AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL SUNNY HILLS RESIDENTS AND ALL PARENTS OF CHILDREN NOW ATTENDING OR IN THE FUTURE PLANNING TO ATTEND LAGUNA ROAD SCHOOL CONCERNING THE PROPOSED MELIA HOMES 40 UNIT TOWNHOUSE DEVELOPMENT ON 3.3 ACRES


Barry Levinson

by Barry Levinson

This is what all 6* Planning Commissioners ignored while speaking at the end of the Planning Commission meeting on March 14, 2016 as follows:

1. They ignored our 4 to 5 five-year in the making updated General Plan for Fullerton that was completed I believe in 2012, less than 4 years ago. It was Commissioner Gambino I believe who said that the General Plan is already obsolete. This is what they do. They have a bunch of rules and use them for their advantage when the situation is right and trash the rules when they want to pass something else. If I believed as a commissioner that the General Plan was obsolete and did not meet the needs of the city (which I do not) I would be speaking out loudly on how the city wasted over a million dollars and over 4 years putting together a plan that is not worth the paper it is printed on. But again they would never do that. In fact as I mentioned at the podium it was none other than Mayor Fitzgerald that voted against the Lark Ellen townhouse proposal’s first iteration because it did not follow the General Plan to keep the neighborhoods intact. In fact that neighborhood has homes on 7,000 and 8,000 thousand sq. ft. lots and not the 20,000 sq. ft. lots and greater in Sunny Hills. So one day the city is making decisions based on the General Plan and then a month or two later they are trashing the same plan. All one has to do 90% of the time to fight city hall is to use their own contradictory words and thoughts against them. I find it to be one of the most effective tools we have as citizens to get their attention.

2. As I stated at the podium, Planning Consultant Heather Allen’s presentation was totally biased in favor of the developer. It is the same reason police and firemen get such large raises and outsized benefits. The city and the unions are on the same side and no one looks out for the taxpayers. In this case it is obvious once again that the city and the developer are on the same side. No one on the dais agreed with my comments that the presentation by the city left a lot to be desired. It was so, so obvious but commissioners will not go there (except me at Parks and Recreation).

3. No one asked for any proof that there is no demand for a new office/medical building at the site of the proposed Melia Homes. We heard from the developer, one or more commissioners and Marty Burbank that the Towers office buildings on Harbor and Brea Boulevards are half vacant. Before accepting that as fact, documentation about the vacancy percentage in those two buidlings should have been presented to the committee. Until such evidence is provided it was just an unconfirmed statement, nothing more and nothing less. Even if it is true they are comparing apples to oranges. First, the Melia homes location being so close to St. Jude Hospital and medical offices makes that property a good fit for another medical related building including the ever growing need for more extended senior care facilities. Second, a brand new office building can’t be compared to a 40 year old building over a mile away.

4. No one on the dais stated that Melia Homes should strongly consider bringing forth a plan of single family homes with lots at or near 20,000 sq. ft. as to fit in with the neighborhood. All they talked about was reducing the 40 town-home units to somewhat smaller town-home development.

5. Commissioner Larry Bennett talked about how he is a strong advocate for private property rights. I am also a strong advocate of the same. But buying property zoned as office/medical, which sets the value of that property and now asking that they change it 180% degrees to high density multi-unit residential (no matter what the city labels it) is not property rights. The reality is that it violates the adjoining property owner rights, privacy and valuations, while at the same time making the developer’s property values much higher due to the zoning change. This is crony capitalism at its worst.

6. Finally, based on the majority of the commissioners professions and/or organizations they belong to suggests a real bias for more medium and high density development.

I wish I could have had 8 to 10 minutes at the podium for I would demonstrate point by point how bad this project is and how the commissioners are ignoring the major issues before them. I thought to some extent they were getting lost in the weeds hoping that by throwing the neighbors a bone it would become acceptable. This is also a tactic they use over and over again.

Together we are much stronger than just each of us speaking out individually. Sunny Hills residents please do not be fooled by future city attempts to placate you with the same development on a slightly smaller scale. The city seems to care more about collecting the $11,700 a unit fee/tax, called the Park Dwelling Fee required of the developer for each of the 40 units, which would total $468,000.

Barry Levinson

* Kevin Pendergraft appointed by Council member Whitaker missed this extremely important meeting. He also missed the vote on the Downtown Core And Corridor Special Project Proposal several months ago as well.

  1. #1 by Barry Levinson on March 29, 2016 - 2:05 pm

    To summarize and further clarify the points I made above, I want to add the following:
    The current zoning is commercial offices/medical offices. The current owner of the property bought it with this zoning. As you probably know the market value of any property is based in large part on what it is zoned for. Now without any proof that they can’t sell the property as it is currently zoned, the owner wants the city to approve a zoning change that will automatically increase the value of that property by a great deal, probably millions of dollars. What is in it for the city you may ask? I already informed you that the city gets a $11,700 a unit Park Dwelling fee/tax or $468,000.

    This is not private property rights, but rather the city working with the owner and developer, against the interests of the surrounding neighbors, i.e. crony capitalism. The relatively short term owner of the commercially zoned office building property is asking for preferential treatment over the hundreds of residents who have lived there for decades.

    If the property is proven to not be sellable as it is currently zoned, which I greatly doubt, the zoning change that should be considered is the R1-20 (20,000 sq. ft. residential lots) that is the zoning for homes in the surrounding neighborhood. This makes way to much sense I guess for any of the 6 commissioners to consider at the committee meeting.

