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Planning Commission -




JULY 19, 2005


The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:08 p.m. by Chairman Haller at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.

Present: Commissioner R. Paul Scott, Vice Chairman Randall Hamerly and Chairman Richard Haller

Absent: Commissioners Randy Becker and Gina Birnbaum,

Staff Present:Lawrence A. Mainez, City Planner

Linda McKeough, Administrative Secretary

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chairman Haller.


2.1 Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

The meeting was turned over to City Planner Mainez who explained the election process and opened the nominations for Chairman.

Commissioner Hamerly nominated Commissioner Haller for Chairman.

A MOTION was made by Commissioner Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Scott to close the nominations. Motion unanimously carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.

Commissioner Haller was elected Chairman of the Commission.

Chairman Haller opened the nominations for Vice Chairman.

Chairman Haller nominated Commissioner Hamerly for Vice Chairman.

A MOTION was made by Commissioner Scott and seconded by Chairman Haller to close the nominations. Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.

Commissioner Hamerly was elected Vice Chairman of the Commission.

2.2 Two appointments from the Planning Commission to sit on the Design Review Board.

Chairman Haller introduced the item.

Discussion ensued amongst the Commission Members to serving on the DRB.

A MOTION was made by Commissioner Scott and seconded by Chairman Haller to appoint Commissioner Birnbaum and Vice Chairman Hamerly to the Design Review Board. Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.


There was none.


There were no items.


5.1 A request for a second Extension of Time for Conditional Use Permit (CUP01-001) to build and operate a Food Mart/Quick Service Restaurant (fast food) including beer and wine sales, gasoline sales, a lube and tune facility, an automated carwash, associated parking and landscape, and a pad for a future fast food restaurant. The proposed project is five (5) adjoining properties located at the southeast corner of Base Line Street and Seine Avenue. Assessor Parcel Numbers: 1201-091-01, -03, -04, -05, & -06. Applicant: Mr. Aysar Helo.

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

City Planner Mainez gave the presentation from the Staff Report and summarized the historical background, the location and design of the proposed Project. He further explained the Applicant has one more Time Extension and that he has obtained most of the properties, with the exception of a couple. Staff would like to see a Conceptual Master Plan prepared with the existing properties and how they would tie in with his Project. City Planner Mainez further indicated the Applicant is present to answer any questions the Commission may have, then concluded his presentation and opened to the Commission for questions / comments.

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had questions of Staff. Hearing none, he then asked if the Applicant would like to make a presentation.

Mr. Aysar Helo, 28809 Harwick Drive, Highland, California, who is the Applicant, addressed the Commission. He explained how last year he was able to apply for a Time Extension, was able to purchase some of the properties, but would be unable to purchase additional properties without the City's assistance. Mr. Helo then requested the Commission to approve the request for the Time Extension.

Discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Helo and Staff regarding the Conceptual Master Plan comment, how Mr. Helo has talked with the property owners regarding to sell their property to him and they have told him no. Mr. Helo further explained there may be one property owner that may call him soon, but does not want to wait too long. Comments were made by the Commission regarding the feasibility if the Applicant is unable to acquire the remaining properties on Base Line / Seine, if he would be able to build a future Project up to Base Line / Stoney Creek. Mr. Helo explained the various setback requirements, having to dedicate cul-de-sac(s) up to the homes, ending up with a fifty-five foot (55') long building and depth dimensions of the property. A comment was made by Commissioner Scott that the Applicant's future Project expansion would then be like his clinic and is the same depth.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Helo and Staff regarding the feasibility of obtaining assistance from the City's RDA and Mr. Helo would need to be the property owner. Staff explained the Applicant would need to prepare and submit a per forma to Staff and the RDA. Staff further explained they were unsure of the City's policy of relocating tenants, financial assistance and fair market value price on the properties. Staff indicated for the record, the Project may not be viable and Staff hopes the Applicant will be able to acquire the additional properties. The Project has not gone through the Design Review process; just the Entitlement process.

Mr. Helo stated the property values have increased with the last four (4) properties he has acquired and reiterated he needs assistance. Currently, one home is at $300,000.

The Commission commented the value of consolidation is immeasurable and asked about vacating the entrance at Base Line and go to Stoney Creek and Seine.

