May 26, 2004
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Stopper at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Stopper; Commissioners Bailey, Francis, Griffin, Hart, Savage, and Price
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Senior Planner Mullis, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Sowers, Glenn Steinbrink, Acting Administrative Services Director and Recording Secretary Baker
MOTION by Commissioner Griffin, seconded by Commissioner Savage and CARRIED by a 6-0 vote, with Commissioner Bailey abstaining, that the Minutes of May 12, 2004, be APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
7:00 P.M. SESSION
SITE PLAN SP-872 AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT CUP-1067. APPLICANT: BRUCE J. CAMINO.
A request for a 24-month time extension for a 6,680 square-foot addition to an existing warehouse on property located at 2418 Cypress Way.
ITEM NO. 1 - FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.
To consider the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (Fiscal Years 2004-2005 - 2008-2009) and its consistency with the general plan.
Commissioner Savage asked why Brea Dam was considered a funding source.
Glenn Steinbrink, Acting Director of Administrative Services, stated that the funding was from the golf course lease, as well as from the Tennis Center. Further, monies derived from the Brea Dam Fund must be budgeted for the Brea Dam area.
Commissioner Francis asked if there was a surplus of money in the Brea Dam Fund, and if the concerts in the park were funded from that account. Mr. Steinbrink stated that there was not a surplus, because the monies are committed every year and the concerts are funded from that account.
Commissioner Hart questioned the pie chart on Page 8 of the 5-year CIP. She asked for confirmation that the City received more revenue from water than from property taxes. Acting Director Steinbrink stated that the City did bring in more revenue from utility bills than the 15.6% that is generated from property taxes.
Commissioner Francis asked what the property tax increment would be for large developments. Mr. Steinbrink told him that the property tax increment for the Agency was only the excess over the base and they receive 100% of that. There is 1% on a $30 million project, which would be $300,000. It would be necessary to know what the original assessed value was on a property before the improvements were made. Commissioner Francis asked what these monies could be used for. Mr. Steinbrink answered that it must be for a capital project or a program that is of benefit to the Redevelopment Agency where the project is located.
Commissioner Francis asked if the tax increment could be used for Fire Department salaries. Glenn Steinbrink reiterated that it must be used for capital projects that typically would benefit the project area in which it is located.
Commissioner Bailey inquired about the concession for a possible increase in electric fees that never materialized and was put back into the budget. Mr. Steinbrink explained that in the 2004-2005 budget, $431,000 was put in as a contingency for possible increases in electricity costs. This increase never materialized, and for the last three or four years the money was not needed. In order to balance the budget, the $431,000 was rolled back into the General Fund. Commissioner Bailey commended Glenn Steinbrink and his team for their forward thinking.
Chairman Stopper asked if the City was drawing down $25,000,000 from the reserves and what the logic and rationale was for drawing down that money. Mr. Steinbrink stated that the amount for the General Operating Funds was $2,500,000, and for all funds it could be up to $25,000,000. Mr. Steinbrink stated that 85% - 90% of the City's money was earmarked for particular purposes, most of which are Capital Improvement Programs. A $25,000,000 bond issued to build major capital projects in the City will show up in the beginning fund balance. However, the use of that money during the year as the project is built would make it appear that reserves are being drawn down, however it is being used to fund the project.
Chairman Stopper talked about 96% of the capital improvement projects going into the infrastructure, and that it was an improvement over the last decade. Mr. Steinbrink agreed and stated that Council had made a conscious effort to make the rehabilitation, reconstruction and repair of the infrastructure a high priority. Chairman Stopper indicated he was pleased to see this after having served on the Infrastructure Advisory Committee.
Public hearing opened. There was no one present who wished to speak on this matter.
Public hearing closed.
MOTION by Commissioner Francis, seconded by Commissioner Savage and CARRIED unanimously that the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program was consistent with the City's General Plan.
ITEM NO. 2 - PRJ03-00541 - LRP03-00017. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: CITY OF FULLERTON.
