December 10, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Price at 4:00 p.m.
Chairman Price, Commissioners Crane, Francis Griffin, Savage, Stopper
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Kusch, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin, and Recording Secretary Bird
Chairman Price presented Roy LeQuire with a Resolution signed by the Mayor and City Clerk recognizing his services as a Commissioner and Vice Chairman for the Planning Commission.
MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded and carried by a 5-0 vote with Commissioner Crane abstaining, that the Minutes of November 19, 2003, be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
4:00 P.M. SESSION
ITEM NO. 1
PRJ03-00592 - ZON03-00055. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: MARION HOMES FOR THE HANDICAPPED.
Staff report dated December 10, 2003, was presented pertaining to a request to allow a residential care facility, including the interior remodel of the existing apartment complex, and an additional dwelling unit resulting in a total of five apartments, on property located at 1318 Citrus Avenue (southeast corner of Citrus and Woodcrest Avenues) (R-3 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15301 of CEQA Guidelines).
Assistant Planner Kusch explained that the applicant proposes to establish an independent living residential facility at the existing apartment complex. The applicant had received a HUD Section 811 grant to finance the purchase of the property, related building improvements and control the affordability of the rents. To be eligible for the grant, the applicant is seeking City approval to increase the number of dwelling units on the subject property to a total of five apartments. The applicant proposes to use the property to provide a permanent residence for nine developmentally or physically disabled adults. The facility is not required to be licensed by the state. As a result, an on site manager or supervisor is not required. The applicant proposes to contract with an independent living service, Integrity House located in Fullerton. Integrity House would be responsible for property maintenance and helping residents with life skills, such as timely utility payments and grocery purchases. The proposed "independent-living residential facility" is a use not explicitly defined in the Fullerton Municipal Code. The proposed use is comparable to a "large residential care facility", a use allowed by Conditional Use Permit. The major difference is that care facilities are directly licensed by the State of California, but the proposed facility is not. The purpose of the Conditional Use Permit is to review the impacts associated with the proposed project to ensure the project is reasonably compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
The property is currently improved with an apartment complex consisting of three two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. The applicant proposes to convert the three-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom unit and add a fifth unit as an efficiency unit. The proposed remodel would not add additional dwelling area or square footage to the apartment complex. The proposed remodel would include exterior improvements as outlined in the staff report. It was reported that, after the staff report was published, an e-mail was received noting concern with the limited parking on site. Since the residents will all be developmentally or physically disabled and will most likely not have vehicles, staff did not feel this was an issue. It was staff's recommendation to approve the project subject to the conditions outlined in the staff report.
Chairman Price requested that an e-mail received from Winifred and Greg Hopkins dated December 3, 2003, be included as part of the record.
Commissioner Savage questioned if there were any plans to upgrade the garage doors to roll up doors or electronic doors to make them more useable; and questioned how someone other than a resident would gain access to the garages.
Assistant Planner Kusch replied that he was not aware of any upgrading to the garage doors; it was his understanding that the residents would have access to the garage and, presumably if they had a guest coming over, they could arrange for parking in the garages. He noted that the bedroom count would not change; only the number of units, because with the HUD grant the facility must have at least five residential units.
Commissioner Francis asked what the minimum number of parking spaces would be for five units; and what would happen if someone wanted to use the project for non-disabled people in the future. Assistant Planner Kusch noted he did not have the parking space numbers readily available; and the intent of the applicant was to serve the disabled. Chief Planner Rosen stated that a HUD Section 811 grant was specifically for disabled individuals, and if the company defaults they would find a new company to take over the project.
Commissioner Stopper asked for clarification of Condition 5 and the relationship between the number of bedrooms and the number of parking spaces. Assistant Planner Kusch reported that this condition ensures that if the HUD Section 811 grant should go away, the improvements that the applicant are proposing would also go away and the apartment would revert back to its original status, since it would not comply with the current parking standards, based on the number of bedrooms.
Commissioner Stopper stated he was surprised that the City could exercise the prerogative of converting it back to its original state when the parking will be the same. Chief Planner Rosen explained that it would be exacerbating a non-conforming status by adding the additional unit. The proposed population for the apartment complex is a total of nine residents. By applying housing codes, there could be five families residing in the apartment complex. Reverting back to the original 4 units is basically removing a kitchen. Chief Planner Rosen noted it was a reasonable condition to allow an exception from the code for a nonconforming condition.
The public hearing was opened.
Larry Caldeman, architect representing the sponsor, Marian Homes, stated they have no objections to any of the conditions recommended by staff.
Commissioner Stopper asked if the HUD Section 811 grant was a yearly grant or a one time grant. Mr. Caldeman stated it was a one-time grant that allows Marian Homes to deal with the current issues of the property, they will take out a new mortgage to have money for repairs to the building and there will be no additional funding from HUD after that. He noted that the property would be used by the same population of residents currently residing in the apartments; nothing will change much, other than the need to present five units to HUD to qualify for the program.
Commissioner Stopper asked if it was standard operating procedure to have a caregiver on the premises, or if it depended on the degree of disability. Mr. Caldeman reported that Marian Homes operates group homes where there is a maximum of six individuals for people who are unable to live on their own and a care provider is on site. This particular project houses people who are physically and/or mentally handicapped, but highly functional and are able to live and function on their own.
Commissioner Crane questioned if any improvements would be made to the alley area. Mr. Caldeman stated they were not proposing any improvements to the garage doors; the funding will be spent directly on the units.
Commissioner Griffin asked for clarification of how the control of the garages will be managed, if each resident is assigned a garage and what the storage situation is like. Mr. Caldeman reported that the garages are unoccupied and are not assigned; it is his understanding the garages will not be assigned to a specific resident and the use of the garages for anything beyond an afternoon visit needs to be coordinated with the company overseeing the property.
Commissioner Griffin was concerned for the residents and their caregivers in the event there is no parking available for pick up or drop off, it could propose a problem. Mr. Caldeman stated he felt arrangements could be made for the caregivers to have adequate parking.
Chairman Price questioned how long the current residents have been living on the property. Mr. Caldeman referred this question to Joe Flynn, treasurer of Marian Homes.
