Foothills Sentry May 2021

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper May 2021 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Pages 7-9 Canyon Beat Page 10 Service Directory Pages 12-14 Prof. Directory Page 14 Classifieds Page 14 Real Estate Page 16 Obituaries Page 17 Sports Pages 18-19 The Best News In Town Since 1969 GOOD TO THE FIRST DROP Local water district earns applause for proactive steps taken to remove more chemicals from aquifer. See Serrano, page 4 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry TORCHES AND PITCHFORKS Orange District 3 voters are inflamed over city council’s appointment of unelected applicant to represent them. See Letters, page 7 TRASHING A TREASURE Backfilling a state- designated wetland is considered an over-the- counter transaction. See City, page 2 ONE SIZE MAY NOT FIT ALL OC Parks is planning a pilot program to limit some multi-use trails to bikes or hikers and horses only. See Santiago Oaks, page 15 AHEAD OF THE CLASS Many OUSD students won’t be going "back" to school, because they’ve been there safely since September. See Guest Commentary, page 7 See "VP" continued on page 3 VP weighs options for state-directed housing By Andie Mills Villa Park’s updates to the state General Plan Housing Element for 2021-21 were discussed at a special City Council meeting, April 13. The city is required to submit an updated plan to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by October 15, reflecting up to 296 state-mandated affordable housing units within the city, or face fines and penalties. The city is looking to ADUs, city-owned land, land available and suitable for residential development, possible rezoning, as well its permit processes and building codes for affordable housing compliance. The city had previously identified 133 units of the targeted 296. The council discussed the various available options presented by consultant John Douglas. Tight squeeze The council weighed the mer- its of rezoning part, or all, of the Towne Center by adding three or more stories of housing atop retail businesses; rezoning the approxi- mately 1.3 acres currently occu- pied by Tropical Plaza Nursery; incentivizing ADUs, allowing more than two on larger lots; re- ducing minimum lot size on spe- cific properties; looking at closed or surplused school properties; or using the property on Wanda, be- tween Lincoln and Collins. The most-discussed option was rezoning 22 acres of Santiago Creek open space west of Cannon, off of the north side of Villa Park Road. The parcel is owned by Orange County Water District. Councilman Robert Collacott suggested that clean fill dirt could be used to backfill the 22 acres there, making 120 to 900 units possible. It would be “painful” to invade a green space, said Mayor Pro Tem Chad OPA 4th of July Parade is coming back With the pandemic subsiding, the Orange Park Association Board is planning to revive its annual 4th of July Parade. The comeback was inspired by the Cowboy Easter service, led by Pastor Larry Day who delivered an uplifting message, blessed the animals and blessed the OPA board. Look for 4th of July Parade details via OPA eTree; ; or Orange Park Acres Facebook. OPA is anticipating scheduling other signature community events. To volunteer to help with the parade, contact: Sherry Panttaja, OPA president at (714) 343-4965; ; or the OPA hotline 714-900-2OPA(672). Orange City Council overrides voters and fills District 3 seat with appointee By Tina Richards The Orange City Council ap- pointed Kathryn Tavoularis, April 13, to fill the District 3 seat va- cated by Mike Alvarez. Tavoularis was one of seven District 3 residents who applied for the position in the event the council would choose to appoint someone instead of calling an election. Her name, along with the others, was posted on the city’s website, but there was no additional information provided -- no resumes, no statement of qualifications, no letters of sup- port from voters. Tavoularis looms large in the OC Republican Central Commit- tee, but according to several Dis- trict 3 residents, is unfamiliar to many average voters in that part of the city. The average voters who had contacted the council ahead of time had demanded an election. Election annulled The District 3 seat was left open when a superior court ruled that Mike Alvarez’s election to that position was invalid because his run for office was illegal. A term limits ordinance approved by Or- ange voters in 1996 made him ineligible to run for what would be his third term. The judge an- nulled the District 3 election, and Alvarez stepped down. The city council had the option to fill the seat with an appointee, who would serve until the next general election in November 2022, or call for a special election that would be held this November. A special election would give District 3 voters the opportunity to elect a representative who would hold the seat until the term ends in 2024. A special election would cost the city an estimated $150,000. Several public commenters during the city council meeting took the city to task for allowing Alvarez to run despite his being termed out, and paving the way for the District 3 vote to be nullified. “There’s a stain on this city,” Robert Bell advised. “The il- legal election of Mike Alvarez was a mistake, but no one has spoken about it.” Due to “poor legal council,” he said, an elec- tion was overturned – something that rarely happens. “The silence screams. You must have the cour- age to speak to it.” Damage done Michael Fischer stressed that he and his District 3 neighbors support a special election. “You misled citizens,” he said, “now you want to make this decision for us. Appointing someone might be an easy out, but we are here due to a negligent mistake. An appointment doesn’t repair the damage done to District 3.” Failing an election, Fischer added, “the only appointment that Orange will allow short-term rentals – with restrictions Following up on its retreat from an outright ban on short- term rentals (STRs), championed by councilman Chip Monaco and former councilman Mike Alvarez, the Orange City Council voted 4-2, April 13, to license them, enact restrictions and limit their numbers. The new city ordinance calls for a $250 business license and requires the property owner to pay the city a temporary occu- pancy tax (TOT). Licenses are limited to two per individual or trust (no corporations) and gives preference to units owned by Or- ange residents. Licenses will be granted to a maximum 125 STRs within city limits. Operational regulations include two people per bedroom plus two (a three-bedroom unit could house eight people); a minimum two-night stay; the property man- ager must be on-site or able to re- spond in 30 minutes. Off-street parking is required; quiet time is between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. The ordinance categorizes mi- nor and major offenses, and sets fines for each. Anyone amass- ing three major offenses will lose their permit for 12 months. The goal is to permit property owners to financially benefit from the popularity of short-term rent- als, but protect neighbors and neighborhoods from abuse. While Mayor Mark Murphy, Councilmembers Arianna Barrios, Ana Gutierrez and Kim Nichols supported the regulatory ordinance, Monaco held firm to his desire for an outright ban, restating that commercial establishments do not belong in residential neighborhoods, STR restrictions will be difficult to enforce, staff will be unduly impacted and neighbors will bear the brunt. The council had actually voted to ban the rental units last fall when a regulatory ordinance supported by Murphy and Nichols failed to get a majority vote. With only four council members seated at that time, Monaco’s and Alvarez’s “no” vote against the ordinance left the council holding the default position – a ban. Alvarez’s recent resignation from the council cost Monaco an ally on the ban issue, but he may have swayed Jon Dumitru, who joined him in a “no” vote on the new ordinance. See "Orange Voters" continued on page 3 The Orange Park Association Board is bringing back the popular 4th of July Parade. From left (top) John Reina, Kelley Chaplin; bottom row, Lance Mora, Laura Thomas, Sherry Panttaja, Laurel Maldonado Wykes, Kathy Bonnaud and Peter Jacklin. Board member David Hillman is not pictured.