PRJ03-00665 - ZON03-00058. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: NUBY SEARS.
A request for site and architectural plans to redevelop and expand an existing restaurant into three-restaurant tenant spaces with a pedestrian-oriented outdoor space located at 501 N. State College Boulevard. Assistant Planner Sowers addressed the committee on the proposed project. She stated that the property is currently zoned C2 and the property was remodeled in the late 1990's at which time Cingular Wireless, Togo's, Baskin Robbins, and Starbucks were converted into three tenant spaces. This application is proposing to turn the remaining single restaurant space into three additional smaller tenant spaces by adding 900 square feet of tenant space through demolition and reconstruction. Staff described the proposed architecture, identifying that it wail be similar to the rest of the site that was remodeled in the 1990s. Staff is asking the RDRC to make a recommendation to the Planning Commission.
Vice-chair Daybell questioned staff about a conflict among the plans regarding the location of doors of the middle tenant "C". Staff stated that the applicant could that issue during public comments. Committee member Blumer wondered which colors the applicant plans to match. Staff referred the question to the applicant. There being no further questions for staff, Chairman Johnson turned the time over to public comments.
Andrew Bello, the project architect, addressed the committee regarding the intent of the project. To create a more integrated restaurant space on the site, they are proposing to raise the Coco's building and rebuild with a design concept that ties into the existing building to the rear. They chose to use a ledge stone on the corner because it is a highly visible corner. They carried over all of the elements from the original building to be consistent. Planning's comments regarding the ledge stone on the Cingular, Togo's, and Baskin Robbins buildings were addressed by using a similar color. The applicant identified that the fieldstone color is more grayish-brown than what is shown. They also added some red paint to the Starbucks and the wing walls behind the Cingular, Togo's and Baskin Robbins buildings to pop out the two towers. An error on the elevations is that the tower on the South and West elevations is to be the red color.
Mr. Bello addressed Vice-chair Daybell's concerns about the issue of the door to the rear on the elevations. He stated that the inconsistency has to do with tenant renegotiations. Vice-chair Daybell responded that the ramp for the addition would not be needed. Mr. Bello stated that they would have to wrap the ramp around to address the problem.
Committee member Silber asked if the applicant had considered a grease interceptor for the new tenants and where it would be located. Mr. Bello stated that all of the plumbing to the grease interceptor had been recently installed and that there would be no need to replace it for the new tenants.
Vice-chair Daybell asked if the applicant planned to keep the large tree behind Starbucks. Mr. Bello stated that they plan to leave all existing trees except for those near the Coco's renovation. Vice-chair Daybell asked about a note on the plans regarding the new smooth stucco. Mr. Bello stated that they plan to resurface the entire existing building with new smooth stucco.
Vice-chair Daybell asked if a block retaining wall would be more attractive as a stucco wall. Mr. Bello stated that they a split face wall would be more resilient. Vice-chair Daybell asked if the applicant intended to fix cracks and a sewer trench patch in the parking lot paving. Mr. Bello was not aware of any damage and would look into the situation. Vice-chair Daybell asked about the fate of the existing newsracks and payphone in front of Coco's. Mr. Bello stated that they would be removed. Vice-chair Daybell asked there would be space on the existing sign to add new businesses. Mr. Bello stated there would be room. Vice-chair Daybell asked why space "C" is 40% smaller than "A" & "B". Mr. Bello stated that it was the owner's decision. There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Johnson opened the floor for committee member comments.
Committee member Coffman stated that the project works well for the area, however he did share Vice-chair Daybell's concern regarding the retaining wall. He said that the plaster looks better but in the long run the block will last longer and is ok with the use.
Committee member Blummer had a concern with the colors being too bright and the large amount of red being used on the buildings.
Committee member Silber had a concern with bringing the colors too close together and suggested a more neutral tone between the red and the green. He was most pleased with the outdoor dining area being continued through the corner of the building and would recommend the landscaping along Chapman also have some hard surface to create new dining for tenant "A". He would also like to see some additional landscape along the backside of the building, which is a front view for the other buildings to the rear. He asked for Chairman Johnson's opinion in the matter.
Chairman Johnson stated that his comments are focused more on the street side of the building to bring the planting around the front and make a small planting wall 18" wide to soften up the exterior faade. It would be really hard to add additional landscape other than to add vines on the wall. Committee member Silber stated that it might be possible to add vine pockets to the ramp/walkway.
