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Planning Commission


MINUTES

PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING

AUGUST 21, 2007





1.0 CALL TO ORDER

The Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:10 p.m. by Chairman Haller at the Donahue Council Chambers, 27215 Base Line, Highland, California.



Present: Commissioners John Gamboa, Bob Moore and Michael Willhite, Vice Chairman Randall Hamerly and Chairman Richard Haller



Absent: None



Staff Present:John Jaquess, Community Development Director

Ernie Wong, City Engineer

Lawrence A. Mainez, City Planner

Bruce Meikle, Senior Planner

Angela Aguilar, Planning Technician

Linda McKeough, Administrative Assistant III



The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chairman Haller.





2.0 COMMUNITY INPUT

There was none.





3.0 CONSENT CALENDAR



There were no items.





4.0 PUBLIC HEARINGS

4.1 APP 007-001 - Consideration of an Appeal of the Community Development Director's decision to deny extensive rehabilitation of an existing 750 square foot single family unit located at 25384 Fourth Street. The property is a 9,558 square feet Site and is located at 25384 Fourth Street near the northwest corner of Del Rosa Avenue and Fourth Street. Assessor Parcel Number: 0279-185-09. Appellant: Greg Ramos.

The Appeal is as follows: Appeal 007-001: The Appellant is requesting reconsideration of the Community Development Director's denial of a permit for the rehabilitation (inclusive of illegal room additions) of his existing unoccupied residential dwelling unit.

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

City Planner Mainez gave the presentation from the Staff Report. He stated Staff met with the Appellant and it is Staff's understanding the Appellant has agreed to the Conditions of Compliance, and gave the historical background of the Project. He then concluded his presentation and indicated the Appellant is present.

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had questions of Staff.

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the electrical and plumbing would be listed under their respective Building Codes would also be for Staff's No. 3 compliance issues. Staff responded to have the Commission refer to the letter written in December, 2005, which is a standard form letter when plans are drawn up and added Staff is willing to work with the Appellant, as well as Building and Safety Division and with a follow-up letter.

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had any further questions of Staff. Hearing none, he then opened the Public Hearing and asked if the Appellant would like to make a presentation.

Mr. Greg Ramos, 25384 Fourth Street, Highland, California, who is the Appellant, addressed the Commission. He said he is the Property Owner and nothing can be done with the Property unless it is restored to the 725 square feet dwelling. He stated he will rehab the dwelling as a single family residence with the original 725 square feet and will be habitable.

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the Appellant agrees with the Findings and Mr. Ramos responded affirmatively.

Chairman Haller asked if anyone would like to speak on the item. Hearing none, he then opened the floor for discussion amongst the Board Members,

Mr. Curtis Skalet, who is a Representative for SW Engines, Goddards, and other businesses in the area, and being located in a Business Park Zone, asked for clarification if the Appellant would or would not be able to expand the dwelling. Staff responded how the Appellant will be returning the house to the original square footage. Mr. Skalet stated he is not objectionable to that, and encouraged the City to keep with the Business Park standards.

Chairman Haller asked if anyone else would like to speak on the item. Hearing none, he then closed the Public Hearing and opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding if the dwelling is vacant for more than 180 days, the dwelling would then be restored to non-conforming status.

Chairman Haller commented how he had visited the Property today and wants to be consistent with City Policy and how the structure will be restored to the original square footage. This is a good compromise for both the City and the Property Owner in that the Property Owner will be able to use Property and supports Staff's recommendation to the Commission.

There being no further questions of the Appellant or Staff, or discussion amongst the Commissioners, Chairman Haller then called for the question.



A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa to uphold the Community Development Director's determination to deny request and Adopt Resolution No. 07- 010.





Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.





