Question: Why are Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald and City Manager Joe Felz not being straightforward about their obvious intentions to make it easier for the current landowner to convert the area around and including Polly’s Pies to high-rise high-density apartment complexes via the new tool recently being recommended by the Community Development Director?
This new zoning concept is called a Mixed-Use Overlay Zoning Tool. This would allow the landowners between Chapman and Commonwealth Avenue on the east side of Raymond Avenue to have the right to switch from 100% retail/commercial current zoning to predominantly high-rise high-density housing, which I suspect would increase the value of that property by millions of dollars. It is good to be the queen and king of Fullerton.
Joe Felz responded at the April 19, 2016 Fullerton City Council meeting that it would be very difficult to ever get high-rise development at that location as it would involve many steps including public hearing, and then approval by the Planning Committee and then a public hearing at city council and their approval of the zoning change along with the development project.
All this would have to happen after Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald and Council member Doug Chaffee just told us they are committed to helping the landowner to get new retail tenants in that space and keeping that property a viable retail shopping area in the future.
Sounds like there is absolutely no way then that this property would be anything but retail going forward. End of story right…well unfortunately it is only just the beginning of the real story.
Joe Felz knows full well that the process he described above during the 4/19/16 Fullerton Council meeting as it relates to a zoning change for that site is currently under fire by his own Administration. His own Community Development Director, Karen Haluza
is recommending that the current zoning at that site be permanently replaced with the Mixed-Use Overlay Zone Tool allowing for high-rise high-density development without further zoning changes.
To summarize Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald is saying that the citizen’s have nothing to worry about because the city wants that retail area to remain and is actively helping to get in new tenants. City manager Joe Felz is telling us also not to worry because there are so many official steps and approvals that this landowner would have to undertake including public oversight before any high-rise development could even potentially happen at that site in Fullerton. However, at the very same time Joe Felz is telling us that it would be a very long and cumbersome official process requiring a number of checks and balances before we could have the possibility of high-rise housing at the Polly Pies site, his Community Development Director, Karen Haluza is recommending to the Planning Commission to approve a Mixed-Use Overlay Zone for 6 specific parcels of land including the one at Polly’s Pies that would allow current landowners to use the property for mix-use development with up to 98% of the property used exclusively for high-rise residential development as part of the proposed revised DCCSP.
What would you call someone who assures you that there is nothing to worry about when his direct report obviously with his approval and most likely at his direction is trying to accomplish the exact opposite? I know what I would call such a man…arrogant, deceptive, and not worthy to be our City Manager.
Therefore, Joe Felz needs to be removed as our City Manager because we need someone who will not make statements he knows are at best deceptive and misleading in nature to the Fullerton public. Now if the city council majority had any integrity, his removal would be a forgone conclusion. The question I have is the following: Who on the dais will stand up for the people of Fullerton by not allowing the City Manager and the City Council Majority to get away with spreading misinformation and worse to the general public they are supposed to serve. For as readers you are starting to realize that it should not have to come down to citizens like myself to point out the chicanery going on at city hall.
What would you call a Mayor who assures her constituents that high-rise development by Polly’s Pies is a pipe dream,
while the city is moving full steam ahead to change the zoning to allow for high-rise, high-density development at that exact location? Would you call Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald incompetent, delusional or simply in collusion with the City Manager? I would say whatever your answer, her statements have earned her removal from office.
In fact bringing more high-rise, high-density apartments or condos is exactly what Joe Felz, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory and Doug Chaffee appear to want in order to collect the $11,700 per residential unit Park Dwelling Fee/Tax. This will help them offset at least part of the $2.8 million dollar existing budget deficit as well as part of the millions of additional dollars approved by them via a 6% one-year raise for police and 9% over two-year raise for firemen/women.
The city council approved these raises prior to the city having the money necessary to fund these multi-million dollar increases in salaries and benefits. Where is the concern for the Fullerton taxpayer you may ask? Based on these actions by a majority of our city council there appears to be no real concern for the Fullerton taxpayer.
Their actions in my opinion do demonstrate a contempt for the good people of Fullerton as these changes will lower the quality of life in Fullerton for its residents while do little if anything to help improve roads, sewers and water systems, etc.
Question: Why is City Manager Joe Felz not being straightforward in his 4/19/16 council comments denying that he previously stated that it would cost the city 1.3 million dollars a year to reopen the Hunt Branch Library? He also stated at the same council meeting that the 1.3 million dollar figure to run the Hunt Branch Library was provided by former President of the Fullerton Library Board of Trustees, Ryan Cantor and from Library Director, Maureen Gebelein. Joe Felz went on to state that he personally had no knowledge about how much it would actually cost to run the Hunt Branch Library. Yet at the very next Fullerton Library Board of Trustee meeting, it was Trustee Ellen Ballard
who stated that it was Mr. Joe Felz himself that had made a formal detailed presentation at a previous Fullerton Library Board of Trustees meeting on the cost estimates to reopen the Hunts Branch Library.
The hypocrisy of the City of Fullerton Government is apparent to those with open eyes and minds. At the same time they are proposing to erode the quality of life for its citizens by continuing to approve high-rise, high-density apartments/condos, the City Manager recommended to the Library Board that the city should sell the Hunt Branch Library to Grace Ministries as a sole source bid.
So the plan is to keep approving zoning changes to allow for high-rise development while selling the community’s treasured resources such as the Hunt Branch Library. Well at least we have a vacant piece of city land on Bastanchury Road that could easily be converted to a branch library or a much needed park. Well guess what the Fullerton Library Board voted to get an appraisal for that piece of property, which would only be asked for if the city were contemplating selling that piece of property as well.
Yes the City of Fullerton is for sale and the people it will benefit are the special interest groups that have the complete attention and apparently devotion of our city council majority.
I report, you decide.