Vice-chair Daybell liked the concept of making the corner of Chapman and State College distinctive from the rest of the building and agreed with Committee member Silber about the red and green colors clashing. He had no problem with what is there. His only comment is his earlier one about fixing the paving in the back.
Chairman Johnson stated that his comments on the landscape wall was just a suggestion and he is in support of the project.
Committee member Coffman stated that he agrees with the color comments, and would caution the applicant from using trendy colors.
Committee member Silber made a motion to approve the proposed project with staff's recommendations and to add a condition to repair the paving in the back. Associate Planner Eastman clarified that based on the applicant's presentation, the committee would be modifying Staff's recommended condition number 1. Chairman Johnson stated that he would make a suggestion to add landscaping to the rear as discussed. Vice-chair Daybell asked if the applicant was planning to continue the decorative railing all the way around the building. Assistant Planner Sowers asked if this was a recommendation. Vice-chair Daybell stated that it is something to explore and Chairman Johnson said he felt that it should just be a suggestion. Associate Planner Eastman said that there was currently a motion on the floor to approve the project subject to Staff's recommended conditions, except condition number one, and an additional condition to patch the on-site paving. The motion passed with a vote of 5-0.
PRJ03-00671 - PM2003-211. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: JOHN AND YING SHIPMAN.
A request to subdivide an existing 1.4-acre parcel to create 3 single family residential lots on property that currently contain two existing residences which are 809 and 817 Arroyo Place.
Assistant Planner Kusch stated that this is the first application since the City Council adopted the Pico/Carhart rural street design guidelines back in August. The applicant is seeking an exemption from the guideline that prohibits flag shaped lots. Staff is recommending approval based on the applicant retaining an existing pepper tree and restricting retaining walls to a the maximum height of four feet. The guidelines encourage the retention of existing mature trees and limitations on grading and retaining walls. Staff is recommending that the RDRC recommend approval to the Planning Commission.
Committee member Silber asked about the existing drainage pattern to Arroyo Place. Assistant Planner was unsure of the situation. There was discussion regarding how the site should drain, and if it was o.k. to drain on to another property. Chief Planner Rosen stated it was o.k. as long as the drainage pattern doesn't change and the quantity of run-off doesn't increase. Silver asked what the minimum pad elevation would be to run sewer form the new unit. Planner Kusch did not know. Member Coffman asked about the rear of the property being part of 817 Arroyo Place. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that they would be utilizing the existing driveways serving parcel 3, which is 809 Arroyo Place. Committee member Daybell asked if it is the same owner for both existing lots. Planner Kusch stated that they are and that the new parcel is situated so that there would be no negative impact on the adjacent properties. Committee member Coffman asked about the main concerns of splitting lots. Assistant Planner Kusch said that it is a combination of variables, but basically that new construction was out of character in terms of the existing neighborhood; so the design guidelines are intended to address a more traditional context for subdivisions. Committee member Coffman asked if they were just reviewing the lot division. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the building designs might eventually come back, but at this time the committee is only reviewing the lot division.
Committee member Coffman asked what the guidelines consider acceptable. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the guidelines are intended to create a rural environment, so the idea is to have lots fronting the street, so that homes are not double or triple loaded off the street. Chief Planner Rosen stated that the intent of the guideline is to address the issue of placing the front of houses at other houses back yards.
Committee member Silber asked why the applicant is not using the existing upper driveway. Chief Planner Rosen said the owner/applicant could address this question.
Committee member Silber asked if the garage could be on the upper level of the proposed new house. The applicant responded that it would be possible but did not want to create a higher roofline. There being no further question for Staff, Chairman Johnson opened the floor to public comment.
Vice-chair Daybell asked the applicant about the intent to build a 3,000 square foot house, which appears to be too massive for the neighborhood. The applicant responded that 817 Arroyo Place is currently 3,100 square feet. Vice-chair Daybell asked what feedback the applicant had received from the surrounding neighbors. Assistant Planner Kusch stated that the neighbors were not notified because they would be notified of Planning Commission hearing. There being no further public comment Chairman Johnson opened the meeting to Committee Member comments.
Vice-chair Daybell stated that he is undecided about the flag lot due to the size of the proposed project, and would recommend against the subdivision unless it was smaller and more compatible with existing homes.
Committee member Silber stated that he could not get passed the house having a footprint that doesn't work with the landscape, and a 3 car garage on the low side would create a retaining wall issue in the future. He would recommend reduce the amount of area graded and the retaining walls should sit lower on the land. Member Silber said he had concerns that he could not adequately assess the proposed subdivision without knowing the constraints related to surface run-off and minimum pad elevation required for sewer connections.
