Tonight’s meeting of Fullerton’s Planning Commission includes an update on the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan, aka DCCSP, a plan being developed by an outside consultant hired by the City of Fullerton.
“DOWNTOWN CORE AND CORRIDORS SPECIFIC PLAN (DCCSP) UPDATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) SCOPING.
The consultant team will provide a project update and solicit comments and suggestions regarding scope and content of the EIR to be prepared for the proposed project. The DCCSP area encompasses 1,310 acres and spans the commercial core and corridors across the City of Fullerton.”
1,310 acres accounts for over 9% of all of the land in Fullerton. This specific plan represents a major change to the way large amounts of property in the city will be allowed to develop in the coming decades.
According to Fullerton Planning Forum, the city’s public portal to planning projects, the DCCSP “will guide the transformation of the area into thriving and sustainable districts and neighborhoods that meet the diverse needs of residents, businesses, employees and visitors.”
The specific plan promises:
“Better landscaping, lighting and sidewalks.
– Improved public spaces.
– Improved connections to our neighborhoods.
– Enhanced city gateways.
Thriving stores, restaurants and businesses.”
(The description on the Fullerton Planning Forum site sets the number of acres covered by the study at approximately 1100; somehow it has grown by over 200 acres…).
Who would argue with better lighting, thriving stores, and improved public spaces? At the first public meeting about the study, many residents expressed a desire for improved parks in their neighborhoods, but some rightly questioned where the money would come from to pay for them. The DCCSP doesn’t provide funding for anything.
Setting aside for a moment that the “improvements” may not be what you or I have in mind, what we really need to focus on are the “Improved connections to our neighborhoods,” because what the DCCSP is really about is facilitating high density development on Commonwealth Ave. and other major streets in the city.
You won’t find any link to even a Draft of the plan itself on the Planning Commission Agenda, but here is a link to a general description of the project:
Some time ago, before the study commenced, then-Community Development Director Al Zelinka told me that the impetus for the project came from inquiries by land owners who wanted to develop properties on Commonwealth Ave., but were restricted to building one storey projects. The intent, in part, at least, is to adopt changes to the current zoning code to allow for two or three storey (or more?) high density residential or mixed use developments on these properties that directly border streets with residential single family homes.
The purpose of tonight’s item is to solicit input from the Planning Commission for the plan’s Environmental Impact Study (EIR) to prepare the plan for eventual presentation to the Planning Commission, and finally, the City Council. But over the past two years members of the city’s planning staff have repeatedly presented high density residential developments along Euclid, Orangethorpe, and other streets as being consistent with the DCCSP, even though the plan has never been approved by anyone, and isn’t even finished.
The impact of these projects on nearby neighborhoods should be a source of primary concern for residents of the city. More development can be expected to bring more traffic to smaller streets and avenues designed for single family neighborhoods. The DCCSP bears close scrutiny because, although it was funded by a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, it is already being used to promote higher density projects without the transportation alternatives to make them sustainable or the promised improved public spaces.