COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CITY HALL
June 12, 2002
7:00 P.M. SESSION
Call To Order:
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Crane at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Crane; Commissioners Griffin, Price, Savage, Stopper, Wilson, and LeQuire
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Program Planner Linnell, Assistant Planner Kusch, Senior Engineer Wallin, and Recording Secretary Garfinkel
Chief Planner Rosen shared the following suggested amendments from Karen Atkinson-Dudley to the minutes of May 22, 2002:
- That Mrs. Dudley gave a presentation of photographs illustrating traffic congestion on Acacia Avenue, East Melody Lane and Fullerton Creek Road, including parking and moving violations directly associated with afternoon school traffic.
- Loading and off-loading of 40-foot diesel buses in the 'red zone' on Acacia Avenue immediately adjacent to residences, that are left standing with engines running for up to 2 + hours during sporting or other events at Rosary High School.
Chief Planner Rosen did not feel it necessary to change Page 63, paragraph 6, under the title of the Resolution approving applicant's request to include; "at an advertised public hearing", as it was a normal procedure that anything reviewed or approved by the Commission is advertised, with notification to surrounding neighbors of the subject property.
Commissioner Savage requested that page 62, paragraph 1, 3rd sentence, read: "Commissioner Savage believed parking, and traffic circulation in the area to be a problem."
MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote, with abstentions from Commissioner Price and Commissioner LeQuire, that the Minutes of the May 22, 2002 meeting be APPROVED AS AMENDED.
ITEM NO. 1
SITE PLAN SP-866 AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1065. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: HOLLY CONSTANTIN.
Staff memorandum dated June 12, 2002, was presented to consider site and architectural plans for a multi-purpose building, four classrooms and recreational facilities as part of a proposed expansion of a private school (Ivycrest Montessori); to allow the installation and use of temporary trailers for classrooms while the permanent classrooms are under construction; and to create off-site parking to meet the parking requirements of the proposed expansion for property located at 2007, 2011, 2107, and 2113 East Chapman Avenue and 514 North Mountain View Place (north side of Chapman Avenue between approximately 62 feet and 560 feet east of Mountain View Place and the east side of Mountain View Place between approximately 128 feet and 184 feet north of Chapman Avenue) (O-P and R-1-7,200 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 32 of CEQA Guidelines).
MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED unanimously that said item be CONTINUED to the June 26, 2002 meeting.
ITEM NO. 2
PARCEL MAP PM-02-111. APPLICANT: ROBIN HARTNETT; PROPERTY OWNER: PATRICK/ROBIN HARTNETT; CHARLES/PATRICIA POSS.
Staff report dated June 12, 2002, was presented to allow a subdivision of a 3.7-acre parcel into two parcels on property located at 1731 Ladera Vista Drive (north side of the extension of Pioneer Avenue, approximately 300 feet west of Ladera Vista Drive) (R-1-20,000 zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration).
Assistant Planner Kusch reported on the subject property and showed a parcel map, aerial views, and photos of the property. A previous application for lot splits was approved in September of 1992 and subsequently expired. In February of 2000, the Planning Commission approved another lot split. Due to various reasons, the previous property owners decided not to pursue the project and sold the property to the current applicant in October of 2001. The Planning Commission approved a request by the current owners for a three-lot subdivision and the applicant appealed certain conditions of approval regarding offers for street dedications to the City Council. The City Council subsequently denied the appeal and upheld the Planning Commission-imposed conditions.
The four main issues in the staff report are as follows:
Although this property was not located within the conservation area, coastal sage scrub and a United States Geological Survey designated "blueline stream", both considered environmentally sensitive areas, exist within the property's boundaries. As a condition of approval, the applicant would be required to obtain review and approval from the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers prior to issuance of grading permits. Letters from two of the regulatory agencies were referenced as attached exhibits to the staff report.
