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Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

April 28, 2004

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Stopper at 4:05 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Chairman Stopper; Commissioners Griffin, Hart, Savage, and Price

ABSENT: Bailey, Francis

STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Assistant Planner Sowers and Recording Secretary Baker

FLAG SALUTE:

Commissioner Savage

MINUTES:

MINUTES of the April 14, 2004, meeting were unavailable

4:00 P.M. SESSION

PUBLIC HEARING

ITEM NO. 1
PRJ04-00238 LRP04-00007. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON; PROPERTY OWNER: LSF II FULLERTON, LLC

Staff report dated April 28, 2004 was presented pertaining to a request to amend Amerige Heights Development Agreement DA-00-01 to provide an extension of time to complete certain public facilities, including the Amerige Heights Community Center and Barrett Park (Trailhead Park). The Amerige Heights Specific Plan area is generally located east of Gilbert Street, south of Pioneer Avenue, and west of Bastanchury Road) (Specific Plan District) (Previously certified EIR).

Chief Planner Rosen reported that this item was the Fourth Amendment to the Amerige Heights Development Agreement. This was primarily a clean-up amendment to rectify some scheduling and implementation measures in the Development Agreement. This amendment will extend the schedules of completion for certain parks and the Amerige Heights Community Center. It will also relieve the developer of the obligation to install bathrooms at Holcomb Park, in exchange for additional funding for other park improvements.

Commissioner Price asked what the Commission should do about the April 28 request by Suncal. Chief Planner Rosen explained that the Suncal partnership was breaking up and they had appointed a third party director, who had been made aware of this amendment. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the other Suncal partner, Todd Kurtin, was comfortable with proceeding with this item. He also said that the City could not amend the Development Agreement without Suncals signature; however, this action will at least bring it forward to the City Council. The amendment could not be finalized until all parties have signed the agreement. Chief Planner Rosen also said that the City Attorney was comfortable with the Commission proceeding with this item.

Commissioner Price also asked how the modification of the plan in Phase 2D was developed. Chief Planner Rosen told him that when the Amerige Heights Specific Plan was being developed, there was a greenbelt area on the western side of Raytheon properties. The greenbelt area was included as part of the open space plan for Amerige Heights. Suncal thought it could obtain public access easements, however, Raytheon had too many conditions. There was a provision in the Development Agreement that if the Raytheon park easement was not obtained, substitute park space had to be provided, therefore, they widened Nicolas with a large, enhanced parkway. The staff report also indicated that improvements to the park substitute were delayed because of negotiations with Home Depot, who had just recently backed out. The mass grading plan was moving forward to develop the western part of the former radar property and park site.

Chairman Stopper asked for a clarification of the explanation of costs under Section 4.6 of the Draft Fourth Amendment to the Development Agreement. Chief Planner Rosen explained that Amerige Heights was a part of a Community Facilities District and bonds were issued to pay for certain public improvements. The developer may elect to use funds from the bond proceeds, self fund, or find other financing for public improvements. It would be at their expense to develop the park and other open spaces. If eligible, they could access public bond financing proceeds for parks, etc. Sometimes the improvements are not eligible because they dont provide a community-wide benefit or there are certain restrictions. The parks are already built and the developer had sought reimbursement from the bond financing.

Commissioner Price asked why the amount for the in-lieu payment in Section 4.19 was left blank. Chief Planner Rosen stated that it was because there are still ongoing negotiations.

Public hearing opened, but there was no one present who wished to speak on this matter.

Public hearing closed.

There were no further comments from the Commissioners.

The title of Resolution PC-04-15 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval of Amendment #4 to Development Agreement DA-00-1, providing an extension of time to complete certain public facilities including the Amerige Heights Community Center and Barrett Park (Trailhead Park) in the Amerige Heights Specific Plan was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded by Commissioner Hart and carried unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ITEM NO. 2
PRJ03-00886 ZON03-00078. APPLICANT: EVERGREEN DEVCO; PROPERTY OWNER: PIERRE NICOLAS

Senior Planner Mullis stated that the RDRC had met three times on this item and on April 22 recommended that the Planning Commission approve the project at the hearing on May 12.

MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded by Commissioner Savage and carried unanimously that this item be continued to May 12, 2004.

At this point, Chief Planner Rosen asked the Commission to postpone hearing Items #3 and A until legal counsel arrived.

