CALL TO ORDER:
Chair Klatchko called the meeting to order at 9:06 am
Roll Call: 6 members present, 0 members absent, 0 members excused.
REPORT OF POSTING OF AGENDA:
The agenda available was posted for public access at the City Hall exterior bulletin board (west side of Council Chamber) and the Planning Services counter by 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 7, 2016.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGENDA:
Commissioner Weremiuk suggested continuing Items 2A and 2B.
Chair Klatchko noted that he left the meeting a few minutes early on November 18th and will be abstaining on that section of the minutes.
The agenda was accepted, as presented.
Chair Klatchko opened public comments:
ROBERT STONE, spoke in support of Item 1B and requested clarification on the Commission's to communicate with members of the public (gag order).
JUDY DEERTRACK, expressed concern with prohibition of the Commission speaking to the public about projects coming before them - a gag order
TERRI MC COPPIN, said there are a lot of issues with the downtown promenade and expressed concerned about the density of the Serena Park project.
RONALD HERISKO spoke in reference to Items 2A and 2B - he thinks the entire project should be suspended until the investigation by the FBI has been completed.
BARBARA BEATY, spoke in reference to Item 2A and 2B, she expressed concern about an unhealthy relationship with staff and developers and the gag order- noting that the development is nothing that was invisioned for the mountains.
EMILY HEMPHILL, legal representation for Wessman Development, clarified that the gag order applies to developers as well as the general public. Ms. Hemphill requested the Commission consideration of Item 2B - a modication to an approved project.
DAVID ZIPPEL, spoke in reference to Items 2A and 2B, expressed concern with inadequate traffic study and lack of an economic study. He urged the Commission hold off on any further approvals until any independent parking, traffic and economic studies be completed.
MICHAEL BRAUN, addressed public testimony regarding the vacancies at the Wessman property behind the Welwood Library and indicated that economic and parking studies have been conducted for the Downtown project.
MEGAN LAMER, spoke in reference to Item 3A on behalf of the owner, expressed concern with a window on the northern side and the desing of the photovaltaic.
JOHN WESSMAN, applicant (Items 2A and 2B), provided details on the inception of the Specific Plan, EIR and timelines for downtown project.
FANK TYSEN, said the entire downtown project needs to be shut down.
JOY BROWN-MEREDITH, said she she feels misled about some issues with the development going on - with proper communication this could have been avoided.
TONY AGUILAR, spoke about the importance of transparency and thinks this will happen with the new mayor and council.
JANICE SMITH, said that it seems there is a frantic need to rush the plans- and urged a moratorium to stop the development.
TIM ERKINS, suggested slowing down the construction and suggested creating something where people want to stay.
There being no further comments public comments was closed.
1. CONSENT CALENDAR:
Motion to approve Approve Items 1A and 1B as part of the Consent Calendar. Moved by Commissioner Weremiuk, seconded by Commissioner Calerdine.
Vote to approve Approve Items 1A and 1B as part of the Consent Calendar. (Approved)
1A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: NOVEMBER 12, 2015, NOVEMBER 18, 2015 AND DECEMBER 9, 2015
Approve, as presented.
1B. BRIAN AND LISA EBERHART FOR A MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL APPLICATION TO CONSTRUCT A 2,313-SQUARE FOOT, SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE ON A VACANT HILLSIDE LOT LOCATED AT THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF CARDILLO AVENUE AND CABRILLO ROAD, ZONE R-1-C (CASE 3.3922 MAJ AND 7.1487 AMM). (DN)
Approve, as presented.
2. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
2A. PALM SPRINGS PROMENADE, LLC FOR A MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL APPLICATION TO CONSTRUCT A 7-STORY, 131,174-SQ. FT. RESORT HOTEL CONSISTING OF 175-ROOMS, MEETING SPACE, RESTAURANTS, SPA AND FITNESS CENTER ON BLOCK "B-1" OF THE DOWNTOWN PALM SPRINGS PROJECT LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF BELARDO ROAD AND MAIN STREET, ZONE CBD (CASE 3.3908 MAJ).
