To help voters understand my position on overdevelopment issues, I am including my comments to the City Council on July 19, 2016 regarding the plan to rezone 3.3 acres at Bastanchury and Morelia using the new Planned Residential Development – Infill (PRD-I) zoning tool that had been approved by City Council on May 3, 2016 (moved by Mayor Fitzgerald and seconded by Council Member Flory).

This process has been painful and clearly unsatisfactory for the neighborhood that will be most greatly impacted by this project:
  • from the insult of the original proposal for 40-some units on 3.3 acres abutting their R1:20 neighborhood,
  • to the measly reduction in density when instructed to do so previously by Planning Commission,
  • to the surprise project study session in which not even the key neighborhood activists were notified,
  • to the expectation that an out-of-town developer can tell Fullerton what their land use policy should be.
The City’s General Plan (AKA the Fullerton Plan) laid the groundwork for potential revitalization of this property as well as many other properties in focus areas throughout the city. But it did not guarantee the right for a developer to expect a rezone from commercial/office to residential at this site.
The PRD-I was approved at Planning Commission (PC) and by Council with no discussion. It was assumed to be innocuous. But we learned otherwise at the last PC meeting at which this project was approved.
At that meeting we learned that the PRD-I, which evolved from the failed DCCSP, was the zoning tool that streamlined the process and cleared the way for this developer to apply for approval of this project.
But the PRD-I doesn’t give the developer the right to a rezone any more than the General Plan does according to the city planning staff. Therefore, your decision tonight is fully at your discretion.

With your (City Council’s) hands untied by any preconceived expectations, what should guide your decision tonight?

  1. Is it your responsibility to maximize profits for an out of town developer or
  2. is it your responsibility to listen to the residents who find not only this process, but this plan to be unsatisfactory?
I recommend listening to your constituents and denying this project.
Send the developer back to the drawing board, the same as you did two years ago when developers brought the Laurel / Lark Ellen project before you asking for a rezone for a project that was too dense and inconsistent with their neighborhood.

Following the public hearing the City Council postponed their decision until the September 20, 2016 City Council Meeting.

Campaign Kick-off 2016 Message

Welcome and thank you for joining the Rands Council 2016 Campaign for the people of Fullerton.

While the people of Fullerton continue to beautify their homes, raise their children, volunteer, work hard, enjoy community and make new friends City Council continues business as usual.

Overdevelopment  Two years ago we put a temporary hold on a massive rezoning of our city from end to end under the Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan. See DCCSP post from October 2014. But that hasn’t put a stop to oversized development and attempts to shoehorn infill development into established neighborhoods.

Fullerton residents need a council person who respects Fullerton neighborhoods when considering new development.

Voting Districts  Over the last year the city embarked on what was supposed to be a community process to create new voting districts for City Council Elections in Fullerton beginning in 2018. But the Council violated the community process and instead selected a map drawn by a bar owner that divides the downtown residential community into five separate districts, gerrymanders districts to help current council members get reelected in future elections, and reduce the voting power of minority groups. I encourage a NO vote on Fullerton’s Ballot Measure II on November 8.

Fullerton residents need a council person who respects the rights of voters to allow them to elect council members of their choosing.

Reopen the Hunt  In 2013 Fullerton’s Hunt Branch Public Library was temporarily closed and has since never been reopened. Instead, Council voted to lease the Hunt children’s library in  southwest Fullerton for less than the cost of a downtown one bedroom apartment to a church. City resources such be available for all residents to use. The main branch and children’s library should be funded appropriately to maintain and improve the quality of life for our children and the whole community.

Fullerton residents need a council person who respects the needs of the community and fund resources appropriately.

This is not a complete list of the issues affecting Fullerton residents.  There are challenges on the horizon regarding the impacts of short term rentals in residential neighborhoods, cleaning up downtown Fullerton, maintaining infrastructure, protecting our affordable water sources and ensuring city services such as police, fire, and code enforcement are able to provide safety for all Fullerton residents.

Fullerton residents need a council person who is only motivated by what is best for Fullerton residents in all matters that come before the council.

Please contact Jane Rands with questions and concerns, like our  Facebook page to receive updates, and check back here for more posts as the campaign season progresses.

Vote Jane Rands for Fullerton City Council on November 8, 2016 to provide representation for Fullerton’s neighborhoods and families.

