MINUTES

PLANNING COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING

JANUARY 29, 2008





1.0 CALL TO ORDER

The Special Meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Highland was called to order at 6:01 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

Lawrence A. Mainez, City Planner

Bruce Meikle, Senior Planner

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

3.1 Minutes of September 4, 2007. Regular Meeting.

Approved, as submitted.



3.2 Minutes of September 18, 2007. Regular Meeting.

A Motion was made by Vice Chairman Hamerly and seconded by Commissioner Gamboa to approve the Minutes of September 4, and September 18, 2007, as submitted.



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.





4.0 PUBLIC HEARINGS

4.1 An Application submitted by Regency Centers requesting approval of Amendment No. 1 to Conditional Use Permit 007-009 to add a Freeway-oriented Business Sign to the previously approved Entitlement and Planned Sign Program. The Project is located on an approximate 8.5 acre site currently consisting of two (2) adjoining parcels located on the south side of Greenspot Road approximately 1,300 feet east of the State Route 30 / 210 Freeway (APNs: 1201-341-12 and 1201-341-13). Representative: James Dillavou, Senior Manager.

Prior to the Meeting, Staff had distributed a letter, with attachments, from Regency Centers, dated January 23, 2008, and Staff received on January 28, 2008, to the Commission.

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

Senior Planner Meikle gave the presentation from the Staff Report. He explained the request is from Regency Centers for a proposed Freeway-oriented Sign. He provided the historical background of the Project, along with the proposed Sign Project, and TREH Partner's adjacent project. Senior Planner Meikle further explained the Commission had conducted an on-site Study Session earlier today and a Flag Test proposed a Sign at sixty-two feet (62') in height located on the southwest corner of Regency Centers' Project. He then concluded his presentation and Staff recommended approval of the proposed Sign, but pointed out there are other alternatives and explained the alternatives to the Commission. Senior Planner Meikle indicated Mr. Dave Webber and Mr. James Dillavou who are the Applicant's Representatives are in the audience.

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. Jim Dillavou, of Regency Centers, 915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, California, who is the Representative for Regency Centers, addressed the Commission. He stated it was unfortunate to come before the Commission tonight with a request for another Freeway-oriented Sign. He explained how they have attempted to negotiate Sign Panels on the JLM-TREH Partners' Freeway-oriented Sign. He then explained the historical background from his perspective and how four (4) months later, there is still no agreement to be on the Sign and how JLM-TREH (Highland Crossings Project) has leverage with their Pylon Sign and can dictate who comes to the developments. Mr. Dillavou further explained at the September, 2007, Meeting, it was not the Commission's intent to give leverage to JLM-TREH and provided some examples to the Commission. He further explained the leverage of JLM-TREH had on who could be placed on their Freeway-oriented Sign. Mr. Dillavou indicated the economic issue is off the table with JLM-TREH. He then asked the Commission what could be done tonight and then read the Highland's Municipal Code Section regarding if there is a revision or modification to an approved Conditional Use Permit (CUP), indicating the Highland Crossings Project, that changes to Conditions of Approval shall be processed in the same manner as the original CUP. Mr. Dillavou stated how the prices were agreed upon for being placed on the JLM-TREH's Freeway-oriented Sign, but is now unable to get Regency's proposed Tenants on JLM-TREH's Sign.

A question was asked if Mr. Dillavou was asking for a Freeway-oriented Sign for Regency Centers. Mr. Dillavou responded he is unable to obtain two (2) panels on JLM-TREH's Freeway-oriented Sign and is requesting enforcement of JLM-TREH's COA, but would prefer not to have to continue trying to get signage from JLM-TREH Partners.

A comment was made by a Commissioner about Regency Centers having two (2) panels , but JLM-TREH will not place Staples on their Freeway-oriented Sign because Staples would be located in Regency Centers' Project. Mr. Dillavou stated that is correct and how JLM-TREH has control to review and approve or refuse what can be placed on their Freeway-oriented Sign.

A question was then asked by a Commissioner if Staples would go to the JLM-TREH's Project, would Staples then obtain a panel on the Freeway-oriented Sign. Mr. Dillavou responded you would have to ask the JLM-TREH Partners that.

