The meeting was called to order at 4:15 p.m. by Chairman Johnson
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Johnson; Committee Members Blumer and Coffman.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Vice-Chairman Daybell and Committee Member Silber.
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen; Associate Planner Eastman; Assistant Planner Kusch.
Minutes for May 8, 2003 were continued to the next meeting due to a lack of members who were in attendance at the May 8 meeting (no quorum).
Assistant Planner Andrew Kusch introduced the proposal, stating that the project had been brought before the RDRC on May 8, 2003 to solicit comments regarding the architecture, use of materials, and general appropriateness for the area. He described the project as a four-unit apartment development with each unit containing two bedrooms. The proposal includes a request to change the property's Zoning and General Plan designation from commercial to residential. Planner Kusch described the general location of the site, and stated that it is before the RDRC because it is located in Redevelopment Area 4.
Assistant Planner Kusch highlighted the RDRC's comments from the May 8, 2003 meeting, including the use of plywood at the stairs, which would not have much longevity, and a concern with noise from the auto repair facility to the east. To address the RDRC's concerns related to noise, Staff is recommending a condition which requires a sound assessment to determine noise impacts and identify possible measures to reduce impacts to within the City of Fullerton's interior noise standards.
Planner Kusch also noted that here is a vehicle turn-around area in the middle of the site, and that half of the turn-around area would need to be counted as useable open space to meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The project architect has paved the entire "turn around area", but has placed a bollard in the middle to block vehicles from encroaching within half of the space. Staff feels that this provides for an adequate turn around, but would like the RDRC's comments as to whether the "open space" half should be paved (as proposed), or landscaped to match adjacent open space areas.
Planner Kusch concluded his presentation by stating that the project will go before the Planning Commission, May 28, 2003. The RDRC's motion at this meeting will be a recommendation to the Planning Commission and City Council to approve or deny the project. The RDRC's recommendation should be pertinent to the project's design, such as architecture, use of materials, and proposed color pallet. The recommendation will be presented to the Planning Commission by memorandum or in Staff's verbal presentation.
Member Blumer asked to have Staff clarify the area which was to become "landscaped". Assistant Planner Kusch identified the area. Member Blumer asked if the hardscaped areas can be considered "useable open space", to which Staff answered affirmatively. Blumer stated that he felt the bollard effectively created a pedestrian orientation.
Chairman Johnson asked to see the building elevations. Member Blumer asked if there were any changes to the project since the last meeting. Staff stated that the project is still stucco with stained wood panels; but deferred the questions regarding changes to the applicant. Assistant Planner Kusch described the architectural features of the building.
The applicant and architect's representative, Randall Larson, described changes that have been made to the project, including the change of the guardrail to a metal mesh, and a shift and enlargement of a window at the living room. Mr. Larson briefly discussed the possible color schemes, stating that the proposed stain allows for the grain of the wood to show through. It was pointed out that four different potential color schemes have been proposed, but the actual color palette has not been decided on.
Mr. Larson showed the floor plans and site plan for the proposed project. He described how the building sits over the parking, creating open carports.
Chairman Johnson opened the hearing for members of the public. Jerry Knowles, 1019 W. Ash Ave., said that he was attending the meeting to get a better understanding of the proposal. He had not previously seen the plans. He said he is very open minded regarding the project, and his concerns were in regards to the increased density and parking created by apartment buildings. He stated that there currently is a problem with overcrowded street parking from other apartment complexes in the area. He was also concerned with additional traffic created by the project; the height of the structure (he can see the property from his back yard); landscaping and screening of the outdoor pedestrian areas; and the preservation of the elm in the parkway in front of the project site. It was identified on the vicinity map where Mr. Knowles property is in relationship to the project site. Staff clarified for Mr. Knowles benefit that the elm would remain, and that the orientation and recessed design of the patio areas would eliminate any direct visibility to or from his property. The landscaping shown on the site plan along the eastern side of the development was identified for Mr. Knowles benefit, and he stated that this would be beneficial for the neighborhood. Staff clarified that the issues before the Redevelopment Design Review Committee concern design issues, and issues related to density and traffic are related to the requested rezone, which is the purview of the Planning Commission and City Council. There was a brief discussion of the number of units and parking requirements, and Staff clarified that the project complies with the parking requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, and that the other apartments in the neighborhood were built at a time when the code requirement for parking was much less.
Seeing no one else from the public, Chairman Johnson closed the public hearing.
Member Mark Blumer stated that his comments are basically the same as the last meeting. He feels the wire mesh over the stairs is an improvement from the plywood.
Member Kaufman stated that he thought the use of plywood at the stairs was an interesting concept, but feels that it probably is better that it has been removed because of durability. He expressed concerns with storage, and suggested that more storage could be provided because he's sure it would be used. However, he expected the project has incorporated as much storage as possible, and therefore he wouldn't make it a condition of approval. He didn't feel that any of the color schemes proposed were inappropriate, and therefore felt the color choice should be left up to the applicant. He stated that he is in support of the project.
Chairman Johnson commented that he is in support of what has been presented, and only has a comment regarding the lighting under the carports as it relates to safety and visibility to the street. Chairman Johnson stated that he supports the colors and landscape plan, and expected that a detailed final landscape plan would be submitted to staff for their review and approval.
Associate Planner Eastman confirmed that a final landscape plan would be required and reviewed by Staff. Associate Planner Eastman asked the RDRC to provide some insight regarding the landscaping of the turn-around area. Chairman Johnson felt that hardscape, rather than landscape, is appropriate for the area because it is a small area which would probably become a maintenance issue and an eyesore. Member Blumer stated that he liked how the accent pavement is brought into the back-up area, creating a transition from pedestrian to vehicular. Member Coffman felt the area is very useable, even as hardscape. He suggested the addition of a barbecue, and other feature were discussed to augment the space, such as a bench or fountain. Member Coffman asked if there needs to be a handicap stall for a four-unit complex, particularly with units that have only stairway access. He noted that there are two handicapped stalls proposed, and felt that this essentially means there are technically two less parking spaces available for tenants and guests. Staff stated that they did not believe the spaces were required, but would direct the question to the Building Division's Plan Check Engineer.
Motioned by Blumer, seconded by Coffman, and CARRIED by a vote of 3 to 0 to RECOMMEND APPROVAL of the project subject to Staff's recommended conditions of approval, and that Staff's recommended condition number 6 be modified to address lighting in the carports. The motion passed with a vote of 3 to 0.
Associate Planner Eastman stated that there are not any items currently forecasted for the next hearing. He also discussed a memorandum distributed to the City Manager and City Council regarding a public meeting to be held on June 5, 2003. Mr. Eastman stated that the meeting pertains to 21 properties which the City and Fullerton Heritage are promoting for designation as "Local Landmarks".
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m.