The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m. by Vice-Chair Silber
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell, Committee Members Coffman, Duncan, Silber
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Committee Member Johnson
PUBLIC PRESENT: Patty Burton, Don Fleming
STAFF PRESENT: Chief Planner Rosen, Associate Planner Eastman, and Clerical Support Thompson
The minutes for the April 22, 2004 meeting were APPROVED as amended with the following change to page 13 5th line down 2nd word should be plant instead of pine. The minutes for the May 13, 2004 meetings were APPROVED as written. The minutes for the May 27, 2004 meeting were APPROVED as amended with the following change to page 2 5th paragraph down sided should be changed to located.
Associate Planner Eastman described the project as presented in the staff report. The project is located at 213 N. Harbor Blvd. adjacent to the existing Fieros restaurant. The Irish Pub will be located in an existing tenant space with an outside patio within this tenant space. The only structural modifications to the exterior is the removal of the rear windows, and the wall directly below the windows will be removed to open the patio to the rear alley. The existing grates on the window will be reused as fencing to enclose the patio. The exterior front and rear faades are under review by the RDRC, the use is permitted for the location. The significant aesthetic changes are primarily on the front of the building. There are no structural changes to the front of the building; everything will be applied to the existing storefront windows. The rear facade will have paint removed to expose the brick, similar to Fieros next door. There are a number of recommended conditions in the staff report. Staff had several concerns with the paint on the upper portion of the building on the front faade. Staff felt that the design would be improved if there were an edge treatment to create a terminus for the paint job. Staff did not have any specific solution, and felt that it would be better left to the RDRC.
There being no questions for staff Chairman Daybell opened the meeting for Public comment.
Patty Burton, the applicant, stated that the designer prepared a drawing to address staffs concerns with the murals termination. She explained that there are two ways to look at the design. Committee Member Coffman asked if the column feature would be something that would protrude from the wall. Don Fleming, the contractor, stated that it would be an applied wood. He noted that they would use a waterproof MDF to make panels and columns. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the revised drawing shown has changes from the submitted plans. He pointed out that there are no columns on the front, which has a flat faade. Staff thought that the raised portions of the parapet could be used to create pseudo columns, as reflected in the applicants rendering.
Vice-Chair Silber asked about the false windows on the second floor. Ms. Burton confirmed that they are not real windows. Mr. Fleming stated that they would be painted windows.
Committee Member Coffman asked about the sample pictures. Committee Member Duncan clarified that the windows and flower boxes will be painted on. Chairman Daybell asked how long the art would hold up before it needed to be refurbished. Mr. Fleming stated that the materials should look good for 5 to 9 years. He noted that their goal is to look rich and classy through the type of materials. Vice-Chair Silber asked if the lines representing the divided light would be applied. Mr. Fleming stated that they would be painted. Vice-Chair Silber asked what the appearance of the material would be. Mr. Fleming said that it would look like glass. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it would be similar to features painted on Mimis Cafs. Ms. Burton stated that the designer applied lighter color to drawings than what will actually be used. Vice-Chair Silber said that it looks like the door is set with glass on each side then a column and asked if it was artistic or represents construction detail. Ms. Burton said that the door actually sets back. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it is an existing recessed entry. Mr. Fleming said they are trying to cover and hide the existing bronze storefront as much as possible. Mr. Fleming then asked about the signage. Associate Planner Eastman stated that there was not a lot of detail provided regarding the signage, so staff included a condition that signage would come back for the Director of Development Services for approval.
Associate Planner Eastman stated that there was some discussion in terms of changing the rear facade colors. Committee Member Coffman asked if it was going to the natural brick. Associate Planner Eastman stated that paint would only be applied over the doorway. Vice-Chair Silber asked about the height of the door. Mr. Fleming said that it was a standard 68 to 7-foot door. Vice-chair asked if they have 8 feet to work with. Associate Planner Eastman confirmed that they did and noted that the band would be similar to that of Zings. Vice-Chair Silber stated that changing the proportions would have a dramatic effect. Committee Member Coffman asked if the applicant would replace any portions the storefront, or just apply this application over the top of it. Mr. Fleming stated that it would be over the top. Committee Member Coffman stated that in previous drawings there were mullians on the upper windows; however were left out on the current drawing. Mr. Fleming stated that it was an oversight.
