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RDRC Minutes September 8, 2005

RDRC Minutes September 8, 2005


Thursday September 8, 2005 4:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 4:05 PM by Chairman Daybell


COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Cha, Coffman and Duncan
PUBLIC PRESENT: Judy Berg, Saeed Kamkar, Brad Kuish, Jose G. Perez, Rachel Perez, Tom Dalton, and Bob Winkelmann
STAFF PRESENT: Associate Planner Eastman, Chief Planner Rosen, Assistant Planner Sowers and Clerical Staff Leopold


Committee Member Duncan suggested that the committee wait to review the Aug. 25 minutes until the next meeting when Jerome Hoban is present.






Chairman Daybell requested staff to go over the set up for the meeting on Sept. 13. Associate Planner Eastman said that Chief Planner Rosen would be attending the meeting later to discuss the setup with the committee.

PRJ05-00489 - ZON05-00065 APPLICANT: SAEED KAMKAR. PROPERTY OWNER: KAVAN KARIMI. A request for a Minor Development Project approval of construction of a new unit containing 1,815 square feet and a three car garage at 128 E. Union Avenue. (generally located on the south side of Union Avenue between 346 feet and 396 feet east of Harbor Boulevard) (R-2P) (Categorically exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HS)

Assistant Planner Sowers gave a staff report on item 1. She stated that elements on the existing structure mainly the siding, treatment of the windows, exposed rafter tails, underside of the roof would be conditioned to be replicated on the new structure. Some of those elements are indicated on the plans and some are not clearly identified. Staff has added conditions. The site plan meets the zoning codes for that zone, so they are no changes that staff would be recommending.

The item was continued since neither the applicant or property owner were not present. Assistant Planner Sowers asked the committee if they had any questions.

Associate Planner Eastman said that Committee Member Coffman was stuck in traffic, and would be late in attending the meeting. Committee Member Coffman's one concern regarding the project is with the interior doors at the top of the stairs.

Chairman Daybell requested that they move item #1 to the end of the meeting until the applicant and a fourth committee member are present.

PRJ05-00565 - ZON05-00075 APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: JOSE G. PEREZ. A request for a Minor Development Project approval for a second unit constructed/converted from a garage without benefit of permits on a property within the Preservation Zone at 224 W. Brookdale Place. (generally located on the south side of Brookdale approximately 280 feet east of the centerline of Highland Ave.) (R-2P) (Categorically exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HS)

The applicant and property owner Jose G. Perez was present with translator Rachel Perez. Assistant Planner Sowers presented a staff report. Staff asked for direction as to what would make the rear unit compatible with the design guidelines for the preservation zone. Staff believes there may be other issues that will arise from the building department that may end up being too costly for the applicant.

Staff feels there is adequate information for the design committee to provide guidance and determine if this complies with the preservation design guidelines. Associate Planner Eastman said he spoke to Committee Member Coffman about this project, and he had some comments that Associate Planner Eastman could express to the committee on his behalf during the Design Review Committee discussion.

Chairman Daybell asked the applicant if he had anything to say. Ms. Perez said Mr. Perez wanted to know what he would need to do in order to get permits and do things the right way.

Chairman Daybell asked if the building safety person had visited the site. Assistant Planner Sowers informed him that when a project pertains to a code enforcement issue, it goes to planning first to see if it could even be allowed. If allowed, then an inspection would occur. In light of the condition of the building, planning would probably request they do go through an inspection process, so the applicant can get a sense as to what would be required.

Chairman Daybell visited the location and what bothered him was the drawing received by the committee was not an accurate depiction of what was currently there. For example there is a garage door in the south elevation from the alley that is not reflected on the plans. Committee member Duncan asked if the applicant was going to remove the door.

Associate Planner Eastman stated one of the conditions of the project is to remove the doors that will not be used. So as part of the proposal, it may not be indicated on the elevations, since it will in fact be resolved. He stated that at this time staff would like to get the committee's comments and direction. Potentially, the committee can say this project is in no way compatible and needs to be removed or completely redesigned. On the other hand, the committee can say the project is compatible, and with some minor changes it would be allowed. Chairman Daybell asked how far the wall from the unit is from the property line and if it's been checked. He said part of the roof overhang gets very close to the property line and doesn't show up too well in the pictures. Associate Planner Eastman stated that would be an issue that would need to be addressed by the building division in terms of construction method. At this point, the plans that are submitted indicate a 5-ft setback. Chairman Daybell pointed out there is an awning on the west side that looks like it's 2 or 3 ft. from the property line. He said there were some minor things that can bring the unit up to code, but had some doubts. Structurally, the unit can be brought into compliance. Assistant Planner Sowers stated that the unit in the back was originally built as a second garage, and it is now the rear unit that is their residence. She said that it is not certain if there was a shifting of the interior walls.