Mr. Flynn reported that Marian Homes is a non-profit organization; this particular facility opened in July of 2001. There are approximately five people that have been there since 2001 as steady residents. He noted that generally there is not much turnover with few vacancies and there is a large demand for this type of residence. The majority of the residents are 28 to 29 years old, disabled, with little or no money to rent an apartment. Marian Homes provides a safe, accommodating environment that has been well received by the community.
Commissioner Griffin asked Mr. Flynn if he had any more information about the possibility of using the garages for the caregivers. Mr. Flynn reported that he did not know that the parking was a problem, but it could be solved very easily by giving the caregivers a garage door opener to one of the garages at the facility. He noted that they have been very reluctant for some of the garages to be used; there have been people who have wanted to rent them and then end up using them for fixing cars.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Stopper stated that this facility is strength to the city and he was supportive of the project.
Commissioner Griffin expressed support for the project, noting it was a great addition to serve the needs of the disabled community; and he was going to ask that a condition be placed regarding the parking/garage issue, but that is no longer necessary since Mr. Flynn has expressed his full cooperation regarding this matter.
Commissioner Crane noted this project was a huge benefit to the community and he would support the project, but encouraged the applicant to look at the external elements of the project, specifically garage door improvements.
The title of Resolution No. PC-03-35 APPROVING a Conditional Use Permit allowing an independent living residential facility for the developmentally disabled population of the community, including the interior remodel of an existing apartment complex that would include an additional dwelling unit resulting in a total of five apartments, on property located at 1318 Citrus Avenue was read and further reading was waived. Motion by Commissioner Savage, seconded and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
ITEM NO. 2
PRJ03-00432 - PM2003-193. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: ALI RAMEZANI.
Staff report dated December 10, 2003 was presented pertaining to a request to subdivide and rough grade an existing lot into four parcels, each ranging in gross area from 11,967 square feet to 26,748 square feet, on property located at 2200 North Moody Avenue (east side of Moody Avenue between approximately 423 and 552 feet north of Almira Ave) (R-1-10,000 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15315 of CEQA Guidelines).
Assistant Planner Kusch reported this was a request to subdivide a 1.60-acre property into four separate parcels with a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet. It was noted the exact net and gross square footage of each parcel was included in the staff report; background analysis, findings, recommendations and recommended conditions were outlined in detail. He reported that a community meeting was held with 15 people in attendance and a list of their concerns was included in the staff report as Attachment 5 under community meeting notes. Letters of concern were received and are included in the staff report as attachments 6 and 7; and a petition in support of the project was received and was included as attachment 8.
Staff had concerns with the draining and grading of the property and has requested submittal of a preliminary geotechnical report, which will determine if over-excavation is required for the site; this has been included as a condition of approval. At the request of staff, a conceptual rendering was requested, which is included in the staff report as attachments 9 and 10.
It was reported that MG disposal would not access the private driveway, and the proposed homeowners association will have to arrange to haul trash containers to the driveway on Moody Avenue.
Staff feels the proposal was consistent with the zoning and General Plan designations for the site, and consistent with the existing subdivisions in the area and recommended approval subject to the conditions as amended. The last sentence in recommended condition of approval No. 8 has been amended to state that the minimum front yard setback from Moody Avenue for Parcel No. 1 shall be 25 feet. Recommended Condition of Approval No. 6 also was amended to allow a solid 3-foot fence or wall on top of the proposed 3-foot retaining wall along the north property line.
Commissioner Savage noted that the way the conceptual drawings were made the houses look like they are three stories. Assistant Planner Kusch noted that they are a split-level design to work with the property's existing topography.
Chief Planner Rosen noted they are very conceptual elevations; the code doesn't allow three- story buildings.
Commissioner Savage asked what the width of Moody Avenue was, and asked if a 20-foot driveway was a standard width. Assistant Planner Kusch reported that Moody Avenue is 40 feet wide. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated Moody Avenue is a rural road that is 40 feet. The proposed 20-foot wide driveway would be more like an alley, so it is not a street, but rather a driveway.
Commissioner Savage asked if a 15 foot setback is consistent with an R-1-10,000 property and asked what the setback of the house to the north was. Assistant Planner Kusch noted that the property's existing residence is set back approximately 20 feet. The setback on the property to the south is approximately 30 feet from Moody Avenue.
Chief Planner Rosen explained that, for purposes of determining building setbacks, Parcel No. 1 would have two front yard setbacks, 25 feet from Moody Avenue and 20 feet from the proposed driveway. If the driveway were treated as a side yard, the required building setback from the driveway would be 5 feet. The remaining parcels fronting the new driveway will also have the equivalent of a 15-foot front yard setback from the driveway. He noted that the adjacent property to the north currently has its residence setback approximately 20 feet from its south property line. Combining the proposed driveway width, the existing setback of the adjacent residence to the north, and the front yard setbacks of the proposed residences, the overall separation of the proposed residences to the existing residence to the north is at least 50 feet. He also noted that the encroachment from the home to the north on the subject property has to have some resolution in terms of a replacement wall or a three-foot landscape buffer along the property line before the driveway begins.
Commissioner Crane asked for an explanation of the parking easement location relative to the map and how it relates to the grades that look substantial and percentage of steepness and where guest parking would be, and how would the fire department turn around. Assistant Planner Kusch stated there would be an ingress and egress easement, and a hammerhead- designed turnaround area to meet Fire Department requirements. Guest parking would be along the driveway. Chief Planner Rosen noted the fire department would not go down the road. Staff noted the fire department is requiring site hydrants and the houses would have sprinklers.
Commissioner Crane noted he was concerned about guest parking and questioned how emergency vehicles would turn around. Assistant Planner Kusch noted there would be minimal guest parking fronting Parcel No. 3.
Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated he felt there was some confusion between a driveway and a road and noted this proposal is for a driveway; if the fire department requires a fire lane then there will be no parking. There is no intent to drive a truck down the driveway because it is not large enough, and there is no turn around area large enough for a fire truck.