A question was asked by a Commissioner to Mr. Dillavou about the Office Supply Store and he indicated since day one, Regency Centers had an Office Supply Store for their Project.

Another question was asked by a Commissioner to Staff if JLM-TREH's compliance is part of the Commission's Agenda and requested clarification. Staff responded the Agenda Item is for Regency's proposed Sign itself, but Regency Centers also requested the Commission review JLM-TREH's compliance with their CUP Conditions of Approval. If the Commission should want that, there would need to be a Motion and Action Taken by the Commission and then a Public Hearing would be scheduled for a future Meeting.

A question was asked by a Commissioner about non-compliance with the CUP. Staff responded that would still be enforced and how the Developers (Regency Centers and JLM-TREH) are "working out the kinks" and it is frustrating. Staff suggested the Commission could bring it forward at a future Public Hearing, but JLM-TREH has the right to move forward with his Project. Both the Appeal period and CEQA has passed. Unfortunately, the Developers do not agree and how the Freeway-oriented Sign is still not built. Mr. Dillavou responded how COA No. 45 changed from "shall" to "may" and reiterated this is not an economic issue now, but he is still unable to place Anchor Tenants on the (approved) Freeway-oriented Sign and is still unable to come to terms with JLM-TREH and further explained the urgency to the Commission for their proposed Freeway-oriented Sign.

Mr. Tom Robinson, 4590 MacArthur, Newport Beach, California, who is a Representative of JLM -TREH, addressed the Commission. He stated how he has a lot to say in that letters have been sent to the Commission and Staff and that JLM-TREH did not get copies until the last minute. He indicated had received two - three (2 - 3) letters about four to five (4 - 5) months ago. Mr. Robinson stated he wants to lease out Panels to the Tenants on the south side and north side of Greenspot Road also and wanted to distribute recent e-mails with Mayor Lilburn and Mayor Pro-Tem Jones and how JLM-TREH had met with them. Mr. Robinson said how they had paid a premium for the Site and still wants to lease the (Sign) panels to the Tenants. Lowe's takes up approximately eleven (11) acres and how the Developer makes his money on the outer parcels with higher rents. The intent is for one-hundred percent (100%) leased Tenants on the south side and agreed to terms of $1,500 to $1,750 (for the Sign panels) and Regency Centers agreed to that and understands the competitiveness, but JLM-TREH needs to lock in the Major Tenants and is a business tactic. Right now, JLM-TREH is being portrayed "as the bad guy" and how JLM-TREH has the deal on the table for signing. On the 15th, they made an agreement with LA Fitness and will sign the agreement in the office tomorrow. Mr. Robinson further stated they came down here to get this off the table and (Regency Centers) agreed to the $1,750 price, but JLM-TREH will not lease to a competitive tenant. Mr. Robinson met with Mayor Lilburn and Mayor Pro-Tem Jones and talked about not having a competing tenant and does not know what the other Major Tenant is and will give six (6) months to figure out. Mr. Robinson explained the height of the Pylon Sign and the Sign panels for the number of Tenants to the Commission and requested to distribute their document(s) to the Commission.

Chairman Haller stated how he is uncomfortable with this and what is before the Commission tonight is a Freeway-oriented Sign and is getting off the subject here. He recognized there is discussion between the two Developers and asked if this should be placed on an Agenda for discussion, possibly next Tuesday, and how Regency Centers has not yet signed the agreement for the same reason. Mr. Dillavou responded that he is not against the (Freeway) Signage and is the Commission's decision. Regency Centers states they are unable to make deals with this, yet there are deals on the table and would be happy to answer any questions the Commission may have.

A question was asked by a Commissioner if an Office Supply Store will be located on JLM-TREH's Site. Mr. Dillavou responded that is similar to having both a PetSmart versus a Petco (on their Site) and would be unable to place both on the Freeway-oriented Sign similar to a Staples versus an Office Depot.

Mr. Dave Webber, 915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2200, Los Angeles, California, who is the Representative for Regency Centers, addressed the Commission. He requested the Commission approve tonight the Secondary Freeway-oriented Sign. He is fine with going forward with JLM-TREH, but indicated JLM-TREH does have leverage if Regency is unable to provide signs for their Tenants tonight. If their Tenants go forward and sign the agreement with Regency Centers, their Tenants would have a Freeway-oriented Pylon Sign. Mr. Webber then gave his perspective on the historical background and indicated this proposal is like a "Plan B" and would like to have that option, if the Commission approves Regency Centers' proposed Pylon Sign tonight.