5.0 LEGISLATIVE

5.1 Greenspot Road Master Plan.

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

City Engineer Wong distributed three documents to the Commission and then gave the presentation from the Staff Report. He described what had transpired at the Joint Study Session with the City Council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board on the proposed Master Plan. He further explained the thirteen (13) issues raised and how they were addressed in detail in the Staff Report. City Engineer Wong further explained the three documents distributed, and indicated how Staff believes the revisions work better for the Regency Center Project and then concluded his presentation.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff the gate for San Bernardino County Flood Control property and the length of the turn pockets and Staff added the two (2) proposed traffic signals will be synchronized.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the proposed widths and locations of the turn lane, bike lane, travel lane and right turn movements at the driveways. The length and width of de facto right turn lanes at signalized entrances were also discussed.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the width of street Right-of-Way, landscape easements and landscape setbacks. Staff added the Developers feel that it is a good idea to create a landscape easement in order to have the potential for signage in front of the proposed buildings within the landscape setback area since a Developer is unable to have signage located within the public Right-of-Way. The Community Development Department desires that the Commission give direction to Staff regarding the landscaping issue. Staff also has on-site landscape calculations that are different from the landscape easement and gave examples with trees, tree planters, parking lot, etc.

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the Revised Master Plan is consistent with the General Plan and Staff responded affirmatively, in terms of the number of travel lanes. Staff indicated the General Plan does not address detailed design issues such as mid-block left-in movements, another traffic signal east of State Route 30 Freeway and deceleration lanes at mid-block project entrances.

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

Ms. Vana Olson, who is San Bernardino County Public Works Director, addressed the Commission. She stated regarding the current Flood Control site located on the north side of Greenspot Road east of the 30 Freeway needs a full left in / left out access because Flood Control uses the property for stockpiling debris and clean out not only for City Creek, but also Oak Creek Basin and Cook Creek Basin. Currently, the two (2) proposed permanent left turn pockets do not work. Because Flood Control is unable to get their equipment in / out. If they were temporary, they may be acceptable. Ms. Olson suggested to leave the two (2) left turn pockets open while Flood Control still has the property and then close them after Flood Control leaves. She also suggested to relocate the proposed trail at City Creek Bridge and install the bike trail on the east side.

Mr. Ed Horovitz, 4482 Morongo Park, Irvine, California, who is Lowe's Representative, addressed the Commission. He stated there needs to be flexibility with the ultimate width of the twenty-five foot (25') public Right-of-Way. He stated the proposed Lowe's Project would be located on the southeast corner of Greenspot Road and the 30 Freeway. If the Developer is unable to encroach in the landscape setback area, it will look like the Developer would have significant economic hardships. Staff responded if the street Right-of-Way of twenty-five feet (25') is reduced to fifteen feet (15'), there is still a landscape setback of ten feet (10'). Mr. Horovitz stated the encroachment would be from five feet to eight feet (5' - 8') and would be a potential drive through and curb and gutter still has to be installed in the landscape area, otherwise, the Developer could lose eleven feet (11'). Staff responded this is an exclusive easement for landscaping and further explained the twenty-five foot (25') landscape setback is from behind the curb face and there should be no driveway, parking stalls, etc., but the final decision can be deferred until the Project review process. Other Staff members agreed and indicated Staff would need the Project's Site Plan be formally submitted and go through the review process. Mr. Horovitz responded this is an unknown condition and is similar to what came first, the chicken or the egg syndrome.

The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) this is difficult and how the Commission is flying blind; 2) maybe the Commission should defer the Master Plan until it is able to review Lowe's Project; 3) seems like breaks in the landscape median at the Flood Control property can be designed for temporary use for egress / ingress; 4) new development needs the ability to have access in order to get to another point.

Mr. Horovitz stated he has Plans with him for the Commission's review and reiterated the sixty-six foot (66') dedication and now Staff is asking for an additional eleven feet (11'). He further stated this is a new development with the twenty-five foot (25') setback issue. Staff responded how this issue was presented at the last Study Session. Mr. Horovitz stated how Staff is correct in that the issue was brought up, but no discussion from the development community. He further explained again about the twenty-five foot (25') setback and the ten feet to fifteen feet (10' - 15') landscape setback areas / easement and asked the Commission to consider Staff's own City Landscape Consultant of the ten foot - fifteen foot (10' - 15') landscape setback. With regards to signage, he suggested if the Developer is allowed to upgrade and increase the Level of Service (LOS), it makes sense and is supportive of the added traffic signal for the Commission's consideration. Mr. Horovitz further stated regarding with the right turn lane / deceleration lanes how the Traffic Consultant supports the retail development that it does not have to have a right access lane and asked the Commission consider the recommendation of his Traffic Engineer who has done over 400 projects. He then asked if the Commission had any questions of him. The Commission responded no, not at this time.