Staff report dated May 19, 2004, was presented pertaining to a request for a general plan revision and a zoning amendment to modify the land use, circulation and community health and safety elements of the general plan in conjunction with an update to the Fullerton Municipal Airport Master Plan for property located at 4011 West Commonwealth Avenue (P-L zone) (Mitigated Negative Declaration) (continued from September 24, 2003 and May 12, 2004).
Commissioner Bailey asked for staff's opinion on whether to continue this item, in response to the e-mail message the Commission received on May 26 from Buena Park City Planner, Jay Saltzberg, who requested that the item be continued.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that continuation would be an opportunity to hear the Buena Park perspective; however, there would still be a hearing before the City Council for final action. Chief Planner Rosen suggested proceeding, because Mr. Saltzberg was in attendance and the after hearing Mr. Saltzberg's concerns, the Commission could make a decision.
Commissioner Francis asked staff if notices were sent to residents of Buena Park. Assistant Planner Heather Sowers responded affirmatively, stating that details of the noticing would be provided as part of the presentation.
Heather Sowers, Assistant Planner displayed site plans and photos of the airport and gave a background history of the Airport Master Plan and the need for adoption every 20 years. She explained that the prior Airport Master Plan was adopted in 198, 1 and in May 2003, the City Council approved a Master Plan update for financing purposes. Subsequent to the 2003 approval, an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration were prepared, staff and the FAA determined that the changes in regulations regarding height limitations on structures near the airport were not incorporated in the 2003 Master Plan and staff submitted the General Plan to the Airport Land Use Commission for a determination of consistency with the Airport Environmental Land Use plan.
Ms. Sowers explained that staff was requesting the approval of the 2004 Fullerton Airport Master Plan and the revisions to the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance (including updated operational data and guidance for implementation of airport related policies) to address the Mitigated Negative Declaration, changes in regulations, and the Airport Land Use Commission preliminary determination of consistency.
Chairman Stopper asked Ms. Sowers to identify the dividing line between Buena Park and Fullerton. Ms. Sowers stated that Dale Street was the boundary and there was one parcel, displayed in pink, located in Buena Park, but owned by the Airport.
Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the change from the 1981 Master Plan lengthened the primary surface extending the approach and transitional surfaces, which would lower the height at which a building or structure would require FAA review and approval. She presented an analysis of the change which identified parcels within the 150 ft MSL (mean sea level) surface contour. She identified 62 parcels in Buena Park and noted the change ranges from 15 feet for parcels in the transitional surface and 22 feet for parcels in the approach surface. Assistant Planner referred to parcel 40, identified in the analysis, as an example. The surface elevation is approximately 82 feet MSL. In 1981, the parcel was located at the 126 ft MSL contour allowing for a 44-foot tall building before penetrating the FAA surface. The change lowers the surface to 104 ft MSL allowing for a 22-foot fall building before FAA review and approval is required.
Commissioner Bailey asked if the building identified as parcel 40 was 22 feet higher than it should be. Assistant Planner Sowers explained that in 1981 a building on parcel 40 could be 44 feet. In 2004, the surface was reduced by 22 feet.
Commissioner Bailey assumed that the runway was less than or equal to 83 feet. Ms. Sowers stated that it was 85 feet, so it is higher than ground before it.
Commissioner Francis asked if there were any current penetrations by buildings in Buena Park or if there were some issues with Buena Park if this plan is adopted. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that there were no penetrations by buildings in Buena Park, only some poles, lights and trees.
Ms. Sowers stated that there was a similar analysis for the properties at the east end of the runway in Fullerton. There were 25 properties identified for analysis. The changes ranged from 10 feet for the transitional surface and 21 feet in the approach area.
Commissioner Bailey asked if the 25 parcels were reviewed because of their location or because they are problematic, and how many total parcels were reviewed. Ms. Sowers stated that the parcels staff identified were based on their inclusion in the area up to the 150 ft MSL contour only.
Ms. Sowers reiterated that staff recommended certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration, adoption of the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, adoption of the 2004 Fullerton Municipal Airport Master Plan, approval of the General Plan Revisions and approval of the Zoning Amendment.
