Community Voices

City Council Notes: June 20 meeting

Parks Make Life Better: July is National Parks and Recreation Month in the City of Fullerton. City Council presented the proclamation certificate to Deputy Director Alice Loya of Parks and Recreation and some of the Parks and Recreation staff.

Investment Advisory Committee Appointment

Mayor Fred Jung surprised the rest of the City Council by appointing Manuel Walker to the Investment Advisory Committee—term to end in 2025. An email was sent to City Council at 3 pm the day of the June 20 City Council meeting. However, Jung stated that he was able to “take time out of my day to interview people for this position.”

Councilmembers Charles, Dunlap, and Zahra had not seen the email as they had been preparing for City Council and participated in closed sessions before the council meeting. Zahra asked to move the appointment to the next council meeting to allow more time to vet the application of Mr. Walker, do their own interviews, and verify that they were picking the right candidate.

Mayor Jung said no, and Mayor Protem supported that position.

Dunlap, who found the email as the vote was called, looked at the resume very briefly and then voted to approve.

The appointment passed 3 to 2. Zahra and Charles abstained due to a lack of proper time to vet the candidate in the at-large appointment.

City Attorney Report

In closed session, Councilmember Dr. Ahmad Zahra made a motion, seconded by Councilmember Dr. Shana Charles, that passed in a 4 to 0 vote (Councilmember Nick Dunlap absent) to approve a settlement in the case of Parker vs. the City of Fullerton of $75,000.

Ex Parte Communications

Councilmember Dr. Shana Charles had a conversation with Park West Developers during her office hours. Park West is the developer for The Tracks Hotel at Fullerton Transit Center.

City Manager Report

City Manager Eric Levitt: The I-5 Managed Lanes project is beginning and will have two meetings. One is in person on Wednesday, June 28th, in Santa Ana, and the other is a virtual meeting on Thursday, June 29th. The I-5 Managed Lanes Project includes a 15-mile section between Red Hill Avenue, south of SR-55, and the Orange/Los Angeles County Line that will address operational deficiencies. The purpose of this project is to improve the overall movement of people and goods along this section of I-5 through the cities of Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim, Fullerton, Buena Park, La Mirada, and Santa Fe Springs. OC Water District will give an update on PFAS at the July or August City Council meeting.

Photo Above Retired Fullerton Police Officer Edwin Dahms was given a certificate for being an inductee to the United States Police and Fire Championships Hall of Fame. He competed in 22 editions of the United States Police and Fire Games, earning 31 gold, 14 silver, and 18 bronze medals. He set seven records in track and field, and three of these records have stood for over ten years. He amassed over 100 medals from competitions in several states before competing in the United States Police and Fire Games. Ed worked for Fullerton PD for 27 years (1962-1989).
Parks Make Life Better Month presented to Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Alice Loya. July is National Parks and Recreation Month in the City of Fullerton, recognizing the importance of access to local parks, recreation trails, open spaces, and facilities as a respite for all residents. The Fullerton City Council proclaims July 2023 as the City of Fullerton’s Parks and Recreation Month. Alice Loya said, “We invite you all to come out to Hillcrest Park on Saturday, July 1st, between 11 am and 3 pm, where we’re going to kick off July as Parks and Recreation Month.”
Fullerton Public Library Director Judy Booth said, “Our State Park department worked with the California State Library and pulled together free state park passes that you can check out from our library.”
Ellie Chung, the student President of Good Hands for One, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 made up of high school volunteers who provide math tutoring to financially underprivileged children for free year-round.
Public Comments

Lack of transparency: “I don’t have an issue with the OC Power Authority, but I do have a problem with the lack of transparency,” said Fullerton resident Bernard Oh, “Mayor Jung, you sit on the board, yet we don’t hear from you about your activity. Your lack of transparency is what is plaguing that entity. You’ve had three years on the city council; what are you waiting for? More city staff to leave?”

“Councilmember Whitaker, you are on public record saying, “generating revenue is a magical idea.” He’s also on public record, saying he dislikes planning. You can change your legacy of being a perpetual no-vote. Seize this opportunity and do something to help the residents. When you were fighting for deeper cuts, I told you that if there were no talk of generating revenue, these temporary cuts would become permanent. Look where we are. How much longer are you going to continue to punish the city staff? You are on public record saying if they want to leave, let them leave. Your lack of empathy is appalling.”

Another speaker agreed that there needs to be more transparency.

• Americans with Disabilities Act: “So far, I’m still a Rancho La Paz resident in Fullerton,” said Todd Harrison, “I am here to address several issues: Senior and disability access, street repairs, new housing, and retail developments.”

“Tomorrow, my wife and many others are walking or rather rolling around Valencia between Lemon and Harbor along with Councilmember Zahra. I’m glad to do it in a group, as the sidewalks and pavement conditions are terrible. So too, are the layers of the sidewalks so obstructed that mobility scooters need to be driven in the street; mixing with cars is dangerous.”

“Supposedly, sidewalks with utility poles, utility boxes, fire hydrants, and various other obstructions that, for some reason, tend to be placed in the middle of the path, not at the edge, are sufficient. You yourselves are sooner or later – mostly sooner – going to age into the less able category.”

“Fullerton needs to be more accessible to those less fit and able. Try to see from our point of view sometime. Rent or borrow a scooter or wheelchair and try to get around Fullerton. The first time you reach a non-cut curb at the end of a sidewalk, it’ll be a lesson to you.”

“Each time you consider a new development, we bring up ever-present issues with access, and the developers always brush off our concern saying it’s fully Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. That should be a bare minimum, not the goal.”

