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  AGENDA ITEM NO. K.1.       
Meeting Date: 09/21/2021  

SUBJECT:
MLC HOLDINGS, INC., APPLICANT
(PROJECT PLANNER: SEAN REILLY, SENIOR PLANNER)
(Mayor to declare meeting open as a public hearing)

PUBLIC HEARING to consider the following applications for 58.6 gross acres of land located on the north side of Domestic Avenue, approximately 625 feet west of Texas Street, and on the east side of Interstate 210 (APNs: 0167-031-02-0000, 0167-031-03-0000, 0167-031-04-0000, 0167-031-05-0000, 0167-031-06-0000, 0167-031-07-0000 and 0167-031-16-0000) in the Science Research Park (EV/SRP) District of the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan:
  1. Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for the project in accordance with Section 15074 of the California Environmental Quality Act.  
     
  2. Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study prepared for the project in accordance with Measure “U.”  
     
  3. Specific Plan No. 40, Amendment No. 46, a request to amend the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan and change the Land Use Map to remove 58.6 acres from the boundaries of the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan.
     
  4. Specific Plan No. 64, also known as the “Bergamot Specific Plan,” as the new underlying zoning designation for 58.6 acres and establish development standards to accommodate single family residential development at a density of 5.4 dwelling units per acre. The project proposes to construct a total of 317 single family one-story and two-story homes, new interior streets to serve the project, private recreational open space areas and on-site amenities, landscape and lighting, a new 11.84-acre public park for active recreation, and related improvements including drainage basins and public/private utility connections.
     
  5. Tentative Tract Map No. 20336, a request to subdivide 58.6 acres into a total of 317 residential lots for detached single-family dwelling units, and five lettered lots for on-site landscaping, a 11.84-acre public park, private on-site open space, and a private well site. Proposed access to the development would include constructing a segment of Domestic Avenue approximately 2,300 feet in length to the west of Texas Street, and a new secondary access road approximately 2,000 feet in length to the west of Texas Street (located approximately 1,290 feet to the north of Domestic Avenue). 
     
  6. Commission Review and Approval No. 922 for site plan approval and architectural design review to construct a total 317 single-family detached homes within the Bergamot Specific Plan.

(Development Services Director Desatnik)
PROCEDURE FOR PUBLIC HEARING:
  1. Mayor declares the meeting open as a public hearing.
  2. Mayor calls upon Department Director for report.
  3. Mayor calls for questions/comments from members of the City Council.
  4. Mayor calls upon applicant, or his/her representative, for comments and testimony.
  5. Mayor calls for comments/questions/testimony from members of the public
    (3 minutes per speaker).
  6. Mayor calls upon City Clerk to note any written comments received.
  7. Mayor calls upon the applicant, or representative, for rebuttal comments (5 minutes).
  8. Mayor closes the public hearing.
  9. City Council considers the motion and votes.
MOTION(S):

If the City Council determines that the Planning Commission's recommendation is appropriate, the following motion is provided:

"I move that the City Council adopt Resolution Nos. 8250, 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, and 8255 to approve the Bergamot Specific Plan project."

(Requires a 4/5ths vote of the members of the City Council because of necessary Measure "U" findings and requirements.)
 
COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION:

On August 10, 2021, the Planning Commission reviewed the proposed project and voted 6 to 0 adopting resolutions making recommendations that the City Council approve the following actions:
  • Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the proposed project;
  • Approve a Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study for the project;
  • Approve Amendment No. 46 to Specific Plan 40 (East Valley Corridor Specific Plan);
  • Approve Specific Plan No. 64 (Berrgamot Specific Plan); 
  • Approve Tentative Tract Map No. 20336; and 
  • Approve Commission Review and Approval No. 922

A Condition of Approval was added by the Planning Commission (and agreed to by the applicant) requiring the installation of a $20,000 public art piece within the sports park area of the project. 
BACKGROUND:

The project site currently consists of citrus groves and vacant unimproved land. Aerial photography indicates that agricultural uses, specifically citrus groves, were established on the properties prior to 1938.
 