Vice-Chair Silber asked the applicant to clarify if they would be actually building on top of the brick. Mr. Fleming stated that they would be building over a stucco finish. Vice-Chair Silber asked what would be painted. Associate Planner Eastman stated that the only faux painting would be above the signage and the sign itself would be painted. Mr. Fleming stated that the only faux on the upper portion of the building would be inside the window frames and the flowerpots.
Committee Member Coffman stated that there is an issue as to where the finishes and materials start and stop. For example, on the corner where the columns are, he assumed that two sides of the column would be visible from the exterior. He asked if the added sides would be visible from the interior. Mr. Fleming stated that they would treat the inside too, and that it would be applied in a manner that allows the glass to be replaced.
There being no further comments from the public, Chairman Daybell turned the meeting over to Committee Member comments.
Committee Member Coffman said that he liked the presentation and the idea but is concerned with the use of the faux windows and the number of finishes that are not true finishes. He would feel better if there were not windows and make it a painting instead. He was nervous about painting an image of glass; but felt it would be o.k. if applicant could pull it off. He also suggested that the columns all be the same proportion. Committee Member stated that he is in support of the project and wished the applicant well.
Committee Member Duncan stated for the record that he knows contractor for this project from a professional standpoint, but is not currently working with him. He agreed with Committee Member Coffman about the artwork up above, and suggested that the applicant let the artist go with it. He stated that it is a piece of art and should be created by the artist rather than incorporating three-dimensional objects. He stated that the improvements on the first floor look nice. Committee Member Coffman stated that he is concerned with the detailing. Committee Member Duncan stated that he approved of the project.
Vice-Chair Silber stated for the record that the property owner is a client of his. However, that would not affect the outcome of this project since the applicant is already a lease contract. He had the same reservations with the false windows. He felt that the applicants intent would be accomplished with the first floor and that drawing attention to the street level would draw people in to this establishment. He felt that the artwork is very interesting and would be interested in what the artist could do with the empty space, rather than create false windows that suggest other usages above the store. He suggested removing the columns on the second floor because the compete with the space and do not support anything. Although they are an element that could be played up and distinguishing this portion of the building from other storefronts is a good idea, he is not convinced that the columns are the way to accomplish that intent. He suggested that the applicant consider using either accent paint on the existing pilasters or allowing it to stay all the same color and thereby create a picture frame for the artist to work within. Associate Planner Eastman stated that this is the first time staff had seen the elevation the applicant has brought to the meeting, and staffs initial recommendations is that a darker color be used in between the green wood pillars to accentuate the weight of the space and draw them together. Vice-Chair Silber said he preferred one treatment over the other and felt that having the corner would be ok. Associate Planner Eastman clarified that the columns on the existing facade are created with expansion joints, and do not project out, although they appear to in the pictures. Vice-Chair Silber noted that it is a problem that his suggestion did not address.
Committee Member Coffman stated that it was his understanding that the applicant would be removing columns. Associate Planner Eastman said that it was an additional option. Staffs concern is that the paint scheme will simply terminate at the lease line. Staff would be comfortable with a piece of molding to actually create a slight shadow line. How a vertical band relates to the crown molding at the top of the building is of some concern.
Committee Member Duncan asked if it is stucco over brick. Mr. Fleming stated that it is mostly stucco; brick is only in the back elevation. Committee Member Duncan suggested removing the stucco to expose the brick. Vice-Chair Silber stated that it is a problem. Committee Member Coffman stated that going with the two side columns would not be appropriate, and should narrow down to one line. Chairman Daybell asked Vice-Chair Silber if he suggested getting rid of the outside columns. Vice-Chair Silber agreed that he would and maybe that would create the balance they are looking for. The columns currently are spindly in proportions and do not support anything. He felt that if you took away the second one it would not match what was at the top, and would create an awkward situation unless they build up the cornice at the top.
Committee Member Coffman suggested building up a neutral pier on either side of the building. Vice-Chair Silber agreed. Associate Planner Eastman stated that a previous conversation with the applicant based on this elevation is that perhaps widening the molding treatment at the top to create symmetry. Mr. Fleming stated the he would like to maintain the width of the right column to the top. Committee Member Coffman said that if the applicant chose to do that, then it would be too slender to be a column, and suggested using plaster instead of wood, and a bump in the stucco rather than an architectural feature. Committee Member Duncan asked if they would be able to continue the full width down without encroaching on neighboring tenants. Associate Planner Eastman stated that it is a tenant issue encroaching on the neighboring tenant, and it is not possible on the other side.
