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On The Planning Commission Agenda, February 24, 2013

Hidden Agenda ClipartMy apologies for the lapse in reporting this past few days. It seems that I was the victim of the classic left-turn-in-front-of-the-motorcycle type accident as I was traveling Main Street in Old Town last Wednesday. A few cuts and scrapes later, I am not much worse for the wear but the doctor demanded I not do much for a few days. I made it as far as Sunday evening and then couldn’t stand it anymore. So, here I am.

Not a whole lot to discuss at this coming Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting. Assuming no member of the public will be speaking, one has to wonder why they are meeting at all, other than to collect their $250 and give some of the staff a bit of overtime.

The first item is the General Plan Annual Report. According to the staff report, staff are proposing text amendments to the Zoning and City Code that will maintain consistency with the General Plan and State Law. The plan has been updated several times since its inception in 1966. I’m not willing to bore myself with reading the 87 pages of documentation but you can if you like. Let me know if you see anything interesting.

The only other item on the agenda is the Transmittal of Code Amendment 13-001, Zoning Code Update. The staff report summary assures these are mostly minor text changes and changes that will “modernize” the code. It also consolidates some sections for easier navigation. One thing that puzzles me, however, is the section that “incorporate policy practice into the Zoning Code”. The example cited is that guest quarters will be subject to a recorded deed restriction. What happened to our town hall meetings on the subject, Elizabeth? Or is this just another example of smoke and mirrors by the Community Development Department in holding meetings to distract the homeowners while Binsack and her wrecking crew stamp their own brand on Old Town? Other “minor text changes include establishing open space requirements for residential districts establishing what amounts to new uses that were not defined before. It would seem these are not just minor text changes but, I guess that depends on your interpretation.

This is a draft of the amendments that staff are providing, as they say, in a timely manner. The public hearing will be held at a March meeting of the Planning Commission. We may be asking the city to provide more information on the “minor text amendments”.

That’s it for this week’s meeting. I am doing my best between pain pills to get back in the saddle. I’ll have to ask you to bear with me.

On the Planning Commission Agenda, July 24, 2012

If you are planning to attend the Tustin Planning Commission meeting this Tuesday, you may want to have someone keep the car running. By the looks of the short agenda, you probably won’t be there long. That is, unless you are one of the residents or businesses along First Street. Then, you may wish to read the Agenda Report on the First Street Specific Plan  and attend the meeting. The plan has not been updated since 1985 and Elizabeth Binsack’s staff are recommending a facelift. It has always been the intention of the city to eventually eliminate the residential uses along First Street and create a neighborhood commercial zone. Of course, that has not happened and, by the looks of it, probably won’t in our lifetime.

Over the years, the original plan has served well to keep the status quo. So, apparently, the update would be to eliminate earlier identified “expansion areas” of commercial activity into residential areas and fix zoning issues that cause confusion. These seemingly minor incursions, as noted by the draft, would be met with strong opposition from residents in the area anyway.

In any case, Binsack’s staff have created, what appears at first glance to be, an excellent update to the First Street Specific Plan that actually maintains the neighborly atmosphere of the street and will allow the continuation of small businesses that have become a fixture along that lane. The only issue we might take with the Plan is the consistent reference that First Street is no  longer a major thoroughfare. While Irvine Boulevard may have higher density traffic, due to the easy access to the freeway, First Street continues to be a vital thoroughfare between Tustin and Santa Ana, with similar zoning and activity in both cities.

Now, if we could just get Newport Avenue put through.

So, all of this brings us to the burning question: Why are we having a meeting of the planning commission? They cancelled the last meeting due to lack of agenda items. This agenda has three items, none of which require immediate action. So, why are we wasting staff resources and taxpayer money? Did the commissioners miss having dinner together? Does Jeff Thompson’s kids need a new pair of shoes (those DC Universe Converse aren’t cheap)?

Once thing is for sure. Commissioner Chuck Puckett has pulled papers to run for the Tustin City Council. Section 1305 of the Tustin City Code states:

1305 – COMMISSIONERS WHO ARE CANDIDATES FOR COUNCIL

a. Non-Eligibility of Candidate to Serve as Commissioner

No person shall be appointed to serve or to continue to serve as a member of any commission of the City on whose behalf there has been filed nomination papers for the office of City Councilman and the election therefor is pending.

b. Resignation of Commissioner Council Candidate

Any member of any commission of the City on whose behalf there has been filed nomination papers for the office of City Councilman shall immediately resign from his position as commissioner. In the event such resignation is not filed by said commissioner, his appointment shall be terminated as of the date of filing of nomination papers.

Now would be a good time, Chuck. Although you could conceivably continue until the final filing date in August, resigning at this meeting will allow Jerry…, uh, John…, I mean, the city council…,  to appoint a new member (who will also consistently pander to the business community) to the Commission and allow you more time to locate a restaurant that still has lingerie shows. Hopefully, you can find one in Tustin, so you can live by our slogan.

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