Committee member Blumer stated that part of the process is that the subdivision map should be done first in order to do the drawings. If the garage is up above you would have less impact to the land.
Vice-chair Daybell stated that if the subdivision was done differently it could achieve natural drainage to the West. Member Blumer said he thought the Engineering Department would require the grading to dump drainage onto Arroyo.
The applicant stated that southwest is the natural course of drainage.
Committee member Silber stated that by retaining the water to keep from gushing out onto hard surfaces, that there should be a way to catch the water to keep it from spilling out onto Arroyo Place. Chief Planner Rosen stated that water drainage can be accomplished through rip-raps or other methods.
Committee member Silber made a motion to support the subdivision of the flag lot with the issues of grading, retaining walls, and building design being revisited by the RDRC. Committee member Blumer seconded the motion. Vice-chair Daybell expressed concern with the subdividing the lot in a manner that leaves the potential to create additional lots in the future. It was discussed and determined that the design guidelines require additional flag lots to come back to the RDRC for consideration. The motion was modified to identify that the RDRC was concerned with the creation of future lots on this property. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
PRJ03-00757 - ZON03-00064. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: NORTH ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT.
Associate Planner Eastman described the project as an application by the North Orange County Community College (NOCC) District, for a parcel located on the North side of Berkley, East of 1000 North Lemon Street. The college is requesting a site and architectural review of a maintenance and operation building. The NOCC previously provided the City with a preliminary design, which included an automotive repair use. They since moved the auto repair use to a more central location on campus. They also followed staff's recommendations to provide a less industrial design and to re-orient the roll-up doors to the north, to face away from Berkley Avenue. Staff still has a few minor concerns with the revised plans, which is mostly related to landscaping in the front setback and landscaping as a buffer to the neighbors in the rear. Associate Planner Eastman reminded the committee and public the Design Review Committee was to focus specifically on the project design, and not on land use issues. He stated that NOCC would like to obtain comments from the RDRC and bring a revised plan to the next meeting. A recommendation regarding design issues will be made at the next meeting by the RDRC. The recommendation will be to the Planning Commission for final approval.
Associate Planner Eastman stated that staff was concerned about the height of the building at Berkley, and would like to see landscaping which softens the height of the building. Also, Staff identified that there plans show an 8-foot masonry wall on the front, although the College has indicated that they would construct masonry columns with wrought iron fencing. Staff would ask for clarity regarding the type of fencing proposed. Staff also believes the fencing can have curvilinear "wells" to allow for sidewalk-adjacent trees. Staff has asked for clarity since there are differences between the elevation and perspective, particularly regarding the window trim and decorative lighting.
Committee member Coffman asked if there is some required landscaping along Berkley. Associate Planner Eastman stated that this project is currently in the Public Land zone and that there is no minimum setback, one of staff's concerns was to move the building away from the adjacent residences. However it is a double edge sword because it moves the building closer to Berkley. Committee member Coffman asked if the applicant is required to provide landscaping. Associate Planner Eastman stated that they should provide some landscaping. He identified a community group who is championing a consistent landscape theme for what is being called the "Education District". The intent is to provide unity to the area around the college and high school.
Chairman Johnson asked about the slope behind the building. Associate Planner Eastman stated that they had not yet identified the types of materials to be used on the slope and would ask for them to be identified on landscape plans. The College volunteered to use a hedge or other material to obscure the line of sight from the adjacent residents.
Vice-chair Daybell asked if the applicant had thought of using a terrace arrangement instead of the retaining wall in the back. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the applicant should address that issue, as they are more knowledgeable of the State's requirements for construction of an educational facility, and the easement across the property. There being no further questions for staff, Chairman Johnson opened up the floor for public comments.
Janet Portolan with Fullerton College addressed the committee regarding the project. She stated that they have been willing to respond to City's recommendations such as removing the auto shop to the campus, and other design issues. She introduced Carol Minning with tBP Architecture, who is the project architect.
Committee member Coffman asked the architect about the rooms labeled Electrical, Plumbing, and Carpentry in plan view, he wanted to know if "second story" window could be placed at the top of the building. The project architect stated that when the larger doors were on the other side they were trying to create a natural ventilation flow to ventilate the space, now with the doors on the back they are considering a door on the opposite end rather than window. The items shown are inlaid tiles and could be altered to the RDRC's satisfaction.