Ms. Sowers told the Commission that notification was sent to a 300-foot radius, as well as to properties location with the two hazard zones and anyone within the 65 decibel CNEL Noise Contour.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff had attempted to respond to questions of Buena Park staff. This item had been delayed twice in order to respond to questions raised by Buena Park staff. The City's consultant revised sections, spreadsheets and maps for Buena Park to fully analyze, and to also inform their Council and citizens of the changes.
Chairman Stopper asked that a copy of the e-mail received on May 26th be entered as part of the public record. He also asked to see which parcels were notified, the timeline, and if there were any responses. Assistant Planner Sowers showed on the site plan the specific parcels that were notified, and added that they were notified three weeks prior to the Planning Commission meeting following the standard notice procedures. She stated that the responses were mostly questions, and none were received from Buena Park property owners.
Commissioner Griffin asked if the Master Plan presented would increase aviation impacts, the number of flights and size of airplanes, etc. He also asked if the City had any control over what the Part 77 FAA standards require.
Rod Propst, Airport Manager, stated that the Master Plan did not have a provision for increased operations, and the City did not have any control over the FAA standards. The FAA controls every cubic inch of airspace over the airport.
Commissioner Bailey asked about the Accident Potential Zone II Map, if the rezoning was to include residents of Fullerton and Buena Park, and if homeowners would need to declare it. It cuts in near the end of runway 24 off the railroad, and did not have the circle that comes around.
Mr. Propst stated that they chart out previous accidents to determine the accident potential zone. He said that the cut in the circle identified the area of the Runway Protection Zone area. He said that typically when pilots crash it is on take off or landing.
Chief Planner Rosen said that staff was amending the zoning ordinance to include maps so real estate agents can see the airport influence area to help in meeting disclosure requirements.
Commissioner Hart confirmed that as a realtor she had access to an LGS report, that she pays for, and must submit it to the homeowner.
Commissioner Bailey felt that the influence had been the same since the last plan.
Commissioner Price stated that the urgency was that the Master Plan called for new hangars, and hangars cannot be built without a CEQA determination.
Commissioner Francis asked if the Tartuffles Cafe rent was included in the source of funds, and Mr. Propst answered affirmatively. Commissioner Francis asked if the Master Plan went to the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC). Mr. Rosen stated that the AAC only had the authority to make recommendations to the Airport Manager. The previously AAC gave input into the 2003 Master Plan. Chief Planner Rosen said that the Transportation and Circulation Commission would review the 2004 Master Plan on June 7, 2004.
Commissioner Francis asked if there was anything the Planning Commission could do regarding the FAA height restriction changes. Mr. Propst stated that it was a federal government issue, and previous requests to use declared distances had been denied by the FAA.
Mr. Propst stated that this item was scheduled to be heard by the City Council on June 15th, but he could delay it until July so Buena Park could notify its residents. He also stated that he hired an appraiser to assess avigation easements for affected parcels, and would consider reimbursing residents for the use of the easements.
Mr. Propst stated that if the City of Buena Park did not incorporate the changes to their General Plan, they would be deemed inconsistent with the Airport Land Use Commission and would have to submit any projects in the area to the Airport Land Use Commission. If the project was found to not be consistent, and the project was built, the liability would shift from the Airport Land Use Commission to the City of Buena Park.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that the 1981 Master Plan was in error. The Part 77 information should have been included as shown in the 2004 Master Plan.
Chairman Stopper inquired if staff believed sufficient notice had been given to all parties involved in Fullerton and Buena Park about this issue. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that not all 62 parcels identified in the analysis in the west end of the runway received a notice; however, those with the most significant impacts were noticed. She felt that three weeks prior to the meeting was a sufficient notification time and was the standard procedure.
Commissioner Francis felt that all residents affected by the Runway Protection Zone should have been noticed for this meeting. Mr. Rosen stated that all residents within 10,000 feet of the airport are in the Airport Influence Area. The most affected properties have received notices in the past. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that staff noticed the parcels in the 300-foot radius, hazard zones, and 65 dB CNEL noise contour, which did include those with the most significant Part 77 related changes.
