Santa Paula Planning: Applicant Questions City Development Fees

By Sheryl Hamlin

18-CDP-04 Harvard Professional Center

This project was presented by Planner Doberneck. The presentation covered all phases of the design, landscaping, improvements, neighborhood and communication with the applicant.

Development Impact Fees attributable to new development

1) Law enforcement facilities, vehicles, and equipment
2) Fire suppression facilities, vehicles, and equipment
3) General facilities, vehicles, and equipment
4) Community library facilities and collections
5) Public use (community centers) facilities
6) Parks/open space and recreation facilities
7) Road project construction, right-of-way acquisition, and engineering
8) Storm drainage facilities construction
9) Water acquisition/storage/distribution facility construction
10) Sanitary sewer collection infrastructure construction.

Street improvements are shown on the picture from the staff report. Half of Harvard Boulevard and Laurie (in yellow) will be improved, but rather than improve them and re-do this when the Harvard cross-town project occurs, the city is offering the applicant the ability to deposit $80,000 into the in lieu account which the city will use at a later date. The applicant has suggested that $20,000 ($1 per sq/ft) would be appropriate.

Street Improvements, source Staff report

 

Elevations

The project consists of two buildings, a one story on the east side of the lot and the two-stoiry on the west side of the lot with a blade in the middle. There are over 50 trees on the project site, including a row of trees to the south as a buffer between the homes.

Harvard Professional Center,source staff report

The palette is muted with natural stone tiles and aluminum, Large street numbers, called “super graphics”, are three feet numbers for both buildings shown below.

Harvard Professional Center,source staff report

Applicant Presentation

Mr. Kashani, one of the partners of Tristar Development, who is also a lawyer and a licensed real estate agent, presented his firm’s award winning projects. One of which was an old Marie Calendars repurposed into an Advanced Imaging Center. See projects here.

They have two tenants, one for the single level, a non-traditional education center, and a medical group for the two level. Leases are under consideration for both.

Mr. Kashimi then reviewed the large list of Conditions of Approval citing vague language and excessive fees. He said that in 25 years development he has never seen such an expensive fee structure, saying that fees in Los Angeles are much lower. He calculated the total fees to be around $700,000. He objected to the lot merger which could be simplified with a lot tie filing at a much lower cost, for example.

His firm has a building in escrow on the east side of town which he may drop due to the fees. He indicated that their firm purchased this property in 2017. His clients are non-profits and the fees make these buildings too expensive for tenants.

He concluded by saying “the city has never demonstrated a relation between impact and fees.”

Commission Discussion

Director Mason noted that the Santa Paula fees had been approved two years ago by council With decades of no development, the fee structure was designed to make up for this.

To this, the applicant jumped in asking, how can you (the city) foster development with such an exorbitant fee structure? Attorney Kettle reminded the applicant not to speak unless responding to a question.

Commissioner Vasquez asked about dates communicating with staff to which the applicant said he received the final report only Monday of this week and that it had changed several times.

Commissioner Dunkel asked about “encountering utilities”, to which the applicant indicated that this was some of the vague language which must be clarified.

Commissioner Bangs said that the Commission had no ability to change fees and if they did, all subsequent developers would ask for the same treatment; however she did say that they could propose the removal of the lot merger to be substituted with the lot tie.

The Commission approved the project with this change in a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Ikerd absent. The applicant plans to file an appeal to council to discuss the fee structures, which he said make the project financially unviable.

A previous project on this site did not proceed. Read about that project here.

The discussion continued for over an hour and it is unfortunate that a video was not made of this meeting. In fact, at the time of this writing, the audio is not available.

19-CUP-01 Gunsmoke Barbecue Type 41 Alcohol License

Due to density issues with the issuance of alcohol permits, any new application in Santa Paula must receive permission to exceed the density. Type 41 allows for consumption of beer and wine on or off premises, which means that citizens can order take-out with beer. There will also be a sidewalk permit for two tables. Planner Doberneck noted that Flight 126 also has a sidewak permit.

The new restaurant will feature outdoor dining on the large patio which extends 10 feet within the Santa Paula Inn and doubles the size of the restaurant. The barbecue will be on the patio.

Because Santa Paula’s downtown is an entire census tract, the density formula is skewed. Clearly the downtown needs vibrant, successful restaurants which generally include beer and wine.

The Commission approved the permit with a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Ikerd was not present.

To download the complete agenda packet, click here.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com


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