Vice-Chair Silber suggested that it be a big screen frame with a painting inside. Ms. Burton stated that her intent to keep the window was to keep with the traditional Irish pub. She stated that Committee Member Duncans suggestion of letting it be an art piece rather than fooling people to think that they are real windows might be a better option than what was proposed. She felt that having the windows was important because they distinguish it as an Irish pub. Vice- Chair Silber agreed with the applicant and stated that less is more in this situation and let the top go over the top and add the windows as a painting. Committee Member Coffman clarified that Vice-Chair Silber was stating make it a trumpe loeil painting rather than a faux treatment.
Chairman Daybell stated that he liked the color scheme in the sign.
Vice-Chair Silber made a motion to forego the columns on the upper portion of the building, the windows shown in the elevations will be trumpe loeil artwork as well as any suggestion of change in the plane of the facade to create the image of a building edge with shadow lines, and be a flat surface painting, in addition to staffs recommended conditions. The motion was seconded by Committee Member Coffman and unanimously approved by a vote of 4-0.
Associate Planner Eastman explained to the Committee the issue pertaining to the Commissions and Committee appointments and reorganization from the City Council. He stated that the minutes from this meeting would forward to the Council as a record of the Committees opinion on the matter.
Committee Member Duncan stated that he had not had the opportunity to review the issue in great detail, and may forward an individual letter to the Council. He felt that his interview process was fine and there was not a need to change the process. He felt that he was invited to this particular Committee based on his experience, background, and profession. He thought that the process shouldnt be an individual person doing the interviewing. He thinks people on the Committee need to be knowledgeable about design and construction. He has concerns with changing of policy and design direction every time there was a change in a Council Member.
Chairman Daybell simplified Committee member Duncans comments by saying continuity is important. Committee Member Duncan then excused himself to attend another engagement.
Committee Member Coffman felt that it was interesting that the Council doesnt seem to have an answer to the problem, and the fact of the matter is that he doesnt think that there is a problem. He felt that this Committee works well because there are qualifying parties on the committee that is knowledgeable in this particular area of expertise. He doesnt think it would work out as well if the members were appointed as being proposed. He noted that he fears favoritism to neighbors and friends of the Council Members, and that the professional expertise be lost.
Vice-Chair Silber stated that he heard a presentation about different approaches to the process. He stated that the La Habra City Council interviews and appoints together as a whole, in an open meeting. This allows all Council Members to be involved. Hes not clear on the motivation for the change. He doesnt think that our process should be inclusive to one Council Member appointing a Committee Member. There should be full participation of the Council in an open process that the full wishes of the Council are recognized. Vice-Chair Silber thought the idea of each Council Member appointing a Committee Member makes more sense if the Council Members were elected by district, so the idea of a more balanced representation by district is achieved. This is not the case with our City. He felt that it is important for the RDRC committee that one should have competence in reading drawings. He is not certain that a change over at each Council election would benefit any constituencies. There is value in continuity that allows the City to present itself in a consistent and predictable way, so the people will have some confidence that they will fair well or badly based on the past actions of the committee. Vice-Chair Silber stated that it is importance for turnover, but not all at one time. Unless one or more of the Council Members choose to reappoint existing Committee Members, you have a picture of an election in which everyone is new to the committee and unaware of the process. Vice-Chair Silber discussed the benefits and criticisms of corporate memory. He said corporate memory is also about a style and point of view that people have to count on. The public cannot come in one month to find the system one way spend considerate amounts of time and money, and the next month find it has changed because of an election, and none of members know what they are doing. He thinks that is ill considerate to the public. He did not have a problem with the process but wants to make sure the Councils role is reflected in its entirety. He felt that they should not be appointed by the district unless elected by district.
Chairman Daybell stated that he liked the current process; that the staggered terms keep continuity; and that it is very important to keep professionals on the RDRC. He thinks it is better to have an independent Committee to bring ideas and the communities view up to the Council; instead of atop down approaches where each Council person selects his representative. He liked the current size for this Committee. He stated that one item that is constantly brought up is Council/Committee communication. He would like to see some feedback on Council and Planning Commission reactions to RDRC recommendations, so the RDRC can understand how the RDRC is doing in the opinion of the Council or Planning Commission. He thought that staff should perhaps add to the agenda a section that identifies the council and planning commissions decisions on RDRC items. He felt that this is really a good committee as it is currently, and would like to see it stay as it is.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:25p.m.