Response to OC Register – Priorities, Infrastructure & Mixed-Use Development

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Below are my responses to questions posed to the Fullerton City Council Candidates by Brian Whitehead of the OC Register.  Responses were published in the  October 13, 2016 Fullerton Tribune. Please note that my age was incorrectly calculated by OC Register staff as 60. I am 50. 

What is Fullerton’s greatest need? How will you address that need?

Overdevelopment is one of the most common concerns I hear from Fullerton residents. While we sit in gridlock on Fullerton’s deteriorating roads, the City Council busy themselves approving every new high density project.

We need to revise the City’s General Plan regarding development and scale back the infill zoning City Council has already approved to facilitate increased density.

Before anymore high-density projects get shoe-horned into our town, we need robust public transit with streets designed for walkers and bicyclists and nearby services such as grocery stores. Current residents should not be negatively impacted by traffic, parking, and strained city services.

What must be done to improve the city’s infrastructure? And how will you make your listed initiatives a priority for the council?

Residents have accepted a 5% per year increase on water rates, compounded over 5 years, to fund repairs to the water delivery system. The city’s engineering staff, aided by our Infrastructure Review Committee, prioritizes street repairs to coincide with water pipe replacement. We are on track for 7 miles of reconstruction per year limited by the availability of funds and with the goal of minimizing street closures.

I will ensure that planned improvements are fully funded without burdening residents with bond funding and will look for opportunities in the general fund budget to shift more money into street maintenance efforts.

What is your opinion on new mixed-use projects landing in the city?

The mixed-use development in Fullerton has been high-density residential projects with minimally used retail space on the ground floor.

Mixed-use does allow for office as well as retail and/or residential uses. But when left to out-of-town developers to decide the use, they are consistently choosing high-density residential projects to maximize their profits, not because it is what is best for Fullerton.

Under the proposed mixed-use zoning as well as the 600 W Commonwealth Project Specific Plan, developers can build with less parking in a mixed-use project than would be required for a project with residential use alone. That’s not right.