Mr. John Snell, 25814 Business Center Drive, Redlands, California, who is Mission Development's Representative, addressed the Commission. He stated he also opposes the right turn lane / deceleration lane due to the fact that they are enhancements. He is concerned with big / large square footage buildings and has a lot of pavement, as well as the landscape median and parking lot landscaping. He said there is no safety hazard and the de facto lane is an overkill. Mr. Snell further stated the left turn pocket is not an issue. With regards to the ten foot, fifteen foot and twenty-five foot (10' - 15' - 25') setback issues, that the normal Right-of-Way is ten feet (10') and the rest is landscape area and suggested to the Commission to allow encroachment in the setback like a building corner, parking, etc. and maybe need to think about pulling the building forward in order to break up the street. Mr. Snell reiterated to the Commission to allow the encroachment(s) in order for (development) flexibility. He, too, had not previously heard about the fifteen foot (15') (Right-of-Way) setback from Staff and thought the setback was ten feet (10'). Staff responded and explained the twenty-five foot (25') area is between the curb and building, the proposed public Right-of-Way area is fifteen feet (15') and then ten feet (10') of landscaped area. Mr. Snell responded how the sidewalk can go in / out of the public Right-of-Way along the frontage of a project. If it goes that way, that would be acceptable to him. Staff responded it would be better if the public sidewalk would be within the public Right-of-Way. Mr. Snell responded how he has been involved with sidewalks going in / out of the public Right-of-Way.

Mr. Jeff Axtell, of Vestar, 7575 Carson Boulevard, Long Beach, California, who is working with Mission Development, addressed the Commission. He stated he has done two (2) projects; one in Tustin (on Jamboree and Bristol) and explained how the sidewalk goes in / out of the public Right-of-Way and the developer maintains the entire area and the other is in Pico Rivera on Rosemead and Washington Boulevard. He further explained the designs there (in Pico Rivera) and again, the developer maintains the entire area. Mr. Axtell agrees with Mr. Snell and requests the Commission allow flexibility with the Project individually. Mr. Axtell said the first signal off of the 30 Freeway should have, and requests many ingresses / egresses and aisles into the Project. He then asked if the Commission had any questions for him. The Commission responded no, not at this time.

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

A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the San Bernardino County Flood Control Gate location and the need for access located on the north side of Greenspot Road.

Mr. Chris Smith, of San Bernardino County Flood Control, 825 East Third Street, San Bernardino, California, addressed the Commission. He stated the existing ingress / egress location is fifty feet (50') west of the property line. From its current location, it is three hundred feet (300') east of the onramp and if the opening is closed and there a need to haul dirt from Oak Creek Basin, or Cook Creek Basin, there is no way for the equipment to get to them. If there was a signal, that may help, but still needs an opening.

A question was asked by a Commissioner about how Flood Control may not need access to the property. Ms. Olson responded how San Bernardino County Flood Control is looking at surplus property and need to find other location(s) and said she knows that it is not the best use for the property (on Greenspot Road), but how Flood Control needs alternative site(s) for stock pile of materials. Staff added the need for Flood Control to use this property and is a temporary situation until the property be purchased by a developer. Flood Control may obtain an access easement from Mission Development to access Greenspot Road, at the new signal location. Staff is concerned with the increase in traffic and suggested that it is better to route the truck traffic to the signal where traffic can be controlled better. An added signal there is not a good idea. Staff explained the locations from a traffic management standpoint and requested the Commission look at the traffic signal issue(s).

A question was asked by a Commissioner if the traffic signal spacing would be similar to Base Line and Staff responded affirmatively.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding in lieu of a signal for Flood Control and the turning radius issue, if the landscape median could be eliminated to allow left in / left out and create a wider queuing area for the (Flood Control) truck traffic. Staff responded that would create a full movement and access points. A comment was made by a Commissioner if Flood Control is unable to make the turn with the truck(s), just eliminate the median and then do the construction after Flood Control leaves (the property). Mr. Horovitz stated an additional traffic signal will benefit the Lowe's project and Flood Control properties and will increase the LOS for the retail development.