Discussion ensued regarding Base Line access and right turn only lanes, the difficulty for Project configuration without acquiring the lots, traffic bottlenecking, the feasibility of creating another frontage road on Base Line similar to Base Line / Seine, Engineering and Planning Staff do not want added access / curb cuts onto Base Line and is willing to work with the Developer similar to Wendy's. McDonald's access was also discussed. There appears to be a need for a deceleration lane, the gas station portion would need to be widened for accessibility, and Staff indicated that more information was needed for the next step which is DRB.

There being no further discussion or questions of the Applicant or Staff, Chairman Haller then opened the Public Hearing and asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to speak on the item.

Ms. Vicki Coleman, 27771 Pluto Street, Highland, California, who is a resident, addressed the Commission. She asked if the proposed Project is going to go forward and wants to know what types of business will be going in i.e. liquor store / liquor sales. Usually, at a mini-market / gas station, a person can obtain beer / wine and is concerned for the children. She asked if a liquor store would be going in.

Chairman Haller explained the CUP process relative to the Time Extension request to the audience and the Commission is unsure of what vendors will be going in. He further explained the proposed Project's intent for a gas station, lube / tune bay, fast food restaurant, etc. and how the Applicant has to acquire additional property. The Commission will modify if need be and is currently reviewing the existing Entitlements for the property. Staff added the Applicant would need to obtain a liquor license from the State.

Ms. Coleman asked if the Project moves forward, what would be the time estimate to start construction, the possibility of a divider wall between the Project and residents and traffic issues.

Mr. Helo responded with this request, it gives him more time to proceed with working with other property owners and is unsure. He stated possibly this year, the final plans should be drawn for the fast food restaurant pad and possibly with rest of the property.

Chairman Haller explained and reiterated to the audience the Design Review process, how the Plans shows a solid wall and if you were notified of today's meeting, you would be notified of the DRB meeting.

There being no further testimony, Chairman Haller closed the Public Hearing and opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.

A motion was made by Commissioner Scott and seconded by Vice Chairman Hamerly to adopt a Resolution approving an additional one (1) year Extension of Time for Conditional Use Permit 01-001. Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.

5.2 A proposed Ordinance amending Development Code Section 16.04.130, Design Review Board of the Highland Municipal Code regarding a change to the composition and term of the membership of the Design Review Board from a three (3) member Board to a five (5) member Board by adding thereto, two (2) community members, and to extend the term of the community Board Members from two (2) years to four (4) years (MCA 05-001).

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

City Planner Mainez gave the presentation from the Staff Report and explained the City Council process and action taken to direct Staff on Code Amendments. He also gave the historical background of the various projects in the City, how the duties for the Design Review Board will be expanded, how safety issues will be addressed.

Chairman Haller expressed his concern to Staff regarding the time it takes of Staff and is strongly supportive with the five (5) DRB membership and with four (4) year terms, plus the City obtaining potential DRB Public Members that would have building expertise and knowledge and recommended implementation.

Vice Chairman Hamerly agreed with Chairman Haller's comments.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding DRB terms, processing, the need for expertise, and why duties as an Appeals Board were no longer applicable for DRB.

A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Scott the Planning Commission adopt a Resolution "strongly" recommending the City Council take the following actions:

1. Introduce an Ordinance, subject to City Attorney review amending portions of the Land Use and Development Code Section 16.04.130 of the Highland Municipal Code regarding the composition and term of the membership of the Design Review Board (MCA 05-001), and;

2. Adopt the Findings of Fact.

Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.


6.1 Design Review Board and Planning Commission FY2004-2005 Annual Report.

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

City Planner Mainez gave the presentation from the Staff Report and summarized the historical background with Entitlements, time frame processing, pre-application meetings and addressing issues up front and Application processing. He further explained the various projects that had gone before the DRB. City Planner Mainez compared last year's format to this years, how there will be new computer systems in place, distributed an Activity Report to the Commission, how he anticipates the City would be close to built out in the next few years, Staff's accomplishments, goals and objectives. City Planner Mainez then concluded his presentation and opened to the Commission for questions / comments.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding how the Commission liked the format, and wanted to extend its appreciation to Staff, liked the idea of talking with the Developer with a pre-Application meeting and is beneficial to all parties. Last year's development was also discussed.