    With a R1-20 residential zoning, the most homes that could be built on 3.3 acres is 6 homes not the 40 proposed. But of course the owner who bought the property for commercial office not residential, can make much more money converting it the 40 units they have proposed. The representative for the builder was actually unintentionally funny when he stated that he listened and tried to address each and every concern of all the neighbors. Since the biggest issue was the density of the original project and since the developer made the great sacrifice to reduce the original plan from 41 units to 40 units, his statement was farcical on its face and indeed there was a loud negative response when the developer made this very self-serving statement to the committee.

  2. #2 by We Deserve Much Better on March 29, 2016 - 9:44 pm

    I hope that anyone who stands for honest local government where are tax dollars are mismanaged, misused and maybe worse will come out on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm and tell our city council members that we are tired of their lack of fiduciary responsibility and their lack of accountability to the people of Fullerton. Let us tell each and every one of them that if you continue to keep quiet, which appears to be a major coverup, you disqualify yourselves from elective office.

  3. #3 by Anonymous on March 30, 2016 - 9:18 am

    Aww, is poor widdle Bawwy getting ignored again? Want your blankie and some num-nums?

  4. #4 by Fullerton on March 30, 2016 - 10:28 am

    When I heard the developers dismiss the demand for medical offices I wanted to throw my computer thru the window.

    As Barry pointed out, it’s an apples and oranges comparison to compare other types of vacant office space to medical space. Picture the layout of your doctors’ offices and compare it to general office space. Totally different! Lots of smaller than office size exam rooms, restrooms, supply rooms, X-ray room, etc. They also need provisions for 220 volt electricity and plumbing improvements for water/sewer/medical air/vacuum air/oxygen/other gases. Unless a facility is already equipped as such, you would have to gut the entire office space and rebuild from scratch.

    The big question is why would a doctor or two in private practice spend $100K plus remodeling office space in a building THEY DON’T OWN unless it’s in a prime location, good parking, and has a good landlord?

  5. #5 by Fullerton Resident on March 30, 2016 - 8:46 pm

    Keep it up Joe and Barry. It is quite clear that the city elites are getting very worried. Whereas the FFFF blog frequently made fun of the city establishment, the fullertoninformer.com is full of facts to support your posts. It is clear that the establishment has never had to deal with two activist citizens who are smart, knowledgable and have integrity. These are the qualities the city establishment most abhors and fears. Please keep up the good work. You are making a difference and I suspect that difference will grow as your readership grows as well.

    • #6 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 12:41 am

      Does Barry kiss you after you finish,Joe?

      • #7 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 10:53 am

        You are a sick and deranged individual to say that about Barry and Joe.

        • #8 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 5:11 pm

          Jealous perhaps of two happily married men who dare to care and expose the frauds.

          • #9 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 9:03 pm

            Jealous of a pair of cranks the are deliberately ignored at all the city council meetings the crash? Sure!

            • #10 by Reality Is..... on April 1, 2016 - 12:32 pm

              If it wasn’t for me and Joe Felz, you guys would sit here all day jerking each other off and giving each other high fives. AT least we can provide you some outside entertainment from a different perspective.

            • #11 by Telling It Like It Is on April 8, 2016 - 10:45 am

              Certainly not ignored by you, Anonymous.

              • #12 by Anonymous on April 8, 2016 - 12:23 pm

                Nope, but I’m here purely for the entertainment.

      • #13 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 2:01 pm

        Finish what?

        • #14 by Anonymous on April 1, 2016 - 12:11 am

          skully?

      • #15 by Oscar on March 31, 2016 - 2:17 pm

        Joe why do you allow these kinds of people to post comments like this on here? It detracts from the topic and the conversation. Why don’t you ban them?

        • #16 by Anonymous on March 31, 2016 - 2:58 pm

          That would require Joe to actually know how to manage a website, and based on the clusterfuck this turd looks like, my magic 8-ball says, “Outlook not so good.”

          Besides, removing the ability to post anonymously would make it tougher for Joe to keep posting glowing support for himself under fake names.

          • #17 by Anonymous on April 1, 2016 - 8:31 am

            Good point. So how many people do you actually think are really commenting here? Do you think anyone actually reads this site? He actually thinks he has a chance at getting elected.

          • #18 by Anonymous on April 1, 2016 - 10:15 am

            Why don’t you get your sorry butt out of here and stop posting with your filthy mouth. Why are you here anyway? Magic 8-ball, huh? That explains it…you are just an evil person who has nothing better to do than to post negative comments here, just like Reality Is.

        • #19 by Reality Is..... on April 1, 2016 - 12:33 pm

          what topic and conversation? We are the topic and conversation. Without us, there would be Joe and Barry and that’s it, and them posting under their fake names.

    • #20 by Reality Is..... on March 31, 2016 - 10:25 am

      How can the establishment be getting scared when they never hear a word that Barry or Joe say?

  6. #21 by Fullerton Resident on March 31, 2016 - 10:23 pm

    You are very much a part of the establishment RI and by your 24/7 trolling of this site, you are very scared.

    • #22 by Reality Is..... on April 1, 2016 - 12:29 pm

      LOL ok. I was scared of Barry and Travis also right? Come on. Don’t fool yourself. I’m always right in front of you. You just don’t see me yet.

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