MINUTES

PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING

MAY 17, 2005

 

 

1.0       CALL TO ORDER

 

The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:02 p.m. by Chairman Haller at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.

 

Present:          Commissioners Randy Becker, Gina Birnbaum, R. Paul Scott,  Vice Chairman Randall Hamerly and Chairman Richard Haller

 

Absent:           None

 

Staff Present:Rick C. Hartmann, Community Development Director

Larry Mainez, City Planner

Bruce Meikle, Associate Planner

Ernie Wong, City Engineer

Bob Taylor, Fire Prevention Officer

Linda McKeough, Administrative Secretary

 

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chairman Haller.

 

 

2.0       COMMUNITY INPUT

 

There was none.

 

 

3.0       CONSENT CALENDAR

 

3.1       Minutes of December 14, 2004, Joint Special Meeting with City Council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

 

Approved, as submitted.

 

 

3.2       Minutes of December 28, 2004, Joint Special Meeting with City Council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

 

A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Birnbaum to approve both the Minutes of December 14, 2004, and December 28, 2004, as submitted.  Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.

 

 

4.0       PUBLIC HEARINGS          

 

4.1       A written request by Standard Pacific Homes to amend the Conditions of Approval for Tentative Tract Map 16014 related to acquiring and dedicating an off-site easement and preserving an existing  section of rock retaining wall.  Tract 16014 is located within the East Highlands Ranch at the northeast corner of Church Street and Highland Avenue.  The  area in question is located toward the northwest corner of the  Site.  Representative:  Brian Jacobson, Standard Pacific Homes.

 

Commission Chairman Haller introduced the item and called for Staff=s presentation.

 

Associate Planner Meikle gave the presentation from the Staff Report.  He explained the historical background, the location and design of the proposed Project.  He further explained the Applicant had submitted a written request to  amend the Conditions of Approval, how Engineering required off-site easements, the design of the existing rock retaining wall, accessibility, attempts have been made to acquire the easements and transcripts between the Applicant and property owners, and the Applicant requesting the deletion of Engineering Condition of Approval No. 59, the amended Planning Conditions of Approval Nos. 24 and 34.  Associate Planner Meikle further explained the rock retaining wall located in the Tract relative to wall preservation, the Applicant has satisfied the CEQA environmental documentation process and the proposed deletion of the rock wall.  The Applicant is proposing to revise the Grading Plan, including proposed trailbed, eliminating the need for off-site easements for bringing onto the Site heavy equipment for maintenance (which is now a moot point).  Staff has added Planning of Condition No. 34A requiring the new retaining wall having treatment that reflects the appearance of the rock retaining wall that it is replacing.  Associate Planner Meikle added the Centex Tract had to install a decorative wall and there is a need for the proposed decorative wall to blend in with the Tract=s existing rock wall.  He then suggested the proposed verbiage for Planning Condition of Approval No. 24 which no longer applies and to change No. 34 with regards to the date on the Exhibit.  Associate Planner Meikle then concluded his presentation and opened to the Commission for questions / comments.

 

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had questions of Staff.

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding Planning Condition of Approval No. 34 A and the feasibility of salvaging material from the existing rock wall for covering the proposed new wall.  A comment was made that cobble or river rock stone is rounded and character of the wall might be better preserved if split-face rock was used.  Staff responded the comment is correct and is not cobble design and understands the comment made and the need for the wall=s appearance to match the existing wall on Church Street.  Comments were made indicating as long as the intent is carried through and the first sentence on 34A deletes the Ariver@ from the Ariver rock veneer@ which the verbiage would clarify


 

 

the use of material to be used.  Staff responded the intent is the continuity of wall design and to mimic the existing wall.  Staff concurred to delete the word, Ariver@ from Planning Condition of Approval No. 34. 

 

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had any further questions of Staff.  Hearing none, he then opened the Public Hearing and asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.

