Archives for category: Fullerton City Council
Coyote Hills Vista

The Fullerton City Council wants the state’s $ 15 million, but not if it means saving the whole park.

Angela Lindstrom

Reprinted from the Early September Edition of the Fullerton Observer

In the August 2017 issue of the Fullerton Observer, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece titled “I’m All for Saving Coyote Hills… Unless It Can Actually Be Done”. This was in response to the Orange County Register’s misinformed editorial criticizing a couple of pending state legislations to help fund the acquisition of West Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve.

AB 510 and SB 714 legislations as currently proposed by Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Senator Newman would set up a multi-year funding program through a Coyote Hills Conservancy to save all of Coyote Hills as a park and preserve for our park poor region of North Orange County. This is consistent with Fullerton voters’ 2012 Measure W referendum that rejected the development of West Coyote Hills.

Sadly, the majority of the Fullerton City Council lived up to my “expectation” by rejecting AB 510 and SB 714 at its August 1st City Council meeting. It’s not that they don’t want the state funds. They want the money to go directly to the City so they can implement what they call the “Path Forward”, a euphemism for the development of West Coyote Hills as proposed by Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes.

This is the “local control” (another euphemism) they want so they can circumvent the conservancy oversight of park funds. Under this path forward to development, the City can purchase a couple of pieces of land at the highest entitled price. But even if that is successful, most of the 760 houses and shopping center will still be built on the remaining land.

Wait, millions of our tax dollars will be paid to Chevron-PCH and we have to live with all the negative impacts of their development: 10,000 additional daily car-trips on our streets, air and dust pollution, houses built on polluted oil wells and an earthquake fault, and overcrowded schools?

Councilwoman Fitzgerald followed up this Council meeting by slamming AB 510 and SB 714 in the OC Register, borrowing the famous words (not infamous as she wrote) of Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, I’m here to help.’” We should be more terrified of the lack ofcitizen local control over our own local government.

But it gets worse. At the August 29th Special Council meeting, Councilwoman Fitzgerald insisted on discussing an un-agendized item to re-write SB714.  She proposed language to poison and weaken SB 714 to enable the development of Coyote Hills.

Fitzgerald Coyote Hills 714

Fullerton City Councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald introduces language to modify SB 714 during a joint study session about the Fox Block.

SB 714 as proposed by Senator Josh Newman would gather funds to save all 510 acres of Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve. Councilwoman Fitzgerald wants to add language to legitimize the Council’s 2015 approval of Chevron’s Vesting Tentative Tract Map (VTTM), with all of its terms and conditions, including the Environmental Impact Report as the only plan for Coyote Hills (development).

The legitimacy of this VTTM the Fullerton City Council approved by ignoring the people’s 2012 Measure W vote is the very subject of a lawsuit led by the Friends of Coyote Hills, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, and the Center for Biodiversity.

If you support saving Coyote Hills and don’t want to lose this funding opportunity, write or call the Fullerton City Council and tell them to support AB 510 and SB 714 as proposed by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Senator Josh Newman. Stop trying to confuse the public with the path forward to development.

Fullerton City Council

303 W. Commonwealth Avenue | Fullerton, CA 92832

(714) 738-6311

Email: council@cityoffullerton.com

 

Angela Lindstrom is the President of the Friends of Coyote Hills coyotehills.org

Angelos Street View

Angelo’s & Vinci’s: will the city demolish it to provide parking for it?

Matthew Leslie

 

Anyone who attended the joint Fullerton City Council and Planning Commission Study Session on the Fox Block Tuesday night might be tempted to believe that time is cyclical, or in Nietzsche’s concept of the Eternal Return (“I’ll have to sit through the Ice Capades again,” joked Woody Allen). Didn’t we all, at some time in the not too distant past, watch Pelican-Laing’s Dick Hamm pitch his mundane ideas for developing some city-owned property or other, like Amerige Court? And didn’t we all see “architectural” renderings depicting some sort of contest to see how many boxy stucco structures could be crammed into the block surround the Fullerton’s historic Fox Theater just a few years ago?

Yes, we did, but then Dick Hamm and Pelican-Laing were hired last year to pitch ideas for what to do with the so-called Fox Block, currently stranded in post Redevlopment limbo, and Tuesday night we all got to see and hear their best efforts, which were less than inspiring, to say the least.

Despite the mind numbing sense of deja vu, the evening was somehow still full of surprises. Pelican-Laing had four proposals in their report, presented by the perpetually tanned Mr. Hamm, and two of them included buying and demolishing Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Half of Dick Hamm’s four proposed scenarios for development on the Fox Block site were at least partially predicated on buying and leveling the restaurant whose parking agreement with the city is given as the very reason for building anything on the site in the first place.