Chairman Haller asked if the Commission had any questions of Staff. Hearing none, he then asked if anyone else in the audience would like to speak on the item. Seeing none, Chairman Haller then opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the additional traffic signal, the deceleration lanes and turn lanes, as well as the twenty-five foot (25') setbacks to review, and Staff's proposed Resolution.

The following are comments made by the Commission considering the issues raised in the Staff Report.

No. 1: Carino Plaza.



1) there is no Representative here from Carino Plaza to make any comments; 2) one Commissioner liked the three (3) proposed lanes located at Carino Plaza; 3) the original Master Plan shows two (2) lanes westbound and three (3) lanes eastbound, but the proposed Master Plan has been revised;



No. 2: Mid-block left-in movements.

1) Staff stated in the interim, the Flood Control property may be able to gain full access through the Mission Development Project; 2) the Commission responded the problem with gaining access through Mission Development is that Flood Control can leave a mess (with no disrespect to Mission Development); 3) the feasibility of eliminating the middle (median) island is "dicey" and removing the landscape is a temporary situation; 4) Staff stated if the middle (median) is removed on a temporary basis, then when Flood Control leaves the property, the island will be constructed permanently; 5) what is the time frame for constructing the dedication west of the Freeway underpass and the feasibility of access for gravel trucks; 6) Staff responded the proposed access point for gravel trucks is located west of the Freeway. Tentatively, it could be approved in one and one-half (1) years.

Staff explained the sand and gravel operations to the Commission. Staff does not know how Flood Control operates, but could work with Flood Control and maybe design something that works for Flood Control on a temporary basis.

Ms. Olson added not only City Creek, but there are other locations and suggested the trucks could go on off peak times, but needs an easement for truck traffic as part of exchange.

A question was asked by a Commission if the temporary median concept would work for her (Flood Control). Ms. Olson responded she does not know what it would look like. The Commission responded it would be a temporary feature to allow left movements mid-block.

The following are further comments made by the Commission: 1) the Flood Control access is workable if installed on a temporary basis and Staff is willing to work with all involved; 2) one signal on the west side and one on the east side and no mid-block left turn out movements; 3) allowing the mid-block left turn in movements give an option for drivers and gives the developers flexibility; 4) the Design Review Board would review and concerned with the developers maintaining the vegetation and keep it down and not obstruct the (line-of-sight) view; 5) Staff responded that Staff is in the process of preparing a Conceptual with the Landscape Plan and will submit it to the Commission for consideration; 6) is supportive in theory with the mid-block left turn movements as shown on the Revised Plan and Staff design details for Flood Control; 7) the median opening is a common design and is used at other existing Lowe's.



A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Moore to recommend to the City Council to approve the mid-block breaks in the median to allow left in movements, and the westerly most mid-block median break will have a temporary device to accommodate Flood Control.



Motion carried on a 4 - 1 vote with Commissioner Gamboa dissenting.





No. 3: Mid-block median openings accident records.

No comments.



Nos. 4 and 5: Another Traffic Signal east of SR 30 and Deceleration Lanes at mid-block entrances.

Members of the Commission indicated they have been at other shopping centers that have deceleration lanes.





A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa the Planning Commission recommend to City Council that the additional Traffic Signal and Deceleration Lane at mid-block not be incorporated in the Revised Master Plan.



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.



No. 6: Greenspot east of Boulder Avenue.

No comments.





No. 7: Off-street bike path.

The following are comments made by the Commission: 1) Flood Control is going to need to use City Creek.



A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council to use the City Creek area as a bike trail (in order to connect with the Santa Ana River Trail).



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.





No. 8: Right-of-Way line.

Staff explained the typical parkway width is twelve feet (12') on a local street and a major thoroughfare needs more space between the Right-of-Way and property lines and there are no meandering sidewalks within the City of Highland that meander in / out of the Public Right-of-Way. Staff further stated for a specific project, the City can establish a policy to allow flexibility.