TRAFFIC & CIRCULATION
Previously approved tract maps proposed extending Pioneer Street along the western edge of the subject property, terminating in a cul-de-sac at the northwesterly edge of the site. Offers of future street and slope dedications have been recorded on properties to the west of the project site, however, the current applicant has no need to extend the road as previously designed as access would be through a private driveway off of Ladera Vista Drive. This raised concern from the property owner located to the north of the subject property and was expressed in a letter from Mr. Thomas Christensen, dated September 6, 2001 (Exhibit D). Mr. Patrick Hartnett's response to this letter was shown as Exhibit E.
To accommodate future development to the north of the project site, the project applicant would be required to record an offer of future street and slope dedication similar to the adjacent properties to the west. The condition was included in the City Engineer's letter and was a required condition.
Precise grading and foundation plans need to be approved by the Director of Development Services prior to the issuance of grading permits. The development shall also comply with the City's Hillside Grading Ordinance.
GENERAL PLAN CONSISTENCY- NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER
Staff believed the size and configuration of the lots were consistent with the pattern of this hillside community and General Plan Policy LU 2.5, Neighborhood Preservation.
Chief Planner Rosen clarified there was also a coastal sage habitat on the north side of the property.
Assistant Planner Kusch showed a map of properties notified of this public hearing, which included zoning designations.
Staff received a letter from neighbors expressing concern about access to neighboring properties for weed abatement purposes and outdoor lighting issues. Condition #7 partially addressed neighbors concerns for outdoor lighting, which would be subject to Staff Committee approval.
Staff recommended the Planning Commission make the findings contained in the Staff Report and approve the subject request to the recommended conditions.
Commissioner Savage requested clarification of the 30-foot dedication on the aerial view.
Commissioner Stopper asked about putting a road through the above-mentioned habitat and bluestream area. Chief Planner Rosen indicated it would be an extremely long process as permission from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife would be necessary.
Commissioner Stopper asked what options were available to develop property north of the subject site. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that this was the only proposed access into the canyon to date. Commissioner Stopper asked who was responsible for that property, if it was an easement. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated the property owner would be responsible for the property until the City accepted it. Commissioner Stopper verified with Senior Engineer Wallin that the property easement offered to the City previously by a property owner had no time limit on it.
Commissioner Savage asked what property owners would gain from dedicating this property. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated there would be no benefit unless a road was built through the canyon.
Commissioner Griffin asked for verification of the existing offers. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that the offers of dedication were directly to the west of this site at the bottom of the canyon. Senior Engineer Wallin noted that these dedications were recorded with the Orange County Recorder's office.
Commissioner Price asked if this application were granted without dedication, would this be the only portion of property without a dedicated easement. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated there was one other property that would be needed to provide a continuous 60-foot right-of-way.
Chairman Crane verified on the aerial view how many properties to the north had given offers of dedication. Senior Engineer Wallin pointed out one piece to the north and the tract north of Acacia Avenue.
Commissioner Wilson asked why the City was recommending a 60-foot road in a rural neighborhood. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that the minimum right-of-way requirement was 60-foot even though it was rural. He also indicated that to construct a "rural road" would require amending the Rural Road GSP or an action by City Council. If the properties to the west wanted to subdivide and build homes, a rural road could be built, however, the right-of-way requirement was still 50-60 feet. Senior Engineer Wallin added that a private road was different than a driveway. It used to be a requirement that access had to come off of a frontage road to subdivide, however, rules have changed to allow driveway access.
Commissioner Wilson asked in regard to Condition #7, if lighting would be on the west side facing east. Chief Planner Rosen indicated there could be strategic placement of special lights that would not hinder the habitat or neighbors.
Commissioner Griffin asked if a property owner wanted to develop the northern canyon area, would they be responsible to build a road, storm drains, sewer, etc. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Stopper asked if the City had plans to extend Pioneer Road, and Senior Engineer Wallin indicated there was nothing forecasted or budgeted.
Public hearing opened.