In 2004, the Redlands Unified School District notified the City of their intent to acquire approximately 60 acres to the south of the project site to construct Citrus Valley High School. Meeting minutes from the April 13, 2004, Planning Commission meeting documented discussion by Commissioners regarding how the new school's location in the middle of an area zoned for commercial land uses would change the direction of future development in that area of the city. Citrus Valley High School opened for classes in 2009.

In December 2017, the City Council adopted the 2035 General Plan, and in so doing changed the land use designations to Residential (from what was previously Commercial Industrial) for all the properties on the west side of Texas Street, west to the Interstate 210 right-of-way, and to the north of Citrus Valley High School.

On June 16, 2020, the City Council approved the Heritage Specific Plan located to the immediate south of Citrus Valley High School, at the southwest corner of Texas Street and Pioneer Avenue. The Heritage Specific Plan is currently in early phases of construction for 207 single-family dwelling units on approximately 37 acres, and similar entitlements to the proposed project (e.g., Specific Plan Amendment, a new Specific Plan, and a Tentative Tract Map).
 
The applicant submitted their application in March 2020. On April 8, 2021, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission reviewed the project (which proposes a new public park on 11.84 acres) and unanimously approved a recommendation to the City Council that the proposed amenities will satisfy an existing community and recreational need of the City. On June 1, 2021, the City Council adopted Resolution No.  8213 authorizing the acceptance of the park proposal and finding that the park improvements will address substantial recreational needs of the City. Resolution No. 8213 (Attachment A) details the acceptance of the proposed public park space and associated improvements, and stating that a credit of park and open space development impact fees (in the amount of $1,255,300) will be credited to the applicant upon satisfaction of specific requirements.

DISCUSSION:

Project Description: The project site is located on the north side of Domestic Avenue, on the east side of Interstate 210, and approximately 625 feet to the west of Texas Street (see Attachment B, Location Map). The applicant proposes to remove the entire project site totaling 58.64 acres from the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan (EVCSP) and adopt a new Specific Plan No. 64 to establish development standards for the proposed single-family residential development. The proposal will subdivide the project site area into 317 single-family residential lots plus five (5) lettered lots for a 11.8 acre public park, landscaped areas, private recreational open space, and a well site. 

The Specific Plan would allow the construction of one-story and two-story single-family homes within three distinctive neighborhoods with differing lot sizes and product types, require the construction of new interior streets and off-site roads to serve the project, a public park including sports fields, as well as private on-site amenities, landscape and lighting, and related improvements including drainage basins and public/private utility connections. Additional detailed analysis of the project is contained in the Planning Commission staff report (click this link to view the August 10, 2021, staff report).

A)  General Plan and Measure "U"

The land use designation to the north of Citrus Valley High School (to the Santa Ana River Wash) became Low Density Residential and Very Low Density Residential in December 2017 with the adoption of the 2035 General Plan. The current General Plan designation of the project site is Low Density Residential, which allows for up to 6.0 units per acre. The project proposes a residential density of 5.4 units per acre and is consistent with the Low Density Residential land use designation. 

The City is currently preparing the 2022-2029 Housing Element, and the City's new allocation of housing numbers from the Southern California Association of Governments will total 3,516 units, of which 1,282 units can be above-moderate income units (or market-rate) category. The proposed project, if approved, will contribute an additional 317 new housing units that will help the City meet its overall housing goals. 

Measure 'U' contains a provision applicable to the project site and proposed project. As the land comprising the project site was in active agricultural production on November 3, 1986, Measure 'U' limits the maximum density to the R-E, Residential Estate classification (i.e., approximately 3.0 dwelling units per acre) unless special findings can be made and the project receives a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the City Council. As such, to approve the proposed project with a density consistent with the "Low Density Residential" land use designation (up to 6.0 units per acre) will require a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the City Council.