OTHER MATTERS

  1. COMMISSION/STAFF COMMUNICATION

    Chief Planner Rosen explained that several Commissioners have asked questions subsequent to the City Councils recent direction on the selection and appointment of Commission and Committee members. Staff had provided information to the City Council and it seemed that the majority of the Council was interested in having direct appointments, and this would be discussed at the next Council meeting.

  2. REVIEW OF COUNCIL ACTIONS

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

  3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

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

  4. AGENDA FORECAST

    The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be May 12, 2004, at 4 p.m.

    Legal counsel from Rutan and Tucker arrived at 4:21 p.m.

ITEM NO. 3
PRJ04-00264 LRP04-00010 LRP04-00011. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.

Staff report dated April 28, 2004, was presented pertaining to a request for a zoning amendment to change the zoning of the property located at 501 North Pomona from C-1 (Limited Commercial) to C-3 (Central Business District Commercial) and a General Plan revision to change the General Plan designation from Commercial to Downtown Mixed-Use; and a request for a zoning amendment to change the zoning of the properties located at 509-515 North Pomona from R-3 (Limited Density Multi-Family Residential) to C-3 (Central Business District Commercial) and a General Plan revision to change the General Plan designation from Medium Density Residential to Downtown Mixed-Use on property generally located at the northwest corner of East Chapman and North Pomona Avenues (Negative Declaration).

Assistant Planner Sowers stated that on February 17, 2004, the City Council approved a conceptual plan for the downtown parking expansion project. This was to expand and reconfigure the existing public parking lot east of the 500 block of North Harbor Boulevard to a commercially zoned lot currently occupied by McDonalds restaurant. McDonalds had agreed to move their restaurant to 501 - 515 N. Pomona Ave. The current zoning is C-1 (Limited Commercial) and R-3 (Limited Density Multi-Family Residential). Two single-family and two multi-family residences currently occupy the four parcels. The Fullerton Redevelopment Agency currently owns one parcel and is in negotiations for the acquisition of the remaining three. All of the parcels are in the Central Business District. In order to relocate McDonalds, the four parcels must be rezoned. Staff reiterated the findings contained in the staff report and added that the proposed expansion of the downtown public parking was consistent with the Downtown Mixed-Use General Plan Designation, General Plan policies and the regulations of the Central Business District zoning classification.

Staff had made several minor changes to the Initial Study as originally prepared: some wording was changed in Section 17 B, and cross references were added to Sections 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, and 16. A copy of the Initial Study as revised was provided. Staff had also determined that the relocation of the McDonalds restaurant would not have a significant impact on the environment, through preparation of the Initial Study, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Also, when the Zoning Amendment and General Plan Revision were considered in conjunction with the relocation of the restaurant, no significant impact on the environment was found. Therefore, a Negative Declaration had been prepared. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council certification of the Negative Declaration and approval of the Zoning Amendment to change the zoning classification from to C-1 and R-3 to C-3 and the General Plan Revision to change the General Plan Designation from Commercial and Medium Residential to Downtown Mixed-Use. Property owners within a 300 ft. radius of the project were notified. Due to a move of the Fullerton Union High School District office their notice was returned, however, they had been made aware of the meeting. Staff had received correspondence from two of the affected property owners, Kristy Kulikoff at 511 N. Pomona and Inge Werner at 501 N. Pomona; copies were provided to the Commission.

Chairman Stopper asked about the existing boundary of the Central Business District and questioned why the two properties on the same block to the north werent being included in the Zoning Amendment and General Plan Revision. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the particular plan only involved the four properties identified in the application. No discussions regarding the redevelopment of the remaining two parcels have taken place and, therefore, they are not being considered as part of this application. There are other residentially-zoned projects in the surrounding area adjacent to C-3 zones. It was not inconsistent to have R-3 zoning in the Central Business District.

Commissioner Savage asked for the addresses of the four properties and if the two lots to the north are apartments, consistent with R-3 zone. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the corner property is 501, then 509, 511 and 515 moving north, that the two northern lots are multi-family units consistent with the R-3 zone.

Public hearing opened.

Cruz Saavedra, Saavedra and Zufelt, said that he was the attorney representing Ms. Inge Werner, property owner of 501 N. Pomona. He thanked the Planning Commission for sending the notice and for the opportunity to speak. He referenced California Government Code 65009, referred to in the notice. He stated that Ms. Werner doesnt object to the rezoning. He believed that if she doesnt voluntarily sell her property, the City would acquire this land through condemnation for McDonalds, resulting in a more favorable location for them. He suggested that the City allow McDonalds to offer the property owners the fair market price to relocate. He also stated that he felt his clients property and the surrounding properties were not blighted.