A question was asked by a Commissioner about the earlier Study Session and identified with Staff that the City has not approved a Freeway-oriented Sign without Freeway frontage property previously. Staff then gave alternative concepts and Staff suggested possibly providing Freeway Signage, as part of an Architectural Element. Mr. Webber responded for the Tenants, good visibility is what they want and is unsure how high the Building will be built. The Pylon Sign is the best way, for visibility, but wants flexibility.

Chairman Haller asked if anyone would like to speak on the item. Seeing none, and there being no further questions of the Applicant or Staff, he left the Public Hearing open and then opened the floor for discussion amongst the Commissioners.

A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding entertaining other options, such as Building-mounted Signage (that can be seen) from the Freeway and asked about dedicated panels reserved for the Anchor Tenants. Mr. Robinson responded there is definite set of Panel, but reminded the Commission about the verbiage from "shall" to "may" and had to reduce the Panels and on November 12, 2007, did not have the FAA Part 77 Condition(s).

Discussion ensued between the Commission, Mr. Robinson and Staff regarding the FAA Regulations COA. Mr. Robinson stated the Sign Panel(s) and the possibility of the FAA could say no set panels for any Tenant and he added there are two (2) added Panels available for the south side of Greenspot Road and how the Sign is built for their (Highland Crossings) Project.

A question was asked by a Commissioner regarding the cost of $1,750.00 per Panel and the approximate size for Regency Centers and location. Mr. Robinson responded those Sign panels would be located in the middle third of the Sign and explained which SubAnchor would be below Lowe's' panel and where the Tenant's would be located on what panel. Mr. Robinson further explained how Walmart came and contacted them and made a verbal agreement. He said what if a (Sign) Panel box would "go dark", and if there would be a different Anchor, is designed to exchange Sign panels. He said that he is not trying to put on a different site and does not want to "bash" another Developer. Regency Centers does not like it if JLM-TREH does not tell Regency Centers who is their Anchor Tenant. The e-mails still showed negotiating and wants to make a deal with them. Mr. Dillavou clarified that Mr. Robinson has said for four (4) months to make a deal and reiterated Mr. Robinson wants to control the signage. Mr. Dillavou said he has changed expectations a bit and now have two (2) Panels and can't see how they can sign tonight (the agreement).

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the potential alternatives in lieu of the proposed Freeway-oriented Sign and how Staff is willing to work with the Applicant and the DRB, for signage, as part of an Architectural Element. A question was asked by a Commissioner if the Commission could initiate and suggested the possibility of maybe a variance for the Building Mounted Sign and to make the Findings. Staff responded a Sign Program(s) could provide flexibility and gave an example of towers being used on a project for visibility.

Further discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the initial review of the JLM-TREH's Project, height limitations and the authority to review and enforce CUP requirements. A question was asked by a Commissioner about how the percentage of height increase versus Building setbacks are met and gave an example that a forty foot (40') Tower Elevation could exceed the Sign. Staff responded the Planned Development (PD) District allows flexibility of design and that it could. Staff added the Commissioner would still have to make a Finding tonight for the proposed Sign. Mr. Dillavou stated an Architectural Element is an option which is amenable to him and with the DRB process.

Chairman Haller asked if anyone would like to speak on the item. He still left the Public Hearing open and then continued the discussion amongst the Commissioners.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding allowing the Tower, as a Building Mounted Sign, but that is usually used for Tenants for that Building or Suite. Staff responded that is typically a Building Mounted Sign, but the DRB has discretion and the height could be determined through the Sign Program and provided an example of signage in a PD area.

A comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the configuration of Major Tenant 1 and Major Tenant 2 and can see the rationale, but the Tower Elevation could be flipped and asked Staff if it would be obscured. Staff responded and discussed the feasibility of flipping the two (2) Major Tenants, but is an issue with the parking design. The Major Tenant 1 is located on the southeast corner and the possibility of adjusting to the parking field of the Major 1 Building would be in the center and then asked about if the Building Mounted Tower Sign would be forty-five feet to fifty feet (45' - 50'). Staff thought more about an Architectural Element on the Major 2 Building.