Save Coyote Hills

Photo by Ira McNabb
Photo by Ira McNabb

The proposed development at West Coyote Hills was on Fullerton voters’ ballot as Measure W in 2012. Friends of Coyote Hills (FCH) collected enough signatures to require the City Council to either overturn the approval for development or to let the voters decide. It went to a vote. The voters decided. 61% voted NO on Measure W.

Despite the failure of Measure W in 2012, the City Council did not take action to remove the development approvals at West Coyote Hills.

Over the two years since the vote, there have been announcements on the status of West Coyote Hills included in City Council closed session meeting reports. In the spring of 2013 we heard the news for which we all had been waiting .

Chevron was willing to sell the land.

Discussions with Chevron representatives and members of FCH about an acquisition process then began in the summer of 2013. Three meetings into the discussions there was another positive announcement.

Trust for Public Land (TPL) would begin negotiations for land acquisition.  

TPL has a long history of working with property owners, interest groups, and matching funding sources to preserve open space.  They also help to find or form conservation organizations to manage the land.  But by early 2014 another announcement coming from the City didn’t bode well for the prospects of a nature park in Fullerton.

The Trust for Public Land would no longer participate in negotiations with Chevron.

There was no clear statement from TPL regarding their decision to end their role in the negotiations.  In the most recent announcement from our City Council, it sounded like Chevron will be returning to Council with another plan for development. Has the hard fought referendum battle that was won by Fullerton voters degraded into partial acquisition?

That is not what Fullerton voters voted for when they voted NO on Measure W.

With TPL out of the picture, the City Manager under direction of the City Council is devising a plan for land acquisition. How much that will cost and where the money will come from or whether Chevron might choose to donate the land is yet to be determined.

What we need NOW is a City Council that will respect the will of Fullerton voters and follow through with an acquisition process that preserves all 510 acres.

Traffic is already a problem in Fullerton. More cars trips to and from the freeway would exacerbate gridlock. Increased traffic, construction and construction traffic would create more particulate matter and other pollutants that are especially harmful to children and older people.

With so much new building throughout the city, the people of Fullerton have a greater need now than before for open space.

The preservation of open space in park-poor North Orange County would provide more benefits to Fullerton than just any park.  A large contiguous natural open space will allow flora and fauna to flourish. This will provide an opportunity for study and learning by neighborhood school children as well as adult learners at local colleges and universities. Extended walking trails through a natural space will provide recreation for Fullerton residents and visitors. People who come from outside of the city to explore and enjoy the area may also discover some Fullerton restaurants and other local businesses on their way to and from the trails.

If you are one of the 27,253 Fullerton voters who voted NO on Measure W in 2012, vote for me in 2014.

I campaigned in opposition to development of Coyote Hills in 2012 and I am doing so again in 2014.  I also urge you to contact the City Council to tell them that you expect the will of Fullerton voters to be respected and West Coyote Hills to remain undeveloped.

Downtown Core & Corridors Specific Plan

The Downtown Core & Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP) is a plan for high density mostly mixed-use development in 1300 acres of the City.  It fails to include any mitigation for the traffic impacts identified in the Environmental Impact Report.  Existing neighborhoods would take the brunt of the negative impacts from increased traffic, “F” Level of Service (LOS) intersections and increased noise, air pollution, and cut-through traffic.

The plan allows developers to build higher and with reduced parking in exchange for some pretty minor trade-offs in comparison to the problems this will create.  Again, existing neighborhoods and businesses will have to deal with more parking problems than we already have to deal with.

High density development makes sense when it provides affordable, sustainable housing and facilitates more open space.  This plan does none of these.

This plan should respect existing residents and not push out mom-and-pop businesses.  The plan should be considered by districts and revised with real input from the businesses and residents who would be impacted.

I served on the Downtown Core and Corridor Specific Plan Advisory Committee (DPAC) along with 35 other people representing residential and business interests.  We did NOT discuss high-density, reduced-parking development with unmitigated traffic impacts.  What we did do was look at pictures of street lights, sidewalks, and landscaping.  This exercise in “community input” appears to have been used to give the appearance that the DCCSP has been vetted by the community.

I will only support new development that will not disrupt neighborhoods and existing businesses.  As the city grows we need to protect what makes our city the city we love.  We should carefully craft our future rather than accepting a cookie-cutter plan from an out-of-town planning consultant who does not understand what is important to us, the residents of Fullerton.

Fullerton Rag
Friends for a Livable Fullerton
Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid" – Nietzsche