Category Archives: Tustin City Commissions
Although the agenda holds only 5 items, Tuiesday evening should be full for the Tustin Planning Commission.
The first item is a General Plan Conformity Determination for property offered by the Irvine Company in the Marketplace. According to the staff report, the parcel was originally offered to extend Myford Road south of El Camino Real behind the Tustin Auto Center. So far, it has been used as access and excess storage for the Center. Irvine Company proposes to deed the property to the city.
The first of two public hearings for Conditional Use Permits will be postponed at the applicant’s request. The property, located at 155 S. Myrtle Avenu in Old Town, was purchased earlier this year. It looks like the new owner may ask for some new construction. The staff report gives no indication of the type of construction requested. However, since it is in the vicinity of the Wilcox Manor where a 3 ring circus has recently been approved, it wouldn’t surprise us if the enterprising owner were to build a flop house for guests too inebriated to drive home. We won’t know for sure until December when the owner will ask to have the application heard.
The second CUP is for a change to the Master Sign Plan in the Tustin Marketplace. Say, didn’t they just recently change this to just, “The Marketplace”? The request will keep the flavor of the signage in place while enhancing patrons’ ability to more easily find the store of their choice. The modification would allow tenants to place their tower signs with fonts specific to their branding. Other changes include temporary event signage and string bulb lighting. The Irvine Company is also asking to place a larger-than-life directory sign near The Home Depot. According to the staff report, the new signage is designed to enhance, not change, the flavor of the shopping center.
Item 5, Summary of Projects, will probably take the lions share of time on Tuesday. That’s because there are 13 retail projects, along with a slew of infrastructure construction, to discuss. In reading the staff report on the projects, the city staff should be justifiably proud of the work they have accomplished. New businesses include two new hotels and a dozen restaurants and shops. Which Which, a new sandwich shop in the “Tustin” Marketplace was recently visited by the editor and his family. Everyone agreed that, while the sandwiches might be a bit pricey, they were delicious – especially when washed down with one of the best chocolate malts in town. The shop is not just a diner, it’s an adventure.
We have been excited to see the progress made on the Vintage Lady in Old Town. After burning down two years ago, the owner was able to save the facade of the building. A new building, designed by local architect, Nathan Menard, is being erected behind the facade. It will be interesting to see how a modern building interfaces with its historic past. Knowing Nathan, no one will know.
Of cousre, we did notice a few items missing from the summary. Most notably, nothing was said of the Wilcox Manor CUP. Perhaps staff thought the evening may drag on a bit long. At some point, you just have to say no.
After the train wreck of the Tustin City Council meeting two weeks ago, tonight’s meeting should be relatively quieter and shorter. Yes, 5 hours, even during Jerry Amante’s regime, would be considered a marathon for these folks. It’s a wonder Chuck and the Podiatrist Councilman didn’t fall asleep. After all, it did go past their bedtime.
This week’s meeting begins with the usual Closed Session items, mostly having to do with litigation. A little more information has leaked on the agenda showing that one of the cases the City Attorney is considering is with the Department of Finance.
Also on the agenda is a conference with the real property negotiators concerning undeveloped property on the MCAS base off Redhill and Warner Avenues. The city appears to be in negotiations for price and terms for several lots in the area.
On the Consent Calendar, the Annual Tustin Housing Authority report shows the city owns about 300 units for ownership and rent. We have complained the number is low for the size of our city but the city seems satisfied to accommodate the minimum number of low and moderate income folks, even if it does not satisfy actual need. You can read the report here.
Also on the Consent Calendar is an item for design and construction of a bocce ball court at Peppertree Park. A great idea and location considering the number of seniors that come to the Senior Center each day. The bocce ball courts are sure to get plenty of use.
The final item on the Consent Calendar is approval to purchase the computer and VOIP equipment from the low bidder, GovPlace. They also happen to be a local provider based in Irvine. The contract is for $334 thousand dollars for equipment only and was budgeted last year.
