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RDRC Minutes February 9, 2006

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
REDEVELOPMENT DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE

COUNCIL CHAMBERS FULLERTON CITY HALL
Thursday February 9, 2006 4:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER :

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

ROLL CALL :

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman Daybell; Committee Members Duncan, Hoban, and Larsen
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Committee Member Cha
PUBLIC PRESENT: James Bobbett, Alex Fischer-Militaru, Michael Militaru, Tom Dalton, Kathleen Dalton, Ryan Gregory, Bret Detmers
STAFF PRESENT: Senior Planner Eastman, Associate Planner Allen, Clerical Staff Leopold, and Chief Planner Rosen

MINUTES:

Chairman Daybell requested that the minutes be reviewed at the next meeting due to Committee Member Cha's absence.

INTRODUCTION:

Chairman Daybell welcomed new Committee Member Larsen and introductions were done by the Committee.

OLD BUSINESS:

Item No. 1

PRJ06-00007 - ZON06-00002. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: JAMES BOBBETTE.
Senior Planner Eastman provided a staff report on a request pertaining to a Minor Development Project to add a second unit to the property located at 319 W Wilshire (Located on the north side of Wilshire approximately 210 ft west of Highland Ave) (Categorically Exempt under Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines) (JEA)

Senior Planner Eastman explained the project has some minor code deficiencies, but staff is confident they can be resolved. He stated the deficiencies exist is because the project layout and floor plan is an existing design that has been used elsewhere in the City in an R-2P Zone and has different setback requirements than the R-3 Zone.

Public hearing opened.

The applicant and property owner, James Bobbett, stated he is happy to preserve the existing house.

Alex Fischer, designer, said he would be consistent with the same design and materials as his other buildings. He agreed with the conditions listed in the staff report, but requested clarification on the second story and window setbacks.

Chairman Daybell asked if there was any way of putting any articulation on the building because it looked plain. Mr. Fischer explained that the owner chose the elevations without the gable over the porch.

The applicant presented color samples to the Committee. Chairman Daybell said he liked the color scheme.

Tom Dalton from Fullerton Heritage stated he was glad that the owner decided to save the house and applauded his preservation efforts.

Katie Dalton from Fullerton Heritage questioned the existing driveway being far enough to accommodate two guest parking spaces. The applicant stated it would be extended. Senior Planner Eastman provided additional information on the code's tandem parking prohibition.

Public hearing closed.

Committee Member Duncan was in agreement with the project and staff recommendations.

Committee Member Hoban was in support of the project and agrees with the staff recommendations regarding the wood siding.

Committee Member Larsen is in support of the project.

Chairman Daybell echoed Mrs. Dalton's comments and liked the idea of something other than hardscape being put in the back, but he supports the project.

Staff discussed tandem parking with the committee.

MOTION made by Committee Member Duncan, SECONDED by Committee Member Hoban, CARRIED unanimously by voting members present to APPROVE with staff recommendations.

Chairman Daybell moved Item No. 2 to be heard at the end of the agenda.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS: PRJ06-00033 - ZON06-00008. APPLICANT: JOE FLORENTINE.

Chief Planner Rosen provided an overview on the Miscellaneous Development Project to discuss and obtain comments regarding preliminary architectural facade treatment to a proposed restaurant in the Central Business District located at 104 N. Harbor Blvd. (Categorically Exempt under Section 15301 of the CEQA Guidelines) (JWR)

Chief Planner Rosen requested clear direction from the Committee regarding this project.

Applicant Joe Florentine said the proposed restaurant, The Palapa Grill, will take over where the dining room currently rests in Florentines Restaurant. He stated a palapa is a grass hut thatched look similar to those found in the Caribbean consisting of thatched bamboo.

Mr. Florentine spoke about doing an awning that would consist of a thatched grass hut look with corrugated metal and wood at the bottom creating a surf shop look. He stated that there will be a color change of the building and the neon light will remain in the same location, but the colors would change too. The applicant described the type of material as a palm frond.

Committee Member Duncan was concerned about the life span of using palm fronds for the thatched roof. He recommended using an African reed, which is woven instead of palm fronds.

Staff discussed the type of quality architecture it is looking for in projects proposed in Downtown Fullerton.

Committee Member Duncan suggested re-evaluating the awning and doing something different. Committee Member Larsen suggested using a different type of material other than bamboo, such as tubing, and make the architecture a more abstract interpretation. He stated it might appeal better to Mr. Florentine's target audience. Senior Planner Eastman reviewed the City guidelines regarding awnings. He expressed that the element on the building must go with the Downtown.