 

Mr. Mark Uffer, 28890 Orange Blossom, Highland, California, who is a resident, addressed the Commission.  He stated his property borders on the Project=s Lot Nos. 12 through 16, and then gave a brief historical background of him purchasing his property in 2000, how the adjoining  lot sizes were decreased from 20,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet.  There is currently noise from bulldozers, graders, rap music starting at 6:00 a.m.  Mr. Uffer indicated he is appreciative with removing  the easement issue, but now there appears to be a proposed wrought iron fence that he will have to look at.  He further stated he is an executive for San Bernardino County and that there are not many executive homes in Highland.  When you look out from his front door, he used to have a view, but now, he sees a twenty foot (20') berm with eleven (11) houses and five (5) houses from his back yard.  In November 2004, runoff from the Developer=s property flooded into his property and the Developer has cleaned some of Mr. Uffer=s property, but has left the rest untouched.  There is high volume traffic even at 11:00 p.m. approximately three times a week and even until 1:00 a.m. and sounds like diesel trucks.  The Highland Police Department has been called out five times in the past six (6) weeks.  With this kind of development, you are running executive people out of Highland, and lost his view, his property value has decreased, there is not much of a greenbelt located in the area and there are no mitigation requirements for the developers.  Mr. Uffer indicated San Bernardino has purchased the property to the north (of his property), and Mr. Uffer is frustrated.  With regards to the east side of the property where the old rock wall is located, was the only thing that was not destroyed by the winter floods while other things were.  The trail will be adjacent to Mr. Uffer=s back yard and he wants some mitigation taken.  He further stated other property owners would have been present for the meeting, but are out of town.  His home would sell for $800,000 and he has a nice house, but the view has been destroyed.  Mr. Uffer then thanked the Commission for its time.

 

Chairman Haller asked if the Applicant would like to make a presentation.

 

The Applicant declined until later.

 

Chairman Haller asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.  Hearing none, he again asked if the Applicant would like to make a presentation. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Brian Jacobson, Standard Pacific, 255 Rincon Street, Corona, California, who is the Applicant / Project Manager, addressed the Commission.  He stated he has read and concurs with the Staff Report and that he is here to answer any questions the Commission may have.

 

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had questions of the Applicant.

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Jacobson and Staff regarding the six foot (6') wrought iron fencing design located at the property line, the twelve foot (12') wide trail section,  the feasibility of utilizing other trail fencing i.e. the three-rail vinyl design in order to mitigate Mr. Uffer=s comments, the feasibility of a landscape buffer and adding a more solid barrier to achieve additional privacy.  Staff responded to the possibility of a wall on Mr. Uffer=s property line.  The Fence and Wall Plan will be submitted to the Design Review Board in June, 2005.  Staff asked if the Commission would like to add additional Conditions of Approval. 

 

Further discussion ensued regarding how similar issues were raised with another tract project and its tract boundary wall, and how the issues were conferred from the Commission to the DRB and felt like at times the ABoard=s hands were tied@.  Staff suggested the feasibility of the property owner and the Applicant working together on a plan using decorative faux rock pilasters and wrought iron fencing and requested the Commission to allow some flexibility with the property owner and the Applicant, including the possible relocation of the retaining wall and the installation of landscaping within the six foot (6') separation.

 

Mr. Jacobson explained how he had met with Staff regarding the proposed redesign and gave the historical background of the six foot (6') Ano man=s land@ and their proposal to realign the trail to the property line, but is flexible.  He understands Mr. Uffer=s concerns and the impacts on him, and is sympathetic.  Mr. Jacobson stated he is willing to work with Mr. Uffer, and if there is a preference for a block wall, Mr. Jacobson does not have a problem with that.  The Fence and Wall Plan may show the six foot (6') wall because of Fire Department requirements.  Mr . Jacobson further stated he is also amenable to using decorative stone pilasters with wrought iron with landscaping on it.   He indicated if a person would look down / through the wall design, the wall would be longer and would possibly be unsightly.  The wall would be maintained and reiterated will work with Mr. Uffer and the Applicant.

