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


Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson

By Barry Levinson

Melia Homes Townhouse Proposal at the March Planning Commission Meeting.
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.

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.

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 Anonymous on April 1, 2016 - 11:45 am

    Nice reporting Mr. Levinson

  2. #2 by Barry Levinson on April 1, 2016 - 1:26 pm

    If council members and in this case Planning Committee members can make decisions based on totally unsubstantiated information, then in my humble opinion they are not doing their jobs adequately.

    Oversight means that one person or group oversees what another person or group are doing. If you take the word of the group you are supposed to be overseeing without any supporting documentation, you as a committee or as a council are no more than just a rubber stamp.

    Oversight to have any real value must include documenting that the information received to make a good decision is in fact accurate and complete. Or in other words, it can be relied on by the committee.

    I have received a lot of criticism from some of my fellow committee members within the Park and Recreation Committee for simply asking for documentation supporting the information presented to us as committee members.

    Any council member worth his salt should make it very clear to their appointees that ongoing criticism of a fellow committee member based on their request for verification of information presented as facts by the city to the committee will be grounds for removal of that committee member by the council member.
    Now do not hold your breath that this will every happen for if it were done it would then put the spotlight back onto the council members themselves and how they arrive at their binding decisions on the dais.

  3. #3 by Reality Is.... on April 1, 2016 - 8:42 pm

    Have you thought about having me or someone else read what you would normally say so that someone will actually listen to what you say? Just a thought. Sometimes a small amount of what you say makes sense. Too bad they all miss it. By the way, what you describe here is happening across this state daily. I see it in other cities where I have properties. Areas that have been business for 100 years are now having houses stacked on them. I see it as there is no more property for housing left in most cities and with the low income requirements, they do it this way and make a few low income and make millions on the rest. Common theme. Maybe it’s another play out of the California League of Cities playbook.

  4. #4 by Barry Levinson on April 1, 2016 - 10:45 pm

    Reality Is…you are a fatalist accepting every bad outcome as inevitable. I choose to speak out and hopefully make a real difference in the lives of my fellow citizens. If any promoted public policy or outcome is based on lies, it is a policy worth working to defeat.

    All any of us can do is our best. To accept mediocrity and worse at the outset is both cynical and very sad.

    • #5 by Reality Is..... on April 2, 2016 - 8:54 am

      Like I said. Some of what you and Joe say has substance and I actually back it. But some is just way out there and I wouldn’t ever support any of it. I do think we need to build more homes across this state. Population has increased. It will continue to increase, especially if Bernie or Billary win the Presidency. What is your proposal for housing more people in Fullerton? You say build houses on land that will fit 5 houses. Others say put 20 houses on that land. Who wins? Usually the leaders of each City win because in the end they make those decisions. You clearly don’t like those decisions and never have. You are trying to do something about it but running for those positions. My issue is with you or Joe in those positions, other things will change for the worse based on your preset biased agendas. I don’t like many of those agenda items. I think many people in the City think more like me than you. That’s why you guys aren’t listened to much at council meetings and other events. When 10% of what you say has substance and 90% is pure BS based on personal agendas, that tends to happen. I hear it throughout the state when I attend council meetings in cities that I own land or buildings or houses in. The issues in Fullerton are the same in other cities. Other council meetings have people just like you every single meeting. So finding that balance is key. If you are cry wolf every single time, the one time you cry wolf and it means something no one is going to come save you. Good luck. I’m still waiting for that 10 year comparison on police and fire wages and benefits in Fullerton by the way.

      • #6 by Anonymous on April 2, 2016 - 11:19 am

        10% is a little generous.

  5. #7 by Barry Levinson on April 2, 2016 - 10:56 am

    Once again RI, you throw out statements based on nothing. According to you 90% of what I say is BS. Well I have written about a whole lot of different subjects, some of which you are probably not familiar with at all.

    So please list all the subjects I have written about and provide proof with substance not bluster point by point that my facts are wrong 90% of the time.

    If you can’t do this I suggest the readership ignore your baseless claims completely going forward if they have not yet come to that conclusion already on their own.

    Agree with me or disagree with me on my positions all you like. That is your right and indeed everyone’s right in this county. But I am a detailed, fact oriented person. I put a lot of effort to back my positions with facts and common sense logic.

    In conclusion, I will always defend the rights of those to speak out even when they disagree with me. What I always take exception to is when you and others make false statements about me.

    So I put out this challenge…either prove that my facts are wrong 90% of the time point by point, issue by issue or just accept that you do not particularly care about the facts or the truth.

    • #8 by Reality Is.... on April 2, 2016 - 8:15 pm

      That’s a ton of work to go back and show you on each topic over the last 10 years.

      I’ll do it though once show me the last 10 years of raises and benefits that the police and fire got, since you think the recent increases were so out of control. The last 10 years will prove your point as being factual instead of the 90/10% I claim.

      • #9 by Fullerton Resident on April 2, 2016 - 11:06 pm

        As to nobody’s surprise, Reality Is just flunked big time the honesty, facts and truth test.

        Now I strongly suggest we entirely ignore him going forward. I most certainly will and I sincerely hope everybody else does the same.

