Depending on the uproar or lack thereof, the Tustin Planning Commissioner could make a quick $150 for a short night’s work.
The sole item on the agenda is a public hearing item for Redhill Lutheran Church. The hearing is on whether to allow zoning changes and a conditional use permit to allow the church to use certain neighboring residential properties for church business. According to the staff report, the houses surrounding the church property, which appear to be owned by them, have had a variety of uses that do not conform to the current zoning.
Apparently, the installation of a few storage sheds on the properties involved got the attention of the city code enforcement way back in February, 2010. In addition to the sheds, the church had been using one of the residences as a youth ministry home. But, you know how it is. We can’t have churches or businesses running around doing things not in keeping with the Community Development Department. In this case, it only took a year-and-a-half to come up with a plan.
No one here at OTT is calling the Lutheran Church a bunch of scofflaws. In fact, I have attended events there and find it to be a very nice church settled into an established neighborhood of Tustin. So, I guess the real issue will be whether the neighbors are in tune with what amounts to a city-blessed church expansion. And, that may be the problem. The city recommends the approval of the zoning changes and the CUP based on a variety of findings including the fact the uses as outlined are consistent with zoning standards, the use is consistent with the adjacent single family residences and the belief there will be no impact on current area parking.
Great, but, did anyone ask the neighbors?
The first order of business is to accept the resignation of Planning Commissioner Chuck Puckett, who is running for Tustin City Council. Chuck was also the Chairperson of the commission. The City Council will have to appoint a new person to the commission. The commission can appoint a new chairperson or they could wait until Puckett’s seat is filled. We’ll see how that works out.
The rest of the agenda consists of Consent Calendar items. I don’t see anything to ring any bells here. But, you never know what the neighbors are going to think.
Item 3, Commercial Design Guidelines and City Tour, asks the commission to hold tight while they put the finishing touches to the Commercial Design Guidelines. The agenda report also advises a tentative date of September 11, 2012 for a proposed City Tour. I have been told this tour is open to the public and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This is tentative. Keep an eye out on the city website for the actual date. I’m sure they will want to publicize it.
Item 4, Conditional Use Permit for On-Site Alcoholic Beverage Sales at a New Restaurant, is for a new Japanese fusion restaurant that will be taking over part of the old Hollywood Video property in the Ralph’s Center on Irvine Boulevard. The surrounding restaurants, Lone Star and Cafe Rio, both serve alcohol so this should be an easy one for the commission. The main issue seems to be they want to stay open an extra hour past the other restaurants. Because of the area, staff are recommending the change.
Item 5, Use Determination and CUP, is an application from Goodwill Industries to establish a retail store and collection center in Larwin Square. Because thrift stores with donation areas are not identified as permitted or conditional permitted uses for the First Street Specific Plan (maybe the city should have looked at this when they were updating the Plan, doh!), it requires action by the Planning Commission. The staff have place several reasonable conditions on the permit to ensure collections are properly stored and not just dumped in the rear, which faces Centennial Way.
The City has received only one written public comment opposing the CUP from Vaughn Edewards, president of ACI Commercial Insurance Broker, Inc. He gives no specific reason other than it doesn’t fit with the First Street Specific Plan. But, isn’t that what CUPs are all about, Vaughn?
I have seen the types of stores Goodwill Industries is proposing for Larwin Square and it will make a great addition to a local shopping center that is in dire need of stable tenants. Goodwill Industries does not seem to open stores in locations unless they think they will make a go of it. And, there is that idea of providing local jobs for folks who might find it difficult to obtain a mainstream job. We have “Goodwill” workers in our facilities kitchen. I can’t think of harder working individuals who, because of the assistance and guidance of 87 year old Goodwill, are able to work and live independently. So, sorry, Vaughn, we support this as they support the community.
Oh, and Goodwill Industries is recognized as one of the seven Best Companies to Work for in Orange County by OC Metro Magazine, has been voted Orange County’s best thrift store too many times to count and is currently the #2 vintage store according to OC Register readers. Pretty awesome for a charity that puts 92 cents of every donated dollar to work for the people in our community that need it most.
So, there you have it. A pretty quick and concise agenda for the Planning Commission. Of course, the next question is, who will the City Council appoint to replace Chuck?