Further comments by the Commission was regarding the General Plan Update how it references Parks Master Plan would be identified in the future and was concerned about losing key parcels for park development before the City is built out.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff the feasibility of adding goals / objectives for the Commission, the importance of park location(s) and funding with all of the homes being constructed, and how the School District(s) comes up with its student ratio. Staff explained PC comments are more than Planning items to work on and would require Agency coordination, as well as Community Development Department items that Staff needs to work on and there is a strong commitment on the Open Space Element of the General Plan. A question was asked if the goals were of the Planning Commission or of Planning Division. Staff responded how Community Development Director Hartmann is involved with the Council and Commission's goals are to be aware of and focus on.

Chairman Haller explained if the Goals are part of the budget document and is approved, he recommended the park issues need to be in next year's budget since the Commission is unable to change Goals. Staff responded if the Commission wants to add Goals to the Annual Report, the (Park) issues could be included for follow-up.

The Commission concurred for Staff to work on the General Plan / objectives for the Parks Master Plan.

Staff explained the Park/Open Space Element is not more important than the other Elements in the General Plan. How the Parks affects the School site(s), Staff commented that it would be kept on the top burner, but not is a current priority item.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the need for community parks and there is a concern with the General Plan with a high level and the feasibility of working on the Parks portion after the General Plan has been approved. The Commission reiterated its concern "not wanting to have the parks to be left out" and there is a need to reserve land as funds become available. Staff responded there is a Parks Analysis in the General Plan and is a guide to where the parks are needed. The General Plan's goal / objectives were discussed regarding the Implementation Plan for parkways, medians, Capital Improvement Plans, etc. and how the Implementation Plan is updated and prioritized. Aesthetics and streetscapes were also discussed and a question was asked regarding if the Design Review Board would be able to get involved. Staff responded would probably follow up with a City Council Subcommittee, but would check with Community Development Director Hartmann regarding DRB review of Street Improvement Plans. Comments were made by Commissioners there are guidelines that do that i.e. the Town Center concept and that it would be nice to have landscaped pedestrian venues that should be addressed and is consistent with the General Plan, as well as pedestrian destinations and how the streetscape is a key element. Other comments were made by the Commissioners that it would be helpful for the DRB to be involved in the process in the conceptual stage of the streetscapes and that other suggestions would be late in the process i.e. The Environmental Learning Center and how its plans with City Staff were approximately ninety percent (90%) completed.

Chairman Haller asked if anyone in the audience would like to speak on the item.

Mr. John Gamboa, who is the current Public Member of the Design Review Board, addressed the Commission. He stated to allow a Joint DRB / Subcommittee meeting and then the DRB would have an understanding of the project and what design aesthetics may be and if they would need to be changed at a later date.

The Commission liked DRB Member Gamboa's suggestion with the Joint Meeting with DRB and the Public Works Subcommittee and asked Staff to pass on the Commission's sentiments.

There being no further comments or testimony, Chairman Hamerly called for the question.

A motion was made by Commissioner Scott and seconded by Vice Chairman Hamerly to Receive and File the Design Review Board / Planning Commission Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2004-2005. Motion carried on a 3 - 0 vote with Commissioners Becker and Birnbaum absent.


Staff explained items to be on both the August 2, 2005, Regular DRB and PC Meetings, and proposed Joint Study Sessions.

Staff further explained as general information, there will be a Certified Farmers Market at The Village at East Highlands Ranch (on Greenspot Road) every Tuesday, starting on July 26 until August 16. This is where the proposed Vons store is supposed to be located. The Applicant is proposing to make the Farmers Market permanent until an anchor store comes in to the shopping center.

Staff informed the Board the General Plan Update is on schedule and how a Draft Consolidated General Plan was provided to the Planning Commission thirty (30) days previous and distributed a memo to the Board requesting the Board to provide its comments to Staff no later than August 2, 2005, so Staff can provide the comments to the Consultant.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding non-conforming use ordinance. Staff explained how the City Attorney and Staff need to talk about the concerns with the General Plan division with continuance with non-conforming uses with existing land uses relative to legal challenges. Staff further explained the ordinance is a two part ordinance. One is to change the protection of homes around the San Bernardino International Airport and a Special Permit for certain provisions and then Staff to prepare an overall zoning ordinance amendment. A comment was made how non-conforming uses will object and Staff responded it needs to be resolved.


There being no further business, Chairman Haller declared the meeting adjourned at 7:13 p.m.

Submitted by: Approved by:

Linda McKeough, Richard Haller, Chairman

Administrative Secretary Planning Commission