Yup, it’s our birthday today and we are crowing about it. It’s hard to believe it has been just two years since we first published Our Town Tustin. I had been thinking about this for months before sitting down with our good friend Chris Prevatt from The Liberal OC to discuss my ideas. Chris and Dan Chmielewski have both been great supporters, mentors and friends. Thanks to both of you.
Our first post was, of course, about the hot topic at the time, then Mayor Jerry Amante. It went downhill from there.
We had no idea what kind of hornets nest we stirred up. Jerry was at the beginning of an ill-fated recall that, we found was further sabotaged by his cronies at city hall. Lots of his buddies were asking who we were, as if we were hiding.
Over the years, we have peeled back the layers from an oh-not-so-tranparent and open government to reveal corruption and ethical imbalances the city continues to suffer from, even as our leadership has changed. This has not been a one-man trek through the bureaucracy. Many city staffers and local citizens concerned with the direction our city is taking have stepped up to the plate to provide me with valuable information and insight. Our readership has grown with renewed interest in our town.
Someone once asked me why I no longer subscribe to newspapers. I tell them I can get all the news I need on-line. Orange County does not suffer from a lack of credible, thoughtful bloggers who are willing to put an effort in to their work. The list we keep updated in our sidebar will provide you with the best of the news and political writers in our county and our town. If you feel something is missing, let us know. We’ll do our best to provide it.
Thank you for the past two years. When I started Our Town Tustin, I had no idea if anyone would take the time to read what I write. The past two years have shown me the blog is a worthwhile effort that was long overdue. I look forward to providing you with years of informative, thought provoking information. Remember, you don’t have to agree with me. I still want to hear from you either way.
It should be a pretty quick meeting of the Planning Commission tonight. The only item on the Regular Business Calendar is the approval of a Design Review of a new building located at 195 El Camino Real, in Old Town Tustin. If this sounds vaguely familiar, the new construction will be where the old Dry Cleaners were located across from Old Town Tustin Eyecare and just down the street from the Acorn Naturalists.
The new building will be a two story, 3,500 square foot building that will house a jewelry store and a coffee shop. I got a sneak preview of the plans, recently, and I think the building’s architect did a great job of fitting new into old. And, while there may be some changes here or there, mostly staff suggestions to make the building more amenable to Old Town, I suspect they will be minor in nature and the overall design will be virtually as I have seen. Now, the only issue is, do we need another coffee shop in Old Town Tustin?
I am a coffee fanatic and believe you can never have enough variety. I enjoy Kean’s and my daughter swears by Free Soul Cafe, although she complains they changed their hours so she has no place to stop in the morning. Having another locale to quaff coffee (yeah, yeah, I know….Starbucks) is always high on my list. Of course, what we really need is a full blown old time cafe. I can hope, but I doubt that the square footage will allow for much more than a counter and brewing area. Maybe we can talk Mr. Del Rio into forgetting about the jewelry store and opening an old town cafe instead.
One of the largest hurdles for the project, however, has been that of parking. According to the staff report, the building would require 13 parking spaces. However, the plans provide for only 3. The other 10 parking spaces could be had by paying an in-lieu fee of about $18,000 per space. Fortunately, the City Council had a first reading of an ordinance last week that would allow for a yearly maintenance fee for using public parking spaces instead. This is a win-win situation for both businesses in Old Town as well as the city as they would have a cost recovery vehicle for maintenance of parking in that section of town where public parking is definitely underutilized. Hopefully, the ordinance will be put through without a hitch.
If you want to see what they are up to in Old Town Tustin, check out the agenda report submitted by staff on the project. It sounds like a great investment in this area for Mr. Del Rio and we applaud him for bringing together a great building that will fit in quite nicely with the historic section of Our Town Tustin.
The Planning Commission meets tonight at 7pm to discuss this project. The project manager asks anyone in support of this project to join them at the City Council Chambers, 300 Centennial Way.