Commissioner Francis asked staff to show on the site plan those parcels technically affected and if they would have to disclose it on a real estate transfer.
Chairman Stopper asked if the new restricted areas had any structures penetrating other than trees and poles. Assistant Planner Sowers reference the Mitigated Negative Declaration for current penetrations.
Commissioner Bailey asked who paid for tree trimming and pole removal. The Mitigated Negative Declaration, figures series 3.9-4, lists each penetration surface, the action needed to be addressed and who would pay. The City of Fullerton will do the tree trimming, and staff will work with the property owners for poles that need to be removed. The railroad had planned to move their projections with a current construction project.
Commissioner Hart asked about the existing building clearance lowered, and property owners being able to acquire insurance close to the danger zone. Mr. Propst stated that the land use RPZ was not changing. There was not an increase in liability, the FAA part 77 requirement always existed, they just never were enforced. The airplanes are doing the same evolutions over the same property and they cannot be allowed to build into it. He did not see this as an increased liability, rather a height restriction.
Chief Planner Rosen suggested opening the public hearing and asking staff from Buena Park to speak regarding their desire to continue the public hearing or make a decision tonight.
Public hearing opened.
Jay Saltzberg, Buena Park City Planner, was very appreciative to work closely with the City of Fullerton in this process. They were not opposed to building new hangars, and were happy with a nice, new appearance. He was concerned with a loss of future development rights, the height restrictions, and the historic reliance on RPZ land use height restrictions. He stated that it had been a long process, much has been resolved in this complicated issue, and they have worked well with City of Fullerton staff.
Commissioner Francis asked about development rights and understood this had to happen. There is no control over it.
Jay Saltzberg was concerned with disclosure. Buena Park was provided with a chart included in the packet, which tied the loss of height to the individual properties. In the final two columns the allowable building height and future potential was shown. Residents there could only build one story, because of the 20 feet difference in height. He stated that he wanted this item continued.
Commissioner Francis stated that there was nothing the Commission could can do.
Jay Saltzberg was not sure the property owners realized it could reduce allowable height on the property.
Mr. Propst stated that staff incorrectly assumed in the plan that there were certain height developments that were not correct.
Chief Planner Rosen reiterated that the 1981 plan did not reflect the Part 77 rules that were in effect at that time and that was approved by the FAA and City Council. It was adopted and had been in place for 20 years.
Commissioner Price took as an example a property located at 6192 Indiana Street. He wanted it clarified that in the 1981 plan they could build to a height of 82.62 and in the new plan they could build to 60.59. He asked if it would have been illegal to build up to the 82.62 based on the correct Part 77 rule regulations. Chief Planner Rosen stated that technically it would be right, they would have penetrated the Part 77 surface.
Commissioner Price also stated that whether all residents received a more complete notice, the limitations that previously existed were in error so nothing was lost, because in 1977 they only had the right to build up to 60.59 anyway. Mr. Rosen said that was technically correct, and that the enforcement was the adopted plans, enforcing the correct ceiling height. He said that if something that tall was proposed, it would have been discussed to great detail by the City and FAA because of the proximity to the airport.
Commissioner Price stated that the Commission was only going to give a recommendation and then it would be heard by the City Council. Council would read the Commission minutes and see the Commission's position. He felt it was preferable that all analyzed properties received notice of the City Council meeting and then they would have an opportunity to be heard.
Chief Planner Rosen said that staff would not have a problem providing such notice and would work with Buena Park staff to develop the notice.
Jay Saltzberg stated that the Buena Park City Council was concerned with the implications for Buena Park property owners. They were involved in the process from beginning, now at this point in the process it was too late for property owners to get involved. He felt that additional noticing would help. The Buena Park City Council was also concerned that the Mitigated Negative Declaration lacked quantified impacts. When this much development potential is lost, usually the mitigation measures are clear. He also did not feel that the compensation for avigation easements was very clear.
Commissioner Price asked if it would be difficult to make the Mitigated Negative Declaration more specific. It would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis with each property owner. Mr. Saltzberg explained that the appraiser would be working with each property owner. Residential and industrial properties will be dealt with in a different manner.
