On the Agenda, October 11, 2011

After Jerry’s comments at last week’s council meeting regarding perks and benefits, you have to wonder about this notice on the Tustin Planning Commission Agenda.


Just who planned this junket? And, will they be serving expensive hors d’oeuvres and drinks? And how will they travel? I’m thinking chauffeured stretch limo here.

I am kidding, of course. However I do wonder if, since this is listed as a “special meeting” , whether there will be minutes taken. The rules are clear and, if a majority of the commission members are present, action could be taken and that means there should be minutes to the meeting. The regular meeting will convene at 7 pm in council chambers with a few interesting items to note.

The ordinance regulating tattoo parlors and body art facilities has been kicked back and forth between the Planning Commission and the City Council for awhile. Although there were no pending "Mom"applications for tattoo parlors when this issue first came up, it seems to have garnered the attention of at least one artist from Long Beach who offered his expert opinion on the ordinance at the last city council meeting.  Michael Meyers, a tattoo artist from Long Beach, offered his expertise during the public hearing. It is hard to believe that he would come out here from Long Beach if he did not have a continuing interest in the ordinance from a business point of view. Either way, the city staff seem to have taken many of his recommendations to heart and incorporated them into the final draft of the ordinance. Great job of taking public input into consideration. OTT recommends this issue be pinned to the City Council calendar for final approval.

The real time bomb on the Planning Commission’s agenda is Item 3 which has to do with a draft ordinance that would “Clarify the meaning of Legal Non-conforming Uses and Structures in the City of Tustin”. We previously wrote about this proposed ordinance which, by all accounts, has come to the forefront because of the Fairbanks property issue. Conveniently, the Planning Commission Workshop that was held prior to the September 13th meeting, was not recorded, other than for a sparse set of minutes. The minutes of the Workshop evidences the concern that Old Town residents have over this ordinance. Six members of the community voiced their opinions that the proposed ordinance would place an undue burden of proof on a homeowner by requiring them to prove a non-conforming structure was legally erected. Commissioner Steve Kozak apparently agreed with that argument suggesting removing the burden of proof from the property owner.

The State of California Codes are clear that historical structures are to be governed by the State Historic Building Code when determining code violations. This code gives more leeway when making Courtesy of Four Provinceschanges and repairs to a historical home or business. It is not as demanding in regulation and, unlike the modern building code which seems to change yearly, it does not vary. It takes a commonsense approach to maintaining the history and flavor of the structure in order to provide living examples of the State’s history. And, except for absolutely necessary life safety issues, a historically significant structure should not be forced to conform to any code that violates the historical accuracy of the building. Unfortunately, the Community Development Department headed by Elizabeth Binsack, seeks to control every aspect of the Old Town area under the guise of life safety issues. Hopefully, Commissioner Kozak will ask the obvious question of why Binsack’s staff completely dismissed his concerns over the issues he raised. I do hope that Old Town comes out in force to this meeting to voice their opinion. the Planning Commission seems to be more open to discussion with the public than the City Council in matters of contention. The Tustin Conservancy has published a well-written document on the use of the State Historic Building Code in regulating Old Town Tustin historical buildings. Perhaps someone should send a copy to the city. This proposal deserves further examination and discussion by the Planning Commission.

One other thing. We suggest the city dump Section 9273(b)(6) of the proposed changes to the ordinance. It’s bad enough that the city will forgo your rights to due process and subvert the traditional burden of proof. We suspect the payment of a “hearing fee”, in any amount,  in order to have the privilege of refuting evidence before another city board would be considered illegal if it were to be pushed in a court of law. Our opinion, not legal advice. Unless the Planning Commission decides to ask for further adjustments, this matter will go to the first City Council meeting in November. You will still have a chance. Just not as much of one as you already know how Boss Tweed Amante feels about this issue.

The final item on the agenda is discussion of the Tustin Legacy Tour that I spoke of at the beginning of this post. The agenda items reads, “…to provide a forum for the Commission to generally discuss the tour and to make recommendations for future tours.” We remind Chairman Thompson of the rules. Having the discussion after the tour will not replace taking minutes of any discussion during the tour (again, in our opinion). Oh, and next time, can I be invited? I love caviar on those thin little water crackers.

About Jeff Gallagher

I am a retired peace officer from the 2nd largest law enforcement agency in Orange County. I live in and love Tustin where my family and I have resided for the past 25 years. I am a highly moderate libertarian that despises hardcore Republicans, Democrats and anyone else who is not willing to compromise for the good of the people.

Posted on October 10, 2011, in Local Government, politics, Tustin City Commissions, Tustin City Council and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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