 

Discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Jacobson and Staff regarding if the retaining wall is relocated, it could become taller, and the worst case scenario was explained, and another design regarding a thirteen foot (13') embankment and there is only nineteen feet (19') from the pad, the possibility of adding another landscape buffer which would be make the trail more aesthetically pleasing to walk through.   Staff indicated that was also Staff=s concern with the property wall and the stone pilasters with wrought iron and landscaping and is a defensible landscape space issues. 


Comments were made by the Commission to encourage wider trail and landscape  widths past twelve feet (12') to allow for landscaping and allow the latitude with Staff to work with the Applicant. 

 

Staff stated the trail is a public trail and not a East Highlands Ranch (private) trail and City general funds will be used for trail maintenance.     A comment was made by a Commissioner to plant materials that would not need additional irrigation such as decorative native plant material.   Staff also indicated the 2:1 slope would have to be reviewed by George Einfeldt who is the General Manager of the EHR Master Homeowners Association.   The Commission stated the project be modified at the Design Review Board level.  Staff asked if that is acceptable to Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Jacobson nodded affirmatively. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding how the Applicant needs to follow the Grading Permit requirements and not violate the hours of operation.  Staff responded how this has been brought up before with the Applicant and was advised not to operate prior to 7:00 a.m.   With regards to the 1:00 a.m. vehicles, Staff indicated the vehicles are not supposed to be there and will do a spot check. 

 

There being no further comments or testimony, Chairman Haller closed the Public Hearing and opened the floor for further discussion amongst the Commissioners. There being no further discussion, he then called for the question.

 

A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Birnbaum to:

 

1.         Delete Engineering Condition of Approval No. 59;  

 

59.       Acquire and dedicate an off-site easement  to the City, with a minimum width of 15 feet, for access and maintenance of the existing rock wall along Lots 179 through 183. The Developer may request the Planning Commission revise this Condition if the Developer is not able to acquire the off-site easement after the acquisition effort has been exhausted.

 

2.         Add Engineering Condition of Approval No. 13 A, as amended with the following:

 

13 A.   Remove existing rock retaining wall along Lots 179 through 183 (*Lots 12 through 16 on Final Map No. 16014-2), construct a twelve foot (12') wide Community Trail to match existing grade of adjacent properties, construct fence / wall, as approved by the Design Review Board  at west Tract boundary and a three foot (3') wide concrete drainage ditch between the Trail and the proposed block retaining wall along the east side of the Trail.  


3.         Amend Planning Conditions of Approval Nos. 24,  34 and 34A of Tentative Tract Map 16014, as amended with the following:

 

No. 24.            Should historic or paleontological resources be discovered on-site, the Applicant will be required to act in accordance with CEQA. The Applicant/Developer shall comply with the East Highlands Ranch Historic Wall Exhibit dated July 25, 2001, as may be amended from time to time.

 

No.34.             On-site walls shall be retained, as designated on the East Highlands Ranch Historic Wall Exhibit, as amended by Planning Commission dated May 17, 2005.  

 

No. 34.A.        The retaining wall shown in Section AAA@ - AAA@ attached to the letter from Standard Pacific Homes dated April 4, 2005, shall have a rock veneer.  The rock veneer shall be constructed of material found on-site or recycled from the rock wall that was removed.         

 

Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.

 

 

6.0       ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Staff requested the Announcements be deferred until after the Joint Planning Commission / Design Review Board Study Session.

 

The Commission agreed.

 

 

7.0       ADJOURN

 

There being no further business, Chairman Haller declared the meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.

 

 

Submitted by:                                                            Approved by:

 

 

 

                                                                        ________________________________

Linda McKeough,                                                      Richard Haller, Chairman

Administrative Secretary                                          Planning Commission