Commissioner Crane noted there was a list of signatures of people who thought this was a good project. He asked if staff plotted where they are on the neighborhood map; what the average front yard setbacks were to the adjacent homes, and if the front parcel would meet the required front yard setback. Assistant Planner Kusch advised that the plotted map was not included as part of the petition. He showed a map which plotted the properties that signed the petition. It was reported that they have negotiated for a proposed set back for Parcel 1 to be amended to 25 feet.
Commissioner Crane asked if the front yard setback required approval of a variance. Chief Planner Rosen reported that staff felt, given the specific conditions, that this was sufficient enough to approve the setback at this location.
Commissioner Stopper asked what the lot sizes of the surrounding neighborhood were. Assistant Planner Kusch noted that the average size appears to be a acre, although some are or acre.
Commissioner Griffin asked if the city code provided maximum lot coverage and if so, what the lot coverage was for 10,000 square feet; and questioned the difference in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) versus lot coverage. Assistant Planner Kusch displayed a table showing the development standards and noted the lot coverage is basically a building footprint, and the FAR does not include the driveway, but does include any second story area.
Commissioner Savage asked if there are any lots with multiple flag lots on them. Staff reported there usually are just two residents to one lot although there is one on Almira Avenue that has three lots.
The public hearing was opened.
Mike Kim, A&E Consultants thanked staff for all the guidance afforded to them on this project; stated they had worked diligently to comply with their requirements and to create an appropriate project for this area. He apologized that the initial section drawings may have created a third story illusion. What they are proposing is a split-level home with a low profile frontage. Regarding the trash issue, he noted they would comply with all of the conditions. The Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for the proposed Homeowners Association will incorporate landscaping, trash and maintenance issues and responsibilities. He reported that no mature trees were identified as endangered in the submitted arborist report, and they will try to save as many as possible. The driveway will provide parallel parking of 3-4 cars. They have worked extensively with the Fire and Engineering departments on the fire protection issues, and noted that Mr. Tom Thompson of the Fire Department indicated they meet the fire department access requirements in every way. In addition, all of the homes will have sprinklers and there will be two on-site fire hydrants to meet fire access requirements.
Chairman Price asked if the applicant had reviewed the conditions and was in agreement with them, and Mr. Kim replied affirmatively.
Commissioner Crane asked if he indicated that the design intent was to minimize grading, noting that of the site is graded with manufactured slopes and pads and it appears none of the front area trees can be saved. He also asked if the architect was hired after the grading plan was done. Mr. Kim replied they were only providing the architectural drawings as a conceptual plan; they will not be the final designs and will go through a lot more scrutiny. A staff architect did the preliminary architectural drawings.
Commissioner Crane noted in the arborist report (Attachment 12) he was not seeing any recommended trees to save, just a list of what is there now, and questioned if there was a list of what trees should be saved or relocated. He noted that nowhere in the report does it say what trees should be saved, and he was confused about the concept of saving trees. Mr. Kim stated that the contract under which the report was done was to mitigate the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, and the purpose was to assure that the applicant is not destroying any trees identified as endangered. As part of the development process, the applicant is required to submit a landscape plan, and Mr. Kim will address what trees can and cannot be saved. There will be heavy grading and the chance of saving trees is remote, although in the areas not being touched by grading, the trees will remain. They are sensitive to the environmental issues and will be trying to minimize altering the site as much as possible. It was suggested to grade the entire site, but they prefer to minimize that as much as possible.
Commissioner Stopper asked that Mr. Kim explain the design concept associated with sewage flow. Mr. Kim noted that their first preference was to have a gravity sewer connection to an existing public sewer located in an adjacent development to the east. But, we were refused access to the adjacent property, so we will have a sewage pump which is an acceptable method. The pump will be located on the private road/driveway, and all of the sewage will go into a sewer main that will pump it out to Moody Avenue into the public sewer. He noted there were two different concepts: a forced main or a lift station. They would like to do this by lift station, but they don't know if that is possible, although they will put the pump as close as to Moody Avenue as possible.
Ali Ramezani, developer/owner clarified for Commissioner Crane that the list of trees at the end of the report indicates there are no endangered species or trees that need to be saved.
Sam DeLuca, property owners on the north side of the project noted that they were promised a perspective view of what is going to happen, and although they have an aerial perspective which shows a very low wall, it appears there is a considerable amount of fill that needs to be done right next to where his house is. He was trying to understand how this will be accomplished, and how there could be a three-foot wall with a six-foot wrought iron fence on top of that. The aerial perspective shows just a small wall, and questioned what the true perspective was. They are very concerned with what happens to the wall and their home, because all of the current grading was done prior to building of the house. There is a severe drop to the proposed driveway, and there has to be fill. He was unsure of where the grade was going to be. He noted another picture shows the entrance of the driveway will be a curved route and questioned if that was accurate. He expressed concern about the rubble and the wall, what will happen to their property when the wall comes down. He stated he would like to see more true perspective drawings, especially with respect to how it is going to impact the property and the view.
Chairman Price deferred his questions to staff, but noted that there was an amendment to the condition regarding the three-foot retaining wall, and only an additional three feet would be allowed.
Mr. DeLuca stated that the front of his house is set back 100 feet from Moody, and there is a second level down below. He questioned the grading, since 120 feet towards the rear of his property there is an eight-foot drop from his level to the existing grade. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin reported that according to the proposed grading plan, a five-foot fill will be needed along the north property side; there is an eight-foot drop and a three-foot wall which matches the diagram. When they have finished grading, the lot will be three feet lower, rather than eight feet lower.
Chairman Price clarified that with a maximum six-foot high wall, they would see a lower profile wall than what Mr. DeLuca feared.
Dennis O'Connor, representative for Fullerton Creek Homeowners Association, stated that the zoning map was misleading. There are 11 houses in Fullerton Creek that face this proposed property. He asked how tall the house on the top of Lot 4 would be, as it is close to his property line. He stated that a three-story house would diminish his lifestyle as well, and questioned what the setback from the property line is going to be for the house on Lot 4. Chief Planner Rosen stated that area was classified as the side yard of that lot, and would be required to have a five-foot setback from the property line and staff did not apply any additional setbacks.
