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East Orange • Central Orange Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Anaheim Hills • Silverado/Modjeska Canyon Areas • North Tustin

License to swill

A venerable Old Towne

drug store toasts the

NewYear with city ap-

proval to add hard

spirits to its menu. See

Watson's, page 2

Third time’s

the charm?

Preliminary work on a

proposed school bond

suggests the board is

going to repeat the

failed patterns of the

past. See OUSD, page 6

Now hear this

Readers take on tree

lighting liturgies, fixed

phone surveys and

confounding city coun-

cil chaos. See Letters,

page 7

A building

where they

will come

History buff with a cre-

ative edge envisions a

hub for the humanities

in the storied Sunkist

structure. See Chap-

man alum, page 9

A December to


The heydays of the

holidays featured ves-

sels, voices, vendors

and verve. See photos,

page 16


"Spot zoning"

continued on page 6


"VP City Council"

continued on page 5

A Monthly Community Newspaper Est. 1969


By Tina Richards

The revelation that Villa Park

Mayor Diana Fascenelli was de-

linquent on medical insurance

premiums paid through the city

to CalPERS, the state-run carrier,

has exposed the underlying vitriol

between two city council “fac-

tions,” and a former city council


Although Fascenelli made

good on the $4,689 in back pre-

miums, paid a $1,700 late fee,

and issued numerous public apol-

ogies, the issue has dominated the

last three Villa Park council meet-

ings. Finance Director Michelle

Danaher and City Manager Jarad

Hildenbrand have assured both

the council and residents that

the late payments had no fiscal

impact on the city. It has been

further noted that several former

city officials who take advantage

of the CalPERS insurance cover-

age have also been late, with no

attendant outrage.

The problem with the city’s

insurance payment policy is that

it has no policy. Villa Park pays

the premiums to CalPERS, and

officials covered by that plan re-

imburse the city. Whether those

reimbursements are “late” is not

clear, because invoices sent to

covered past and present council

members have no due date. The

city admits that a policy is needed

and is prepared to create one.

Can’t say enough

Plans to address the issue at

the Dec. 15 council meeting were

stalled due to “a lack of response

from CalPERS.” Finance Direc-

tor Danaher reported that the

Demonstrating uncharacteristic camaraderie, the Villa Park City Council shares the holiday spirit before

the Santa tour. From left: Bill Nelson, Greg Mills, Santa Claus (aka Dr. Eric Sense), Diana Fascenelli,

Rick Barnett and Bob Collacott.

VP City Council meeting devolves

into sound and fury

By Tina Richards

The beleaguered North Tus-

tin Specific Plan (NTSP) got a

boost when the Orange County

Board of Supervisors approved

an amendment that removed a

“senior residential housing” des-

ignation from a seven-acre parcel

at 11901 Newport Avenue.

The designation was created in

2011 to accommodate the Catho-

lic Diocese of Orange and Kisco

Senior Living’s plans to build a

retirement facility on the prop-

erty. North Tustin residents op-

posed the three-story complex,

avowing that it did not comply

with the specific plan. The plan

does not permit commercial de-

velopment northeast of 17th

Street, and specifies single-story,

single-family residences as ap-

propriate for the area. The parcel,

owned by the Catholic Diocese,

was also zoned for a church or

school, neither of which the land-

owner wanted to build.

According to county code, se-

nior facilities are commercial

enterprises; the planned 355-unit

project was clearly outside the

mandate of the NTSP. Thus, the

senior residential housing (SRH)

designation was created to enable

the commercial, multi-family de-

velopment. The designation ex-

ists nowhere else in the county.

Illegal, but acceptable

The Foothill Communities As-

sociation, representing North Tu-

stin homeowners, filed a lawsuit.

A lower court found the SRH to

be illegal spot zoning. The de-

veloper and the diocese appealed,

and the appellate court ruled that

while it was spot zoning, the

board of supervisors had the au-

thority to approve it. Although

the county had not joined the

appeal, the court deferred to the

Supervisors overturn inappropriate

spot zoning in North Tustin

judgment of the board, and grant-

ed it great discretion in deciding

what was best for a community.

When Supervisor Todd Spitzer

was elected, he promised to do

what he could to restore the integ-

rity of the NTSP. “I’ve pledged al-

liance to the sanctity of the NTSP

in every campaign,” he said.

“When I first ran for supervisor

in 1996, I promised that I would

never agree to change the plan,

unless it was a separate stand-

alone conversation to amend it

on its own, not due to a specific


When elected to third district

supervisor for the second time in

2012, he renewed his promise,

directing county planners to start

the process needed to remove

the spot zoning. The resulting

By Daniel Langhorne

Mark Wayland is reconsidering

his resignation from the Orange

Unified School District’s Board

of Trustees, claiming he plans to

make a decision in January. He

unexpectedly announced his res-

ignation last month.

Wayland said many community

members asked him not to leave

the school board, which has been

under siege by those who did not

support the board’s appointment

of Gregory Salas. Salas was ap-

pointed to fill a vacant seat repre-

senting the Anaheim Hills portion

of the district.

“I’ve been hit seven ways from

Sunday on this [resignation],”

Wayland said. “I’m going to let

this rest until next year.”

Salas’ opponents see him as

unqualified, arguing that he lacks

experience in education. Petition-

ers collected signatures to force a

special election for his seat, and

the Registrar of Voters, in Oc-

tober, certified that it collected

enough valid signatures to do so.

One to be seated

Andrea Yamasaki, a Canyon

High School PTSA board mem-

ber, and Salas have since filed

paperwork to run for the one va-

cant trustee seat in a vote-by-mail

election on March 1. The election

is expected to cost the district be-

tween $326,656 and $385,046.

In another twist in the special

election, Wayland filed a lawsuit

in Orange County Superior Court,

alleging that Salas’ ballot state-

ment falsely included his endorse-

ment, even though Wayland only

voted to provisionally appoint Sa-

las as a trustee.

Wayland disagrees with the

assertion that his vote for Salas’

appointment is a de facto endorse-

ment. “I think they are two differ-

ent things,” he said.

The suit also claims that it is

misleading for Salas to claim he

is a “former OUSD Governing

Board Member.” It asks the court

to compel the Registrar of Voters

to remove these alleged false por-

tions from the ballot pamphlet.

Salas said he plans to make the

changes demanded by Wayland.

“We’ve already redone it, and I

think it will work,” he reported.

Neal Kelley, the Registrar of

Voters, asked the court to make

a final decision on the dispute by

5 p.m., Jan. 15 so ballots can be

mailed by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Wayland rethinks resignation, files lawsuit

A rare bald eagle was spotted

by a county public works crew

in December at the Santa Ana

River, just north of Glassell,

at the border of Orange and

Anaheim. These eagles are usu-

ally found near rivers or lakes,

hunting for fish, their favorite

food. Bald eagles had once

reached the point of extinction,

but have made a strong come-

back in recent years. A pair of

these beautiful birds is frequently

seen at Irvine Lake. Lately, four

of America’s largest raptors have

been sighted in that area.

Courtesy of

Orange County Public Works

Letters To The Editor

Page 7

Canyon Beat

Page 8

Soups On

Page 8

Services Directory

Page 13-14

Prof. Directory

Page 15

Classi eds

Page 15

Real Estate

Page 17


Page 17


Page 18-19

Residential Customer