Another comment was made by a Commissioner regarding the Flag Test that was conducted today was over one-hundred feet (100') in distance and that a person could still see the Flag Test across the Wash and would be fifteen feet to twenty feet (15' - 20') from the parapet and a person could see the signage on Greenspot Road. A Commissioner suggested how the Applicant could think about it and submit it to DRB for consideration.

The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) nervous about another Freeway-oriented Pylon Sign, and; 2) no other Pylon Signs on south side of Greenspot Road, just JLM-TREH. Mr. Webber asked about the proposed Second (Freeway-oriented) Pylon Sign being available for both Centers (Regency Centers and JLM-TREH) and would be willing to do that.

A question was asked by a Commissioner about the option on the CUP. It is not the Commission's intent to give JLM-TREH control over the south side of the street and have JLM-TREH lease out their full development and have others (developers) fill in later and reiterated that was not the Commission's intent and the possibility of amending JLM-TREH's CUP and schedule a review for another Public Hearing. Another comment was made by a Commissioner agreeing that was not the Commission's intent and JLM-TREH is proceeding with development and not complying. If the Developer wants to modify their CUP, the Commission has not seen before and other possibilities the CUP could be revoked or rescinded if the Developer is in compliance. Staff stated Regency Centers is asking for amendment to their Project and a Commissioner added how the Commission has to make the Findings also.

Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff regarding the north side of Greenspot Road.

The following are comments made by the Commissioners: 1) the intent was for one (1) Freeway-oriented Sign for Developers on the south side of Greenspot Road not different ones; 2) the need to set up guidelines for situations like this and not here to stop someone from developing a project; 3) the appearance of lack of communication between the Developers and what was agreeable or not agreeable; 4) then what the Developers thought what they were agreeing to or not agreeing to; 5) if the Commission approves Regency's proposed Sign, would Regency Centers still want two (2) Panels from JLM-TREH, maybe have COA to what can go on the Panels; 6) there is Regency Centers' letter of intent and negotiations with JLM-Treh; 7) it is hard to know where things are at with JLM-TREH; 8) it is also hard not to get involved in the business end of this; 9) this is straight forward for the Commission - the Commission deals with land use entitlements, etc. and not the business end. The Commission looks at the General Plan, Municipal Code, etc. If the Commission is able to make the Findings for this one (1) parcel, is the Commission going to "open a can of worms" and gave an example how this is should be a master plan similar for the Town Center and it is important to do this right; 10) a question was asked regarding signage on the Tower if there would be one (1) Tenant on the Tower or Multi-Tenants on the Tower; 11) the feasibility of having panels located on the Tower and there are still different options open, and; 12) going to have equivalent signs since there are two (2) Towers and two (2) Major Tenants and the possibility of having one (1) Major Tenant (signage) on each Tower.



A Motion was made by Chairman Haller and seconded by Vice Chairman Hamerly to deny the Applicant's request and direct Staff to work with the Applicant with revising the Building Elevations and Sign Package for DRB review for the Freeway Signage and have the Applicant submit the revised Package to DRB for consideration.



Discussion ensued between the Commission and Staff.



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



Staff stated there is no Resolution for the Commission's denial of the Project, based on the Commission's action and recommended to continue the Item to the next Meeting. Discussion ensued regarding for a continuance for a date specific.



A Motion was made by Chairman Haller and seconded by Vice Chairman Hamerly to direct Staff to prepare a Resolution and Findings for denial and return for Commission's consideration on February 19, 2008.



Motion unanimously passed on a 5 - 0 vote.



5.0 LEGISLATIVE

There are no items.





6.0 ANNOUNCEMENTS

Staff explained the anticipated items scheduled for the February 5, 2008, and February 19, 2008, Meetings.

Staff explained the Planners Institute Conference that is scheduled in March, 2008.





7.0 ADJOURN

There being no further business Chairman Haller declared the meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.







Submitted by:





Linda McKeough,

Administrative Assistant III



Approved by:





Richard Haller, Chairman

Planning Commission