July 23, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Vice-Chairman LeQuire at 7:00 p.m.
Vice Chairman LeQuire, Commissioners Crane, Francis, Griffin, Savage, Stopper,
ABSENT: Chairman Price
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Senior Civil Engineer Wallin, and Recording Secretary Bird
Commissioner Savage asked that the word "neighborhood" in the last sentence of the last paragraph on page 92 be changed to "neighborhoods" and then delete "had been developed" and insert "pattern of development is consistent with R-1-10,000." He asked for a correction at the top of page 93 so the sentence reads "Because of current economics the focus has changed to a smaller lot size, as well as the value of housing is going up, and that is why the development surge is taking place."
MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded and carried by a 6-0 vote, that the Minutes of July 9, 2003 be APPROVED AS AMENDED.
7:00 P.M. SESSION
- TRACT 15982. APPLICANT: THIENES ENGINEERING, INC. A request for a time extension for a tract map for property located at the southeast corner of Euclid Street/Laguna Road.
- TRACT 16228. APPLICANT: EGL ASSOCIATES. A request for a 12-month extension for a tract map for property located at 2151 Associated Road.
MOTION by Commissioner Crane, seconded and carried by a 6-0 vote, that a 12-month time extension be APPROVED for Tracts 15982 and 16228.
ITEM NO. 1
PRJ02-00145 - ZON02-00015. APPLICANT: INTERNATIONAL PARKING DESIGN; PROPERTY OWNER: ST. JOSEPH HEALTH SYSTEM.
Staff report dated July 23, 2003, was presented pertaining to a request to construct a 455-car, five-story parking structure along the eastern property line of property located at 220 E. Bastanchury Road, a portion of St. Jude's Medical Center.
Senior Planner Mullis reviewed the proposal including analysis of the site plan, floor plan, grading, temporary parking, architecture, street improvements on Bastanchury, traffic signal installation at the driveway and proposed landscaping. It was noted that notifications were sent to the site addresses in the Standard Pacific housing project to the east and, to date, staff had received no calls regarding the project. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission certify the Mitigated Negative Declaration, adopt the Mitigation Monitoring Program and approve the site plan subject to the conditions as outlined in the staff report.
Commissioner Savage asked how many people were actually notified, since most of the property is owned by St. Jude Hospital. Staff replied there were approximately 20-24 people notified as outlined on the notification map.
Commissioner Crane inquired if the Fire Department had been involved in this proposal. Senior Planner Mullis confirmed that she had been involved in numerous conversations with the Fire Department.
The public hearing was opened:
Steve Gilbert, St. Joseph Health System, representing the applicant and planning team, explained that after the Northridge earthquake, the State instituted a mandate requiring all existing hospital buildings to either be replaced or retrofitted by the year 2030. In order to accomplish this task without disturbing patient care, the current buildings must be replaced, and the first step in accomplishing this unfunded state mandate was to build the parking structure.
Vice Chairman LeQuire asked for introductions of the people from the planning team for this project. Mr. Gilbert introduced Fred Talarico of Vista & Associates; Rob Ragland, McCarthy Building Companies; Burnie Dunlap, St. Jude's Medical Center; and Bob Talafus, Wagner Holladay.
Commissioner Crane questioned when it was anticipated the next phase of building would begin. Mr. Gilbert noted that at the present time they are working on a long-term development agreement between the City and the hospital. This Development Agreement will address the next 30 years, and all of the buildings needing to be built. The first phase will not go to the Planning Commission until the entitlement is in place, at least four to six months.
Commissioner Savage asked if the current parking lot was built to the property line, and how much Army Corps of Engineer land was going to be involved. Mr. Talafus reported that the parking structure had undergone many different design modifications due to the significant grade differentials. There would be some necessary grading at the property line, and the Corps property would be graded 60 feet to bring the grade down and provide proper drainage. He noted the structure would be 12-14 feet deeper than the current grade, additional material will be removed, and there could be flooding in the bottom level of the parking structure.
Commissioner Savage asked what the existing and proposed elevations were, as well as the flood elevation. He asked if the 15-foot shelf or trail area would be impacted, and what the proposed landscaping on the approach would be. Mr. Talafus stated the existing elevation was 284 feet, the entry of the parking structure would be 272 feet, and the flood elevation is 283. The City and St. Joseph Health System are in negotiations regarding the 15-foot shelf or trail area element.
Regarding the landscaping, Mr. Ragland indicated that on the slope to the east of the garage, there would be no significant landscaping, and they are proposing a combination of groundcover and deciduous trees, native trees and palms. The other critical area along Bastanchury Road will be the replacement of pine trees and, with the construction of the retaining wall, they may possibly use palm trees.
Commissioner Stopper asked for clarification of the methods of ingress and egress to the parking structure and the traffic flow pattern. Mr. Talafus reviewed the traffic flow patterns, noting the existing ramp would be modified to accommodate four lanes of traffic and the main entrance will have a traffic signal installed. Also, there would be additional access at the hospital level, and traffic at the main entrance would enter the parking structure on the second level. Mr. Gilbert noted that presently the area is a 92-car parking lot, and essentially traffic goes up and down the north road of the hospital, and exits onto Bastanchury Road or down St. Jude Way to the south.