B)  Current Zoning Designation

The property is currently located in the Science Research Park (EV/SRP) district of the EVCSP (see Attachment C-1, Zone Map) which was intended to provide for the grouping of high technology industries and supportive business, professional, very light manufacturing, assembly, and accessory retail services, all of which having related and compatible functions. As noted in the Background section, the land use designations for the area to the north of Citrus Valley High School has shifted to Low Density Resdiential and Very Low Density Residential following establishment of the high school. 

C)  Specific Plan Amendment

The proposal includes the request to amend the land use map for the EVCSP (Specific Plan No. 40) to remove the project site from the EVCSP boundaries, and replace it with the proposed Bergamot Specific Plan (Specific Plan No. 64) as shown in Attachment C-2.  To establish the land uses proposed by the Bergamot Specific Plan, new develoment standards are necessary. The EVCSP does not include development standards for small-lot residential development (i.e., lot sizes less than 7,200 square-feet) which is what the Bergamot Specific Plan envisions for some sub-areas. As such, the housing types proposed within Neighborhood 2 and Neighborhood 3 would not be able to be constructed by using another residential district currently provided in the EVCSP document. The only single-family residential zoning district available in the EVCSP is the Single Family Residential District, and that is intended for a traditional single-family residential subdivision on lots with a minimum of 7,200 square-feet (not small lot subdivisions or clustered development).

D)  Proposed Specific Plan

The Bergamot Specific Plan (see Attachment D) will provide the framework for developing a cohesive master planned residential community. It will provide development standards and design guidelines tailored to the project site and proposed home sites. A development of this nature could not normally be accommodated using the EVCSP development standards or the City's zoning regulations (RMC Title 18). By removing the project site from the EVCSP and creating a new specific plan, the project is able to use unique development standards to accommodate the proposed development. 

1. Land Use Plan

The project is divided into three distinct residential neighborhoods, each with different product types, and includes approximately 15.5 acres of open space overall. The proposed density achieves 5.4 dwelling units per acre by efficiently grouping the main residential areas on the easterly side of the project site, and this will allow the creation of a 11.84-acre public sports park to be dedicated to the City. In addition, over three acres will be provided for two smaller private parks and these will be connected by a private walkway or "paseo" area as shown on the Land Use Plan (see Attachment E). A brief description of each neighborhood and the open space areas are included below.
 
Residential Uses: Neighborhood 1 is located along the northeastern portion of the site, is 12.19 acres in size, and has 53 traditional single-family style lots with a minimum lot size of 7,200 square-feet. Homes on the north side of Neighborhood 1 front onto Street 'N' (a new public street located on the project’s northern border) with the remainder of the neighborhood being accessed from Street 'N' onto an interior street.  Lots within Neighborhood 1 have typical lot dimensions of 60’ x 120’ and are the largest within the project. Homes within this neighborhood are one-story and two-story, with floor areas ranging from 2,106 to 3,247 square-feet of living space and two-car garages.   
 
Neighborhood 2 is located along the southeastern portion of the project, is 19.25 acres in size, and has 144 detached small lots for single-family residences with a minimum lot size of 3,500 square-feet. Homes in the southernmost portion of Neighborhood 2 will front onto Domestic Avenue, and there are two access points into Neighborhood 2 from Domestic Avenue. Typical lots dimensions for this neighborhood are 46’ x 77’ and make up the majority of the lots within the project. Homes within this neighborhood are two-story with floor areas ranging from 1,926 to 2,300 square-feet of living space and two-car garages.
     
Neighborhood 3 is located to the west of Neighborhoods 1 and 2, directly east of the new public park, and extends from Domestic Avenue (on the south) to Street 'N' (on the north). This neighborhood is 11.7 acres and has 120 single-family detached residences fronting onto private motorcourts. Motorcourts are designed as 24’ wide private alleys, each one providing access to a cluster of six homes. Each of these detached homes is located on an individual lot, with a minimum lot size of 1,900 square-feet, and an average lot size of 2,521 square-feet. Homes within this neighborhood are two-story with floor areas ranging from 1,465 to 2,125 square-feet of living space and two-car garages.
 