Jay Saltzberg recognized the need to move ahead. If the Planning Commission recommended the item for approval, he hoped all the implications were fully understood prior to the City Council making a decision, and having all the advice and public testimony with full knowledge of all implications of the plan.
Commissioner Bailey asked if Mr. Saltzberg was directed by Buena Park City Council to request a continuation and if the Council was aware that it was an FAA requirement, and not just a decision of the City of Fullerton. Mr. Saltzberg stated that they did ask him to seek a continuation so that Buena Park residents could be more effectively notified and they were aware that it was a FAA requirement. Mr. Bailey was most concerned with the split in the RPZ.
Commissioner Bailey asked what impact, if any, citizens affected would have coming to Planning Commission or City Council meetings. Mr. Saltzberg stated that disclosure was the main concern. He felt that Buena Park residents did not have a clear understanding of it.
Mr. Saltzberg stated that he was not suggesting a course of action. On behalf of his City Council he was suggesting to spread the word. He was concerned that people do not understand the full implications and they fully intend to get the word out. Because this was an action by the City of Fullerton, he felt it was the responsibility of the City of Fullerton to send out the notices.
Commissioner Francis asked if the notice should go out after decision, because this is beyond the Commission's control. Jay Saltzberg stated that this includes height restrictions, which was a development standard alteration. CEQA states the implications of development restrictions must be analyzed and mitigated.
Commissioner Bailey asked if impacts should be mitigated prior to approval of the project, and if this was customary.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that in the normal process environmental impacts are analyzed and mitigation measures are developed, but not implemented prior to the approval of the project. The economic impact was a difficult area of CEQA, and usually is not required to be mitigated. There was no physical impact or true environmental impact that can be analyzed as a correlation between the economic impact and the affect of environmental results. It would have to be tied directly to prove that the economic impact caused a physical or environmental impact. The economic mitigation was the avigation easement proposal, which is beyond what CEQA would require.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that some properties would have restrictions placed on them that could reduce property values. A few properties that could have added a second floor are restricted. Penetration of the surfaces are allowed in some instances, but are highly discouraged.
Commissioner Bailey felt that the Fullerton residents were being impacted as much as the Buena Park residents.
Commissioner Price asked if the Master Plan addressed having avigation easements.
Mr. Propst stated that the Master Plan did address acquiring avigation easements at a cost of $96,000 to operate more successfully. It was a non-appraised amount, but the money was fundable by the FAA and available.
Jay Saltzberg stated that he was not adversarial, and his City Council wants to cooperate. They want to assure that the property owners were aware of new height restrictions and how it would affect the transfer of property.
Commissioner Francis confirmed that Buena Park wanted a continuation and Mr. Saltzberg asked that the notice be explicit and clear about the potential impact on property owners.
Mr. Propst told the Commission that the FAA directed the City of Fullerton to impose this restriction as a function of operating the airport. If Buena Park does not change its General Plan to comply, then they will be inconsistent with the Land Use.
Commissioner Francis questioned what would happen if the City of Fullerton told the FAA that this would not be enforced. Mr. Propst answered that all the money for airport improvements would have to be returned, and the FAA would no longer fund any improvements. He said that 90% of the improvements are funded by the Federal government. The Mayor signs the documents agreeing to comply with FAA standards.
Commissioner Francis asked Mr. Propst about the timing. Mr. Propst felt a sense of urgency to build new hangars. He preferred to move ahead, but could wait 30 days.
Chairman Stopper asked how much time was needed, and Mr. Saltzberg advised that 30 days would be sufficient. He also felt that the Council decision should be based on the testimony of all the public affected.
Commissioner Savage asked if the Buena Park City Council was aware that no citizens showed up to this meeting, would that change their opinion about a continuance. Mr. Saltzberg confirmed his concerns that the notice was not clear and some citizens most likely misunderstood what the hearing was about.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that staff could send a notice by the end of the week regarding continuing this item until the June 9 Planning Commission meeting, and staff would keep the schedule of presenting this item to the City Council in July.
Public hearing closed.
MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, and seconded by Commissioner Francis to CONTINUE this item to June 9, 2004, and the motion CARRIED unanimously.
Commissioner Griffin felt that concerned residents would come to the City Council meetings.
Commissioner Price asked if all 62 properties analyzed would be noticed. Staff answered affirmatively, and added that those identified off the east end of the runway would also be included.
Commissioner Francis asked staff to determine the language of the notice with input from the Buena Park staff.
Commissioner Hart was not in favor of continuing, and felt it could be approved tonight.
Commissioner Savage felt that there was not sufficient interest in the community. He was interested in having more hangars built.
Chairman Stopper felt that staff's compromise extends a helping hand to Buena Park. Commissioner Francis supported that position.
ITEM NO. 3
PRJ04-00325 - LRP04-00012. APPLICANT: FULLERTON HERITAGE.
Staff report dated May 19, 2004, was presented pertaining to a request to rezone the 1100 block of East Whiting Avenue and the 200 block of North Stanford Avenue classifying the properties from "R-1-7.2" to "R-1-7.2P" (west side of Stanford, between Wilshire and approximately 150 feet south of the Chapman Avenue centerline; the south sides of Whiting from Stanford to Raymond; and the north side of Whiting between Stanford and approximately 73 feet west of the Raymond centerline) (R-1-7.2 zone) (Categorically exempt under Section 15308 of CEQA Guidelines).
Commissioner Hart stated that she was realtor with a listing on this street; she recused herself and left the room.
Commissioner Francis went on record by stating he lived in the 300 block of Whiting, which is far away from this area, and he was not affected.
Associate Planner Eastman reported that this was a request to rezone property in the 1100 block of East Whiting and the 200 N. Stanford Avenue to R-1-7.2P. The request was presented by Fullerton Heritage, the City's local preservation organization. They are requesting that these areas be rezoned to the City's Historic Preservation Overlay Designation. Only the R-1-7.2 zoned properties would be affected. There are adjacent buildings that are not zoned R-1-7.2 or do not have a Stanford or Whiting Avenue address. Surrounding uses include residential properties converted to offices, a service station, a shopping center, single-family residences, and single-family duplexes.
Notification was within 300 feet surrounding the rezone area and all property owners affected directly by the rezone. He received a number of phone calls, but none were in opposition. They only needed clarification of what the notification meant.
Mr. Eastman stated that a petition for rezoning was delivered to the City in June, 2003. All 19 owners on East Whiting signed the petition. The project representative moved and Fullerton Heritage resumed responsibility. Another petition was circulated on Stanford Avenue. A neighborhood meeting was held in April, 2004 and there were 10 residents in attendance. There was no opposition to the proposal, and the underlying zoning would not altered. Associate Planner Eastman presented photos of the cottage style homes. Staff recommended approval to the City Council.
The applicant, Tom Dalton, President of Fullerton Heritage, thanked and commended residents for pursuing this designation for their neighborhood. He stated that it was so desirable because the homeowners maintained architectural integrity in the neighborhood.
Commissioner Francis asked staff what would change and if property owners could alter their homes.
Mr. Eastman stated that the primary intent was to maintain the character and the historical aspects of the neighborhood. There are four development standards that would apply. The Director of Development Services and the RDRC would review design guidelines, inconsistencies, additions greater than 50% or 500 sq. feet, and construction or demolition of a structure less than 120 sq. ft.
Public hearing opened, but there was no public present who wished to speak on this matter.
Public hearing closed.
Commissioner Francis asked if all property owners on Whiting Avenue signed the petition. Mr. Eastman stated that at the time of the signing all had, but some have sold their property since then. All properties were noticed, and three properties on Stanford were absentee landowners.
Commissioner Bailey was surprised this area was not already in a Preservation area, and supported the request.
Commissioner Price concurred and felt more areas should be incorporated.
Commissioners Francis, Savage and Griffin also supported the request.
Chairman Stopper was also in support. He commended the Daltons for being involved.