Commissioner Stopper questioned if any consideration was given to entering from the south side, off of Valencia Mesa, in the area that is now a grassy exercise yard. Mr. Gilbert noted this proposal was very involved, as it brings up issues with the tennis and recreation center, as well as the Army Corps property. It was more than the hospital wanted to pursue with this project, but it could be included in the next phase of entitlement. He also noted that the hospital's replacement plan would place a new building where Commissioner Stopper suggested that they put a road. Commissioner Stopper then suggested putting the road under the building.
Chief Planner Rosen stated there had been over two years of discussion regarding this issue with all feasible options explored. Given all of the constraints, this was the most efficient, economically feasible design, and there was no need for further discussion of additional access at this time.
Commissioner Stopper asked for the total number of people this structure would accommodate with carpooling, would it be used on multiple shifts, and what would be the heaviest time period. Mr. Gilbert replied they did not figure that out, but it would be well in excess of 455 people. It would be used 24 hours a day, with the heaviest time being during shift changes at 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Commissioner Stopper expressed concern regarding the backup of traffic from people going east on Bastanchury and entering the structure, asked if the signal being installed would be synchronized with the signal at Harbor Blvd. He also questioned if adding an additional lane would be enough to alleviate the overloading of traffic in the area. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin replied that the City evaluated the stacking distance for the right-turn pockets, and the City Traffic Engineer confirmed the area to be sufficient enough to handle traffic, even under the worst conditions. The new signal will be harmonized with the flow of traffic on Bastanchury Road; and there will be three through lanes in each direction, which will improve the traffic flow in the area.
Mr. Gilbert replied that they are familiar with the safety concern, it is a downward slope to the east and they have spent a lot of time talking with staff about this area. He noted that currently when leaving on St. Jude Way, a left turn can be made across Bastanchury Road towards Harbor Blvd., which is very dangerous. This project eliminates this unsafe condition by adding curbing which will preclude people from making a left turn and make the area safer.
Commissioner Stopper questioned if there was going to be a study to change the 50 mph speed limit in the area. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin stated there were no plans at the present time to change the speed limit; once the structure is built and the traffic light is installed, the traffic engineer will evaluate this to see if it is necessary. It is thought that the area will be safer once the light is installed. Commissioner Stopper asked that some attempt be made to look at the speed limit on Bastanchury Road. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin noted that he will pass his concerns on to the traffic engineer.
Vice Chairman LeQuire questioned if there would be a left turn for westbound traffic into the parking structure, and Mr. Gilbert answered affirmatively. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin added that there would be a longer left-turn pocket of 250 feet. Vice Chairman LeQuire also asked how this structure would compare in size to the structure behind the Virginia Crosson Medical Building. Mr. Ragland answered that the proposed structure would be one level taller and one bay narrower.
Commissioner Francis asked who would pay for the traffic light; and if there currently was a parking problem. Senior Civil Engineer Wallin noted that all improvements as outlined in the conditions of approval are paid for by the hospital. Mr. Gilbert added that the need to build additional acute care buildings was the driving force behind this project.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Griffin stated he was a big proponent of parking structures, due to their efficiency compared to open parking lots, and was happy to see the hospital using their limited space in this manner. He had some concerns with traffic flow as expressed by Commissioner Stopper, but was supportive of the project, and of having the traffic engineer examine the speeds on Bastanchury Road.
Commissioner Crane also supported this project, although it will be a huge structure. He stressed the importance that landscape plans be done appropriately, and felt it was imperative for staff to carefully review the landscape plans. He also encouraged as much landscaping as possible for the project.
Commissioner Savage expressed his support for the project, and was sorry to hear about the State required, non-funded mandate. He suggested that staff review the 15 ft. bike shelf and landscaping, as it will keep people from having a problem with the vista.
Commissioner Francis supported the project, noting St Jude's was a great neighbor and this type of building is what you would expect to see next to a hospital.
Commissioner Stopper stated the St. Jude Medical facility is one of the six outstanding services that the City has, in addition to the airport, railroad, higher education systems, and fine arts, but he had concerns with this project regarding traffic flow safety with traffic speeds. He was supportive of the project and glad that staff would ask the traffic engineer to do a complete study.
Vice Chairman LeQuire echoed the comments of his fellow Commissioners and supported the project, adding that St. Jude Hospital was a wonderful asset to the community.
The title of Resolution No. PC-03-26 RECOMMENDING approval of a request to construct a 455-stall, five-story parking structure along the easterly property line located at 220 East Bastanchury Road, 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
PRJ03-00097 - ZON03-00011. APPLICANT: ALEXIS KAISER; PROPERTY OWNER: FULLERTON JOINT UNION HIGH SCHOOL.
Chief Planner Rosen reported that this item had been withdrawn by the applicant.
REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS
Chief Planner Rosen gave a brief update on recent City Council meetings.
There was no one from the public who wished to speak on any matter.
The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be August 13, 2003, at 4:00 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:59 p.m.