Before we decide just how far off into the clouds this effort has ascended, let’s quickly review the four possible development options, as presented by Mr. Hamm:

  1. A parking structure on the big rectangular part of the L-shaped parking lot south of Ellis Place.
  1. A parking structure plus a mixed use, two and one half-storey development on the triangular parking lot north of the A & V’s, and a two-storey office building, residential, and/or mixed use building on the Chapman/Pomona corner site.
  1. A parking structure, residential condos, and a retail courtyard on Harbor, with possible development on the triangle and Pomona sites.
  1. A parking structure, an eight screen movie theater with retail on Harbor.

Even Mr. Hamm and Pelican-Laing’s report make it clear that they do not favor # 4, the movie theater proposal, but # 3 was taken seriously by the some of the elected and appointed officials that night, leaving stunned audience members to speculate about the real motives behind the whole effort to develop around the Fox Fullerton in the first place.

We also had to wonder why, if Angelo’s & Vinci’s was fair game for a purchase to make room for development, the recently renovated McDonald’s was not. After all, just a few years ago the city was seriously contemplating spending $ 6 million to move the fast food restaurant from its present location, inconveniently in the middle of the southern boundary of the site, to a more development-friendly location on the southeast corner of Chapman and Pomona. No one had a ready answer to that question.

Although the proceedings were characterized as a Study Session, the city planning staff nonetheless sought guidance from the council about which scenarios to seriously consider. Mayor Whitaker conducted an informal straw poll of the five council members and the six present members of the Planning Commission. Even a straw poll, however, seemed out of order for an item designated “Receive and File.”

Fox Block Report Cover

No, it won’t fund the Fox Theater, but the report does have digital holes punched in it.

Matthew Leslie

Remember the Fox Block? How could we forget it? It began as a proposed complex of retail buildings and a parking garage and maybe more movie theaters that would more or less surround the historic Fox Fullerton Theater. The theater has been undergoing restoration since being saved from the developer’s wrecking ball over twelve years ago. But the deal that saved it also guaranteed extra parking for the adjoining Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristoronte if and when the historic Fox Theater ever opens again to the public.

Mark your calendars: Tuesday, August 29, 6:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832.

https://www.cityoffullerton.com/cals/default.asp?ViewBy=7&CalDate=8/29/2017&EventDateID=93436

The link is to a city web page with a long chronology of the project, including last year’s decision to choose Dick Hamm and Pelican Communities to propose development plans for review by the Planning Commission and City Councils (and you, so be there to have your voice heard). Fullerton residents will recall that it was Dick Hamm who was originally attached the still unbuilt (fortunately!) Amerige Court/Commons project downtown. This time they are just here to present different possibilities for bland, overbuilt attempts at urbanity, and not necessarily to build them. Details can be found at this link:

The Fox Block Development Plan Report can be found at this link:

https://www.cityoffullerton.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=24991

The report begins with the history and context of the site, then progresses to summarize the results of various meetings with neighbors, institutions, businesses, and the general public. The plan includes an illustration of what are identified as “project areas” and “opportunity areas.”

Fox Block Opportunty Sites

Oh, the many opportunities for dullness…

 

The Project Areas consist of

  1. The L-shaped parking lot directly behind the Fox Theater that extends north to Ellis.
  1. The rectangle on the corner of Pomona and Chapman, bordered by existing residences to the north.
  1. The triangle-shaped parking lot just north of Angelo’s and Vinci’s, bordered by the creek to the north.

The Opportunity Site is the existing parking structure located across Chapman and Pomona. The presumed opportunity is to add more parking to it.

There are several challenges to any plans for the site:

  1. The residents of Ellis Place, just north of the Fox parking lot, probably don’t want a multi-storey anything across the street—a narrow street at that.
  1. There is a McDonald’s restaurant right in the middle of the southern part of the site, and it isn’t going anywhere (despite a daffy $ 6 million proposal to move it years ago).
  1. There are more residences on the corner of Pomona Ave. and Ellis Place that would be impacted by traffic and oversized buildings.
  1. More cars entering and exiting the developed sites will further stress the traffic on the corner of Chapman Ave. and Harbor Blvd., as well as Pomona Ave. , which borders Fullerton Union High School.

The four development alternatives presented in the plan are:

  1. A parking structure on the big rectangular part of the L-shaped parking lot south of Ellis Place.
  1. A parking structure plus a mixed use, two and one half-storey development on the Triangle site and a two-storey office building, residential, and/or mixed use building on the Pomona site.
  1. A residential condo over a parking structure on the big lot.
  1. An eight screen movie theater with retail on Harbor and a parking structure.

Each proposal includes a financial breakdown explaining how much it would cost the city, as well as how much each would generate. Without going into each one now, we’ll summarize by noting that the parking structure alone proposal would cost the city $ 1 million in additional funds, while the others would be expected to pay for themselves, so some degree over time. Most noteworthy is the scheme to sell off the two smaller project areas for oddly identical sums to provide income to the city.

Following are the usual bulletin board pages of images of buildings and built environments developers include to suggest what they are proposing.

If you cannot attend the meeting, City of Fullerton Senior Planner Matt Foulkes invites you to send him an email with the subject line “Fox Block Development Plan – Public Comments.” Send them to this address: MattF@ci.fullerton.ca.us

More later…

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