Downtown

Only three items on the City Council regular agenda, two of which have been discussed before: Ellis Place closure at Harbor; and development on a parking lot at the Transportation Center (FTC).

Item #9 is an appeal to a request to modify a CUP at 120 West Wilshire (for a business known as 120 Fullerton). I have never even noticed this business. Apparently the existing CUP does not conform to their operating plans so they want to update it and the  Planning Commission agreed. However the existing liquor license requires that  the establishment provide food (e.g. operate as a restaurant).  Tony Bushala is appealing the decision saying that while there is indeed a kitchen on the premises it has not been used for several years (e.g. it is not a restaurant). Why it matters to him (or what difference it will make) is not clear although he lists himself as a nearby property owner. There is more here than meets the (or at least, my) eye.

Item #10 is to close off Ellis Place (street north of Angelo and Vinci’s) to accommodate development in the Fox Block and the triangle to the north of Ellis. This would include outdoor dining (and multiple liquor licenses). This was discussed at the last Council meeting and I would have expected it to be on the Consent Calendar, but apparently there are more loose ends that need tying up before the city abandons this right-of-way. There will still be east/west pedestrian access but no mention is made of bicycles. Ellis will still be open to the east to Pomona and will end with a cul-de-sac on the western end.

Item #11 is to approve moving forward with a development on the two acre parking lot on Santa Fe, just east of the depot. The city will declare this surface parking lot  as surplus and sell it for $1.4 million (pretty much what it would cost for a house on a 1/3 acre in the hills). This mixed-use development will include 124 hotel units and 150 residential units, some of which will presumably be “affordable.” It is not clear in the packet (or at least not easily found) where the cars that are usually parked  in that lot will now  be parked. Apparently parking will be shared with hotel and housing units. Also I do not see what accommodations will be for bicycle to access the depot, especially from the bicycle boulevard.

A special meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 13 for reorganization. According to the OC Registrar all votes have been counted. Shana Charles won in District #3 in a three way race with 48.83% of the vote (with 727 votes more than her nearest opponent). Ahmad Zahra was re-elected in District #3 in another three way race with 47.33% of the vote (and 293 votes more than his nearest opponent). They will be sworn in on the 13th.

The three members who generally make up the Council majority were not up for re-election this time.  Redistricting removed Jesus Silva from District #3 (or more accurately removed District #3 from under Jesus Silva). He now lives in the more Republican District #2, currently represented by Nick Dunlap. He is no longer on the Council but can run in District #2 next time. December 6 will be his last meeting, unless there is some ceremonial farewell on the 13th.

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