Applicant, Patricia Poss, owner 1604 Island Drive, Fullerton, 92833, President of C.W. Poss, Inc.
- Noted her husband, herself, her daughter and son-in-law for the purpose of building a family compound own this property
- Noted original plans asked for a 3-lot subdivision, which had been reduced to a 2-lot subdivision
- It was their plan to preserve the open space and environment
- Did not feel dedication was fair
Robin Hartnett - one of the property owners
- Did not want easement on west side of property taken
- Wanted to preserve open space
- Believed there could be a more creative approach to building a future road in this area
- Felt the road could be smaller and would consider a 25-foot slope dedication
Commissioner Wilson asked if the easement would interfere with tennis court plans. Mrs. Hartnett indicated she did not know, since there was no design to work with at the present time.
Commissioner Price verified with Mrs. Hartnett that the only concern is the offer of dedication, and asked if the applicant agreed with the other conditions. Mrs. Hartnett answered affirmatively. She also indicated that the lighting issues have constraints with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Patrick Hartnett - applicant and co property owner
- Noted the packet of prior letters and transcripts from the October 11, 2001 meeting provided to the Commission
- Felt property (proposed easement) was being taken by the City and noted that it was half of an acre
- Indicated that they were trying to preserve the open space
- Believed the easement was illegal under the subdivision map act
Commissioner Wilson asked Mr. Hartnett if he was considering an environmental dedication. Mr. Hartnett indicated he had not talked with family yet concerning this idea.
Commissioner Price stated that an opinion from the City Attorney would be necessary to determine if the City was within their rights. Senior Engineer Wallin stated that staff was of the opinion that the request was legal even though staff's reasoning was different than the City Attorney's.
Tom Christiansen, 3334 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA (son of Thomas Christiansen)
- Believed Commission was correct in placing restrictions
- Since all of the properties on the west have dedicated easements, the applicants on the subject property should not be treated any differently
- His father's property set a precedence when dedication of an easement in 1975 was made a condition of approval
- Believed that the easement gave flexibility to the future development of a road
Commissioner Savage asked Mr. Christiansen what forms of assurances were made by the City of Fullerton in regard to the dedication. Mr. Christiansen indicated there were never formal declarations, letters or assurances.
Commissioner Griffin asked that all maps, letters and transcripts be made part of public record.
Commissioner LeQuire noted for the record, that the Planning Commissioners did not have time to review the transcript submitted by Mr. Hartnett.
Kirk Bradland, 1742 North Acacia Avenue - property borders western side of subject property
- Was surprised that easement dedication was still an issue
- Believed that the City had a plan even, though it was not specific, for the designated property
- Believed the request for easement was done in a state of "fair play"
- A letter was submitted from neighbors in agreement that the vegetation and wildlife needs to be maintained and that access was needed for weed abatement and fire access
Commissioner Wilson asked if a future owner could be required to dedicate an easement if they further subdivided the property. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively.
Kathy Hillen-Riloda, 1710 North Acacia
- Due to City ordinance, weeds have to be removed each spring; therefore, property owners were most concerned with access for weed abatement and fire problems
Jackie Schless , 1721 Ladera Vista
- Believed everyone could use "weed whackers" to control weeds like the Synagogue does
- Tractors were not always necessary
- A new road would harm any wildlife
- The Hartnett and Poss families had been very cooperative
Hugo Presinaly - 203 N. Golden Circle Drive, Santa Ana. Engineer for Hartnetts
- Did not believe that canyon road was shown in Master Plan for City of Fullerton
- When the wildlife habitat preserve was created, it changed the canyon
- Any easement that was put on the clients' property immediately implied that the canyon would be destroyed
- The neutral slope size was 2:1 indicating the ravine would have to be filled to meet that requirement
Commissioner Wilson asked if there would need to be drains to handle any flooding. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that the City was interested in maintaining this property as natural as possible. A fill would need to be started with a retaining wall if another owner wanted to build.