Planning Director Fagg provided background history of the proposed development.
Commissioner Weremiuk thinks the items the new City Council should review are:
-Increase the height from 60' to 75' for a hotel.
-Downsizing the parcel from 60' to 40'.
-Increasing stepbacks and setbacks to allow for view corridors.
-Parking sufficiency issues;
-If parking gets allocated for various projects approved- valet issues.
-Impact from Hyatt hotel.
-The Council needs more time before moving ahead with approvals.
-This approval would become a final entitlement.
-She thinks it would be best to defer this until City Council has concluded their deliberations and does not feel comfortable moving forward at this point.
Commissioner Lowe concurred with Commissioner Weremiuk and said the City Council is taking a serious look at the Specific Plan, the process and vision for the City. He suggested the public should be allowed to comment and then the Commission could discuss it and then make a decision.
Commissioner Donenfeld said he thinks it's a good idea to postpone but not shut this project down. He spoke about the Commission's role in reviewing the Major Architectural Application is to ensure it's compliance with the current Specific Plan in place and questioned the height restrictions. He feels the Commission is premature is passing this amendment today.
Commissioner Middleton stated that this body approved amendments to this Specific Plan that have been presented to the City Council but has not voted on these amendments and believes it is appropriate to have this vote and feels it is best in delaying the vote on this issue. She appreciates that the interest that this project has developed and urged the public about using very serious terms such as fraud, corruption and bullying.
Chair Klatchko concurred with the Commission especially with Commissioner Middleton comment. He noted the comments of the Commission and suggested allowing the developer and public provide comments.
Motion to approve To open the public hearing and continue to a date uncertain. Moved by Commissioner Weremiuk, seconded by Commissioner Lowe.
Vote to approve To open the public hearing and continue to a date uncertain. (Approved)
Associate Planner Newell provided an overview of the proposed six-story hotel and described the project.
Commissioner Weremiuk requested the Guiding Principles in the Specific Plan be provided for review.
Chair Klatchko opened the public hearing:
MICHAEL BRAUN, applicant, Wessman Development, appreciated the comments from the Commission and spoke about construction schedule for the development of this project. Mr. Braun provided details on the reduction in floors, the site plan and location of the hotel on this pad.
ROBERT STONE, said there are walls of buildings that block all the views and said there are aesthetic issues that need to be considered.
JUDY DEERTRACK, expressed concern about reviewing this project before the Specific Plan amendment which is under comprehensive review.
BARBARA BEATY, expressed concern that the developer wants more hotels because it's profiting the developer.
DAVID ZIPPEL, urged the Commission to be open and listen and consider other opportunities.
TIM ERKINS, would like to see flags to see the height of the hotels.
FRANK TYSEN, commented that independent legal counsel is needed and building needs to be reduced.
EMILY HEMPHILL, legal counsel for Wessman Development, stated that Block A and the Kimpton Hotel are not for review before the Commission today and addressed the broad allegations of fraud and corruption.
TERRI MC COPPIN, commented that there has been a lot questionable behavior going on in the city; the more that is being built the more it takes away from the charm of the town.
JOY BROWN MEREDITH, said the hotel sounds exciting but is concerned that it will take people off of Palm Canyon Drive with no sensitivity to the merchants on the strip.
MICHAEL BRAUN, applicant rebuttal, spoke about the construction costs of the development, project approvals and the building envelope. Mr. Braun noted that the biggest problem is that they have an unfinished project tht needs to be completed.
There being on further appearances the public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Calerdine requested to see what the view corridors look like at the pedestrian level on Main Street when this project returns.
Commissioner Weremiuk requested additional information (pending City Council decision for another hotel):
-Requested to review the Guiding principles in Specific Plan.
-If the Council decides to have another hotel she like to see the A/C Marriott off the table.
-Concerned about the view corridors and would like to see projections on views including from the museum towards Palm Canyon.
-Simulations with an additional setback to enhance the view corridors.
