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RDRC Minutes November 24, 2003

RDRC Minutes November 24, 2003


The meeting was called to order at 4:15 p.m. by Chairman Johnson


COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Johnson; Vice-Chair Daybell; Committee Members Blumer, and Coffman
PUBLIC PRESENT: Harold Abeln (Fullerton College), Janet Portolan (Fullerton College), Blair Evans (Ima Design Group), Amy Steiner (TBP Architecture), Carol Minning (tBP Architecture), Isaac Tabar, Hari Budaya, Chuck Davis, Molly McClanahan, Vince Buck, Brice Hunt, Sandee Masuda-Hunt
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Eastman, Assistant Planner Sowers, Planning Intern Mizokami


Minutes for November 13, 2003 were unanimously approved with a clarification on the project PRJ03-00671 discussion by Vice-Chair Daybell expressing concern for future subdivision of the property into additional lots, regardless of whether or not they are flag lots. The motion passed with a vote of 4-0.


  • ITEM 1

    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 site and architectural review of a maintenance and operations building. The applicant presented plans at last RDRC meeting and concerns were presented by Staff, the RDRC, and the public at that time. The applicant has returned with a revised site plan, elevations, sections, and conceptual landscape plans. Associate Planner Eastman noted that neither Staff nor the RDRC members received copies of the revisions prior to meeting.

    Associate Planner Eastman clarified that the RDRC will be making a recommendation will be made to the Planning Commission. He reminded the committee and public that the Design Review Committee's focus is specific to design issues, not on land use issues. Eastman requested the applicant to discuss the revised plan.

    Carol Minning of tBP Architecture presented the project for the applicant. The applicant presented a modified site plan noting that the building was pushed back on the lot as close to the retaining wall as allowed by the State Board of Architecture. Additionally the building was angled so parking is set back and provides more room for planting on Berkeley. The height of the retaining wall was reduced.

    The applicant reiterated other aspects of the site plan. The front of the property has a wrought iron fence with split face block pilasters. Access to the site is provided through two gates. A manually operated gate on Berkley is provided for Fire Department access and a power operated gate on the west side of the property provides primary ingress and egress. The fencing on the property will be connected to the retaining wall and the wrought iron fence enclosing the property to prevent unauthorized access. Maintenance access to the rear slope will be taken from the interior of the site on the east side of the building.

    The applicant presented a site plan incorporating an aerial photograph of the properties adjacent to the rear of the site. The building is set back 110' to the east property line and 208' to the properties on the north.

    The applicant presented revised building elevations and noted that the building height has been reduced on the east and west sides from 22' to 17.5' and to 13.5' in center. A tile feature has been added to the windows. Because of reduced height of building, the applicant felt that the addition of 2nd story windows was no longer appropriate. The windows maintain a residential feature, with grills and features over the doors to maintain a low-scale feel. A trellis with plant material and plant pockets softens the building in the front view.

    The applicant presented a cross section of the site in relation to the slope to show the general profile of the land in relation to the retaining wall, bushes, 6' chain link fence, and planting as viewed from the top of the slope. The retaining wall with protective railing is only slightly higher than the building. With planting, much of the view of the building can be hidden. Due to the removal of all but one roll-up door, roof top equipment will now be required for ventilation of the building and obscured from view by the parapet.

    The applicant presented a site section which includes the large trees (Eucalyptus and Jacaranda) on the campus property; Berkeley Avenue; the sidewalk; the wrought iron and pilaster fence with planting and curb planting. The streetscape planting is proposed to include the Magnolia grandiflora which is the City-designated street tree and the tree that grows on the main campus. The shrubs are proposed to be kangaroo paw, rosemary, and rockrose. Bougainvillea is proposed to be placed on areas of the fence to trail over the retaining wall. The slope planting is proposed as costal live oaks, a slow-growing tree. A native hydroseeding mix is proposed in the easement area due to the depth of the pipelines. Three types of shrubs and three types of groundcover are proposed for the remainder of the slope area. In the neighborhood foreground area, by the fence, Pride of Madera (purple in color) and a poppy (white in color) are to be interspersed along the planting line. The overall goal of the landscaping is to enhance, not obstruct, the view while hiding much of the building as viewed down the slope.

    Committee Member Blumer asked if the access to the slope would be on foot or by vehicle. The applicant responded that maintenance would be performed on foot due to the steepness of the slope.

    The applicant presented photos showing views from the street and from the top of the hill looking down.

    Vice-Chair Daybell asked if the retaining wall was as low as it could be. The applicant indicated that it is, especially because of cost. The wall varies in height with the highest point on the east side at around 12'-13'. The wall drops to 2' as it approaches the front of the property, which also allows for maintenance access. The applicant noted that a hand rail will be place on the top of the wall for protection of those doing maintenance.