Commissioner Wilson asked if the canyon would have to be filled to build the road. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated yes, that is why a 30-foot easement was needed, to allow flexible design. With a 60-foot total run, it would make it easier to design a rural road because its alignment would vary and could take into consideration the design location of the stream with the ability to redirect the waterway.
Chairman Crane verified that the roadway may never happen and asked if the applicant was offered these options. Staff answered affirmatively.
Sam Lee, 1821 Ladera Vista Place, moved into the neighborhood in 1999
- Bought his home based on the huge open spaces with natural habitat
- If he knew a large public road was going to be built, he would not have bought there
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Savage noted that on the last application there were three homes proposed versus two homes in the current application. He asked if the Pioneer Road extension was a requirement to access one of those properties. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that the previous three-lot application took access along the southern line of the property. The extension of the easement into the canyon had no more value on that application than on the current one.
Recess was called at 8:52 p.m.
Meeting was called back to order at 8:56 p.m.
Public hearing opened.
The applicant, Mrs. Hartnett was asked to return to the podium.
Commissioner Griffin asked when was property purchased. The applicant noted that escrow closed on November 1, 2001. Commissioner Griffin then asked if the applicant was aware of the proposed easement when the property was purchased. The applicant indicated she was aware a road would have to be offered. Commissioner Wilson noted that an easement would have to show up on a preliminary title report.
Commissioner Griffin asked the applicant, based on the City's request for 60 feet of property in which to design a road that would have the least impact on the habitat and neighbors, if they would be willing to move the easement 15 feet to the east so that the property owners to the west could recoup 15 feet. The applicant indicated that only the neighbors to the west would benefit from that suggestion. Commissioner Griffin then asked if the applicant's answer was no. The applicant responded affirmatively.
Commissioner Wilson asked if the applicant would be amenable to the City moving the waterway outside the proposed easement. The applicant replied affirmatively, if it remained a natural area with the same look and feel, and there was no road.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Wilson thanked neighbors and applicants for their input. He did not believe fire-clearing concerns were an issue, as they do not change under the current proposal. He also indicated he did not agree with requiring an easement on property as a condition of approval. Commissioner Wilson would support the subdivision without the easement.
Commissioner Savage also felt weed abatement was not a related issue. He believed that this application was a significant change from the previous proposal. He also felt that everyone would benefit from the easement with the exception of the applicant. Commissioner Savage would support the subdivision without the easement.
Commissioner LeQuire questioned staff regarding the wording, "To accommodate future development to the north of the project site, the project applicant will be required to record an offer of future street and slope dedication similar to the adjacent properties to the west." Commissioner LeQuire asked to hold his comments until later.
Commissioner Price believed the applicant should bear the same burdens as surrounding property owners. Environmental issues and costs would outweigh the need for the road in the future. To support this project without an easement would stop any future opportunities of a road. Commissioner Price supported the subdivision with the recommended conditions.
Commissioner Stopper felt the City was asking for an easement that could not be justified with any future use. Commissioner Stopper supported the subdivision without the easement.
Commissioner LeQuire, after thanking everyone who took the time to attend, noted that by requiring an easement, it would allow for future flexibility. He believed that no one wanted a 60-foot road, however, supported the subdivision with the recommended conditions.
Chairman Crane expressed gratitude for everyone's input. He noted that there was no opposition to a lot split, and the only issue was requiring an easement. He added that he would support the subdivision with the easement condition in order to accommodate future road design flexibility.
The title of Resolution No. 6971 APPROVING a request to allow a subdivision of a 3.7-acre parcel into two parcels on property located at 1731 Ladera Vista Drive, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded and CARRIED that said Resolution be APPROVED by a 4-3 vote, with Commissioners Stopper, Wilson, and Savage voting no.
ITEM NO. 3
PARCEL MAP PM-02-137. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: CLIFFORD ASHCROFT.