Committee member Silber asked the applicant to describe some of the functions performed in the higher bay areas and the purpose of the higher storage. The applicant said they require space to store materials. The work spaces would be for minor repairs, and they proposed the higher ceilings to install storage racks which maximize the floor space. Committee member Silber asked if they currently have forklifts on campus. The applicant answered yes. The applicant stated that within the last week the college decided, in response to the neighbors' concerns, to move the roll up doors from the neighbor's view to the west side. This allows some minimal access by forklift into the space. In general they don't have large deliveries to this facility. The general functions would be small item storage and minor repair.
Committee member Silber asked what the elevation would be of the finished project. The architect said that it is about 180 feet. The pad elevation is dictated by an existing access road to the west that goes to the [former] district offices. They are trying to match the floor height at this elevation, and the drainage would come out at about 178 feet. They are trying to make use of the property without encroaching into the easements. The architect identified the State Architects' specific requirements on retaining walls. She stated that the through drive is needed to provide Fire Department Access. She stated that the campus has a fully operational theatrical program with sets being stored in large sheds on campus that is unsightly; with the new building there is a possibility to store them at this location. They could also do some landscaping on the hill to obscure the line of sight, and make it pleasant for viewing.
Committee member Silber asked if the applicant had considered an internal circulation so that all the shops would have access to the one roll-up door. The architect stated that they had given it some thought, but the other shops do most of their work on campus so there is not a great need to store large items at this building. She said the College does not have huge warehouse stock.
Vice-chair Daybell asked if the applicant would consider reducing the height of the shops that are not in need of the larger bay. The architect stated that there is a 16-foot clearance inside the structure that would allow for 12-foot racks and possibly store additional items.
Committee member Silber asked about the utility vaults and wondered if they would stay and if there would be a walkway in between. The architect said they would stay and that they would put in a planting strip next to the sidewalk. Committee member Silber asked if the "front" door were to be used primarily as an emergency egress only. The architect said yes. Silber stated that they could relay on the public sidewalk, which would create additional opportunities for landscaping. She stated that they need to provide the fence and wall to create a more secure building, and to avoid solicitors and unwanted promotional materials.
Associate Planner Eastman asked the architect to address the issue of handicapped access from the street and in parking. The architect stated that access would be provide on the west side from the sidewalk. Associate Planner Eastman asked about the front concrete masonry block wall shown on the plan section; it was his understanding that wrought iron fencing woulbe be used. The architect stated that they would have block pilasters with wrought iron and plants growing up the fencing to make it appear like an older Spanish style building. Chairman Johnson asked about the current width of the sidewalk. The architect said that the sidewalk is currently 6 feet, including a 4-foot strip, and a 10-foot on-site setback from the sidewalk.
Associate Planner Eastman addressed the overall Education District landscaping. The concept is to provide street trees and on site trees to create a canopy over the pedestrian access. Chairman Johnson clarified that street trees are required in the public right of way. Associate Planner Eastman stated that Maintenance Services have identified the type and color of tree grates to be used. The architect stated that opposite the project, there is the Agriculture School with large trees that currently exists and the street trees would provide a good opportunity to soften the harsh look of the retaining wall.
Vice-chair Daybell asked about the landscaping on the hillside and requested that it not obstruct the view of the neighbors above. The architect said that they were looking at bushes such as bougainvilleas that would be easy to maintain and not be obtrusive to the neighbors. She showed the committee an ariel view of the property and stated that the retaining wall would be 190 feet from the fence line at the top of the hill. Committee member Silber asked if they could cut a section to be 90 degrees of the property line.
After a brief break, Chairman Johnson opened the floor up to additional public comments.
Resident Brice Hunt addressed his concerns regarding the height of the building. He is concerned about the storage of paints, toxins, etc. The roll-up doors facing his property, however with the modification previously discussed they would be happier with the roll-up door on the one side of the building. He is concerned about the type of landscaping around the project. Traffic flow, as far as how many trips will be made to the facility throughout the day. The parking area that backs up to his property will affect his wife's gardening. Concerned about the trash enclosure and what is being dumped in the bins. He stated the public was not originally apart of the design review, however since that time the NOCC has been responsive to their comments. They are still opposed to the project and would prefer to keep the land green space or a park instead of a building.
Pattie Strut asked the applicant about the original information packet that was sent out to the surrounding neighbors specifying the use of storing heavy equipment. The applicant responded that with the removal of the auto shop that there would not be a need to store trailers, as previously proposed. Pattie also asked if overnight parking would be allowed. The applicant stated that there would be work trucks parked on the site overnight. Pattie then stated that she is concerned about her quality of life and her property value, she wondered if the college would consider under-grounding the utilities and if this building would prevent the fireworks from being shot off. The applicant stated that the fireworks show is provided by the high school and this building should not pose a problem. Associate Planner Eastman reminded the public that this was a forum to discuss design issues.