Associate Planner Eastman told the committee if they felt the design was adequate they could essentially approve it as is. The committee should view the project as if it was a final approval, in the context of their comments.

Associate Planner Eastman spoke to Committee Member Coffman prior to the meeting and expressed his concerns. Committee Member Coffman was concerned that the front of the house should have wood siding (currently stucco) and questioned it was stuccoed with permit. Associate Planner Eastman said the code allows it to remain, if permitted. If it was stuccoed without a permit there could be some discretion to require the applicant to put up wood siding, being a preservation zone. Committee Member Coffman would prefer not to see stucco, particularly if wood siding is required on the back building. The applicant would have to identify if it was actually permitted.

Committee Member Coffman was concerned with the design where there appears to be two entrances. In relationship to how it relates to the neighborhood, a currently constructed unit would only have one front door, one main entrance.

Chairman Daybell wanted clarification as to whether or not there were two entrances. Rachel Perez said that in fact there are two doors with one on each side. Associate Planner Eastman pointed out the two doors on the floor plans.

Committee Member Cha asked if this project would be built from the foundation up. Associate Planner Eastman said the intent is to take the existing building and make the changes that are needed to make it meet building code. So, if the existing building is approved by the Design Review Committee and if it can meet building code it will simply be retrofitted.

Committee Member Cha questioned if the roof would stay as is. Associate Planner Eastman said that is the proposal to keep the roof the way it is. Assistant Planner Sowers said one of the items before the committee is to determine if the roof's style is consistent with the preservation property. She asked if that is something that can be justified as is, or made to fit the neighborhood, and asked for the committee's recommendations. She asked the committee if there are other design measures they would like to recommend to somehow change the design.

Committee Member Cha asked if the covered car space is angled. Assistant Planner Sowers answered that it is angled to allow a car to fit. Staff has some concerns with the way that the project is parked. It doesn't meet the code. If the space was permitted as it's shown, it would not be able to be covered because a cover in that situation would be too close to the other buildings. It may end up being a slab. Committee Member Duncan asked if the covered parking space was existing or proposed. Assistant Planner Sowers said it was proposed.

Committee Member Cha was concerned about the car space and wondered if there was any other way for it to be arranged.

Committee Member Duncan said there are other issues that would affect the structure and parking. He said it would be nice if the rear unit matched the front unit, and if the stucco on the front house has been permitted, then the applicant can match the stucco. He agreed if stucco was not permitted, then the committee would require to put horizontal siding to match the original structure. The roof lines are ok. One of the conditions he proposed was to remove the false garage door and run the same material across. Since the covered car space is in the interior no one will see it. If it meets the intent of parking requirements, he stated he did not have a problem with it. He agreed with Committee Member Coffman's comments and thought it was a good idea if the unused garage door was removed, since the door opens up to the property line.

Chairman Daybell said he had his doubts that this project would be brought to code. He said there are enough problems with the site and at this point would not tell the applicant he couldn't go ahead with the project. But, the construction between what is called the existing garage and the guest house didn't seem to match up very well. Chairman Daybell recommended that a good architecture and a structural engineer should take a look at that and see what can be done. He also had doubts about the roof and rain gutters.

Ms. Perez spoke on Mr. Perez's behalf saying he wanted to know if the project can be done what are the requirements, and what design changes are needed to make it up to date.

Chairman Daybell stated that the committee was not going to approve or disapprove the project at this meeting, and hoped to aid the applicant in his thinking and planning.

Associate Planner Eastman said that this committee focuses on design and architectural compatibility with the neighborhood.

Tom Dalton from Fullerton Heritage said the non-permitted unit did not come close to the preservation guidelines, with roof lines and his recommendation would be to have the applicant start from the ground up and stated it would probably be less expensive to do so. It didn't meet code and there was nothing attractive about it.

Chairman Daybell agreed with Tom Dalton.