Staff report dated June 12, 2002, was presented to allow a subdivision of a 24,000-square-foot lot into three parcels on property located at 810 Arroyo Place (east side of Arroyo Place approximately 165 feet and 277 feet north of Arroyo Drive) (R-1-7,200 zone) (Categorically exempt under Class 32 of CEQA Guidelines).
Program Planner Linnell showed a site map and aerial photos that highlighted the subject property. Staff felt the proposed subdivision was consistent with the neighborhood, and recommended approval with conditions.
Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that he wanted to modify a condition in his letter to require complete pavement of the road in front of the subject property to 12 feet east of the centerline.
Commissioner Griffin asked Senior Engineer Wallin if the condition to add pavement was critical. Senior Engineer Wallin replied it was not a condition that was critical; the City was just trying to bring the street up to standard.
Chairman Crane asked if the street pavement was a fire safety issue. Senior Engineer Wallin answered that was not the major concern.
Commissioner Savage asked if five feet were being given to the property owner. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that was correct. The Planning Department has asked for a 20-foot, setback instead of 15-foot setback so the abandonment offsets the increased setback.
Public hearing opened.
Applicant, Cliff Ashcroft, of 1310 Domingo, Fullerton, indicated that this parcel was not typical of its surroundings. The property had gone through a major facelift and plans were being prepared to respect the location of mature trees and the natural grade of the property. He said that he has tried to communicate with as many neighbors as possible and to date the only issue brought up was in regard to water drainage on the north side and the erosion of the hillside. The City informed him that no more than a one-story residence could be built on the back lot (Parcel 3).
Chairman Crane asked the applicant if he had read the report and conditions and if he was in agreement. The applicant replied that he had some concerns, but he can work with the conditions. Mr. Ashcroft indicated he was concerned about condition #6, which indicated that the residences on Parcels 1 and 3 be equipped with sprinklers and with condition #8 that required a 20-foot front yard setback, rather than 15 feet.
Chairman Crane asked staff why there was a sprinkler issue. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that the Fire Department was requiring the existing house to be sprinkled since the proposed house on the front parcel would limit access for fighting fires and that they would not drive their trucks up the driveway.
Commissioner Griffin noted that the back lot could only be one-story. The applicant indicated that current plans would accommodate a terraced landscape, whereby the height of the house would not exceed ten feet above the natural grade.
James Crippin, neighbor directly north to the subject property
- Main concern was that water drained from Fern Drive down through his property
- He did not want the proposed retaining wall to dam up the water on his property
- Also noted that parking was a problem if cars park on both sides of the street
Commissioner Griffin asked Mr. Crippin if he was recommending that the additional condition for additional pavement would be an answer to parking problems. Mr. Crippin replied, "Parking was an issue."
Annika Santalahti , 615 S. Beverly Drive, Fullerton
- Property owner downstream of this tentative map
- Single concern was adverse effect with storm drainage in the general neighborhood
- Asked if a drainage report had addressed this issue
- Asked if the increase would be handled by the existing drainage system, or would it be subject to flooding due to inadequate drainage
- Photos and a map were given to the commissioners of the drainage problems
- Estimated 225 residences drain into unimproved easement
- Who was responsible for maintain the unimproved easement?
- Does the property owner have the right to add houses without making improvements?
- Existing conditions are detrimental to three houses that flood during heavy rains.
- Does Fullerton have a master drawing plan?
Senior Engineer Wallin indicated he would need to research the master plan to determine who owned a public drainage easement. He also indicated that development could not be stopped for increasing runoff. He indicated there was a master plan for drainage; however, this particular drainage issue was not considered a top priority.
Chairman Crane indicated that this was an issue that should be brought up with the Engineering Department.