On the Regular Business Agenda, the City Council will officially open invitations to applicants for the Audit Commission. Mr. Richard Hilde has resigned. The notice will be placed in the newspaper and the city’s website. There is also a current interest list of folks that will be notified.
The big ticket item, in our opinion, on the agenda is the Strategic Plan Update for the City Council. Presumably, this is where the city manager tells the council how great they are doing in implementing the Plan. Unfortunately, the part of the plan that deals with “obtain[ing] feedback from and strengthen our partnership with the community” has predictably taken a back seat to the more important issues like increasing the bed tax now that we have a couple of real hotels in the area.
And, although the report says the city has completed the accountablity and communication portion of the plan (it is posted ont he website), it is a bit soon to decide whether the city will actually take this part seriously or whether they are just paying lip service to it. We expect the latter.
Everything else on the plan, from improving customer service to fixing the website is “in progress”. Has anyone been asked to provide feedback on services? Makes you wonder who they are asking. In any case, the city’s lackluster response -despite the number of “in progress” notations- is predictable and saddening. After all, this plan was approved nearly a year ago. And, as we said back then, a plan is just a plan until it is actually implemented.
Better late than never, the Tustin City Council will adjourn in the memory of local resident, Jack Miller, who passed away in July 2013. Along with helping to create the 911 system, Jack is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he separated as a 2nd Lieutenant. Fly High, Jack.
Conference with Legal Council – 2 items each Initation of and Exposure to Litigation
Conference with Real Property Negotiators – Tustin MCAS Property
Tustin Housing Authority – Annual Meeting and Report
Acceptance of Public Improvement – Authorization to file notice of completion for Cedar Grove Park Playground Renovation
Approve Consultant Services Agreement – Design services for bocce ball court at Peppertree Park
Declaration of Surplus Property
First Reading – Ordinance no. 1430 Proposed amendments to the Tustin Subdivision Code
Audit Commission Vacancy – Set interview date and publication of required notices
California HERO Program Resolution – Adopt HERO program to facilitate loans and low interest for green projects
Stategic Plan Update – Report on strategic plan adopted in 2012 regarding implementation and recommendations
That’s it for this week’s city council meeting. I hope your Labor Day weekend was as enjoyable as ours.
Although we haven’t been receiving press releases from the city for some time (we’ve put in a new request), we do occasionally hit their website and troll for information we can bring you. Our latest foraging attempt netted us a press release announcing the re-opening of the Cedar Grove playground. Yes, this is the infamous park the Tustin City Council failed to protect from predators, but that is another story.
Those folks that live in area have known, for some time, the playground needed a facelift. Fortunately, this is one area where our city (read Elizabeth Binsack’s staff) really outshines themselves. Although they don’t design the playgrounds, they do approve the submitted plans and then hold the contractors to the fire to produce what is expected.
In this case, according to the press release, the net result is:
- A 2-5 year old play area with nature themed design including gigantic snake and frog play elements, climbing rocks and logs, and a shade sail
- Two climbing boulders connected by a two-rope bridge
- A 5-12 year old Nexus Playsystem which combines unique playground elements with physically challenging fitness components
- Greenfield Outdoor Fitness Equipment (7 pieces)
- Combination of wood fiber and rubber play surfacing
- ADA entry ramp
A small ceremony was held on Monday afternoon to dedicate the playground. Mayor Murray presided along with councilmembers and other involved in the design and construction. I am told a good time was had by all.
Tustin is fortunate to have great parks, sometimes a rarity in the older cities of Orange County. The Public Works Department works hard to keep them clean and in good repair and cost of shelter and facility rentals are reasonable when compared to surrounding cities. And, I don’t mind giving credit where credit is due.
If you get a chance, go by and take a look at the new equipment. While you are at it, swing by Peppertree Park, where the latest Broadway in the Park just concluded their engagement and check out the equipment there. Oh Yeah, take the kids. They are the real experts on playground equipment.