Mr. O'Connor felt the setback should be more; they are entitled to a lifestyle as well and shouldn't have to worry about someone looking down on their homes. He stated there is a letter with two concerns, one regarding the sewer and the other has to do with drainage. He questioned who was going to give the easement required for drainage. He noted the builders have requested to drain the property through their development, and they have declined them access to do this. He questioned if the plan is to run off the drainage through Fullerton Creek, and noted this will be problem with the Fullerton Creek Homeowners Association.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Savage stated that he had been out to the property twice and walked downhill, and there has to be enough fill in there in order to keep the proposed driveway at 12%. He questioned if the plan was to fill it higher than the neighboring property to the north. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated that there is fill along portions of the property, but it stays lower than the property to the north.
Commissioner Francis asked if there was a concern with the water run off. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated this was the second or third attempt at resolving the drainage, but the Homeowners Association on the adjacent property to the east will not accept the applicant's request to drain onto their property. The applicant has suggested tying into an existing storm drain, but they haven't been given permission to do that. The property will drain to the lowest part of the property, and he encouraged them to pursue permission from adjacent property owners. He felt that what was shown meets code and is legal.
Commissioner Savage commented that he was having problems with this subdivision and the consistency of it relative to other lots in the neighborhood. He noted he would not support this project, as he had concerns about the five-foot setback, the road/driveway, and the lack of parking.
Chairman Price stated that he could understand not supporting the project if there was opposition from the neighbors, but in this case there is an endorsement from the neighbors where several of them feel this subdivision would be a benefit to the neighborhood and it would provide much needed additional housing. He noted he was concerned with modifying the side yard setback to 10 feet on parcel 4, but he supported the project.
Commissioner Francis echoed Chairman Price's sentiments and supported the idea of increasing the side yard setback of Parcel 4.
Commissioner Crane stated that he supported many other similar projects and, although he has concerns with the parking and grading, the lot splits are fine and with the signed petition in support of the project, he would vote in favor of the project.
Commissioner Griffin stated that he was concerned about guest parking. He supported the project, and encouraged staff to negotiate the CC&R's in such a way that the few available parking spaces not be used for the storage of boats or recreational vehicles, but for guest parking only. He questioned if the sewer lift station was underground and if it was noisy. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin reported there was one on Acacia Avenue at a gated community where everything is underground and the pump is in a vault.
Commissioner Stopper noted that a lot of work has been done, and he is a believer that an owner should be able to do what you want with his land, if it meets code. He felt there is a more appropriate configuration for this property; noting the ability to service the property is not correct and they should work with the neighborhood for fundamental issues. He felt the configuration was forced into the property and stated he would not support the project.
Commissioner Savage stated that increasing the side yard setback on Lot 4 was a good idea and widening the street was a good idea which would make the project more palatable to him.
Commissioner Griffin suggested the possibility of continuing the item given the fact that there was both support and non-support for the project.
Chairman Price suggested adding the condition of a 10-foot side yard setback on lot 4 adjacent to the east property line and voting on the project.
The title of RESOLUTION No. PC-03-36 GRANTING a parcel map to subdivide an existing lot into four parcels, each ranging in gross area from 11,967 square feet to 26,748 square feet on property located at 2200 North Moody Avenue was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Chairman Price, seconded and CARRIED by a 4-2 vote with Commissioners Savage and Stopper voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS AMENDED.
Chief Planner Rosen noted that this decision could be appealed to the City Council within ten days at a cost of $143.00 to file the appeal.
7:00 P.M. SESSION
ADJOURN AS PLANNING COMMISSION
CONVENE AS PLANNING COMMISSION/
ITEM NO. 3
PRJ03-00461 - LRP03-00015 - LRP03-00018 - ZON03-00041 - ZON03-00042 - ZON03-00043. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: KUNWOO WOO.
Staff report dated December 10, 2003, was presented pertaining to a request to demolish existing dwellings and an existing historically significant market; consolidate three parcels into one; rezone the property from C-2 to C-3, clarify the General Plan, construct a new mixed-use building comprised of approximately 3,375 square feet of multi-tenant retail space and 16 dwelling units; allow retail entry vestibules to encroach into the front yard setback and allow sharing of four retail parking spaces as guest residential parking, on property located at 343 East Commonwealth Avenue (northwest corner of Lawrence and Commonwealth Avenues) (C-2 zone) (Negative Declaration)
Associate Planner Eastman noted the project was previously reviewed by the Planning Commission, and there had been concern with the orientation of the project. The Commission felt it would be more appropriate to move the building to the front of the parcel. The current proposal is to approve a development project application for a project in Redevelopment PA-2; approve a CUP to allow a mixed use residential development and the sharing of four parking spaces; and approve a historic application to demolish a building identified as significant in the 1979 historic building survey. A presentation was given outlining the noticing map, downtown Fullerton general plan land use map and zoning map, along with photographs of the current property and proposed project. It was also reported that Fullerton Heritage was contacted and provided feedback on the proposed project.
Associate Planner Eastman outlined the project in detail reporting the retail area has been reduced from 7,000 square feet to 3,375 square feet, with 14 retail parking spaces, 18 residential parking spaces in the structure and 16 private garages with 1 loading space. There will be 16 apartment units, including seven two-bedroom units and one, one-bedroom unit on each floor. It was noted that this project was reviewed by the Redevelopment Design Review Committee on November 13, 2003, who recommended approval subject to the conditions as outlined in the staff report. The purpose of the proposed zone changes were described in detail, and it was staff's recommendation to approve the project subject to the conditions as outlined in the staff report.
Commissioner Francis questioned who the 18 residential parking spaces in the structure were designated for; and if the 14 retail spaces would meet the requirement for 3,375 square feet of retail space. Associate Planner Eastman noted the 18 spaces were not designated; they can be used for guests, residents, or for people using the retail space.
Commissioner Francis asked if the 14 retail spaces could be used to accommodate the additional residential spaces, and how many spaces were required for residential. Staff replied 39 spaces are required for residential, 35 are being provided, and the proposal is to use four retail spaces to meet the requirement.