-Full parkway measured from the cutout.
-Additional simulations for setbacks and stepbacks from the hotel.
-Parking allocation and how will the Hyatt parking will be impacted.
-Pedestrian experience - the uses on Market Street are very important.
Commissioner Lowe expressed frustration because this project has been a piecemeal and it's very difficult to see the final vision for the entire development.
Commissioner Middleton commented:
-Addressed the comments towards staff and reiterated in her experience working with staff she has seen hard working, dedicated civil service servants.
-Wait until a determination has been made by authorities to make allegations.
Commissioner Calerdine commented:
-Concerned about Market Street and wants to make sure it is a vibrant markeplace.
Planning Director Fagg noted that a public hearing notice will go out when this project returns to the Commission.
A recess was taken at 11:06 pm.
The meeting resumed at 11:18 pm.
2B. PALM SPRINGS PROMENADE, LLC FOR AN AMENDMENT TO A MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL APPLICATION TO MODIFY A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED MIXED-USE BUILDING TO ALLOW RESIDENTIAL USES, ADDITIONAL FLOOR SPACE AND CERTAIN ARCHITECTURAL CHANGES, INCLUDING MODIFIED BUILDING HEIGHTS, ON BLOCK C OF THE MUSEUM MARKET PLAZA (DOWNTOWN PALM SPRINGS) SPECIFIC PLAN, LOCATED ALONG THE WESTERLY FRONTAGE OF PALM CANYON DRIVE, SOUTH OF (NEW) MAIN STREET, ZONE CBD (CASE 3.3607 MAJ). (DN)
Associate Planner Newell provided an overview of the proposed amendment.
Commissioner Weremiuk made the following comments:
-In favor of postponing this project until an action is made by the City Council.
-Limitation on 30-60 days for residential.
-Not reviewed against the Guiding Principles in the Specific Plan.
Motion to approve Take public testimony and continue to a date uncertain. Moved by Commissioner Weremiuk, seconded by Commissioner Lowe.
Commissioner Lowe concurs with Commissioner Weremiuk until the City Council has finalized the Specific Plan and talks about the final vision for downtown. He said this raises the question if there is sufficient parking for the entire development.
Commissioner Calerdine noted that two previously approved buildings and building permits may be pulled. He questioned if this merits stopping the two minor modifications.
Commission Middleton requested clarification on the modification (to convert to residential and raise the height of a retail building from 24' to 30'). She agrees that the residential portion needs to go for review to the City Council and is potentially supportive of the 6 ft. increase in height for the retail building.
Chair Klatchko shared Commissioner Calerdine's comments and does not want to stop all action to a previously approved development and would like to consider it.
Commissioner Lowe pulled the second motion. MOTION DIED FOR A LACK OF A SECOND.
The Commisison asked for clarification on the allocation for the parking spaces for the commercial and residential without having the valet requirement.
Commissioner Middleton noted that the greatest problematic vacation rentals have been in neighborhoods of single-family homes and vacation rentals in condos and townhomes have been less problematic to their neighbors.
Chair Klatchko opened the pubic hearing:
JOHN WESSMAN, applicant, Wessman Development, said they need to move forward on Block C and are withdrawing the request to convert to residential and the request for the two-story building for H & M and will reduce to 24 feet. He requested approval of the architectural changes to the building. Mr. Wessman indicated they need to proceed to get this done by the construction deadlines.
ROBERT STONE, does not think the additional entitlements are appropriate until the Specific Plan is in place.
TONY AGUILAR, said the past is the past and urged the Commission to move forward with this project.
JUDY DEERTRACK, questioned what the city is trying to achieve with a red-line Specific Plan when massive revisions are underway.
DAVID ZIPPEL, encouraged this be defferd to the City Council.
EMILY HEMPHIL, legal counsel for Wessman Development, clarified what is before the Commission and commented on the lawsuits filed by the ABCD.
CHRIS PARDO, project designer, described the parking access for the development and commented on the height increase for the building and architectural elements.
