It was another interesting/sad night at city hall with the Planning Commission doing another study session on the revamping of the original DCCSP (Downtown Core and Corridor Specific Plan) into three new zoning tools. What was most troubling was that the Community Development department headed by Karen Haluza still has not given us any definitions in writing of those three key zoning concepts including:
A New Mixed-Use (code word for high rise residential development) Overlay Zone that allows for mixed-use where retail and commercial used to be. Remember the city of Fullerton has only 6% commercial property use, which is less than our neighboring cities.
How can a city government propose major zoning changes and fail to define in writing what the city proposes to do? Scandalous you say….arrogant you say….contemptible you say. I say all of the above.
So they i.e. the City of Fullerton through the Community Development Department gave us what they called a good example of what a mixed-use overlay district project would look like. Two buildings, one proposed with 172 apartment units at 600 Commonwealth Avenue and the other across the street with 123 apartment units at 128 Williamson.
The only mixed-use actually proposed is in the first building having 4,822 square feet for retail/commercial, which represents a very meager 2.9% of the 1st building total square footage and the other building has 100% high rise apartments with NO RETAIL/COMMERCIAL SPACE! The city is telling the public that a project that has less than 1.8% overall dedicated to retail space (4,822/273,000 = <1.8% retail) with the remaining 98% devoted to high-rise apartments is a good example of mixed-use overlay project. No attempt from the developers at the Planning Commission meeting to deal with added traffic issues, added street parking issues, added water restriction issues. They make millions and we the people are left dealing with all these wonderful add-on problems courtesy of our city council if it passes.
Question: Why would our city government be eager to approve such a high-rise apartment plan with so many built in problems with no solutions in sight?
Answer: THREE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($3,451,500). This is the amount the developer would owe the city for the recently increased Park Dwelling fee/tax per unit (295 units X $11,700 per dwelling unit). In other words the city is desperate for an infusion of a large lump sum of cash to try to make up part of the already $2.8 million dollar deficit over 2 years that has been increased by millions by approving very large raises for the police (6% for one year) and fire (9% over two years). In other word this windfall of tax revenue if passed has already been spoken for thanks to the generosity of our council majority.
Question: Does a majority of our council ever put the hard working citizens of Fullerton first when deciding on spending our tax money?
Statement From the Dais: Mayor Fitzgerald
and Council member Chaffee
said at the last council meeting that rumors that high-rise development would replace the retail center where Polly’s is located is nonsense and yet this public notice regarding rezoning the property mysteriously appears.
and that they are actively assisting the property owner to get additional retail tenants into that retail center.
Question: If that is so then why City Manager Joe Felz
and Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald
are you including that retail/commercial property as a major part of the new mixed-use overlay district…one of only 6 such parcels in the new DCCSP plan?
This would allow for developers to put in these so called mixed-use projects such as the one reviewed last night with less than 2% of the entire project devoted to retail space and the other 98% devoted to high-rise apartments without the need for any further zone changes and possibly without any oversight by our council as well. (I have repeatedly asked that the oversight issue be spelled out in writing and that no DCCSP plan like the original one be allowed to pass if it gives away the right of council to completely review each project separately. By the way we were told that the above project would be strictly market based apartments, so there will be no bargains for those who are priced out of the apartment market in Fullerton.) If the city had no interest in converting that property to high-rise residential they certainly would not single out that piece of property on Raymond between Chapman and Commonwealth Avenue for this DCCSP zone change.
I think I smell a few rats at city hall. It is okay to clap politely since you are not in council chambers. (Yes our Mayor said she was very involved in writing the new decorum rules for council chambers, which was proposed with banning polite clapping by the audience at the risk of being removed from the people’s chamber. Yes this is what Mayor Fitzgerald wanted for the citizens of Fullerton. Without major objections by many citizens through public comments that is exactly what would have been passed by our council.)
Question: Why is it so darn hard to get straight honest answers out of “our” city government?
More Important Question: Why do the citizens allow our city government to get away with such behavior toward us?
Solution: November elections are fast approaching and you can send a loud and resounding message to our current crop of elected officials by voting for their replacements. And when you do this, be smart and do not vote for one of their establishment buddies who are always running for office as well.
I report, you decide.