Commissioner Stopper requested explanation for the request for two additional feet in the front of the retail store; and if the principle entrance for the two retail units would be in the center. Associate Planner Eastman reported the setback requirement for the entry vestibules for the 2 retail stalls is 10 feet; the majority of the building complies with that, although two areas will encroach two feet. He noted this request went before the staff review committee as a minor request, and staff was recommending approval because it is on an arterial roadway which makes it important for vehicle traffic and pedestrians and it doesn't add any additional useable space. The principle entrances will be in the middle, and there may end up being only one tenant for the entire space.
Commissioner Savage asked if the zoning change would change the general plan and set a precedence to go to C-3, and extend that zoning outside of the downtown area. Associate Planner Eastman reported the zone change would only be applicable to these three parcels; currently there are areas that do not comply with the C-3 zone all the way to Fullerton Towers that are not designated as downtown by the General Plan. The language being added to the General Plan gives the ability to determine the appropriateness of the C-3 zone on an individual basis.
Chief Planner Rosen noted staff was not changing any other parcels or designations except for these three parcels; this allows someone to make an application in the future to change the zoning to C-3 outside of the designated area of the downtown General Plan District. He noted that basically it is just a clean up, there are currently other corridors where C-3 zoning is outside the downtown area.
Commissioner Savage asked if it was not only in the transportation area, could it include arterials, such as on Orangethorpe Avenue, and it would be setting precedence. Chief Planner Rosen noted it could only be done if it met the other criteria, the City has adopted policy documents and all areas as shown as C-3 on the Zoning map have already been designated as C-3. There has been a growth of the Central Business District and Downtown over the last 20 years and most of the properties that have had the zone designation changed to C-3 have gone through a major re-zone process.
Commissioner Francis questioned if it would be possible to squeeze out more parking spaces in the retail spaces. Staff stated they could possibly get a few more spaces.
Commissioner Stopper asked if the parking layout was set to full standard or compact cars. Staff reported they do not encourage compact parking and when staff met with the owner, they were given the direction to have full standard parking.
Commissioner Savage questioned if parking could be improved by reducing the number of units and reducing the square footage, which would reduce the number of required parking spaces. Associate Planner Eastman answered that to have any impact, they would have to remove the two one bedroom units.
Commissioner Francis questioned if there was any on-street parking or overnight exemptions for this property. Associate Planner Eastman replied that there was nothing on file that limits the hours; although there may be some red zone parking areas. Staff was not sure if there were overnight restrictions.
The public hearing was opened.
Associate Planner Eastman noted the applicant had renderings to show of the proposed project.
Ali Haidar, stated that he would abide by all directions and recommendations from the Planning Commission.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Francis commented that he was the one who fought to deny the last project. He believed this area was part of the downtown, and he was thoroughly impressed with this beautiful structure that fits downtown. He supported the project.
Commissioner Savage stated he had reservations about the project, because he was concerned about the parking. He would not support the project without the parking up to current standards; he was also concerned about the precedent that would be set by changing this to a C-3 zone; and noted he would not support the project.
Commissioner Crane stated that he did not support the last project, and his comments were relative to coming up with a structure similar to this, he noted the architect has done a great job; the parking doesn't concern him that much and he would support the project.
Commissioner Stopper complimented the applicant and his architect for clearly listening to the concerns of the Commission regarding the previous project. He felt the project would have a positive impact to the city and he was in support of the project.
Commissioner Griffin noted he would support the project.
Chairman Price noted he supported the last project, but this one is a better project; he understands the parking concerns but thinks it will be adequate and he would support the project.
The title of Resolution No. PC-03-37 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval to demolish an historically significant market, change the zoning designation from C-2 to C-3, clarify the General Plan, construct a new mixed-use building comprised of approximately 3,375 square feet of multi-tenant retail and 16 dwelling units, allow a minor encroachment into the front setback and allow the sharing of four parking spaces on property located at 343 East Commonwealth Avenue was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commission Crane, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-1 vote, with Commissioner Savage voting no, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
ADJOURN AS PLANNING COMMISSION/LANDMARKS COMMISSION
RECONVENE AS PLANNING COMMISSION
Commissioner Crane recused himself from this item noting his architectural firm has submitted a proposal on this project.
ITEM NO. 4
PRJ03-00671 - PM2003-211. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: JOHN SHIPMAN.
Staff report dated December 10, 2003, pertaining to a request to subdivide an existing parcel with two existing residences to create three separate lots, on properties located at 817 and 809 Arroyo Place (900 feet east of Euclid Street and 1000 feet north of Malvern Avenue) (R-1-10,000 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15315 of CEQA Guidelines).
Assistant Planner Kusch noted the area is in the Pico/Carhart neighborhood; at the request of the residents most of the streets were designated as "rural roads" in the 1970's. In part, due to a concern about flag lots in August 2003, the City Council changed the zoning to preserve the rural character of the neighborhood and to restrict the potential for new flag-shaped lots.
The RDRC reviewed the project on November 13, 2003 and recommended approval subject to conditions.
Assistant Planner Kusch reviewed the proposal and background of the project. He gave a detailed analysis of the project, noting the applicant was seeking exemption from the Pico-Carhart Rural Street Design Guideline restriction of the creation of flag lots; and it was staff's recommendation to approve the project based on the findings and conditions of approval as outlined in the staff report.
Chairman Price noted receipt of a letter from Winifred and Greg Hopkins to be entered as part of the record.
Commissioner Griffin asked for clarification with regard to recommended Condition #2 that says the final parcel map shall include a net lot area of 10,000 square feet for Parcel No. 2 and 3; and questioned if this requires them to change the map. Assistant Planner Kusch reported it requires the map to be changed. Parcel lines need to be shifted to add square footage from Parcel No. 1 to Parcel 2 and 3.