Open Space: In total, approximately 25% of the project site is dedicated to open space uses. The project includes a series of trail connections from each of the sub-neighborhoods to trails that pass through each of the open space areas and to the future Santa Ana River Trail, a segment of which will be included as a Class 3 trail within the Domestic Avenue right-of-way and constructed by the developer.
 
The westernmost portion of the project will be dedicated for an 11.84-acre public sports park. The park area extends from the southwesterly portion of the project site on Domestic Avenue to the project site's northerly border. At this time, the design concept includes six soccer fields, one baseball field, plus other amenities such as spectator seating areas, picnic and sitting areas, and a public parking lot with 72 spaces. Within the park area, a trail/walkway will be provided that will allow connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists from Domestic Avenue (to the south) to Street 'N' (to the north). The proposed trail system will provide connectivity to the public park from the proposed Santa Ana River Trail.
 
The private paseo (walkway) and parks areas will extend from east to west between Neighborhoods 1 and 2, and providing pedestrian connectivity to the 11.84-acre public park. On the east and west ends of this open space/paseo area, the applicant is proposing two pocket parks (one on each end of the paseo). On the eastern end of the paseo, “Park A” includes open lawn play areas and play equipment suitable for children ages five to fourteen years of age. On the western end of the paseo, “Park B” includes an open lawn play area, play equipment suitable for children two to five years of age, plus ten parking spaces. In total, these private open space areas composed of the paseo and two parks are 3.76 acres.

2. Right-of-Way, Access, and Circulation

Additional details regarding the project’s access, circulation and right-of-way, care contained within the August 10, 2021, Planning Commission staff report. Click this link to view the August 10, 2021 staff report and attachments
 
Off-site improvements will be required to provide access as shown on the Circulation Plan (Attachment F). The project is located approximately 625 feet to the west of Texas Street. Currently, there is no paved access to the site. To provide access to the project site, the applicant proposes to improve Domestic Avenue with full improvements (including curb/gutter, sidewalks, and parkway landscape) from Texas Street to the sports park as a 62’ wide Collector Street. The County of San Bernardino’s Santa Ana River Trail (Phase IV, Reach A segment) is proposed to be constructed as a Class 3 bike path within the right-of-way of the Domestic Avenue extension.
 
Street 'N' is located along the project’s northern border, and is designated as a 64’ wide Collector Street in the General Plan. There are currently no existing street improvements associated with Street 'N.'  The applicant is proposing to construct Street 'N' from Texas Street to the project’s eastern edge with a paved width of 32’ (this is the equivalent of the required half street width of paving, plus an additional 12’ of paving north of the centerline). The 32’ paved street width will continue to its western terminus. At the project’s eastern edge, full improvements begin on the south side (curb/gutter, landscaped parkway and sidewalk) and continue for the full length of Street 'N' adjacent to the project. 
 
Improvements along Texas Street will end 400’ north of Domestic Avenue. The applicant is proposing to provide a 34-foot wide paved roadway from this point proceeding north to the intersection with Street 'N.'  These improvements are required to provide access for emergency services, and therefore, the applicant is providing the improvements necessary on Texas Street to allow access from Street 'N' leading south to Domestic Avenue (and to Pioneer Avenue further to the south).
 
All interior streets within the project are designed as Local Streets and will have a right-of-way of 60’ with a paved surface width of 36’ (a 36’ paved width accommodates parking on both sides of the street and one lane in each direction).