        • #10 by Anonymous on April 3, 2016 - 7:50 am

          I haven’t been looking at his posts for awhile . . .

        • #11 by Anonymous on April 3, 2016 - 8:56 am

          Good luck, Joe-under-another-fake-name. You crave the attention too much to let anything go.

          • #12 by Anonymous on April 4, 2016 - 11:23 am

            Funny you think it’s Joe. Why don’t you put your real name, anon? Just face it, you’re just jealous because he is getting lots of attention, I mean a lot, and you’re not.

            • #13 by Anonymous on April 4, 2016 - 2:28 pm

              So jelly. You go first, Joe. 😉

          • #14 by We Deserve Better on April 4, 2016 - 5:23 pm

            It is indeed comical that those that refuse to identify themselves accuse Joe of doing the same.
            This is what underhanded, dishonest people do all the time. They accuse others of things that they routinely do themselves. It is the height of hypocrisy.
            What is also very apparent is that the small few who are so loyal to the corrupt city hall (I suspect they or a close relative or friend) benefit from the corruption in some way are in fact likewise corrupted themselves. Can anyone with a straight face actually say that they are encouraged about the honesty, sincerity and the believability of our city hall leaders based on their small contingent of supporters on this website? Of course not…it is exactly the opposite. We learn that their few supporters are as underhanded, dishonest, self-absorbed as is the overall Fullerton leadership.

            • #15 by Reality Is... on April 4, 2016 - 6:37 pm

              Especially when people say I’m Chief Danny. Maybe I am?

            • #16 by You Deserve Joe on April 5, 2016 - 7:44 am

              So hypocritical…

              Some people just like to watch Joe (or the delusional people who blow smoke up Joe’s ass, if any are actually real) jump through hoops to justify their undying love for the tin-foil hat-wearing flat-earther (himself?).

              It’s pretty entertaining, and has absolutely nothing to do with any perceived loyalty to any type of “establishment”.

        • #17 by Reality Is..... on April 3, 2016 - 10:35 am

          If you ignore me, who are you going to respond to anymore? Everything I say is factual and backed by facts. Read them.

  6. #18 by Anon on April 2, 2016 - 3:50 pm

    Too many paragraphs for me to read. Please can you tell me where exactly they are planning to do this? Thank you.

  7. #20 by Fullerton Lover on April 3, 2016 - 10:05 am

    Anon :
    Too many paragraphs for me to read. Please can you tell me where exactly they are planning to do this? Thank you.

    …I think Barry’s statement: “this is capitalistic cronyism at its worst “. pretty much sums up the state of the city of Fullerton.

  8. #21 by Barry Levinson on April 3, 2016 - 11:35 am

    It is very simple. The rich and powerful do not need and certainly should not receive preferential treatment from our elected officials, period.

    More proof that those we elect as our representatives as soon as they get into office much to frequently represent special interests and not the people who just got them elected into office.

    Very, very sad state of affairs. It also points out that elected officials as a group tend to be ethically challenged and overly concerned with themselves and not the people they are supposed to serve. In Fullerton the worst offenders would be Mayor Fitzgerald and her voting partners on the council Council members Flory and Chaffee.

    Mayor Fitzgerald has a built-in huge conflict of interest, which she voluntarily chose to put herself into by accepting a very high level executive position (VP) with the public relations firm , Curt Pringle and Associates. Mayor Fitzgerald did this soon after she was first elected to the Fullerton city council. If you go to many public relations/lobbyist sites, you will often read in their own words about their influence with powerful public officials.

    To make matters even worse, (which in this case is very hard to do), Mayor Fitzgerald will not disclose Curt Pringle and Associates client list.

    Ms. Fitzgerald has voluntarily put herself in this position, which makes it extremely difficult for her to perform both jobs to the best of her ability. If she always does a good job as Mayor, she may not be always serving Pringle and Associates and if she always does a good job for Pringle and Associates she can be compromised as Mayor.

    Now since I assume she is handsomely paid by Pringle and Associates and the small salary she would normally get as Mayor she has voluntarily decided not to collect, which job do you think is more important to her and for the financial wellbeing of her family?

    I report, you decide.

  9. #22 by Barry Levinson on April 3, 2016 - 5:26 pm

    In summation of my statements above concerning Mayor Fitzgerald’s self-created conflict of interest, unless you believe that the Mayor is worthy of sainthood or higher, we have a real problem on the Fullerton City Council dais.

    • #23 by Reality Is.... on April 3, 2016 - 9:57 pm

      I agree with you if in fact what you say is all true. Council people should hold jobs that have no conflict of interest or potential of one. You are assuming she can’t work there and have no conflict of interest. Even if she had no conflict you would assume she had one and would accuse her of having one. So she lose no matter what because you don’t like her. Is what it is. She reminds me of Quirk Silva before. She had dork of the same potential conflicts and it was so clear she was moving on to bigger and better things ASAP. All she said was she would buy socks for the homeless and she was able to dodge the wrath of Tony and his klan. Anyways, Jenny could have a conflict but I lean forward your hate for her more than an actual conflict.

  10. #24 by Reality Is.... on April 3, 2016 - 9:58 pm

    I assume you would be against DannyBoy or Felz becoming councilmen when they retire next year right? Lol

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