Commissioner Stopper asked if staff could review the exception for the rural street design guidelines. Assistant Planner Kusch explained that currently the Pico/Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines include architectural controls, goals for retaining mature trees, and restrictions on new flag-shaped lots. It was staff's opinion, and the RDRC recommendation, that the application should be allowed the exemption since the proposal meets the Guidelines of retaining a mature tree in front of the property and limiting excessive grading activity. Chief Planner Rosen added that the Pico/Carhart Rural Street Design Guidelines are to help with limiting the impacts to the adjacent rural streets; this proposal utilizes the existing drive approach, and there would be minimal additional grading required. He noted that retention of the existing homes was also a part of the design goals.
Commissioner Stopper asked if there were other flag lots in the surrounding area. Commissioner Savage noted the one across the street was approved prior to the Pico/Carhart zone changes and implementation of the Rural Street Guidelines. He questioned what other options there were to have enough frontage to have three equal lots and questioned what the frontage is. Assistant Planner Kusch reported the Zoning Code previously required street frontage. Chief Planner Rosen explained that the frontage was 165 feet; the owner could demolish the existing house, subdivide the property and propose more units or lot splits which would destroy most of the landscaping to create three lots; or they could propose a new street, road or driveway into the property.
Commissioner Savage questioned if they could put in a cul-de-sac and what the potential was for the number of homes on the property. Chief Planner Rosen noted they might get a full cul-de-sac in the area and there was potential for putting in two more houses for a total of four or five.
The public hearing was opened.
John Shipman, applicant, noted that essentially they agree with staff recommendations although they would like to ask that on the existing driveway that the easement be a minimum of 10 feet. He noted that they looked at having two lots with street frontage so they wouldn't have the flag lot issue, but in doing this it became apparent that we would have to exhume the pepper tree, which is the reason for creating the flag lot and keep the majority of the property for their own personal use.
Commissioner Savage noted parcel 1 is an L-shaped lot and questioned why they didn't take parcel 2 on the west side and make it go all the way back. Mr. Shipman noted it was not his intention to create any more lots. He has two boys that like to run around and they want to keep as much of the property as they can. He agreed with staff's recommendation to extend the west boundary of parcel 2 to give parcel 3 its 10,000 square feet.
Commissioner Stopper asked if it was his intention to refurbish the building on parcel 3. He noted that it looks like it is in a state of disrepair. Mr. Shipman noted they would keep the building; it is not as bad as it looks, the surface looks very dilapidated but they hope that someone will buy it and have a pride of ownership. He added that he and his wife just bought the property.
Melinda Guinaldo, 765 Carhart, stated that she was very active with the neighborhood in increasing the minimum lot size requirement and introducing the Rural Street Overlay Design Guidelines. She appreciated the thought and planning that has gone on so far with regard to this development; the retaining of the mature trees and structures, but was dismayed that the RDRC gave the stamp of approval for a flag lot, noting this was a major discussion point on the development of 1340 Pico Street. Everyone felt that type of lot was not in keeping with the rural flavor of the neighborhood. The guidelines state it is not allowed in the future, and an applicant could be more creative about how to get to a second lot by building a private road. She said that this applicant bought his property around the time the neighbors were talking about how to preserve the area, and he should have been aware of the sensitive feelings of the surrounding property owners. She felt he was exhibiting some sensitivity, but proposing a flag lot was not agreeable to many of his neighbors, and she was not in favor of the plan the way it is now.
Commissioner Savage asked Ms. Guinaldo if she would prefer to see a development similar to 765 Carhart Avenue with a private street. Ms. Guinaldo replied negatively, and questioned if using the existing driveway at 817 Arroyo Place and converting it to a private road to serve 809 Arroyo and the new house would still be the creation of a flag lot. The Commissioners replied it would still be a flag lot.
Cliff Ashcroft, 810 Arroyo, expressed concern for the neighborhood, noting that by not allowing this flag lot you could potentially end up with six houses on that property. He added that there would be no difference on Arroyo Place, and he was supportive of the project. He was pleased to see Mr. Shipman's concern for the neighborhood.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Savage stated this project could be an improvement, because he would rather see three houses in comparison to six houses. He noted this project adds one house, but it does add a flag lot; and he expressed support for the project.
Commissioner Francis noted Mr. Shipman has the potential to put in a cul-de-sac and six more houses, but he's going to do the right thing for the neighborhood, and leave the front of the property alone, leave the trees and the open space. He noted his support for the project.
Commissioner Griffin expressed support for the project, noting Mr. Ashcroft expressed what he felt was a good thing; the existing driveway will serve the back lot and if staff is okay with the proposed width, he had no objections since he sees it more as a shared driveway that is going to look no more obtrusive on Arroyo Place.
Commissioner Stopper stated that each proposal must be reviewed on its own merit; the real merit in the project is in the configuration of how it is laid out, even though it is a flag lot and it flies in the face of the recent Rural Street Design Guidelines for the Pico/Carhart area he noted his support of the project.
Chairman Price noted he was in support for the project.
The title of Resolution No. PC-03-38 RECOMMENDING approval to granting a parcel map to subdivide 1.38 acre parcel into three lots on property located at 809-817 Arroyo Place was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded and CARRIED by a 5-0 vote that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
At 8:25 p.m. a 5-minute recess was called.
At 8:31 p.m. the meeting reconvened.
ITEM NO. 5
PRJ03-00757 - ZON03-00064. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: FULLERTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
Staff report dated December 10, 2003, pertaining to a request to construct an 8,542 gross square-foot maintenance and operation building, providing support services for the Fullerton Community College campus, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing and paint shops, on property located at 1000 North Lemon Street (north side of Berkeley Avenue, between approximately 420 and 720 feet east of the centerline of Lemon Street) (P-L zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15314 of CEQA Guidelines).
Associate Planner Eastman described the project in detail. He noted that initially the City received one e-mail in opposition to the project; but this person has since rescinded their opposition after the project was revised. A PowerPoint presentation identifying the entrances to the project site, as well as the exit to the site, which is one-way on Berkeley; the carpentry shop, paint shop, electrical shop and plumbing shop, were presented. It was noted the height of the buildings had been reduced to 17'6," and the roll-up doors had been reduced down to one door on the west side.