Associate Planner Eastman said that from a cost and technical perspective it may be the case, but the focus of the committee should be to consider this project as if it is brand new construction. Staff requested their comments asking if this was compatible with the neighborhood or if it's borderline and what can be done to make it compatible? Once all the code issues have been identified, the project will once again be brought to the committee.

Associate Planner Eastman stated a review of records in the file show that a permit has been issued for the stucco on the existing front house.

Committee Member Duncan recommended horizontal siding for the new unit.

Associate Planner Eastman asked if those modifications in his opinion would bring the building into compatibility with the historic preservation zone or if further modification would be needed, such as changing the roof line or something of that nature. Committee Member Duncan stated that if things are done right that he would be willing to accept some deviations from the norm and would not have to be an exact match.

Associate Planner Eastman summarized the committee's recommendations and suggestions including:
  • Issues of removing garage and side doors
  • Cleaning out the site
  • Wood siding
  • Form, layout of building is adequate. Staff can come up with solutions for exterior siding designs.
  • Roof lines are not optimal, but may be adequate with a cleaned up building.
  • Chief planner indicated a board-and-batten type siding in the upper "gable", where there's horizontal siding on the bottom floor. This would break up the masses. Wood trim is a recommended condition of approval.
The shed has to be removed and there was concern on parking access said Chairman Daybell.

Chairman Cha stated that whenever there's not enough parking or parking facilities are not accessible the environment looks terrible. He said that parking access should be provided.

Assistant Planner Sowers said staff looked at various options for parking and came up with the idea of doing some type of modification where both of the structures would connect to lengthen the existing one-car garage to more of a current standard and somehow be able to provide two instead of one.

A MOTION was made by Committee Member Duncan to add conditions and bring into compliance with staff recommendations and additional recommendations including: siding on the second unit, to the satisfaction of the staff, window treatments; other exterior details included roof materials to match existing structure to the doors or modifications would come back to the committee for review.

Associate Planner Eastman said that typically, sliding windows would not be allowed; windows would typically be double hung or casement windows. So there may be a need to replace the windows. He described to the applicant that the type of windows needed could be vinyl, with the appearance of wood, but will need to open up and down or swing out.

The MOTION was AMENDED by Chairman Daybell to seriously consider the recommendations of starting over. Another one of his concerns was the extra staff time this project was going to take and wanted to know if staff would somehow be compensated.

SECONDED by Committee Member Cha to CONTINUE PRJ05-00565. Passed unanimously.

PRJ05-00577- ZON05-00077 APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: BRAD KUISH. A request to enclose an existing first floor courtyard area which is covered by the second floor and totals approximately 2,165 square feet; change out existing fabric awnings with metal awnings; and modify an existing sign program to allow for awning-mounted signs, on property at 444 N. Harbor Blvd. (Southeast corner of Harbor Blvd. and Chapman Ave.) (C-3) (Categorically exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines). (JEA)

Associate Planner Eastman summarized the project. He stated that staff did not have a lot of concerns with what is proposed. The awnings that are being added are compatible with the existing metal shade structures (eyebrows) that are on the existing windows. Architecturally it is compatible to some of the current ornamentation. Staff would like to see more detail of the awnings. The details that are provided in the elevations are rough sketch ideas.

Staff feels there is adequate information to understand the project and move forward. However, there is a lack of detail on how the signs will be affixed to the awnings. Staff has provided two recommendations depending on whether the signs are illuminated or not illuminated. If illuminated, there will be electrical wiring and other factors. Staff recommends there be a raceway that comes down from the awnings to which the signs can be affixed to. The raceway would run the length of the awnings and would include the conduit and wiring, so it's not exposed yet allow for access to the back side of the signs, as well as something the signs can be mounted to.

If the suspended signs are not illuminated signs, they likely won't be channel letters, but rather be vinyl or foam mounted to a backing.

Staff concerns dealing with the enclosure of tenant space have been addressed through recommended conditions. Currently the courtyard provides direct access for circulation from the parking structure (and properties to the south) to Starbucks, as well as Harbor and Chapman intersection. Staff would like to keep the space open for general public access through the tenant space.

There are conditions that have been addressed and shown on the plans.

1. The doors that are fixed will be sliding doors that will remain open during business hours.

2. Staff has asked that the existing paving in the courtyard remain there when the interior tenant space be renovated, So that a path of travel 8-foot wide cuts thru the tenant space, yet matches the exterior areas. The applicant can have carpet on one side with sofas and seating, tile or wood floor, but where someone passes through there will be a harder outdoor surface.

