Planning Commission


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  1.       
Meeting Date: 01/25/2021  
Submitted By: David Lopez, Associate Planner

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT (CEQA):
This project was reviewed pursuant to the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and determined to be Categorically Exempt pursuant to Section 15303(c) Class 3: New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures of the CEQA Guidelines.
RECOMMENDATION:
A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LA HABRA APPROVING DESIGN REVIEW 20-03 FOR FACADE AND ONSITE IMPROVEMENTS AT 1281 EAST LA HABRA BOULEVARD, AS PER THE APPROVED PLANS, MAKING THE APPROPRIATE FINDINGS AND SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS.
DISCUSSION:
The Applicant, Troy Harbor Development, LLC is proposing facade and parking lot improvements to an existing commercial building located within a commercial shopping center. The subject property is located near the northeast corner of La Habra Boulevard and Harbor Boulevard. The subject building is located to the far east of the center.  The General Plan Land Use Designation is Mixed-Use Center 3. The property is zoned (SP-1) La Habra Boulevard Specific Plan and designated Mixed-Use Center 3 which is consistent with the General Plan. 

The subject commercial shopping center consists of five parcels each owned by a different property owner, providing a combined area of approximately 5.51 acres. The most recognizable onsite improvements within the center include the drive-thru Starbucks located at the southwest corner of the center, Harbor Freight located along the northerly side of the center and two commercial pad buildings located along the southerly side of the center, fronting onto La Habra Boulevard.  As mentioned the subject property is located along the easterly end of the center. The subject parcel (APN 303-011-04) measures 100 feet wide by 305 feet in length (30,500 square feet) and contains a 9,900 square foot commercial building with six suites. The commercial building is rectangular in shape and built near the southeasterly property line with the main entrances to the suites facing west into the parking lot.  The current list of tenants includes Arthur's Coffee Shop located at the northerly end of the building, a hair and nail salon, a tobacco store/smoke shop, a chiropractic office, a dental office and a vacant suite.

The Applicant is requesting to remodel the facade of the building by constructing tower elements, parapet walls to screen the roof top equipment, and add fabric awnings.  The proposed facade improvements will include architectural elements, materials and colors found on the other four commercial buildings located within the center to create architectural consistency. The parking lot improvements include the relocation of a trash enclosure to the north side of the parcel, and modifications to the landscape planter and monument sign located near La Habra Boulevard.
Color Building Elevations

Analysis
The proposed project is before the Planning Commission pursuant to the La Habra Municipal Code (LHMC) Section 18.44.050.F.1.c which requires a Design Review for major remodeling with the SP-1 Zone. Such projects are subject to the standards and requirements set forth in Chapter 18.68 Design Review. In order to approve a design plan, all of the following findings must be made:
  1. The proposed plan is consistent with the City's General Plan.
  2. The proposed plan is consistent with the City's Zoning Ordinance.
  3. The proposed plan is in the best interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.
  4. The nature of the proposed land uses and the design is appropriate for the proposed location and is compatible to the surrounding land uses and improvements.
  5. The project complies with all requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The property is designated Mixed Use Center 3 which is characterized by large parcels developed with retail or office commercial, multi-family residential units, or for a mix of these uses distributed horizontally on the site or vertically in buildings with housing above ground level commercial uses. Permitted uses may include, Commercial, Multi-family Residential, and Mixed-Use Buildings. The subject property is improved with a commercial building that will be remodeled. The General Plan's goals and policies encourage the rehabilitation and renovation of underutilized commercial centers with the goal to revitalize the area. The proposed project's onsite improvements and facade remodel will accomplish those goals.

In addition, the project's facade design, building colors and materials are all in compliance with the La Habra Boulevard Specific Plan Design Guidelines. The design guidelines are designed to provide applicants with a variety of options in achieving the architectural effect of the Early California Spanish Style.  The project complies with the design guidelines with the use of exterior plaster or stucco with a ceramic tile wainscot, cloth awnings, arches incorporated in the design, earth tone colors and decorative wrought iron accents. As mentioned, the design is consistent with the other commercial buildings located within the shopping center. 

