Archives for category: Environment
DCCSP-Map

Too big, too soon.

Update: The agenda for the Fullerton City Council meeting of August 5 does indeed show it to be taking place at in the new Public Conference Center at the library next to City Hall. There will be NO LIVE BROADCAST of the meeting if it is held there.

This Tuesday, August 5, the Fullerton City Council will hold the first public hearing to consider the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP). If adopted, the DCCSP would represent a huge change in the way properties located along parts of Euclid, Harbor, Commonwealth, Orangethrope, Raymond, and other major streets can be developed. But the larger density projects that would be allowed under the plan would affect all of Fullerton.

The meeting begins at 6:30, but the DCCSP will probably not be heard before 7:00, at least. There is no definite word yet about whether the meeting will be held in the City Council chambers, recently closed for renovations, or the Community Room next door at the library. If the Council Chambers are not yet ready, there will be no live broadcast of the City Council considering the biggest specific plan in Fullerton’s history, in the middle of the vacation season.

The Planning Commission heard the DCCSP in two meetings in July. On July 23 the Planning Commissiion, with at two of its members absent, voted to approve the plan. Some members had serious reservations about various parts of the plan, and, after much discussion amongst themselves and comments from the attending public, voiced oppositiion to the DCCSP. However, rather than stand their ground against Fullerton’s planning staff and the deveopers and land owners who will financially benefit from the DCCSP’s sweeping zoning changes and density allowances, these initially courageous commissioners ultmiately chose to vote in favor of the plan, with the caveat that their concerns would be noted to the City Council.

The idea behind the DCCSP is to prepare for population growth by adopting a comprehensive set of zoning changes ahead to time instead of having to deal with small areas and projects on a case by case baisis over the coming decades. It may make sense, in some ways, on a conceptual level, but what’s actually in the plan for some of the 13 plan areas is an allowance for higher density development without mitigation for more traffic or, in some cases, even the public review such projects would otherwise be required to undergo before being built.

Despite being funded by a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, the plan acknowledges that there is simply no way to improve mobility at several already choked intersections, and doesn’t provide for any mass transportation options as an alternative to more drivers on the road. Bells and whistles like landscaped medians aren’t going to do much for anyone’s daily commute, made worse by the addition of new residents’ vehicles. The assumption that more residents will work closer to their jobs if we increase housing density doesn’t hold much water when businesses areas are re-zoned for housing, forcing them away from residences. And when was the last time you heard of OCTA expanding bus service?

In short, the DCCSP looks like a huge giveaway to developers of mixed-use retail and housing projects intended to provided a higher property tax base for the city coffers. It should be either broken up into smaller plan areas to be considered idividually over a longer period of time, or dispensed with entirely. The Fullerton City Council should have the courage to do what the Planning Commssion would not—stand up to wealthy land owners and insatiable developers and stand up for Fullerton’s residents instead.

Logo of Friends for a Livable Fullerton

Protect Fullerton’s residents, not big developers.

 

Planning Commissioners, some sure, some not so sure.

Planning Commissioners, some sure, some not so sure.

This Monday night, July 28 at 7:00 p.m., Friends for a Livable Fullerton presents a Public Forum to discuss concerns about the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP) at the Fullerton Public Library’s Osbourne Auditorium (the windowless room on the west side). This is not a city sponsored event. It is intended as a response to the city’s plans, and as an informational session about the DCCSP.

Last night, despite myriad concerns about the DCCSP, the Planning Commission opted to go ahead and recommend the plan to the Fullerton City Council, albeit with the Commissioners’ many serious concerns noted in the report. The City Council will hear the item on August 5 and August 19, with a decision expected on August 19. Fullerton’s planning staff made numerous changes to the DCCSP in response to both public comments and Planning Commission concerns heard at the last meeting on July 9, but the general condition of the plan remains—to facilitate higher density development without the requisite transportation amenities to handle increased traffic and air pollution.

Last night members of the public objected to everything from the prospect of bad architecture with no public review, the acknowledgment by the plan’s authors that intersections already choked with traffic would only get worse with new development, and inadequate protections for historic resources. With the notable exception of Tom Dalton, Vice President of Fullerton Heritage, no other person spoke up in support of the DCCSP.

Recall that the DCCSP was paid for by a state grant for sustainable communities, but the City of Fullerton (you and the rest of the taxpayers around here) paid for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). One persistent worry has been that the DCCSP would need to be completed in some form by a specific date in order to fulfill the requirements of the granting agency. The City Council will hear the item next month, already past the evidently soft deadline for the project’s completion. However, there is an equally persistent lack of clarity over exactly when, and exactly what, actions the City Council would need to take in order to be in compliance with the grant agreement.

Several Planning Commissions voiced the opinion that they needed more time to work out problems with the plan, but ran up against a wall of uncertainty about the importance of maintaining the current schedule for its consideration by the City Council next month. Planning staff had no clear answer to a specific question asked about whether or not the the City of Fullerton would have to send back the grant money (about a million dollars) if the DCCSP was not ultimately adopted.

Come to the free Public Forum on Monday, July 28 at the library to hear more and voice your own concerns about the largest Specific Plan in the history of Fullerton, and what it might mean to you.

DCCSP FFLF Virtual Height Box

“Friends for a LiIvable Fullerton” is back, with a Facebook page dedicated to warning residents about the potential negative impacts of the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP). FFLF was founded over eight years ago by Fullerton residents concerned about the pace of overscaled developments being allowed in the city. The new Facebook page defines the organization as existing to “Preserve Fullerton’s Uniqueness and Livability” and “Stop the New Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan That Fast Tracks High Density.” (The “Downtown” in the proposed plan’s title is deceiving. The DCCSP would extend along major streets as far west as Magnolia and as far east as St. College).

Vist the Friends for a Livable Fullerton Page to Stop the Core and Corridors plan here (and be sure to “Like” it and invite your Facebook friends to “Like” it too):

https://www.facebook.com/SaveFullerton

In an ongoing series of posts the FFLF Facebook page critiques the DCCSP, pointing out some importatnt facts about it:

-The DCCSP would be the largest Specific Plan in the city’s history.

-Most people living in the more urban parts of Fullerton are near areas that will see a radical change in zoning if the plan is passed, with multi-story mixed used developments being allowed near single family residential streets.

-Although the plan promises “Increased Attractiveness” and “Improved Public Spaces,” there is no funiding in place for either of these nebulous amenities, only an invitation for developers to build higher density housing.

-The amount of parking required to be provided by developers can be radically reduced, even though there are no plans or funding in place for any alternative modes of transportation.

-Increased vehicular traffic will inevitably affect major thoroughfares and the adjacent neighborhoods.

And perhaps most disturbingly…

-If the plan is approved, buidling projects in the designated areas would not need approval by the City Council or even the Planning Commission. Instead, only city staff would need to sign off on developments.

There is also a startling chart demonstrating the heights of buildings that would be allowed in the different development zones identified by the plan…

DCCSP FFLF Height Chart

The DCCSP has been on a presentation schedule to various City of Fullerton commissons and committees, although it has not been agendized for votes of support by them. The Planning Commission will consider the plan on July 9 and 23. The City Council will have the ultimate responsibliy to either adopt it or reject it on August 5 and 19. In the meantime.

Take a good look at the DCCSP here:

http://www.cityoffullerton.com/depts/dev_serv/development_activity/dccsp.asp

Fullerton residents can send their concerns to Fullerton PLanning Project Manager Heather Allen at:

HeatherA@ci.fullerton.ca.us, or call (714) 738-6884.

 

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