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RDRC Minutes October 23, 2003

RDRC Minutes October 23, 2003


Thursday October 23, 2003 4:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m. by Chairman Johnson


COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Johnson; Vice-Chair Daybell; Committee Members Blumer, Silber (4:07 PM), and Coffman (4:15 PM)
PUBLIC PRESENT: Don Monteleone and Mel Tan
STAFF PRESENT: Redevelopment Project Manager Ken O'Leary, Housing Programs Supervisor Linda Morad, Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Eastman, and Clerical Support Thompson


Minutes for October 9, 2003 were unanimously approved with a vote of 3-0, Committee Members Coffman and Silber not present at time of motion.

4:00 p.m. Session



A request to review site and architectural plans to remodel and expand an existing restaurant for conversion into three tenant spaces with a pedestrian-oriented outdoor space located at 501 N. State College Boulevard (northwest corner or State College and Chapman Avenues). This item has been CONTINUED to November 13, 2003.


Associate Planner Eastman identified the project as a request to construct a detached second dwelling in a preservation (P) overlay zone and reduce the minimum required side yard setback from a cumulative 10 feet to 8 feet (20 percent) on property located at 135 N. Yale Avenue.

Associate Planner Eastman state that the existing house was constructed in 1938 with a unique design. The property owner defines it as a French Provincial style. Associate Planner Eastman described it as consisting of stucco with wood siding wainscot, no eaves on the roof, and a central chimney (not currently used). The applicant has requested the reduction in the setback due to the substandard lot width of 48 feet, where there is typically a 50 foot width. This has made it difficult to design a four car garage off the alley with the required parking. The second unit will be constructed above the garage.

Associate Planner Eastman explained that the proposed structure complies with the development code with exception of the setback. It is a fairly large structure and staff had some concerns with massing on the alley, which is a public area. However staff is recommending approval of the project with conditions because there are other similar two story structures on the block. One of the conditions, which is unique for this project, is a deed restriction to restrict the creation of a third unit. The ground floor contains a bathroom, bedroom, and storage space. Staff realizes that it is not the property owners' intent to convert that space into a third unit; but the deed restriction is required to discourage future owners from illegally converting the space.

Chairman Johnson asked staff if the applicant is open to the recommendations staff has made for the project. Associate Planner Eastman stated that he had not spoken to the applicant about the recommendation. Vice-Chair Daybell asked if there was any response from the neighbors about this project. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the property had been posted and the neighbors had been notified by mail, however staff had not received any comments. Don Monteleone, the architect for the project, did not foresee the property owner having any issues with staff's conditions

Committee member Blumer liked the project and stated that it blends with the existing house without overwhelming it. He suggested that the architect look at installing a taller window in the tower at the stairs.

Committee member Silber did not see any issues that needed to be addressed to the project. He stated that he agreed with Committee member Blumer's comments on the window, reaffirming that he would not required it, but it would add to the appeal of the project design.

Vice-chair Daybell was concerned with changing the setback from 5 feet to 3 feet. He would like to add a condition to get written approval from the property owner adjacent to the reduced setback. Architecturally he liked the design, however he thinks that potentially they could redesign the lower living space to eliminate the need to reduce the setback.

Committee member Blumer questioned the architect about the garage's 19' - 4" clear inside dimension. He said that they only needed 19 clear inside. Mr. Monteleone said that they could reduce the setback to 4 feet on either side rather than the proposed 5 feet and 3 feet. Associate Planner Eastman offered an alternative suggestion of reducing the interior parking space size, but continued that this would require the unit above to be reduced.

Committee member Coffman asked about the notification sent to surrounding property owners. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the notification includes the general project description. Committee member Coffman reiterated Vice-chair Daybell concern with the setback reduction. Eastman explained that if the adjacent property owner voiced objections to the project, the RDRC would still have to look at the merits of the project, and could still approve the proposal based on the design and circumstances. If the Committee's concern is the proper notification to surrounding neighbors, staff could directly notify adjacent property owners about the appeal process.

Vice-chair Daybell inquired about the NPDES compliance condition. Chief Planner Rosen stated that NPDES rules are constantly changing. Final rules have not been adopted, and staff recommends a generic condition to cover new rules that might apply at the time the applicant pulls permits.

Committee member Coffman questioned if the adjacent lots are wider. Associate Planner stated that properties to the North are between 50 and 58 feet, but the rest of the block is at 48 feet.

Chairman Johnson stated that in this case, he did not have a problem with the setback reduction. He did suggest that the applicant consider splitting the difference of the setbacks 4 feet and 4 feet.

Committee member Blumer made a motion to approve the project with comments from additional committee members on the setback issue. Committee member Coffman suggested that the decision be left to the applicant as long as the reduction of the setback is not greater than 3 feet to allow room to move. Staff clarified that there is a second unit on the north side. Committee member Silber seconded the motion and said that in the future the RDRC will look for Staff's efforts of contact surrounding neighbors. The motion passed by a vote of 4 to 1 with Vice-chair Daybell being opposed to the setback reduction. Associate Planner Eastman added that if the applicant has concerns with Staff's conditions of approval then the project should be brought back before the RDRC rather than being appealed before the Planning Commission, as long as it is done within the next ten days.