    The applicant presented a wall section with parapet and windows as previously requested. A color and material board was also presented that follows a Spanish motif. Unique and complimentary colors were proposed for the pilaster block, exterior paint (to be coordinated with adjacent properties), trellis stain, exterior window frame paint, exterior window accent paint (to coordinate with tiles above the windows), exterior door paint, roof tile, and iron grill frames.

    Committee Member Coffman asked if the trellis structure has round or square members. The applicant responded that at this point the members are round but may change to square or a mix of both to accommodate structural requirements. Committee Member Coffman responded that he does not have a preference.

    Committee Member Coffman asked if the front of the trellis is one plane or if it jogs back with the building. The applicant responded that the trellis is all one plane; the angle of the building in combination with the straight trellis will add shadow coverage and opportunities for vegetation. The applicant indicated a reddish brown color is proposed for the trellis.

    Chairman Johnson asked if the street trees were selected by the City. The applicant responded that the Magnolia grandiflora is the City's street tree. Additionally Chair Johnson asked if the street trees will be on the City or College property and questioned who will maintain them. The applicant responded that putting the street trees on the sidewalk, in the public right of way, would be harder to install than putting them on the College property. The applicant believes that the tree canopy would still provide shade on sidewalk.

    There being no further questions for Staff or the applicant, Chairman Johnson opened the floor to public comment.

    Sandee Masuda-Hunt questioned the height of oaks. Blair Evans, representative of the applicant's landscape firm, responded that the initial height will be 6' X 8'. He noted that live oaks are slow growing and will reach 25' X 30' in 50 years. Trees are proposed on the hillside to complete the ecosystem and provide a canopy.

    Bryce Hunt questioned why the height of building, although reduced, is 17.5'. The applicant responded that the school requires storage on the west side of the building and a lower ceiling height is operationally problematic as well as a fire hazard with a racking system. The storage will be accomplished through 12' racks with 2' of storage on the top rack. Adding in 3.5' for the structural components and the parapet creates a total height of 17.5'. The 17.5' height of the east side of the building was designed to aesthetically balance the west side.

    Vince Buck asked about the sidewalks and placement of trees. He expressed concern with narrowing the sidewalks, but noted that the street is not especially memorable. He noted that this development could set the tone for the rest of the street. The applicant responded that the street trees are proposed to be located on the College property planting strip. The sidewalks are 6' wide. Placement of the street trees on the sidewalk would require the sidewalk to be demolished and tree grates to be installed. The grates would need to be level to meet accessibility requirements.

    There being no further comments, Chairman Johnson closed the public comments and opened the meeting to Committee comments. Associate Planner Eastman reminded the RCRC that Planning, Maintenance Services, and Engineering have not reviewed the conceptual landscaping plans. Concerns highlighted in subsequent review will be addressed in the Planning Commission Staff report. Chief Planner Rosen stated that if the street trees are planted in the College's planting strip outside of the public right-of-way, the trees would then be maintained by property owner.

    Committee Member Blumer appreciated that the issues from the November 13 meeting have been addressed. He felt the retaining wall was okay, that the applicant proposed a nice project, and offered his support of the project.

    Committee Member Coffman stated that the applicant has mitigated the issues of the neighbors and RDRC. The applicant has shown a willingness to be a good neighbor and presented a proposal suitable to all involved. Committee Member Coffman liked the revised application and offered his support.

    Vice-Chair Daybel agreed with the other Committee Members noting the applicant's professional presentation. He commented that Maintenance Services may need to address the issue of on-going maintenance for the street trees.

    Chairman Johnson noted that there has been discussion on the creation of an educational district in which landscaping would be used to help define the area. A master plan for the location of street trees may result from the creation of the educational district. Chairman Johnson suggested consideration be given to where trees are located now and in the future. Chairman Johnson stated that the applicant did an excellent job making project work with the existing conditions and offered his support.

    Associate Planner Eastman reminded the Committee of the recommended conditions from the prior meeting. The RDRC added a condition that the landscaping be conceptual and subject to alterations to address the City's street tree requirements and a master landscape plan for the education district, if created prior to the project implementation.

    Committee Member Blumer made a motion to recommend approval of the proposed project with Staff's recommendations and RDRC's added conditions. The motion passed with a vote of 4-0.


  • ITEM 2

    Planning Intern Mizokami described the project located at 428 Jacaranda Place as a minor development project for the site and architecture review of a proposed 203 sq. ft. porch addition. The proposed addition is on a 6,000 square foot lot with a 1920's home and detached garage. The residence is a Craftsman Bungalow style with a pitched roof and horizontal lap wood siding.