Ben Jasper, addressed concerns for the common streetscape and the appearance to be more residential. He stated that it would make more since if the roll-up door on the West Side to move the building back on the property, make separate buildings for offices and so forth and reduce the height of the additional buildings, and move the parking to the front to address safety issues and future nuisances from high school students. Another concern is the function of the extra parking spaces. Associate Planner Eastman asked the applicant and architect to address some of the design issues that have been brought forth.
The architect stated that one of the original designs showed the building back farther on the property and staff preferred the parking in the back based on a previous plan. Because of the Chevron easement they did not want to have a lot of expensive work to go around the easement and the design would then be too high on the hill and decided that it would not work for the neighbors. She stated that the property would have a locked perimeter and feel that it will be secure from the high school students. They are also providing security cameras and lights for security. The applicant stated that they only need 8 parking spaces and the plans currently allow 14. She stated that the Fire department requires an access drive, but they might be able to eliminate the additional 6 parking spaces on the east.
Mr. Jasper asked about the glare from buildings lights. The architect stated that there are no intentions to use the building during the evening so most of the illumination will be on the building itself for security purposes. Associate Planner Eastman stated that a standard condition of approval requires that all direct illumination be contained on site.
Chief Planner Rosen responded the public's concerns regarding the position of the building. The building has changed significantly since the beginning of the process. Staff has encouraged the applicant to flip the building with the parking at the back to create a less commercial feel to the building. Now that the roll-up doors have been moved to the side of the building and the auto shop has been moved, there may be an opportunity to relocate the position of the building on the property.
Jane Stickler asked why the property needed 14 parking spaces if there are only 8 employees. The architect stated that they would be eliminating 6 spaces. Ms. Stickler stated that she would prefer for the building to be pushed back on the property with more landscape on the street side to be more consistent with the "Education District Committee's" presentation.
Sandy Minstrunament suggested that the neighbors would like to see the green space behind the building, that perhaps the fencing be part of the retaining wall that would enclose the building and the back portion be part of the property be left as green space for the neighbor's enjoyment.
There being no further comments, Chairman Johnson closed the public comments and continued with Committee member comments.
Committee member Coffman would like the applicant to explore the idea of pushing the building back on the property and would like to see a wider buffer between the street and the building. He suggested that they consider high window in the upper portion of the building instead of the decorative tiles. If there is going to be a building on this particular property, he thinks the proposal is a nice design.
Committee member Blumer feels that it is a nice design and complements the current campus architecture. He wondered if they rotated the building clockwise off Berkley if that might create a larger landscape opportunity on the west end. The tile insets on the top are a concern and he would like to see more detail with the cornices, with the detail on the top more in line with the original campus. Additional concerns were aimed toward the view of the neighbors of the roof of the structure and the landscape element up the hill be high enough to screen the building. In general he is in favor of the project.
Committee member Silber stated that there have been a number of good ideas presented to the Committee today. He suggested that the applicant reduce the building in the areas where the height is not necessary. He also suggested moving the building back on the property to obtain more landscape, as well as advised the applicant to consider splitting the building to create an opportunity for a pedestrian ramp that would allow them to manipulate the grades and perhaps allows for two buildings instead of one. He would rather that, if it is to be a simple shaped building, that it be less obtrusive to the land. He said that if they are going to have high decorative elements that they actually be windows and that the landscape design for this project is going to be critical.
Vice-chair Daybell encouraged a reduction in the height of the building to be more compatible with the area. Landscaping is extremely important and moving the building away from the street and make the retaining wall the minimum height to lessen the impact. An example of an optimal retaining wall would be on West Berkley, on the other side of Harbor Blvd.
Chairman Johnson asked if the building was moved back on the property what the DSA requirement would be regarding the proximity of the building to the slope. The architect stated that the distance of the structure from the retaining wall equal the height of the retaining wall, which would be approximately 15 feet. Chairman Johnson suggested that the applicant tilt the building on the property to allow for additional landscaping in the front. As far as the back portion of the building, the applicant should look at trellises and vines to soften the building faade. He stated that he does not have too much of a concern with the trash enclosure, because if there is a visibility problem they could use trellises and vines to block the view.
Associate Planner Eastman reminded the committee that there was no need for a motion on this item and if there were no further comments that they could move on to the next item.