Access Easements and Agreements: Portions of the roadways for Domestic Avenue and Street 'N' that are proposed to be improved by the applicant will require additional dedication or right-of-way (which is access across off-site properties that are not currently owned by the applicant). The applicant is currently in the process of negotiating access agreements and easements to provide the access to the proposed project (as described above for Street 'N' and Domestic Avenue). In the event the applicant is unable to acquire the necessary easements through the usual transaction process, MUED has included a Condition of Approval No. B-30 that states, “In the event the applicant lacks sufficient title or interest, including an easement or license, at the time the final map is filed with the City, to construct the required improvements for Domestic Avenue and proposed 'N' Street, the applicant has requested the City accept its voluntary waiver of any rights it may have pursuant to Government Code section 66462.5 and agrees that the City shall have no obligation pursuant to such section to take any action with respect to the final map, unless and until the City determines in its sole and absolute, but reasonable, discretion that the applicant has such sufficient title or interest. Through the imposition of this condition, the City accepts and relies upon the applicant's aforementioned request and waiver in approving this tentative map.”
 
3. Proposed Development Standards

The proposed Bergamot Specific Plan provides the development standards that will be applicable to all new structures and improvements within the project site. The applicant has created the development standards to suit their residential products. As such, the proposal will comply with its development standards. See Attachement G for the plot plan showing the proposed lot configurations and site layout.

Proposed Architecture: The Specific Plan establishes architectural guidelines to specify the design criteria for homes and buildings in the plan area. Each neighborhood will have a distinct product type, with four different floor plans and three different architectural elevations for each floor plan (for a total of twelve unique combinations possible for variety). Architectural styles for the single-family homes include Santa Barbara, Coastal, and Farmhouse themes (see Attachment H). The Specific Plan (pages 41 - 44) contains a discussion of each of these architectural styles and their characteristics. Rear and side elevations viewable from the public streets, trails, parks, and private open space areas will be enhanced with window trims and treatments similar to those found on the front elevations.

Landscaping: The conceptual landscape plan includes a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees on the lettered lots, parks, and parkways. A variety of eight street trees are included in the plant palette, and seven tree types are selected for common areas and parks. A broad range of private residential lot trees and plants are provided within the plant palette for private lots (see Attachment I). The Specific Plan identifies trees, shrubs, lawn substitutes, and ground covers to be used within the development. The Home Owner’s Association (HOA) will maintain the common landscaped areas and lettered lots in the interior of the development.

Fences & Walls: The Specific Plan provides development standards and guidelines for new fencing and walls (see Attacchment J for a fence and wall exhibit). On the east and west sides of the project, the perimeter will be surrounded by a 6' high slump stone masonry wall with top cap. At certain portions of the project site with residential lots nearer the freeway (near the northwest corner of the site), slightly higher walls up to 7' or 8' high may be required per the proposed mitigation measures for Noise (a 6.5' high wall on the west side of Lots 300-302, and a 7.5' high wall on the west side of Lots 297-299, as discussed in the Initial Study/MND). Fencing between each of the residential lots will be 6' high with tan vinyl material. Within the public park area, storm water basins and the sports fields will have 6’ high tube steel fences.

E)  Tentative Tract Map
 
Tentative Tract Map No. 20336 (Attachment K) would subdivide the property into 317 single-family lots. The residential lot dimensions within the tract vary by neighborhood and conform to the development standards established by the Bergamot Specific Plan as discussed above. The tentative tract map will also include five (5) lettered lots for open space areas, and 20 lettered lots designed to accommodate the private motorcourts/alleys to provide vehicular access to the homes in Neighborhood 3. The tract map complies with the development standards of the proposed Bergamot Specific Plan.

F)  Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study
 
In accordance with the provisions of the Principles of Management Development in Measure "U," a Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study (Attachment L) was prepared for the project. The results of the study find that the project will not create any unmitigable physical blight or overburden public services in the community because project design features as well as mitigation measures described in the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (incorporated in the Conditions of Approval for the project) will reduce project effects to a less than significant level. In addition, the project will result in a positive annual revenue/cost ratio of 1.09 with annual residential revenues anticipated to be approximately $136,688 to the City upon project completion, and annual ongoing costs of approximately $125,910. This results in an annual positive balance of approximately $10,778 (or a positive ratio of +1.09).
 