The property as currently improved does not comply with the side yard setback, along the easterly property line (code requires 10 feet, project provides five feet) and does not provide sufficient onsite parking lot landscaping (code requires seven percent, project provides two percent). These two items are preexisting nonconforming that can be addressed via LHMC Section 18.44.050.F.1.c which authorizes the Planning Commission to grant deviations from the prescribed development standards to parcels which by the nature of their size, location, topography, or configuration require overall planning design in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Specific Plan. For this project, it is not feasible to remove a portion of the existing building area to comply with the side yard setback. Also, the onsite parking lot landscaping is limited based on the existing building's design and parking lot layout.

Onsite parking is addressed via an approved Zone Variance that reduced parking from 57 spaces to the existing 34 spaces and an active parking agreement between the five parcels.  The proposed facade improvement plans include an encroachment of one foot into the front yard setback which is permitted via Section 18.44.040.B.3 which allows architectural features to extend into the front setback no more than 36 inches. The proposed encroachment involves the construction of an architectural tower element that projects one foot into the front setback. The proposed architectural feature does not add any usable floor area to the building. 

As part of the project, the landscape planter and monument sign located near La Habra Boulevard will be modified. The improvements include enlarging the landscape planter to provide additional onsite landscaping, and to create a 20 foot drive throat at the main entrance to the property. The monument sign will be relocated to further back from La Habra Boulevard to provide improved line of sight when exiting the property.  The monument sign will be painted to match the new building colors.

Code Compliance
  City Requirements Proposal
Building Height 50 feet 20 feet
Front Setback (South) 10 feet 9 feet*
Side Setback (East) 10 feet 5 feet**
Side Setback (West) Not required 43 feet
Rear Setback (North) 20 feet 68 feet
Floor Area Ratio (FAR) 24,400 sf (80%) 32 %
Parking 57 spaces 34 spaces***
Front Landscape Setback 10 feet 9-20 feet
Onsite Landscaping 1,054 sf (7%) 415 sf (2%)**

* LHMC Section 18.44.040.B.3 allows architectural features to extend into the front setback no more than 36 inches. The project includes the construction of an architectural tower element that encroaches into the front setback by one foot. The proposed feature is not adding usable floor area.
** The five-foot side setback and onsite landscaping are existing conditions. Pursuant to LHMC Section 18.44.050.F.1.c the Planning Commission may grant deviations from the prescribed development standards to those parcels which by the nature of their size, location, topography, configuration or other considerations require overall planning design and control in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Specific Plan. 
*** Zone Variance 88-83 was approved by the Planning Commission on June 26, 1989, that reduced the required parking from 57 spaces to 34 spaces. In addition, the commercial shopping center has a recorded shared parking agreement between all five parcels.

Related Cases
  • Building permits were issued in 1979 for the construction of the subject commercial building.
  • On February 13, 1984, the Planning Commission approved Conditional Use Permit 84-05 to establish Arthur's Coffee Shop.
  • On June 26, 1989, the Planning Commission approved Conditional Use Permit 88-49 to expand Arthur's Coffee Shop into an adjacent suite and Zone Variance 88-83 to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 57 spaces to 34 spaces.



 

 
FISCAL IMPACT/SOURCE OF FUNDING:
The proposed project has no fiscal impacts to the City's general fund.
NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES):
The Applicant's proposal has been reviewed pursuant to the requirements of the City's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Permit, the Local Implementation Plan (LIP), and the Model Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP), Section 7.2. The project is exempted by the Water Quality Ordinance from the preparation of a WQMP.
GENERAL PLAN RELEVANCE:
The property is designated Mixed Use Center 3 which is characterized by large parcels developed with retail or office commercial, multi-family residential units, or for a mix of these uses distributed horizontally on the site or vertically in buildings with housing above ground level commercial uses. Permitted uses may include, Commercial, Multi-family Residential, and Mixed-Use Buildings. The subject property is improved with a commercial building which will be remodeled. The General Plan's goals and policies encourage the rehabilitation and renovation of underutilized commercial centers with the goal to revitalize the area. Therefore, the proposed project and requested improvements are consistent with the land use designation. 

The project implements Policies: LU 2.2 Places to Shop, LU 2.3 Places to Work, LU 3.7 Buildings that Engage the Street, LU 3.8 Cohesive and Integrated Development, LU 4.1 Development Compatibility, LU 4.4 Design Review, and LU 5.6 Building Rehabilitation, of the General Plan 2035.
Attachments
1. Design Review Resolution
2. Vicinity Map
3. Project Plans
4. Parking Agreement
5. Application
6. PowerPoint Presentation
7. Public Notice


    

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