The California Government Code restricts the ability of the City to regulate classroom and education facilities, although the City can review maintenance and storage facilities, prior to submitting its application, the college met with City staff who expressed concern with the conceptual project. Staff believed the concerns previously expressed had been addressed. He also noted that one of the major site constraints was a 40- foot wide gas and water easement that runs through the middle of the property.
On November 6, 2003 the college held a neighborhood meeting and a number of concerns were expressed as outlined in the staff report. The College then revised their plans and City staff recommended a number of conditions to address community concerns. The RDRC reviewed the proposal on November 13, 2003, which included removal of roll-up doors on all but the west side of the building. The RDRC identified a number of design issues which are described in detail in the staff report. The project was continued to the November 24, 2003 RDRC meeting, where approval was recommended, subject to staff's conditions of approval. It was noted that the current plans provided to the Planning Commission reflect the last plans reviewed by the RDRC.
Associate Planner Eastman reported that the Planning Commission makes the final determination on this project; it is not a recommendation to the City Council and will not be heard by them unless it is appealed. It was noted that a 13' tall retaining wall is required to address the site constraints of the steep slope and the 40 foot wide easement. It is staff and the RDRC recommendation to approve the project subject to conditions.
Chairman Price asked, if the college proposed putting a classroom on the property, would the City have any input on its design and configuration; and questioned if it was fair to presume that they want to use the facility for the proposed use because it is too remote to have a classroom there. Associate Planner Eastman responded they would have no authority. He noted there was discussion regarding alternative uses at the neighborhood meeting; and the college representatives could better answer why they have chosen the proposed use for this location.
Senior Civil Engineer Wallin noted a modification to the Engineering letter under utilities, where it is noted "the potential requirement for continuation of the sewer"; it has been determined it is not deep enough to make it to the site and this will need to be referred to the appropriate city staff.
The public hearing was opened.
Janet Portolan, Vice President of Fullerton College reported that the staff report was complete, but added that the main function of the proposed maintenance and operations building was to provide support areas and storage for the maintenance staff. She noted this project has been developing over several months, and they have removed the auto shop and placed it on the main campus to cut down on the nuisances for the neighbors.
Chairman Price asked if the College had read the staff report and if they are agreeable to the conditions as outlined in the staff report. Ms. Portolan replied they have read the staff report and are agreeable to all of the conditions.
Carol Minning, tBP Architecture, reviewed the project, displayed drawings and renderings of the proposal. She stated they were limited with what they could do because of the Chevron easement and the retaining wall and noted their primary goal was to make the project less obtrusive to the neighbors above. She reviewed the intent of the landscape plan, to use street trees, shrubs, and groundcover on the outer perimeter and on the slopes, use plantings of the low bush family to remain low but enhance the color from above. She noted the parking has been reduced from 14 spaces to 8 spaces plus one disabled parking space.
Commissioner Crane asked how the college came up with the solution to use this property for their maintenance and operations (M & O) facility. Ms. Minning explained that there was a need to provide storage on campus for the M & O facilities, since their current facilities would be displaced by the bond building program. They also wanted to consolidate the M & O facilities to two buildings. She reported that basically the workers will come to the facility, gather their supplies for the day and head out to the campus to do their work. The area is really more of a storage area which is why it was successful for providing only one roll up door. The college is putting forth a great effort to get the parking onto the campus and out of the surrounding neighborhoods. She added that the property wasn't really useable for other things because of the easements.
Commissioner Stopper noted that one of the areas will be the paint shop and asked if they would paint things inside that facility. Ms. Minning replied there will be no paint booth and no painting of anything significant. The maintenance staff as been reduced, they would repair small things and then come down to the campus to perform their jobs; the area will be used more for the storage of brushes, rollers, etc. She noted the area will also store props from the theaters on campus, it is more to support on campus work.
Commissioner Stopper noted that he has read the recommendations and condition #4 appears to be very restrictive; he asked what the plans were for having equipment delivered to the M & O facility. Ms. Minning replied that equipment would not be delivered by tractors/trailers, some of the theater supplies are used when we change out the theater program.
Associate Planner Eastman reported the language was provided because of neighborhood concerns, the intent of that condition is really to look at it in a light similar to home occupations.
Chief Planner Rosen noted they could change the last words of the recommendation to read "or other similar type of vehicles" with the applicants concurrence.
Commissioner Savage questioned why they didn't want to put the M & O facility in the middle of the college, and questioned if they were all built out with no place to grow. Ms. Minning replied there was not enough property or space with the new bond developments; and it is all built out and they are out of land. The best and highest use is storage.
Commissioner Savage noted it appears there is a large carpentry shop with a small storage area and no areas for major storage. He noted it also appears that the carpentry shop is more of a manufacturing/repair facility. Ms. Portolan reported the shops themselves serve as the storage areas for small equipment and supplies that the people use on a daily basis, with a small staging area. She noted they used to have 2 carpenters that did a lot of fabrication but this was not cost efficient and there is not enough staff, the carpentry area will have a couple of work benches for small projects; the roll-up doors are to make it easier to store the materials for the theater program and the risers for graduation.
Ms. Minning added that the reason for the different shops is that each of the trades belongs to a different union and they had concerns about sharing space and equipment so they have chosen to keep the shops separate.
Commissioner Savage asked how many amps of electrical service were provided to the building. Ms. Minning replied 200 amps.
Tom Dalton, 200 North Cornell Avenue felt the college should be commended for its flexibility and for modifying the plans; City staff and the RDRC should be applauded for their creativity. He noted the staff report has many interesting points in the analysis; he agrees with the recommendation by the RDRC in #13 to increase the front yard setback (f) and felt the concept of a unified "Education District" streetscape should be pursued (h); he also felt recommendation #10, a conceptual landscape plan was very important to the project.
Patty Strut, 500 Dorothy Drive, commented that from listening to the previous two agenda items she can see the importance of zoning. The college has done a lot of modifications to the proposed building, which is aesthetically pleasing, but the fact remains they are putting an industrial type building in a residential neighborhood. From the chart shown previously, it appears very rare that would be an industrial type building in a residential area without any type of buffer, like a street. She questioned why the M & O building was not on the main campus; noted the local residents have many concerns, and it was misleading that the City only got one letter. Ms. Strut had written a letter to Don Bankhead and had several conversations with him, and the residents were told by the College to direct correspondence to Al Schafer with N.O.C.C.C.D. The question was asked at the informal community meeting of where else had the college considered putting this building, and they were given the answer they never thought of it going anywhere else. She felt it was inappropriate to have an industrial building in a residential area; they are concerned about their property values.