Public hearing closed.

Commissioner Griffin asked if a determination had been made about whether the property was blighted or not. Chief Planner Rosen was not aware of any blight determination for this specific property, but other properties have had blight findings.

Jeff Oderman, Rutan and Tucker, stated that he had been General Counsel for the Redevelopment Agency for over 20 years. There was a blight determination made by the City Council in the 1970s when the Redevelopment Plan in the Central Business District was adopted. The entire project area was determined to be blighted according to the Redevelopment Law at that time; however, the Redevelopment Law had since changed. Mr. Oderman stated that there was never a requirement that the property be determined to be blighted. He explained that in redevelopment law, the plan that is adopted was a very long-term plan, typically 45 years. Over that period of time, the plan is adopted and the blight determination was made when the Redevelopment Area was created. It was final and did not have to be reexamined for each individual action. He understood that property owners seem to be offended by the term blight. He explained that it was not the same definition as a layperson would define blight, it is a term used for purposes of redevelopment law.

Commissioner Price confirmed that the Commission would not be considering the issue of blight or condemnation. Mr. Oderman concurred and he understood Mr. Saavedras concern of addressing the Planning Commission and having his comments become a part of the public record. If the Planning Commission approved this action, it would be sent to the City Council/Redevelopment Agency who would have the ability to address blight and condemnation issues in conjunction with the Zoning Amendment and the General Plan Revision.

Commissioner Savage questioned the need to relocate McDonalds. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the Redevelopment Agency had already taken the action and directed staff to proceed accordingly. He did not want to discuss the motives and rationale of the decision of the Redevelopment Agency. He encouraged the Commission to only discuss and decide on the legislative act, a request to change the zoning classification and General Plan Designation of the subject property.

Commissioner Hart asked if the Commissions decision would be based on the staffs recommended findings, as presented. Chief Planner Rosen answered affirmatively. He also added that findings arent required for this type of broad legislative action, but its helpful to explain later why the actions were taken, if challenged.

MOTION by Commissioner Savage stating that based on the findings he recommended certification of a Negative Declaration and approval of the Zoning Amendment and the General Plan Revision.

Chairman Stopper wanted staff to go through the changes to the draft Negative Declaration and Initial Study checklist. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the only changes in wording were in Section 17 Part b, which addressed the cumulative impacts. Staff removed the reference to the CEQA treatment of the McDonalds project and clarified staffs position that cumulatively, looking at this application as well as a project that would relocate the McDonalds, would not significantly impact the specific project area (traffic, noise, water quality, etc.). Ms. Sowers also stated that the changes in Sections 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, and 16 were only cross-references.

The title of Resolution No. PC-04-16 RECOMMENDING to the City Council APPROVAL of a General Plan revision to change the land use designation of the land use map of the General Plan from Commercial to Downtown Mixed-Use and to change the zone classification from C-1 (Limited Commercial) to C-3 (Central Business District Commercial) for property located at 501 North Pomona Avenue; and to change the land use designation from Medium Density Residential to Downtown Mixed-Use and to change the zone classification from R-3 (Limited Density Multi-Family Residential) to C-3 (Central Business District Commercial) on property located at 509-515 North Pomona Avenue was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Savage, seconded by Commissioner Price and carried unanimously that said resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

Commissioner Price asked when this item would be heard by the City Council/Redevelopment Agency, and staff reported it would tentatively be heard on May 18, 2004.

OTHER MATTERS

  1. RESOLUTION TO MODIFY MAP OF THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

    Chief Planner Rosen stated that this action would clarify the language in the Central Business District guidelines. Textually, it describes the boundaries and the map was inconsistent with the text. This would make the map consistent with the text, drawing the line up Pomona and across Ellis.

    Public hearing opened.

    Lena Maddox, 235 N. Sanford Avenue, works in the area and used to work at McDonalds. She was concerned with the high school being so close to McDonalds. She thought it would be even more accessible to the students and wondered why the change was being made. Chairman Stopper encouraged Ms. Maddox to attend the City Council meeting and make her comments known.

    Public hearing closed.

    The title of Resolution No. PC-04-17 RECOMMENDING to the City Council approval of revisions to the map of the Fullerton Central Business District was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Price, seconded by Commissioner Savage and carried unanimously that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:51 p.m.

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