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Minutes August 22: Redevelopment Design Review Committee

August 22, 2002

CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order at 4:30 P.M. by Vice-Chairman Johnson
MEMBERS PRESENT:
Vice-Chairman Johnson, Committee Members Blumer, Daybell, and Silber
MEMBERS ABSENT:
Chairman Coffman
STAFF PRESENT:
Chief Planner Rosen, Program Planner Linnell, Associate Planner Eastman, Planning Consultant Wolff
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the July 11, 2002 meeting was approved as written.

NEW BUSINESS

ITEM 1
APPLICANT: GRACE MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF SITE PLANS AND ELEVATIONS FOR 1645 AND 1701 WEST VALENCIA AVE. AND 165 S. BROOKHURST RD.

The project proposal is for reuse of the Hunt-Wesson, Con/Agra property. The applicant proposes to construct a new sanctuary building on the site of the existing single-story general office building at the southwest corner of Brookhurst Road and Commonwealth Avenue. Also proposed is a remodel of the existing research and development building near the northeast corner of Brookhurst Road and Valencia Drive, including the addition of a new gymnasium.

The applicant requested this meeting as a follow up to the meeting of July 11, to seek clarification on suggestions the Redevelopment Design Review Committee (RDRC) provided at that time. After considering and discussing the RDRC recommendations, the applicant, David Choye, and Project Architect, Myung Chung, wished to discuss further three issues with the RDRC.

  1. The Committee's suggestion that the remodel of the R & D Building (for use as a high school) reference the International Style architectural elements of the historic site, specifically, the strong vertical and horizontal features such as T shaped structural elements and overhangs.
  2. Use of a barrel vault as a new architectural element in the R & D Building remodel.
  3. Development of a Church logo/thematic element. The image they are considering is one of a dandelion seedpod (photo displayed at meeting), as a visual expression of the Church's mission.

The Church feels that the International Style architectural elements do not complement the existing R & D Building, which is a more massive concrete structure. They would prefer to introduce curvilinear elements to soften its hard edges, and to further convey the logo/seedpod theme. They presented alternative plans to the Committee, one set incorporating the rectilinear element as suggested, and another retaining the barrel vault and incorporating additional curvilinear elements. The curvilinear elements carry through the seedpod theme as a relief pattern on the stucco walls. The pattern would use varying thickness of the stucco, rather than color, to convey the design.

The Committee members had the following comments:

At the last meeting, the RDRC suggested incorporating elements of the International Style as a means to a more cohesive design approach, which would contain references to the existing historic structures. They felt that the preliminary plans presented at that time did not exhibit a coordinated architectural theme or treatment, and that the educational building contained a number of disparate elements (rounded vault, triangular window elements and massive rectilinear vent structures).

The new plans shown at today's meeting have been further developed, displaying a more consistent and cohesive architectural theme. The rounded arch is complemented by the curvilinear patterns proposed on the walls, and the window treatment has been redesigned as horizontal bands, deleting the triangular elements. The Committee does not wish to dictate a specific architectural style, and the new plans address their concerns that the project display is a cohesive design.

The proposed stucco pattern could be emphasized more through introducing texture, as well as relief. The wall design patterns should have enough contrast to be visible in all lighting situations, and avoid the appearance of a flat wall.

The clerestory windows are a nice element added to the gymnasium, but direct lighting could be a problem. Various materials are available to create the appropriate lighting effect needed for athletic activities in the gym.

At the prior meeting, the Redevelopment Design Review Committee (RDRC) suggested further study of the exterior stairway on the west side of the education building. In response, the new plans show a partial enclosure by adding a wall parallel to the building face; the stairway remains unenclosed on its north and south sides.

In response to the Committee's previous comments regarding landscaping, the applicants made adjustments to the site plan. They added planter areas to the surface parking lot on the west side of Brookhurst Road. They also redesigned the Sanctuary parking lot, eliminating parking stalls to allow retention of the pine trees at the southwest corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Brookhurst Road, and some Mimosa trees along Brookhurst Road. They also revised plans for the parking lot along Valencia Avenue, retaining more of the existing landscape setback. Only a small strip of the planter is to be removed in front of the gymnasium, but they have been careful to retain the existing berm. Plans also show closure of one of the access driveways onto Valencia Drive, however, this needs to be discussed from a traffic and circulation viewpoint.

Staff noted that this was a preliminary review, intended to provide direction to the applicants. No action was taken by the RDRC. The project would require final approval by RDRC upon approval by the City Council.

Prior to adjournment, the Committee discussed the applicant's request to speak with individual members outside of the regular meetings. Members were uncomfortable with this request, and preferred to keep all dialogue within the meeting format. Joel Rosen responded, noting that they have no obligation to meet or talk with applicants outside the public process. If they should decide to do so, it is important that they do not give any indication of how they might vote on an item that would come before them at a future meeting. Members should also disclose any outside contact or fact finding at the regular meeting. The primary issue is to maintain the integrity of the public process.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:45 P.M.

Joan Wolff, Planning Consultant
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