Foothills Sentry April 2021

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper April 2021 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 4 Canyon Beat Page 5 Real Estate Page 9 Obituaries Page 10 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Sports Pages 14-15 The Best News In Town Since 1969 MUDDY OL’ RIVER Silverado Canyon suffers fire first, mudslides follow. See Dispatches, page 3 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry HOLD THE CHAMPAGNE Procedural error gives dump operator a win in cease and desist appeal, but work still can’t continue. See Waste, page 5 ON THE BORDERLINE Residents of El Modena county islands will be asked to weigh in on annexation. See Orange, page 2 NO CROSSING GUARDS Wildlife usually comes out on the losing end when it meets highway traffic. See Land, page 8 UP THE ANTE Villa Park spends $19K for city service fee advice; costs will now increase. See VP, page 7 See "Alvarez" continued on page 4 High school athletics are back! Left, El Modena’s Sam Astor (30) recovers his own fumble as Gino Nino from Canyon High covers the play. Right, Erik Martinez from Orange High School heads the ball in the right direction. See Community Sports pages 14-15. Orange strengthens regulations for ADUs The Orange City Council ap- proved an ordinance that regu- lates the construction of acces- sory dwelling units (ADUs) on residential property in compli- ance with state guidelines, but with slightly more restrictions. California has mandated that jurisdictions approveADUs “over the counter” with little oversight. The state’s goal was to increase housing opportunities with a bent towards “affordable.” More “granny flats” would accommo- date aging parents, students and young families or provide rental units for low-wage workers. The state’s newADU mandates went into effect in January 2020, but guidelines were not provided to municipalities until September, leaving cities like Orange unclear on many of the relaxed provi- sions. Applications for ADUs in the city swelled to more than 40 last year, compared with four in 2019. Unclear on the concept The city learned, largely through eyewitness accounts from observant neighbors, that some permits issued for ADUs were being used to convert single-family homes into student housing. The city responded to the uproar by passing an emergency ordinance imposing a 45-day moratorium on remodeling, and drafting this new ordinance regulating ADUs that takes advantage of the leeway allowed by the state. The state, for example, im- posed a 1,200 sq. ft. maximum for ADUs, but cities can limit that to 1,000 sq. ft., which Orange’s ordinance does. It also limits the number of bedrooms to one for every 500 sq. ft. and restricts building height to 16 feet or that of the existing structure. While California’s regulations do not require any additional parking spaces for ADUs or Junior ADUs (added rooms that connect to the home), Orange now requires JA- DUs built in a garage to include parking spaces to compensate for those lost. Make no mistake Orange is also applying historic standards to units built within his- toric districts. Deed restrictions will prevent the accessory dwell- ing unit to be sold separately. To combat dorm-type additions, the city is prohibiting exterior access to each bedroom; wet bars, sinks or microwaves in each bedroom; or advertising additional rooms for rent. The ADU must have a common living area and kitchen to accommodate the occupants of all the bedrooms. The city council approved the ordinance by unanimous vote at its March 9 meeting. Alvarez resigns; Orange council will decide how to fill the vacancy By Tina Richards Mike Alvarez resigned his seat on the Orange City Council, March 8, opting not to appeal a court judgment that found him in- eligible to run for office last No- vember because he was termed out. The sudden vacancy, an- nounced just one day before the scheduled city council meeting and too late to be added to the agenda, prompted Mayor Mark Murphy to solicit a vote to ap- prove an “urgency” discussion item from his colleagues. A unan- imous approval enabled the coun- cil to address the options it had to fill the city’s Third District seat. Before filing his candidacy last summer, Alvarez consulted with an attorney to determine his eli- gibility to run. Orange voters had approved term limits in 1996, limiting council members to two consecutive four-year terms. Al- varez was, after serving from 2012 to 2020, termed out. No one said no His attorney, however, advised him that because the city had switched to by-district voting, the District 3 council position was effectively a “new seat” and that term limits would not apply. City Attorney Gary Sheatz agreed with that assessment, giving Al- varez the go-ahead to run in the November 2020 election. Dis- trict 3 voters elected Alvarez by a wide margin, with his total 5,482 votes surpassing those received by the prevailing candidates in any of the other districts. The OC Registrar of Voters cer- tified the election results Nov. 25, and within 30 days, two separate lawsuits were filed by two Orange voters challenging the termed-out candidate’s eligibility. The court ruled, Feb. 4, that term limits did apply, and that Alvarez was ineligible to run and must step down. The judgement was entered Feb. 24, after which time he had 10 days to file an appeal. He submitted his letter of resignation instead. Points to ponder “We have 60 days to either ap- point someone or call a special election,” Murphy reported dur- ing the council’s March 9 urgency item discussion. City code speci- fies that a special election must be held on the next regularly es- tablished election date, which, in this case, is Nov. 2. The cost to the city would be approximately $150,000. Arianna Barrios inquired about other options, including a vote- FCA meeting covers a lot of ground -- remotely By Tina Richards The annual Foothill Commu- nities Association (FCA) meet- ing, held remotely on March 1, was highlighted by a presentation from the Edison Company, an update on local issues from Su- pervisor Don Wagner and wide- ranging questions from the online audience. Edison focused on outages and wildfires, and what the company is doing to lessen the impacts of both. Noting that five of the six largest wildfires in California occurred in 2020, Edison’s Troy Nguyen reported that public safe- ty power shutdowns are the best way to “make sure our equipment is not the cause of a fire.” Balance of power Power outages are determined by red flag conditions, strong winds, fire science assessments and real-time observations. Planning begins four to seven days prior to an event, and consideration is given to the impact on first responders. “Sectionalization” allows most of an area’s power to stay on, with only targeted areas left in the dark. Edison, Nguyen explained, also has 166 cameras in high-risk areas and 1,000 weather stations. To date, 100,000 trees have been inspected, 200,000 power poles cleared of brush and 1,400 miles of insulated wire installed. The company is also offering rebates for small appliance and device battery backup, generators for well water and fully subsidized critical care battery backup for income-qualified households. The company is also addressing climate change, with plans to reduce carbon emissions and attain carbon neutrality by 2045. The key, according to the utility, is electrifying transportation and buildings, in that, “people will think of gas appliances as dated, as wood stoves are today.” Latest and greatest Supervisor Don Wagner led his discussion with “good news about COVID.” He reported that vaccinations in Orange County are “well ahead of surrounding counties” and that “we’re fifth or sixth in the state.” The goal for herd immunity, when the impact of the virus is substantially les- soned, he said, is July 4. After announcing that he had recently moved to North Tus- tin from Irvine, he softened his stance on the proposed develop- ment of the Racquet Club proper- ty. At last year’s annual meeting, See "FCA" continued on page 4 Photos by Cliff Robins and Chad Kline