6910 RECOMMENDING to the City Council adoption of a Development Agreement, as defined by Section 65865.2 of the California Government Code, between the City of Fullerton and Centex Homes pertaining to the Hawks Pointe Project located North of Rosecrans Avenue, east of Beach Boulevard, south of La Mirada Boulevard and east of the existing City limits, was read and further reading was waived. The title of Resolution No. 6911 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval of a General Plan Revision to change the land use designation on the land use map (Land Use Element) from no designation to Greenbelt Concept, and to designate the zoning as Planned Residential Development (PRD), Oil-Gas Overlay, (O-G) and Open Space (O-S) and to amend the existing West Coyote Hills Master Plan, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner LeQuire, seconded and CARRIED by a five-to-zero vote, that said Resolutions be ADOPTED AS AMENDED, to including the naming of the fire station in honor of Steve Magliocco.
Chief Planner Rosen announced that this item would be heard by the City Council on March 20, 2001.