Applicant agreed to terms, and staff recommends support of this project.

Staff spoke with applicant regarding signage and stated that the applicant had some concerns regarding the signs size limitations. Associate Planner Eastman requested that applicant review elevations and identify a size for signage that he's comfortable with or identify additional language to be added that any signs beyond the limitations established in the sign program could be approved by the landlord and the Director of Development Services, at his discretion.

Committee Member Hoffman arrived at 4:55 p.m.

Chief Planner Rosen pointed out that the staff compared the open space to that of a food court space with a similar arrangement of a pathway through the middle and seating on both sides. He noted there might be other restrictions placed by the Health Department.

Chairman Daybell was concerned with the current Wells Fargo signage. He asked if the applicant's proposal met the Downtown Sign Guidelines. Associate Planner Eastman said yes.

Chairman Daybell asked if the new signs that will be placed on the Chapman side will show what businesses are on the Harbor side such as Wahoo's?

The applicant, Brad Kuish, was present and answered the purpose of the sign out in front was for both of the tenants that are proposed in the courtyard. He wanted to have a consistent sign program for that side of the building. He said signage for Wahoo's at the front corner was not determined. The intent is to have two signs for potential tenants (such as Z Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, TCBY, or Subway). He said on the other side of the building there would be two signs.

Staff asked clarification from the owner regarding an awning shown on the elevation, and asked if it was being removed. Kuish answered yes.

Kuish read the staff report and agreed with staff's recommendations. He asked for clarity on two areas. His concern with the courtyard and pathway is that the Health Department or someone may require to have the doors close and open as the pedestrians walk through. He said he would be more than willing to leave the doors open during business hours, but if the Health Department demands they be closed, he would put them on a motion sensor that opens and closes when pedestrians go through that area.

The second item Kuish was concerned about was if he has another tenant that does not have a short name, it may be difficult to stay within the requirement of 2 ft wide and it may require to be 3 ft in height. He requested the Development staff review the tenant name and if they see appropriate to expand beyond the 2 ft requirement, that staff approve the larger sign without coming back to the RDRC.

Associate Planner Eastman stated, staff proposed 2 ft in height for 2 lines of tenant signage. If there's 3 lines that needed to fit into the space, provided the design is appropriate, staff can accommodate it. Staff suggested to add a note to the sign program stating these particular signs can be increased in size with the land owner's approval and at the discretion of the Director of Development Services, thereby allowing changes without going through a long process.

Chairman Daybell asked if the awning types of signage were going to be electrified. Kuish said he would like to make the signs with electrical, backlit illuminated from within. Another alternative would be to hide all of the electrical inputs or hanging elements.

Committee Member Cha questioned the doors and walkway. He told Kuish that if he is considering a restaurant the doors would have to be closed and could not stay open.

Kuish pointed out that the pathway shown on the plans would remain.

A member from the public, Judy Berg, arrived late and asked about the project. Associate Planner Eastman summarized what was discussed and presented the plans.

Associate Planner Eastman stated that the sign program would be modified to address what was being proposed in terms of signage.

Committee Member Coffman stated he didn't have a problem with what was being proposed and that staff had identified some minor points that needed to be reviewed. His only concern was with what appeared to be can (cabinet) signs suspended from the canopy. He suggested the metal awnings shouldn't have to be at the top of the openings, but could be lower. Also, once materials, colors and finishes are identified, changes in the field should be approved by Associate Planner Eastman or Chief Planner Rosen. Committee Member Coffman was supportive of the project as submitted with staff's comments.

Committee Member Cha stated his concern about the walkway and business hours. He was concerned that a restaurant might not open until 11 or 12, thereby the walkway would not be open in the morning.

Committee Member Duncan said he liked the idea of the metal awnings. He stated his concern about the suspended signs had been addressed. The only condition on the project was for the low wall of the backside outdoor seating area, his personal preference would be a brick venier to match the remainder of the building. He stated stucco low walls get dirty in time, whereas the brick has more permanency, is longer lasting and a nicer aesthetic. Committee Member Duncan said he liked the project and is in agreement with it, but added the condition of the low wall be veneered to match the brick on the main building. Another type of finish other than stucco can be used.

MOTION made by Committee Member Duncan to APPROVE subject to staff recommendations and the following additional condition.

Condition #11. The low wall around the new patio shall be finished with a brick veneer to match the existing building, or another treatment as approved by the Director of Development Services.