    The proposed porch addition will extend beyond the front of the house to match the setback of the adjacent properties, and extend the entire width of the house. It is proposed to be on a raised concrete slab and covered with brick veneer along the sides. Four brick veneer columns with vertical wooded posts will support a horizontal truss roof with a king post and braces. A wood railing design between the columns along the front and sides is proposed around the porch area.

    Planning Intern Mizokami stated that Staff has several concerns with the proposal. (1) The plans are basic in design and lack the typical detail common to the style of the period. Such detail may include cap features, exposed eaves, rafter tails, fascia design or gable treatments. (2) The proposed porch extends the entire width of the house. Commonly, bungalows have smaller porches that proportionally complement the size of the house. (3) The windows have recently been replaced without permits. Our design guidelines suggest change outs with similar windows in material and design. Staff does not support these new replacement windows.

    Staff is recommending the RDRC approve the project, subject to those conditions the RDRC deems appropriate and to the conditions contained in the Staff report. Separately, Staff is seeking clarification from the RDRC regarding window replacement in preservation zones.

    Associate Planner Eastman reiterated that Staff is making two requests of the RDRC. The first request relates to the minor development project for the porch. The second request pertains to the reoccurring issue of window replacement, not only with the subject property but as a general policy. Associate Planner Eastman noted that the front porch plans presented to the RDRC indicate the windows as existing. Subsequent to making the application, the windows were removed without permits

    Committee Member Coffman asked if there is anything to indicate that this house previously had a porch. He noted that other houses in neighborhood have porches consistent with the period, spanning part of the width of the front of the house. Planning Intern Mizokami stated that there was no information available to make this determination.

    Vice-Chair Daybell noted that stucco is indicated for the overhead part of the porch on the foundation floor plan and detail elevations. As this would be the only stucco on house he questioned why a material was not used which matched the existing house. Isaac Tabar, representing the applicant, stated that the stucco was to go underneath, however, it was changed and now will remain open. He reiterated that the materials, including the roof and siding, will match the existing house materials.

    Associate Planner Eastman referred to a photo of the house noting that the side of the house appears to have horizontal siding while the front has thicker shingles or thick siding. He clarified that the proposed front porch is open truss construction - a roof structure with the structural elements below the roof exposed.

    Committee Member Coffman also noted several conflicts in plans. The applicant stated that the RDRC should refer to the first sheet of plans for the ultimate look of the building.

    Committee Member Coffman stated that he visited the property and the placement the of windows in the elevation does not reflect field conditions because the window to left of door is closer than what is shown in elevation. He stated that proper placement is important.

    The applicant noted that the drawing of the proposal is not to scale.

    Committee Member Coffman noted that the vertical posts, called out as 4"X4", seem to be too thin in relation to the drawing of the proposed porch. He noted that no sample board was provided and questioned the type of brick. He also questioned if the base of the columns is proposed to be the same material as the porch.

    The applicant indicated that he is proposing to use a veneer brick. This veneer will be used on both the porch and the columns.

    Committee Member Coffman asked if the project needed to come back to the RDRC. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the RDRC could approve the project at this meeting by adding all necessary conditions to identify all details required to make this project work within the preservation guidelines.

    Committee Member Coffman asked if the beams would be painted and questioned how the brick at the base of the porch will transition into the wood siding on the side of the house. The applicant responded that the beams will be painted and that the veneer will be flush mounted and the siding slanted.

    Chairman Johnson questioned if this was a rental property and asked the intent of the length of the porch. The applicant responded that the property is owner occupied and that the owner wanted a usable porch.

    Associate Planner Eastman asked the applicant to clarify the width of columns as several different dimensions are noted. The applicant stated that the column width will be 18".

    Vice-Chair Daybell, in comparing a photo of the house to the drawing, noted that the drawing does not show the door in the correct position. He stated that the proposed column would be in front of door and that the drawing is distorted as it is presented. Vice-Chair Daybell stated that the porch will be different than presented and would like to see a cleaned up drawing come back to the RDRC to addressing the current shortcomings.

    The applicant stated that the door should be moved more to the left. Once constructed, the door will be centered between the columns; because the columns will be centered around the door.

    There being no further questions for Staff or the applicant, Chairman Johnson opened the floor to public comment.

    Chuck Davis, 337 W. Malvern Avenue, stated that front porches are a prominent and important feature in the neighborhood. He expressed his concern that the proposed project should maintain the character of the California Bungalow house. He noted that typically a stone veneer is used rather than brick with no stucco. He is not sure if a full length porch fits the house although he is not opposed to it if the RDRC is okay with it. He is concerned that the materials match the 1920s California Bungalow.