Glen Noreen, 821 N. Arroyo, 824 Arroyo Place (neighbor across the street and up)
- Was concerned about the need for additional parking spaces on the street
- The aesthetics of the difference in setback for the house closest to the street
- Wanted to oppose the subdivision and included a letter to be placed into public record
Pricilla Johnson, Ramona Drive - moved to Fullerton 7 years ago
- Street had a mix with well-maintained residences and fixer-uppers and she was happy to see property was being cleaned up - a new house on the front lot would be a positive.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner LeQuire indicated that he viewed the property site and believed that a house would be an improvement. Regarding erosion on the back property, he was concerned that the applicant was being too ambitious with the proposed third lot in the back part of the property and the setback. He felt there should be a limit of two houses.
Commissioner Wilson said that he considered Commissioner LeQuire's suggestion to be valid based on the R-1-7,200 zoning. Most of the properties in this area were closer to one-quarter of an acre.
Commissioner Savage indicated the application did meet the code requirements, however, he was not in favor of the three-lot split due to the length of the driveway to service three lots. He would prefer two houses. If the lot were flat, it would alleviate the problems.
Commissioner Griffin verified with the applicant's engineer that there was a drainage plan to be recommended and approved. Senior Engineer Wallin indicated that drainage would have to be provided so that water would not dam-up on the adjacent property.
Commissioner Griffin believed the project met zoning requirements and therefore he supported the proposal as it stood.
Commissioner Stopper was also concerned that the size of the lot did not promote three houses.
Commissioner Price believed this project fit the zoning and the applicant had met requirements. He agreed that two houses would be better than three, however, would support this project.
Chairman Crane would support this project.
Commissioner Savage asked if there was anything in the zoning law that required flag lots or uneven terrain to add any square footage to the proposed lots. Chief Planner Rosen replied there were no additional requirements. There were only restrictions of height for buildings on steep slopes. However, staff was planning on returning to the Planning Commission with recommended standards for flag lots.
The title of Resolution No. 6972 APPROVING a request to allow a subdivision of a 24,000-square-foot lot into three parcels on property located at 810 Arroyo Place was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED by a 4-3 vote, with Commissioners Stopper, Wilson, and Savage voting no that said resolution be APPROVED AS AMENDED adding a condition by engineering requiring additional pavement to complete this pavement 12 feet west of the centerline.
ITEM NO. 4a
AMENDMENT A-1477 AND GPR-02-2A. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.
Staff report dated June 12, 2002, was presented to change the land use designation of the Land Use Map of the General Plan from "Downtown Mixed Use" to "Government Facilities" and to consider changing the zone classification from C-3 to P-L for the properties from 214 to 224 West Amerige Avenue and from 219 to 227 West Commonwealth Avenue (south side of Amerige Avenue between 175 feet and 250 feet west of Malden Avenue and the north side of Commonwealth Avenue between 200 feet and 375 feet west of Malden Avenue) (Negative Declaration).
ITEM NO. 4b
AMENDMENT A-1478 AND GPR-02-2B. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.
Staff report dated June 12, 2002, was presented to change the land use designation of the Land Use Map of the General Plan from "Medium Density Residential" to "Commercial" and to consider applying the C-2 zone classification for the property at 223 West Amerige Avenue (north side of Amerige Avenue between approximately 250 feet and 300 feet west of Malden Avenue) (Negative Declaration).
Chairman Crane recused himself from these matters and Vice-Chairman Price led the meeting.
There were no questions of staff.
Public hearing opened.
The title of Resolution Nos. 6973 and 6974 APPROVING a request to change the land use designation of the Land Use Map of the General Plan from "Downtown Mixed Use" to "Government Facilities" and to consider changing the zone classification from C-3 to P-L for the properties from 214 to 224 West Amerige Avenue and from 219 to 227 West Commonwealth Avenue; and to change the land use designation of the Land Use Map of the General Plan from "Medium Density Residential" to "Commercial" and to consider applying the C-2 zone classification for the property at 223 West Amerige Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED unanimously by voting members present, that said Resolutions be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief report.
There were no public comments.
The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be June 26, 2002, at 4:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:41 p.m.