The title of Resolution PC-04-20, RECOMMENDING to the City Council changing the zone classification from "R-1-7.2" to "R-1-7.2P" on properties located in the 1100 block of East Whiting Avenue and the 200 block of North Stanford Avenue, was read and further reading was waived. MOTION by Commissioner Bailey, seconded by Commissioner Francis and CARRIED unanimously, that said Resolution be ADOPTED AS WRITTEN.
DISCUSSION OF COUNCIL ACTION REGARDING REORGANIZATION OF COMMISSIONS/COMMITTEES
Chairman Stopper suggested that the Commissioners send specific ideas to the City Council.
Commissioner Griffin stated that the City Council directed staff to return on May 4, 2004, with options to be considered to reduce the number of commissioners and consolidate bodies with similar functions and disband those without a purpose. Because he has worked in local government his entire career, he suggested that the City Manager look at this and bring his recommendations to the City Council. Typically, the City Manager has a good understanding of all commissions and committees, and he could take a comprehensive look at duplicative ones.
It was Commissioner Savage's understanding of the letter received by the Commissioners, to look at the Planning Commission only. He asked if the Council was expecting input about all the commissions.
Chief Planner Rosen stated that the Planning Commission's primary intent was to comment specifically on the Planning Commission size and appointment procedure. This would not preclude comments on other commissions and committees. The City Manager had instructed staff to bring forth recommendations on any commission/committee/board. He directed the Commission to Attachment I of the staff report, where staff recommended consolidation, etc.
Commissioner Griffin asked if this suggested list of consolidations had been presented to Council. Mr. Rosen stated that it was a part of the May 4, 2004, agenda packet.
Chairman Stopper understood that the City Council passed a motion which restructured the appointment process and individual appointments, as ratified by the City Council.
Commissioner Savage asked how the Commission felt about the total number of people on Planning Commission.
Commissioner Bailey felt that it did not matter whether there were five or seven members. He felt that seven would be more effective in case of illness. When he served on the Transportation and Circulation Commission, seven was an effective number. He requested a more consistent time schedule, because it was difficult to leave work early.
Commissioner Francis felt that a 7 p.m. meeting was best for the public in general and for professionals also. He preferred having the meeting at 7 p.m., however, he thought that staff would prefer the earlier meeting time.
Commissioner Griffin felt that there was clear direction from the Council for direct appointments, and that meant five commissioners. He appreciated Council Member Wilson asking for feedback from the Commissioners. Commissioner Griffin wanted more direction as to whether Council wanted to "clean the slate" and have five new members immediately, did they want two resignations, or did they want to allow the two members with terms expiring soon to sit on the Commission until expiration. He felt it was an awkward situation if Council was asking for seven resignations.
Chief Planner Rosen's interpretation was if Council was reducing the Commission to five, they would immediately ask for all resignations, and start the process for five new appointments. It would be a mass resignation and reappointment of all commissions and committees. He hoped it was phased in, which was staff's preferred option, but was unsure.
Commissioner Hart felt that seven members on the Commission with five direct members and two at-large would be the best combination. She felt that a mass resignation and reappointment was inappropriate because there was no continuity.
Commissioner Price thought that a direct appointment was counter intuitive to being democratic. He thought it would be better by a consensus or by a group. If the City Council wanted direct appointment, it was their prerogative to instigate it. He was concerned with a lack of diversity in the direct appointment process, and that it would be better to get a wider spectrum of people, with different backgrounds. He had spoken with two former mayors from other cities who were satisfied with direct appointment. He felt the Commission was there to engage people in the democratic process, while advising the City Council. He wanted to get people involved in the community they live in. In efforts of trying to improve the community, a seven-member Commission is better. He hoped that Council would retain seven members on the Planning Commission. There was a level of experience, which presently exists, and it would be dangerous ask for a resignation of all seven Planning Commissioners and go through a reappointment process where they potentially lose the experience current Commissioners have gained by serving. He understood that the Council felt it would be more efficient to have direct appointments. He wanted to see the community coming out and applying for a position where they could become more involved in serving their community.