Associate Planner Eastman added two notes per the committee's discussion:

Condition #5: If Health Department requires modifications to access doors that cannot be resolved during the building permit plan check process, the Director of Development Services may approve an alternate condition.

Condition #9: Signage exceeding the limitations specified above may be permitted only with property owner approval and at the discretion of the Director of Development Services.

SECONDED by Committee Member Coffman as AMENDED. Passed unanimously.

CONTINUATION: PRJ05-00489 - ZON05-00065 APPLICANT: SAEED KAMKAR. PROPERTY OWNER: KAVAN KARIMI. Assistant Planner Sowers gave an overview of the project. She noted staff added conditions to match in terms of siding, window treatment trim to carry those elements to the modifying unit to the rear. Site plan complies with the zoning code. A few other conditions regarding details and material on the railings and balcony were made (staff is recommending wood). On the second story window, on the east elevation that is shown to be angular, staff is recommending a right angle.

Applicant Saeed Kamkar was present. He noted that the comments listed in the staff report would be resolved. Chairman Daybell asked if he had any difficulty with the conditions proposed by staff and Kamkar responded by saying no.

Chairman Daybell asked Mr. Dalton if he had any input on this project. Mr. Dalton said staff did an excellent job and if the applicant was going to meet the conditions recommended by staff, it would be a really good project and looked like a good looking building.

Committee Member Duncan said he is in support of the project and it looks very nice. He liked the fact that the large tree would remain and is in support, along with staff recommendations.

Committee Member Cha said this project was very well prepared and is not against it.

Committee Member Coffman questioned Kamkar about the door up at the top of the stairs leading to the living space on the second floor. Kamkar said the owner considered the cooling and heating system. The door keeps cool air upstairs and creates privacy. He said if required, the door could be removed. Committee Member Coffman said it would be nicer to have the living room overlook the foyer.

Committee Member Cha preferred to have the open stairs be part of the two-story living area.

Committee Member Coffman stated it was a very well designed building. He pointed to the east and the north roof elevations. Eliminating the ridge lines by making some changes was suggested.

He said he liked the window in the stairway, but since the porch looked out of proportion for the size of the building, he suggested widening the porch to the end. He wouldn't make this a condition for approval.

Chairman Daybell questioned the exterior lighting and asked if there was a way to incorporate the soffit lights into the alley. Associate Planner Eastman recommended soffit lighting at either end of the building and use of the planter boxes for down lighting. He stated that the wall lighting can be vandalized and that by putting soffit lighting underneath in the soffits there will be direct lighting without it being very dominant. It's not something that will be vandalized. Committee Member Cha asked if there are other lighting systems in the neighborhood, if soffit lighting can work he, would not have a problem with it.

Committee Member Coffman questioned the wood detailing in the gable end of the roof appearing different from the building. Kamkar said before he had the wood siding at the top and stucco at the bottom. The different size is a result of drafting revisions. Assistant Planner Sowers said Condition 10 required the width of the gable siding to match the house.

Committee Member Coffman said he only had comments, but didn't want to make them conditions of the approval, except for the door at the top of the stairway. He said it is a design problem with the building and he would be in favor of eliminating the door and having it open to the foyer area below.

Committee Member Coffman also stated his preference for the roof eave on the east elevation to turn back down, thereby creating a gable.

MOTION made by Committee Member Coffman to approve the project with conditions recommended by staff and amended by modifying roof design on the east elevation, eliminating door at the top of the stairs, and adding soffit lighting in the rear area.

SECONDED by Committee Member Duncan. He added that the applicant should be allowed the opportunity to add a different siding at the gable to the satisfaction of staff. Chairman Daybell said he would allow the opportunity.

Associate Planner Eastman staff recommended not changing the size of the siding. If applicant were to change the gable design, he'd recommend shingle or board and batten.

MOTION AMENDED to allow a different surface treatment at the gable ends as approved by the staff.

Assistant Planner Sowers suggested modifying Condition 10 which would state: Gable shall utilize the same siding as the rest of the structure, and comply with Condition 1, or alternative materials as approved by the Director of Development Services.



No public comments


Chairman Daybell and staff discussed the special RDRC meeting scheduled for September 13.

Associate Planner Eastman discussed the Providence project's alternative plan.




MOTION by Committee Member Coffman to adjourn, SECONDED by Committee Member Duncan. Meeting adjourned at 5:55 P.M.