Foothills Sentry April 2020

, NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Central Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Anaheim Hills • Silverado/Modjeska Canyon Areas • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper April 2020 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 5 Guest Commentary Page 10 Canyon Beat Page 10 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Real Estate Page 14 Obituaries Page 14 Sports Page 15 FOLLOWUS at Foothills Sentry The Best News In Town Since 1969 See "Anaheim" continued on page 2 This issue of the Sentry straddles two worlds. We started out the month with the usual spate of city council and board meetings, community events and club activities, which are getting due coverage. But that was then. In the new world of no handshakes or hugs, hotels and motels are scouted for field hospitals, restaurants sell groceries (fresh eggs!), takeout is chic, bored toddlers go on neighborhood wild animal hunts (put a bear in your window!), home seamstresses make medical masks -- and toilet paper is the new gold standard. Above, a Tustin mom shares the wealth; the Modjeska Canyon bard provides perspective. By Stephanie Lesinski Siding with hundreds of Ana- heim Hills residents who opposed a proposed 54-condominium de- velopment, Anaheim City Coun- cil voted, 4-3, to repeal a change to the General Plan that would have meant an end to a popular retail center. The owner of the Serrano Cen- ter, John Saunders, was seeking to level the center at the corner of Serrano and Nohl Ranch Road to make way for condos up to three stories high. Before vot- ing to restore the General Plan and commercial zoning, Mayor Harry Sidhu said, “It is clear that the Serrano center still has strong support. While the center has its challenges, it is still serving the community.” Councilmembers Jose Moreno, Denise Barnes and Trevor O’Neil followed Sidhu in voting in favor; Jordan Brand- man, Lucille Kring and Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Faessel voted against it. The city attorney cleared Coun- cilmember O’Neil, Anaheim Hills’ representative to vote, stat- ing that this was a “legislative action.” O’Neil had previously recused himself, citing a conflict of interest regarding his public opposition to the project. Listening ears Councilmember Barnes com- mended Anaheim Hills residents for their participation and en- couraged others to get involved. “We’re not here to warm the seats, we want you to know we’re engaged with you … if we can’t make this community better, then it’s just going to be on us.” Barnes is credited with stop- ping the project. The council up- held the property owner’s appeal on Jan. 28, giving the green light Anaheim City Council reinstates General Plan to the development. However, re- zoning requires a second reading, typically, just a procedural move. However, at the March 4 meeting, Barnes said she needed more in- formation to vote, and requested a continuance. Her fellow coun- cilmembers obliged. On Feb. 11, Barnes was the swing vote in denying the zone change. When the residents con- tinued to show up and voice their concerns, it convinced her that the retail center was an asset to the nearby elementary school and surrounding neighborhoods. She heart that many students walk across the street to the center for after-school activities. The Envi- ronmental Impact Report (EIR) claimed the center was “underuti- lized.” A united front Speaking on behalf of the new- ly-formed nonprofit group Citi- zen Advocates for Responsible Development (CARD), Tim Gra- ham thanked councilmembers for stopping the development. The group was founded when hun- dreds of Anaheim Hills residents came together to oppose it. Gra- ham said, “There’s a real problem in Anaheim, and it’s not restricted to the hills; it’s the problem of neighborhoods not having an ef- fective way to engage with devel- opers and city council to be able to shape what’s proposed in their neighborhoods.” While the city council rein- stated the General Plan and com- mercial zoning, the EIR remains certified following the Jan. 28 initial approval of the project. In a message to CARD members, Graham stated that legal counsel By Tina Richards The Foothill Communities As- sociation (FCA) annual meeting attracted North Tustin homeown- ers who came to interact with Supervisor Don Wagner, Sheriff Don Barnes and representatives from county agencies, and glean first-hand information about the issues that concern them. Those issues include crimi- nal activity, RV parking, group homes, the fate of the Tustin Hills Racquet Club, public parks and the eternal quest for a dedi- cated North Tustin zip code. The March 2 meeting preceded the current restrictions on public gatherings and drew some 160 people. Sheriff Barnes, in his opening remarks, complimented the com- munity for the turnout. “Some- times I’m invited to community meetings,” he said, “and there’s four people there. This is impres- sive.” A low crime community Barnes reported that property crime in North Tustin has de- creased, and vehicle thefts re- duced by 58 percent. “Crime is almost nonexistent in this com- munity,” he said, “but if you see something specific, call us.” He assured residents that there are always two sheriff’s patrol cars in the area, and four during peak hours. “The top 10 low crime areas in Orange County are all patrolled by the sheriff’s depart- ment.” Noting that most residential burglaries happen in the day time, he urged residents to keep garage doors closed, put locks on side gates and trim trees and shrubs. Supervisor Don Wagner be- gan his keynote address with the FCA annual meeting addresses neighborhood concerns proclamation that the Tustin Hills Racquet Club, “contributes to the character of the community." "I’m not going to allow some- thing to come in and change the character of what is yours,” he said. Wagner was referring to the popular recreation facility that has been sold to a developer who, it is rumored, wants to build con- dos on the site. Waiting and wondering “There’s nothing happening,” he said. “No hearings set for a zone change. It has to go to the planning commission first; noth- ing is being done officially to change the zoning on that proper- ty. I will oppose a zone change,” he emphasized. “The racquet club is your community asset.” Another community asset be- ing reconsidered by the county is neighborhood streets not lined with RVs. County code enforcement is amending its 2002 RV parking restrictions to permit storage on residential driveways. The cur- rent code allows RV parking in residential neighborhoods, only if the vehicle cannot be seen from the street. Code enforcement has, however, allowed RVs to be stored on driveways without screening. The amendment codi- fies the county’s leniency. Residents fear the revised code will allow an unlimited number of RVs of any height or length to be stored on a given property, in any orientation (sideways), blocking access to garages and inhibiting views of oncoming traffic. The new code also appears to allow homeowners to rent their driveways and lots for RV stor- age to others. See "FCA" continued on page 2 Hearts of palm Long-standing tree farm, licensed to operate on OUSD property, overstayed its welcome; district got tough, played rough. See OUSD wins, page 6 Grandstand play OUSD’s new stadium is nearly ready to open, but pandemic protocols are keeping it shuttered. See Fred Kelly, page 8 Grace in the hole A hidden Orange canyon oasis is slated to be buried beneath tons of construction waste. See Guest Commentary, page 10 Days like this Canyonites meet remotely, don masks and hunker down, but social distancing does not apply to scenery. See Canyon Beat, page 10 Rise and shine From shopping for neighbors to delivering food to making masks, people are doing what they can to ease the “stay home” strain for others. See pages throughout Photo by Andrew Tonkovich