The applicant questioned what could be done with the brick below the windows. Senior Planner Eastman stated that using corrugated metal can communicate a sloppy approach, but metal can be done nicely if it's capped and trimmed right, doesn't have exposed edges and is integrated with the building. Staff stated that a heavy metal can also be used to avoid dents.

Chief Planner Rosen suggested focusing on the sign as part of the architectural theme.

Item No. 2

PRJ05-00753 - ZON05-00105. APPLICANT AND PROPERTY OWNER: RYAN GREGORY.


Associate Planner Allen provided a staff report on a request pertaining to a proposal to construct a mixed use project comprised of 27 residential condominium units above 4,900 square feet of retail space and a parking garage. The application includes a Major Development Project and a one-lot condominium Tentative Tract Map, for property located at 345 E. Commonwealth Avenue (Northwest corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Lawrence) (Categorically Exempt under Section 15332 of the CEQA Guidelines). (HAL)

Staff is recommending the item to be continued in order to obtain additional detail on the materials and the design elements that are not clearly defined at this point.

Associate Planner Allen highlighted the pedestrian space in front of the commercial storefronts and the plaza feature at the corner. She presented the two color schemes provided by the applicant for the meeting.

Senior Planner Eastman noted the Local Landmark to the west of the project and the accommodation of the current proposal to allow visibility of the historic building.

Chief Planner Rosen noted that the project complies with the setbacks of the commercial zoning with the exception of a few small areas on the north side. Procedurally, the applicant will need to request a Zoning Adjustment for these areas.

Associate Planner Allen discussed recommended changes to add a focal point, based on the function of the space, to the south elevation at the common recreation areas.

Committee Member Hoban agreed that this area was needed as a focal point and questioned if the roof over the common deck could go even higher.

Public hearing opened.

Brett Detmers, project architect, said staff has done a very good job in explaining the project. He stated that the recommendation of expanding the common deck roof structure was a good one. He referenced the Materials Manual presented to staff prior to the meeting and referred to the materials used on the building.

Senior Planner Eastman questioned the architect on the detail of the coping on the roof. The architect explained the coping detail and confirmed that it is not a piece of flashing that folds over the stucco.

Architect Detmers presented samples of framing for residential aluminum and vinyl windows. Associate Planner Allen noted that the plans currently identify vinyl windows on the residential level and that staff is requesting more information be provided by the applicant to see how they related to the storefront window systems proposed on the retail level.

Architect Detmers distributed samples of stucco. Committee Member Duncan questioned if the sample represented the proposed finish. Architect Detmers answered affirmatively noting that the sample presented was in between a rough and trowel (smooth) finish. Senior Planner Eastman asked the cost difference among the finishes. Architect Detmers said it is less expensive than a smooth finish however the more smooth a surface is, the more costly.

Ryan Gregory, applicant expressed that in terms of material he would like to avoid being locked into specific materials at this stage in the game allowing for options based on cost. Senior Planner Eastman stated that specifically for the stucco, it is a significant component of the building. Applicant Gregory questioned if a rough (sand) finish would be acceptable. Senior Planner Eastman stated that he would need more information of the finish and how it is applied to make that determination. Architect Detmers stated that as the stucco get rougher it tends to hold dirt and smog more than a smoother finish. The Committee agreed with this statement.

Architect Detmers noted the reveals in the stucco to prevent cracking. Committee Member Hoban questioned if the reveals were really 4 in as noted on the elevations. Architect Detmers stated that he is actually proposing a 2 in reveal and noted that the elevations will be modified. He further stated that the location of the reveals is based on calculations.

Committee Member Hoban agreed that this area was needed as a focal point and questioned if the roof over the common deck could go even higher.

Public hearing opened.

Brett Detmers, project architect, said staff has done a very good job in explaining the project. He stated that the recommendation of expanding the common deck roof structure was a good one. He referenced the Materials Manual presented to staff prior to the meeting and referred to the materials used on the building.

Senior Planner Eastman questioned the architect on the detail of the coping on the roof. The architect explained the coping detail and confirmed that it is not a piece of flashing that folds over the stucco.

Architect Detmers presented samples of framing for residential aluminum and vinyl windows. Associate Planner Allen noted that the plans currently identify vinyl windows on the residential level and that staff is requesting more information be provided by the applicant to see how they related to the storefront window systems proposed on the retail level.

Architect Detmers distributed samples of stucco. Committee Member Duncan questioned if the sample represented the proposed finish. Architect Detmers answered affirmatively noting that the sample presented was in between a rough and trowel (smooth) finish. Senior Planner Eastman asked the cost difference among the finishes. Architect Detmers said it is less expensive than a smooth finish however the more smooth a surface is, the more costly.