The following are comments made by the Commission: 1) one of the Commissioners have ridden bikes on a meandering sidewalk and likes to use it to break up the linear line; 2) other Commissioners agreed with the above comment; 3) the feasibility of a drive through encroaching eleven feet (11') in the Right-of-Way or landscape easement; 4) stay with the twenty-five foot (25') setback and then have the DRB review on a case-by-case basis; 5) the feasibility of defining the twenty-five foot (25') setback and then specify how it is made up / created; 6) this issue is critical at the right turn pockets and will be critical for the landscaping to stay, and; 7) keep the Right-of-Way at fifteen feet (15') and allow for a meandering sidewalk of ten feet (10').



A motion was made by Commissioner Gamboa and seconded by Vice Chairman Hamerly the Planning Commission recommends to the City Council to retain the fifteen feet (15') Right-of-Way and ten feet (10') landscaping easement with flexibility at the discretion of the developer for encroachment, as long as there is on the average of ten feet (10') of landscaping is maintained.



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.





No. 9: Wal-Mart truck circulation.

No comments.





No. 10: Access at Carino Plaza.

No comments.





No. 11: Access at Jack in the Box / Fresh & Easy Site.

No comments.

Staff explained the Applicant has accepted the street configuration described in No. 11 and is in the Planning stages of the proposed Project.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the above Motions and when the Landscaping Standards be adopted as Part "B", as noted in the Revised Master Plan. Staff responded the Landscaping Standards are not ready, but possible in two (2) months and Staff is pushing the Plan through, in terms of environmental issues. A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the Landscape Plan's irrigation. Currently, we are in the middle of a drought and requested Staff to look at the landscaping irrigation's efficiency, as well as not wanting water running down the meandering sidewalk(s) or curb.



A motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa the Planning Commission recommends to the City Council to approve the Revised Master Plan, as modified.



Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the proposed distributed Regency Centers Map and the Developer (for Regency Centers) requested Staff explain Access "A" to the Commission.

A comment was made by a Commissioner the issue is for a modification to the proposed Revised Master Plan and that it (Access "A") is a private street and is part of the proposed Regency Centers' Site Plan. Staff responded could go both ways and the access will be addressed in the (Revised) Master Plan.

Another comment was made by a Commissioner that Options "A" and "B" do not affect the (Revised) Master Plan. Staff explained the access is part of the road and Staff has requested from the Developer to change the width of the southbound curb lane from fourteen feet to sixteen feet (14' - 16') and the width of the northbound curb lane from twenty feet to fourteen feet (20' - 14').

A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding if the curb-to-curb dimension would change. Staff responded yes, but the Developer wants concurrence from the Commission.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the Developer wants a narrower width and how this issue was not a part of the Noticed Agenda.

Mr. Jim Dillavou, of Regency Centers, 915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, California, who is the Representative for Regency Centers, addressed the Commission. He acknowledged (Access "A") is a private driveway and not of the (Revised) Master Plan and the distance is a curb-to-curb issue.



The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) the number of lanes on Greenspot Road are shown on the Master Plan; 2) the number of lanes which leaves Greenspot Road are a part of the proposed development; 3) not a problem with the layout of the Master Plan as it currently stands; 4) agrees with Mr. Jim Dillavou of Regency Centers in that the private road is between the two (2) developers; 5) the design could be worked out quickly and will be reviewed; 6) is a private road for a private project; 7) can be reviewed further in the design review process; 8) the Developer's Traffic Report states the width to be sixty-six feet (66') and the Master Plan states seventy-five feet (75'). Staff stated the details will be reviewed at a later time, and the difference in design is acknowledged by the Commission.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the private street widths. The Commission reiterated how it is willing to look at this issue further when a specific project is submitted for review.

There being no further discussion or comments, Chairman Haller called for the vote.



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.



Staff thanked the Commission for its consideration.





6.0 ANNOUNCEMENTS

Staff distributed a memo to the Board and explained the anticipated items scheduled for September 4, 2007.





7.0 ADJOURN

There being no further business Chairman Haller declared the meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.





Submitted by:



Linda McKeough,

Administrative Assistant III





Approved by:



Richard Haller, Chairman

Planning Commission



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