Commissioner Savage did not favor direct appointments, but was not adamantly against it. He stated that many cities have direct appointments for commissions and committees. He felt the Council could try the new process, and if unsuccessful, it could be changed back or modified. He favored a five-person panel. He felt the Council should elect two members of Council to take applications and interview, along with a member of the Planning Commission. He was concerned that there was no longer an architect, he felt that was a great loss. He favored a system to elect a group to bring people forward to vote on appointments. He did not care about the mix of male, female or race, he would like to see a diversity of expertise. The tone is set randomly when each member appoints one person. He was concerned that he was going to lose his seat on the Commission, because he enjoys it. He felt that he offered something to the panel, and it was a conflict of interest to decide the size of the commission. He would like Council to consider principles and not personalities. He felt that sometimes government was not willing to try a new idea. He had advocated the reduction of government all of his life.
Chairman Stopper felt there were several options for the City Council in dealing with the Planning Commission. They could keep it at seven or reduce it to five or take no position and leave it as is. It could be combined with the RDRC with any number of members. He felt that there would be less projects to review in the years ahead. Diversity of ethnicity, gender and age, experience and background are also key elements. It would be a trade off of how much corporate memory was maintained while keeping consistency in decision-making process. He stated that he also serves on the Underground Utilities Commission, but they have not met in two years. He has also served on the Infrastructure Advisory Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee, which has provided him with working knowledge and an opportunity to serve on the Planning Commission. Loss of that knowledge would be significant and measurable. He will be answering the letter directly to the City Council on his behalf.
Commissioner Griffin asked what the motivation was for asking for seven resignations. He agreed that they are losing a cohesive group of people, and wondered if Council was "mad" at someone.
Commissioner Bailey felt this was the question. He had spoken with Council and did not think the Council was angry at anyone--they are just revisiting the situation and streamlining.
Commissioner Griffin did not understand removing every commissioner and putting on five new members without experience.
Commissioner Bailey said that he had not heard that the Council would be reducing the Commission to five members.
Commissioner Francis thought Council asked for resignations and will ask for five commissioners, not necessarily new members. Some Commissioners have been members for five to seven years. He felt that it was more undemocratic for one man to appoint all members.
Commissioner Price stated that he was interviewed by three people and he assumed that by consensus he was recommended to the mayor and the mayor made the appointment.
Commissioner Francis stated that the councilmembers he spoke with desired to have a better relationship with committee members, they want more input and want to read minutes and have conversations. With appointments of their choice, they would have that relationship and it would be more productive.
Commissioner Griffin did not feel it was personal. He thought it was ridiculous to do a whole housecleaning. He did not think it made sense, since some of the appointments would probably not be the same people. He thought it would be logical to retain the experience that the Commission already had and wait until the terms expire to appoint new members.
Commissioner Savage did not advocate the system of replacing all members of commissions/committees/boards. At first he thought this was a slap in the face, as he knows other volunteers felt it was. This is not exactly a high paying job. There are many volunteers in the City. At first he thought this was a matter of personalities, not principle. Then he came to believe it was not personalities, but principles that brought the Council to this decision. He stated he had purchased several books on Planning Commissions when appointed. Commissioners should be responsive to the community. If they are not, they should be fired. He felt the Council was the best judge of this since they were elected by the community.
Commissioner Hart wanted an explanation of the urgency of City Council to move on this subject. She had asked Leland Wilson and did not get a response that she was satisfied with.
Commissioner Bailey suggested that Commissioners attend the Council meetings and speak with the Councilmembers to get their questions answered. He was also concerned with the urgency of replacing members.
Chairman Stopper stated that when he met in February with four of the members of City Council and spoke with the fifth councilmember on the telephone; he asked their opinion of how the Planning Commission was functioning and received no negative feedback.
The Commission discussed changing the time of the meeting. It was decided to add this to the agenda of the June Commission meeting.
Commissioner Bailey asked if the website had updated agendas and minutes. Staff stated that the problem had been corrected and everything was up to date.
Chief Planner Rosen informed the Commission that the General Plan now has zoning maps which can be viewed on the website.
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.
The next meeting of the Fullerton Planning Commission will be June 9, 2004, at 4:00 p.m. The Commission will also review the hearing schedule and choose a date for going dark once in the summer.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:28 p.m.