G) Rezoning Prior Agricultural Land to Higher Density than (R-E) Residential Estate
 
Policy 4.40s of the Redlands 1995 General Plan was established by Measure “U” and limits residential density to R-E, Residential Estate standards for any land that was in active agricultural  production on November 3, 1986, regardless of zoning.  The R-E zoning district has a minimum lot size of 14,000 square-feet, and a maximum density of 3 units per acre. The City Council is authorized to approve rezoning to higher densities with a 4/5 vote of the total authorized membership of the City Council, upon the making of mandatory findings. These findings are included in Attachment M and also Resolution No. 8252.
 
H) Findings
 
Project findings are inlcluded as Attachment M and included within the project resolutions. 
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:

The City prepared an Initial Study in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (Attachment N-1) was made available for public review and comment for 30 days as required (State Clearinghouse No. 2021050600) between May 27, 2021, and June 25, 2021. The environmental documents were also made available via the City’s website for posting environmental documents at 'www.cityofredlands.org/post/environmental-documents'.
 
Mitigation Measures: The Initial Study recommends a Mitigated Negative Declaration with 14 mitigation measures which pertain to Biological Resources, Geological Resources, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Noise, Transportation, and Tribal Cultural Resources. Most mitigation measures pertain to the construction phase of the project (e.g., construction activities, site improvements, or construction materials) and there are no aspects of the project after construction that will require on-going future monitoring for CEQA purposes. The mitigation measures will ensure that the effects of the project will remain less than significant, and are summarized in the Mitigation Montoting and Reporting Program (Attachment N-2).

After mitigation, no significant effects were identified as a result of the project, and the recommended mitigation measures will be incorporated into the project as mandatory Conditions of Approval. There is no substantial evidence of any potentially significant environmental effects as a result of the project, and a Mitigated Negative Declaration is the appropriate environmental determination. 
 
Public Comments: Five public comments letters were received during the public comment period from the California Department of Conservation, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the County of San Bernardino Public Works Department, and from two Native American tribes. The City's environmental consultant has reviewed all comments, and no substantive changes to the IS/MND or additional or revised mitigation measures are necessary. The City's consultant has also prepared a Response to Comments document as well as an Errata to the IS/MND (for minor text changes and edits) which are provided in Attachment N-3. All documents are included with the IS/MND through the weblink provided above.

ALTERNATIVES:
  1. The City Council may continue the public hearing and direct staff to address any issues or bring back additional information; or,
     
  2. The City Council may continue the public hearing and direct staff to prepare findings supporting denial of the request.
SUBMITTED BY:
Brian Desatnik, Development Services Director

RECOMMENDED BY:
Charles M. Duggan Jr., City Manager

REVIEWED BY:
Daniel J. McHugh, City Attorney
Janice McConnell, Assistant City Manager

PREPARED BY:
Sean Reilly, Senior Planner
Attachments
Attachment A: Council Resolution No. 8213 (Proposed Parkland)
Attachment B: Location Map and Aerial Photograph
Attachment C-1: Existing Zoning
Attachment C-2: Proposed Zoning Map
Attachment D: Bergamot Specific Plan Document
Attachment E: Land Use Plan
Attachment F: Circulation Plan
Attachment G: Project Plotting Plan
Attachment H: Elevations and Floor Plans
Attachment I: Conceptual Landscape Plans
Attachment J: Project Wall and Fencing Plan
Attachment K: Tentative Tract Map No. 20336
Attachment L: Socio Economic Cost/Benefit Study
Attachment M: Findings
Attachment N-1: Bergamot Specific Plan IS/MND
Attachment N-2: Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program
Attachment N-3: Responses to Comments and Errata
Attachment O: Resolution No. 8250 (Mitigated Negative Declaration)
Attachment P: Resolution No. 8251 (Socio-Economic Cost Benefit Study)
Attachment Q: Resolution No. 8252 (Measure "U" Findings)
Attachment R: Resolution No. 8253 (Specific Plan Amendment EVCSP)
Attachment S: Resolution No. 8254 (Bergamot Specific Plan)
Attachment T: Resolution No. 8255 - TTM 20336
Attachment U: Resolution No. 8262-CRA No. 922


    

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