Bruce Hostetter, 205 North Cornell had concerns with the amount of traffic and the streetscape, he noted a lot of things are reduced because of the constraints but there is nothing to separate the pedestrian from vehicular traffic. Compared with other college communities, most of them have some type of street tree or parkway that acts as a buffer. He felt the primary concern was to look at the bigger picture or challenges to the area without slowing down the approval process for the college; and this could be accomplished with an overall master planning around the college and high school by planning strategies to unify the area. He felt that currently the master plan could not be followed until three needs are addressed: safety, including pedestrian comfort from traffic; scale street trees, he noted there was an imbalance of trees; and to diminish the scale of the building to make it appear smaller. He stated that he is not sure what the solution is, but if the Commission shared his concerns they should take a step toward moving in the direction of an education district in the area.
John Silber, 1236 Francis Avenue complimented staff for their hard work on the project. The whole idea of a master plan is like a bouncing ball, but the staff has kept track of the bouncing ball. The problem is public land, where each entity has sovereignty of the land. There is a legal constraint that as a larger community we need to overcome, and find an informal process to sit down with all of the talent available at the college and city levels to come up with a project and keep the best interest of the community in mind.
Jerome Hunter, Chancellor, Fullerton College commended the staff for their work and noted a couple of issues were raised that require a response. There were a number of other facilities considered for the site; the college has built out with the types of activities they have, any land that is not built out would be irresponsible to the community. Their goal was to get the best usage of the land; they are trying to work with the neighbors and putting an educational facility or parking lot would generate more traffic and it is felt that this is the best usage of that site.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Crane stated he was glad to see that the college received pubic input regarding this project since the taxpayers are paying for the building, but he believed it was an inappropriate location for the building and he would not support the project. He questioned how they arrived at the solution to put the building on this property, because the area could be used for parking if the M & O facility was on the main campus. He is unsure if all of the options were looked into. He highly recommended studying of an education type of district along all the other streets that border the campus, including the high school campus.
Commissioner Savage noted he has been a manufacturer for 35 years and if this was a private piece of land there is no question this project would not go there, and the only reason it is being proposed there now is because it is college land. He stated the college has done a great job designing a shop type building; 200 amp service is not enough power for manufacturing; but he felt the college should make a showpiece of the M & O facility that these types of building can live within the college community; the college is asking for this facility to be part of the outer community. He stated he would not support the project as he thinks there are many other uses for this project and having the M & O facility centrally located would be more efficient.
Commissioner Francis agreed with Commissioner Savage, noted the area is residential and he wouldn't want an M & O facility in his neighborhood. He stated he would not support the project.
Commissioner Stopper noted this is an interesting process, the college and the City working together; the college took staffs ideas and suggestions to heart; involved the community, got ideas, revisited the site, made changes and brought them forward again. He noted he sees a big difference between what was initially presented and this proposal; he was discouraged that we have gotten to this point in the process and its not working. He expressed support for the project, because the college went more than halfway to work with the City to reach the best outcome. He felt the one problem is the public land use for colleges, which is separated from the normal process since they have this legally built in conflict in our system. He complimented the college on their efforts to date noting that he had hoped it would have been a more positive outcome.
Commissioner Griffin stated that he believed that a lot of work and compromise has been done thus far and he has the belief that the college took the time to look at alternatives and other uses for the site, and this is the best use therefore he would support the project.
Chairman Price expressed support for the project; and was disappointed that it is not going to pass. He noted the community college district was only applying to the City because this is a non-classroom activity, and now the College could do whatever they choose with this property. He agreed with Mr. Dalton and those that spoke concerning how the college has bent over backwards to accommodate the neighbors, and provide what is aesthetically pleasing along Berkeley Avenue. He read the extensive conditions of operation that were set as far as mitigating any negative impact on any neighbors and stated he was more disappointed in this vote than in any other vote.
The title of Resolution No. PC-03-39 APPROVING a request to construct an approximately 8,542-square-foot maintenance and operation building to support the Fullerton Community College Campus, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing and paint shops on property located at 1000 North Lemon Street was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Stopper, seconded and DENIED by a tie vote, with Commissioners Crane, Francis, Savage voting No, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN
Chief Planner Rosen reported that a tie vote is a denial of the applicant and can be appealed to the City Council within 10 days at a fee of $143.00.
Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief update on the status of West Coyote Hills noting the hearings were tentatively scheduled for January, since the close of the comment period they have received over 100 comments, with about 20 comments categorized as substantial, one from a law firm representing the Friends of Coyote Hills; additional studies may be required, and part of the EIR may have to be republished, which will delay the hearings into the spring or early summer.
Commissioner Savage asked what the problems were with the EIR. Chief Planner Rosen noted the letter received was 35 pages in length with 30 pages of attachments. They are responding to all comments raised; they will be looking at major topical areas to make sure that all information is clear, concise and accurate technical information with regards to the specific areas of traffic, biology, water, service, and drainage.
Commissioner Crane announced that tonight was his last meeting as a Planning Commissioner. He has decided to not seek a second term but noted he enjoyed working as a Commissioner.
Chief Planner Rosen stated he was surprised by Commissioner Crane's announcement and invited him back to be recognized for his service on the Planning Commission.
Chairman Price thanked Commissioner Crane for his service as a Commissioner and noted he would be greatly missed.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Chief Planner Rosen reported there were no specific actions relevant to the Planning Commission at the recent City Council meeting. The Coco's denial was appealed and is scheduled for January 20, 2004.
The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be January 14, 2004, at 4:00 p.m.
Chief Planner Rosen noted that there had been previous discussion about delaying the election of a new chairman due to the West Coyote Hills public hearings, but since these have been postponed, they would schedule the election for the first meeting in January.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:42 p.m.