Fullerton City Council voted 4-1 (Whitaker “no”) to approve a 33-unit residential condominium development on a 2.4-acre site on Bastanchury Road near Puente at its February 4 meeting.
The property, which will be sold to Brandywine Homes by the Fullerton Library Foundation, has a unique history.
In 1996, through community donations, the Fullerton Public Library Foundation purchased the Bastanchury Property with the intent that it be used as a future branch library site. In 1999, the Foundation deeded the property to the City of Fullerton with the proviso that the property be used for public library purposes.
In the intervening years, the City of Fullerton made it clear that ongoing budget constraints would preclude the building and operation of another fully staffed branch library.
In 2018, the city offered the land back to the Library Foundation to sell in order to benefit the library. All proceeds from this sale become part of the Foundation’s Investment Fund that is used to benefit the Library.
Some residents in the adjacent President Homes community expressed concerns over potential noise, traffic, and safety issues that the Brandywine development would cause.
Kelly Perkins, who lives in the President Homes said that Bastanchury is a heavily traveled road that has a 50mph speed limit.
“Placing a high density building on this section of Bastanchury seems reckless,” Perkins said. She, along with other residents asked the developer to reduce number of units, include more parking, and provide a safer entrance in and out.
Mark Miller, the city traffic engineer who signed off on the project, said that a traffic study was done, including at peak times. Although traffic is bad during peak times, this development would not cause a “significant impact” to traffic.
Ray Kawase from the Library Foundation said they chose a moderate density, as opposed to high density, taking into consideration the concerns of the neighborhood.
Duncan Johnson from the Library Foundation said, “The most exciting part of this is that we are going to be able to provide more library services to underserved areas throughout the community.”
Mayor Protem Jan Flory, who supported the project, said that the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has recently imposed building standards that ask for 13,000 additional housing units in the next 7 years.
“If we are going to object to every housing development that comes before us, even a 33-unit, we’re never going to get close to that,” Flory said.
Councilmember Bruce Whitaker, who voted against the project, said he was concerned that adequate time wasn’t taken to allow for and create some “buy in” from existing residents in the adjacent neighborhood.
Councilmember Ahmad Zahra, who supported the project, noted that he lives in South Fullerton where there’s a lot more density.
“This has been put together in a thoughtful manner—taking into account impacts on neighborhood and the school,” Zahra said, adding that the new condos will allow for homeownership for middle-income families, who often find themselves priced out of the local housing market.
Councilmember Jesus Silva supported the project.
“Think of the long term—this will allow younger families to move in,” Silva said. “We have a declining enrollment problem in our schools, so I think this may help. It will benefit the economy—we’ll have 33 families shopping locally.”
Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald also supported the project.
“I want the residents to know that I heard your concerns. To my thinking, your concerns are being answered in the way this project is being developed,” Fitzgerald said.
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