PRJ03-00693 - LRP03-00019.20 - ZON03-00059. APPLICANT: CITY OF FULLERTON.

Associate Planner Eastman described the project as a request by the City of Fullerton on behalf of the Civic Center Barrio for review of an 8-unit affordable housing condominium project, located on two separate sites, including the southwest corner of Highland and Truslow Avenues, and the north side of Valencia Drive, between Highland and Richmond Avenues.

Committee Member Coffman asked what incentives are available for this project. Housing Supervisor Morad stated that the units would be available for low-income families to purchase and that non-profit agencies are working to put together a loan package. Committee member Silber questioned the per unit subsidy and the depth of affordability. Redevelopment Project Manager O'Leary stated that there is a $200,000/unit subsidy available and part of the money would come back once the condos are sold. The City is looking at a program that would make the homes affordable for 99 years. The income level is also a contributing factor.

Associate Planner Eastman added that development incentives are being requested, such as reduced setback for the garages on Truslow, tandem parking, encroachment of the porches into the front yard setbacks and garages into the side setbacks. Committee member Blumer asked if there where plans to build on top of the garages. Associate Planner Eastman answered "No". Committee Member Blumer asked if the garages could be built up to the property line; but as proposed the buildings encroaches into the setbacks already (an affordable housing development incentive). Associate Planner Eastman stated that the garages exceed the size limit which would normally allow building up to the property line. Committee member Blumer asked if this property is located in a Preservation Zone. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it is not in a Preservation zone, but it is located in a target area for the Valencia Taskforce, who City Council has directed to focus efforts on getting properties into livable conditions. Redevelopment Project Manager O'Leary said the City will be investing quite a bit of affordable housing funding into this area to help revitalize it and make it a safe environment with better living conditions. Committee Member Blumer asked if the Fire Department approved the no-access plan off the alley. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the Fire Department frequently requests a four-foot clearance for a gurney and medical aid, but this project has primary access off of Truslow, so access off the alley may not be required. Eastman said the fire department has yet to review the plans. Vice-Chair Daybell asked if the applicant would consider not building a unit on the corner of Highland and Truslow and leave it as a parking lot. Housing Supervisor Morad responded that the purpose of building in this spot is that it is highly visible. Associate Planner Eastman stated that this project will serve as a gateway image to the neighborhood and the purpose is to provide affordable housing within the community. A parking lot would not be supported by staff, and providing an affordable housing unit is necessary.

Mel Tan, the project architect, addressed some of the Committee's concerns. He stated that the objective is to create the "front door" to the Truslow area and to utilize an area that normally would not be utilized. He did try to give some relief off of Highland by creating a porch lifestyle to keep crime down and to develop an anchor within the neighborhood.

Committee Member Blumer asked if there were more current plans than those provided to the Committee. Mr. Tan stated that the plans the RDRC had were the most current. Committee Member Blumer asked about the Truslow garage's access and utility cabinets. Associate Planner Eastman said that one of the difficulties with the sites' parking is that moving garages to the other side becomes too close to the intersection and double garages would create more paving on the front and will not achieve the aesthetics needed for the neighborhood. He also stated that the granting of the incentives would be determined by City Council. Vice-Chair Daybell asked about the incentives for the tandem garage. Associate Planner stated that the CC&Rs will require it is to be used for parking, not storage. One of the purposes of the Highland design objective is to eliminate parking issues. Committee member Coffman asked about guest parking. Associate Planner Eastman responded that the project is proposed with a R2 zone which doesn't require on-site guest parking.

Committee member Silber liked the design however would like to see another solution to resolve the parking issue. He urged the applicant to consider additional arrangements for parking garages that would be more practical.

Committee member Blumer liked the project, however would like to see the buildings on the Valencia Drive property be modified so that the front porch, roof and the gables distinguish a difference between the two units.

Committee member Coffman liked the project. He stated that the project might need revisions to the rear garages. He was concerned that there is no alley access.

Vice-Chair Daybell asked if there would be a different color scheme on the building at 413 Valencia. He agreed with the comments that were made by Committee members Silber and Coffman about the rear garages from a safety aspect.

Committee member Coffman stated that he liked the security that the enclosed garages provide.

Vice-chair Daybell asked if the project would be built by the City or by a private company. Mr. Tan said that it could be done privately.

Committee Member Silber excused himself from the meeting to attend an important engagement, but expressed support of the proposed project, based on the RDRC discussion.

Chairman Johnson stated that he supported the project including the garages at the rear of the property. He liked the fact that the units had backyards and he would prefer that access for safety purposes be left up to the Fire Department. Vice-chair Daybell made a motion to recommend approval subject to the roof and porch gables of the Valencia Drive properties being modified, and a color schemes being created to differentiate the individual buildings. The motion passed by a vote of 4-0 (Silber absent).




There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:25 p.m.