Ryan Gregory, applicant expressed that in terms of material he would like to avoid being locked into specific materials at this stage in the game allowing for options based on cost. Senior Planner Eastman stated that specifically for the stucco, it is a significant component of the building. Applicant Gregory questioned if a rough (sand) finish would be acceptable. Senior Planner Eastman stated that he would need more information of the finish and how it is applied to make that determination. Architect Detmers stated that as the stucco get rougher it tends to hold dirt and smog more than a smoother finish. The Committee agreed with this statement.

Architect Detmers noted the reveals in the stucco to prevent cracking. Committee Member Hoban questioned if the reveals were really 4 in as noted on the elevations. Architect Detmers stated that he is actually proposing a 2 in reveal and noted that the elevations will be modified. He further stated that the location of the reveals is based on calculations.

setback on the west end of the building to allow visibility to the historic building. He likes the proposed adjustments to the community recreation area to make it more of a focus point on the building. He supports staff's work to this point.

Committee Member Larsen requested clarification about staff's use of the term "pedestrian visual interest" specifically in reference to the use of stone on the ground floor level. He stated that other design alternatives that are perhaps less common could be available. Senior Planner Eastman stated that typically staff will make recommendations to the applicant based on what they have proposed. In this project, the applicant proposed stone and staff recommended a variation of color, pattern, and texture of this stone to provide detail at the pedestrian level. Clearly staff is in support of unique designs. Senior Planner Eastman encouraged the RDRC to provide direction to staff if they feel strongly about an alternative solution. He reiterated however that staff generally feels that stone is a warmer material than stucco. The stone, in combination with the landscaping makes for a nice pedestrian environment. It also provides a weight to the foundation of the building.

Committee Member Duncan said the 20 ft sidewalk is awesome. He supports going higher to preserve a nice wide sidewalk. The response to the design of the building, in terms of the context, is great. Committee Member Duncan stated he would prefer a smooth stucco instead of a sand or coarse finish. He said the tree street pattern that the City has developed is nice and works well and all of the other street-side planting should be fairly incidental to that. Specifically, he felt that there should not be vines climbing up the side of the wall at the front of the building (on Lawrence and Commonwealth) as it would obscure the nice, natural stone. He stated he likes the direction of the project.

Chairman Daybell stated that his work with the Downtown Strategy has given him a new perspective on building height as it moves out from the center of downtown. He likes the detailing and the project and thinks it is going in the right direction.

Senior Planner Eastman requested input from the committee regarding comments on the two color schemes presented at the meeting and courtyard landscaping.

Committee Member Duncan the landscaping did not reflect the same forward thinking and creativity as the architecture. He wouldn't support the ficus tree selection. The fountain and planters look nice, but something more creative and fun should be done and a different paving design should be chosen. He suggested the applicant needs to respond to water conservation in the landscape design. Architecturally, the colors all complement themselves and he has confidence that the architect will work with staff on this matter. Either of the two color scheme would well with the forms of the building.

Committee Member Larsen stated that the corrugated metal at the top should not be too dark and painted. He suggested avoiding making the metal something that it is not. He felt that it would be better to leave it natural and unpainted, allowing it to reflect a bit of sunlight. Being unpainted, it will be lighter and not as imposing on the 5th level.

Committee Member Hoban stated that the blue toned (second) color scheme was more "contemporary costal" and did not feel that was consistent with the surrounding neighborhood and the historic buildings next door. He supported leaving the corrugated metal unpainted. He stated that whatever is chosen as far as landscaping should soften edges but also be contemporary and modern. He suggested plants with linear elements, possible bamboo and flax.

Chairman Daybell stated he liked the second color scheme, but the tones on either scheme look good. He agreed with Committee Member Larsen's comments on the corrugated materials.

MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban, SECONDED by Committee Member Larsen to CONTINUE to February 23 meeting and incorporate staff's recommendations with a recommendation that the final landscape plans return to the RDRC for review. CARRIED unanimously by all voting members present.

NEW BUSINESS:

None

PUBLIC COMMENT:

No public comments

STAFF/COMMITTEE COMMUNICATION:

MEETINGS:

Senior Planner Eastman provided a summary on the January 24 City Council and January 25 Planning Commission meetings.

AGENDA FORECAST:

None

ADJOURNMENT:

MOTION made by Committee Member Hoban, SECONDED by Committee Member Larsen and CARRIED unanimously by all voting members present to adjourn meeting at 6:45 P.M.

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