MICHAEL BRAUN, Wessman Development, said the project would work better with the additional height and reiterated the importance of timelines for construction of the development.
FRANK TYSEN, said the lack of transparency is what is causing a lot of problems and noted that the financing something that makes no sense.
JOHN WESSMAN, reiterated that he does not want to change the height and does not want residential housing; only requests changing the architecture.
There being no further speakers the public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Donenfeld said that at the very least we must make sure something is happening along Palm Canyon - it is the heart of our city. This is not a complex issue and supports the request.
Commissioner Middleton said she was present at the AAC meeting when the front of this building was discussed and clarified that it was the AAC Members who requested these changes to improve the appearance. She supports approval of the motion.
Commissioner Calerdine said he is happy to vote for 28 foot height building.
Mr. Wessman explained that the architect the architect believes articulation is better at 28 feet but if there's a problem he will build at 24 feet.
Chair Klatchko said there have been comments about transparancy but finds it offensive that the members of ABCD prefer to be anonimous. He thinks they should be transparaent.
Motion to approve Approve the building at the height of 24 feet and the revised elevations are in conformance subject to AAC approval. Moved by Commissioner Donenfeld, seconded by Commissioner Calerdine.
Vote to approve Approve the building at the height of 24 feet and the revised elevations are in conformance subject to AAC approval. (Approved)
2C. GERGIS YOUSEF FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO MODIFY AND ADD FLOOR AREA TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE AT AN EXISTING GAS STATION LOCATED AT 2796 NORTH PALM CANYON DRIVE, ZONE C-1. (DN)
Motion to approve To continue to a date uncertain. Moved by Commissioner Lowe, seconded by Commissioner Calerdine.
Vote to approve To continue to a date uncertain. (Approved)
3. NEW BUSINESS:
3A. RIC GRENELL & MATTHEW LASHEY, FOR A MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL APPLICATION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A 3,857-SQUARE FOOT HOUSE ON A HILLSIDE LOT AND AN ADMINISTRATIVE MINOR MODIFICATION REQUESTING AN INCREASE IN BUILDING HEIGHT LOCATED AT 141 RIDGE MOUNTAIN DRIVE, ZONE R-1-A-H (CASE 3.3921 MAJ). (GM)
Associate Planner Mlaker provided an overview of the proposed development.
JAY REYNOLDS, architect, spoke about working with the natural terrain of the site and turning the house slightly so that the windows will not face the neighbor.
MEGAN LAMER, commented that the owner has a concern about a reflection of the window that will face them. She suggested moving the windows from the north to the east fascade to protect the privacy of the neighbor.
RIC GRENELL, applicant, said they are the first ones forced to build on the envelope of this site.
MICHAEL JOHNSON, said he is sensitive to constraints the owner has had to work with and adapts perfectly to the hillside. He spoke in favor of the project.
The Commission commented and/or requested clarification on:
-The terrain is very difficult to build on and this is a phenomenal project.
-Do HOA's have authority to override Planning Commission approval?
-Show where the windows in question on the model.
-Stunning design and difficult terrain to work with.
Commissioner Donenfeld said this is a textbook example of what the hillside ordinance is all about. It's a beautiful, well-though job and supports it.
Chair Klatchko said he attended the AAC meeting when this was presented and is very impressed and supports it.
Motion to approve Approve subject to conditions. Moved by Commissioner Calerdine, seconded by Commissioner Weremiuk.
Vote to approve Approve subject to conditions. (Approved)
PLANNING COMMISSION REPORTS, REQUESTS AND COMMENTS:
The Commission commented and/or requested clarifcation on:
-Appropriateness of ex-parte communication.
-Review on how other communities have dealt with public open space being converted to a different use.
PLANNING DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Director Fagg reported that a study session will be held on January 27th at 11:30 am to discuss the Serena Park development. The AAC study session will be held at 2:00 pm on January 19th.
The Planning Commission adjourned at 1:13 pm to Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at 11:30 am in the Large Conference Room.
Jan 13, 2016 Planning Commission