    Hari Budaya, property owner, informed the RDRC that his house is the only one without a porch. He stated that he drove around neighborhood and found some other houses with a full porch. He noted that the old windows were either broken or unable to be opened. He replaced them with sliding windows for ease of opening.

    There being no further comments, Chairman Johnson closed the public comments and continued with Committee Member comments.

    Vice-Chair Daybell stated that a porch is a good addition although he expressed concern that the drawings do not match the field conditions. He stated that perhaps a fifth column could balance out the design.

    Committee Member Blumer stated that a porch adds value if it is done convincingly to fit with the craftsman style. He suggested (1) decreasing the size of porch slightly so the center is aligned with front door, (2) using only 2 columns to support the truss, (3) widening the base of column to 24 using real brick, (4) projecting the column beyond the edge of the porch by a few inches with the brick base to ground level, (5) using 8X8 posts, or three 6X6 posts in a L-shape, or a tapered wood column approximately 18 wide reminiscent of the craftsman style.

    Coffman stated that it is possible to approve the project with a complicated formulation of conditions. They noted that the house two properties down (thought to be 432 Jacaranda Place) is a similar house with a porch, reduced in width from the applicant's proposal. The porch at 432 Jacaranda Place appears to be original construction from the Craftsman Bungalow period. He suggested that the applicant create a similar situation as far as column size, shape, and general configuration. He noted that the discrepancies in the current plans should be resolved.

    Committee Member Johnson stated that the proposed porch size might work given the applicants desires to create outdoor space. He suggested that the applicant come back with something closer in scale and materials and noted that it is in everyone's best interest for the applicant to come back with more detail. Staff could lead the applicant as to guidelines.

    Committee Member Blumer made a motion to grant approval of the proposed porch based on applicant replicating the 432 Jacaranda Place porch and working with Staff to ensure compliance with preservation design guidelines. Alternatively, if the applicant does not desire to replicate the porch at 432 Jacaranda Place, he should come back to RDRC with plans that (1) decrease the size of porch slightly so the center is aligned with the front door, (2) use only 2 columns to support the truss, (3) widen the base of column to 24 using real brick, (4) project the column beyond the edge of porch by a few inches with the brick base to ground level, (5) use 8X8 posts, or three 6X6 posts in a L-shape, or a tapered wood column approximately 18 wide reminiscent of the craftsman style.

    Vice-Chair Daybell agrees with Blumer and likes beefier posts and suggested that something better could be done with the door offset.

    Committee Member Coffman reiterated that the front length of 432 Jacaranda Place is narrower than the front length of the subject property. If the applicant chooses to mimic the 432 Jacaranda Place porch, the dimensions should generally follow its proportions, although not necessarliy the exact length.

    The motion passed with a vote of 4-0.

    The RDRC discussion of replacement windows is consolidated below as it is separate from the motion of the minor development project.

    Associate Planner Eastman reiterated the current policy to identify the existing type of windows and replace in kind. Vinyl is okay if it represents wood. Consideration is given to proximity to public areas and the location on the lot. Replacement windows should have a reveal consistent with the existing windows and any mullions or muttons should be replicated.

    Committee Member Coffman stated that newer windows are okay if they replicate the existing. He noted that the RDRC would typically not review a request for replacement windows as that would be done by Staff.

    Chairman Johnson suggested that the windows on the subject property, since they have been installed are okay although future windows should be replaced in kind.

    Committee Member Blumer is concerned that allowing the windows in the subject property to remain without replacing in kind sets a precedent for people to replace windows without permits.

    Committee Member Coffman stated that the applicant should have known a permit is required. He stated that the City wants people to get permits.

    Vice-Chair Daybell recommended that the contractor fix the windows as he should have known a permit was required. He stated that he is willing to leave the issue of replacement windows in Staff's hands and reiterated that replacement windows should replicate the old ones.

    Committee Member Blumer does not think the replacement windows are appropriate. He stated that the windows should be double hung.

    Committee Member Coffman stated that windows, as a rule, whenever replaced, should match shape of the original (i.e. double hung or single hung), simulate thickness of wood if vinyl, and maintain as much character as possible. The windows of the subject property were double hung and therefore should be replaced with double hung windows with the mullions replicated. He stated that it would be nice to keep windows in proportion but noted that wide windows could be used on either side.

    It was the consensus of the RDRC that Staff continue to review requests for the replacement of windows in historic structures and continue to use criteria that reflects "in-kind" design. The applicant of the subject property is required to comply with the permit process in place.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m.