“For instance, putting the lowest income, senior, and accessible units only on the upper floors, where they are elevator dependent and trapped in an emergency, should be reined in by this council. It would help if you also did oversight.”

• Better sidewalks and mobility: Anjali Tapadia requested to pull item number seven on the consent calendar. She also echoed Mr. Harrison’s comments regarding the need for better accommodations in the infrastructure for individuals who have mobility impairments.

“I walk and bike a lot in our city. Our sidewalks are narrow; the ADA requires 3 feet of space. There are some objects occupying part of the sidewalk. You have two feet of space that are often inadequate and difficult to navigate,” said Tapadia, “I also notice many individuals on the road in mobility scooters and motorized wheelchairs, and they have to ride on the road itself with traffic often. They have to go against the traffic flow to get around, and it is unfair to put them in that unsafe position and leaves them vulnerable to collisions.”

“The reason that it is important that we have these conversations at the city level is because our federal guidelines are inadequate. Our federal guidelines are the bare minimum, but many of the changes then fall onto the shoulders of cities. And cities then have to make special accommodations if they choose to assist all of their residents. It’s hard to enact global policy at the federal level, so we as a city have to take the lead if we want to address these limitations and make our city easier to navigate for individuals with mobility impairments or other needs.”

• Mobile Home Park Sues Homeowners: A couple told their story in Korean to the city council. See their story on the front page of the July 2023 issue.

• Flying the Pride Flag and Flag Etiquette: “Seeing the pride flag flying is nice, especially when the Orange County Supervisors voted to ban the Pride Flag. I like that, but the POW flag should fly directly under the United States flag and then the California flag,” said Maureen Milton.

• Advocate for the homeless, the veterans, the OCTA bus drivers, and the low-income: Community funding The Cash App card, a free Visa debit card, allows community funding to pay for rent, electric bills, gas, and other goods and services,” said Curtis Gamble.

“The City of Fullerton municipal code for emergency shelters allows churches to shelter up to 12 homeless individuals, including tiny movable homes or shipping container homes on all church properties on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

“The housing element for 2021 through 2029 should also include a safe RV parking program. The OC Point in Time 2022 count stated that Fullerton has over 300 homeless people living on the streets. OCTA buses should pick up and drop off the homeless at all emergency shelters within a half mile of OCTA bus stops which should include parking spaces, restrooms, and drinking fountains as well.”

• Higher Taxes and City Revenue: A local resident, ZJ Hahn, advocated for an auto mall and higher tax base so the city can pay its bills and fix the streets.

The Pines Development at Sunrise Village

Sunrise Village Owner, LLC has petitioned the City to form a Mello-Roos Community Facilities District to secure bond financing in an amount not to exceed $9,500,000 secured by special taxes levied on residential parcels within the mixed-use site known as The Pines at Sunrise Village. Director Ellis Chang made a brief presentation.

The developer Sunrise Village Investments petitioned for City Council consideration of two resolutions. 1) to authorize forming a Community Facilities District (CFD). 2) to authorize the CFD to issue debt. The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act allows for the creation of special districts.

The formation of such districts will enable developers to finance public facilities through specific fees and infrastructure improvements, which provide the public benefit and the city acting as a conduit for tax-exempt financing. There are two steps to forming a CFD. After the developer submits the petition, a request comes before City Council to seek approval to form the CFD and to allow the CFD to incur indebtedness.

If City Council adopts the resolutions, the next step would be a public hearing (tentatively scheduled for August 1). Later, the developer will initiate financing of the public facilities fees and improvements. The city is not responsible for paying the debt. Further, if the public facilities fees and improvements exceed the authorized amount to be financed, the developer is responsible for any excess costs and formation costs.

There were no public comments on this item. Passed 4 to 1 Whitaker No

The Tracks Hotel at Fullerton Station

The Tracks at Fullerton Station project proposes redeveloping 1.66 acres which the City sold to Park West Developers (PWD) for $1.4 million in 2022 and granted them exclusive negotiation rights for a mixed-use development.

The development includes 141 residential units, 13 very low-income units, hotel and restaurant space, and 375 parking spaces, including 165 parking spaces for public use, located at 200 – 214 East Santa Fe Avenue.

Elizabeth Hansberge and Fullerton Heritage representative said that they support this project. Several people cautioned the council. They pointed out that the report did not disclose when those 13 low-income units would revert to market value; Fullerton already has a safe parking shortage downtown, and for the City to use explicit language that tells the developers that they must be completed and occupied simultaneously.

Jane Reifer said, “We need to get the transit orientation right, good sidewalks, good bicycle facilities, and public restrooms in this project. Public restrooms are supposed to be part of this phase. ”

Recommended Actions

• Subject to conditions of approval, it is recommended that the council adopt the 2023 major site plan, conditional use permit hotel use, and tentative parcel map

• This is a six-story building with an additional loft. According to the architect, Lofts are not considered stories because they do not have mezzanine space. According to the California Building Code, a LOFT is defined as “A floor level located more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the main floor and open to it on at least one side with a ceiling height of less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm), used as a living or sleeping space.”

Passed 3 to 2 Charles, Zahra, and Whitaker -Yes Dunlap and Jung – No


1 reply »

  1. Did the City explain how they were bamboozled (or complicit) in allowing several times the density the Transportation Center Specific Plan allows? Or how ’bout selling a $15,000,000 property (given the density they allowed) for a mere $1.4 million bucks – a massive gift of public funds.