Foothills Sentry September 2021

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper September 2021 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 5 Canyon Beat Page 6 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Real Estate Page 14 Obituaries Page 15 The Best News In Town Since 1969 FACE THE MUSIC Villa Park council members find themselves on the defense against riled up residents. See Repercussions, page 4 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry DOUBLE TAKE City of Orange reduces parking requirements in commercial zones; acknowledges not enough spaces in Old Towne. See Parking, page 7 COMING SOON A burger stand got city approvals based on an ordinance that didn’t yet exist. See Orange, page 4 A NOT SO WINDING ROAD A major Orange thoroughfare got its start as a cleared path between orange groves. See The Road, page 11 OUT OF AFRICA Local merchant helps create jobs in Madagascar, selling farm to factory chocolate. See Orange, page 9 See "Costco" continued on page 4 See "Paseo" continued on page 2 Orange Paseo on path for seasonal reopening By Tina Richards The Orange City Council, Au- gust 10, sidled up to making the downtown Paseo a seasonal oc- currence, directing staff to study the environmental issues, permit- ting, costs and design standards that would need to be addressed prior to making the now-tempo- rary street closure more perma- nent. The 100 and 200 blocks of Glassell St. were closed to traf- fic in July 2020 to make way for outdoor dining. What started as a temporary closure to boost busi- nesses during the pandemic has lasted more than a year (as has the pandemic), and is heralded as a successful revenue booster for restaurants and the city. The Paseo was taken down Aug. 25 to accommodate the Orange International Street Fair, but will be re-opened soon af- ter the fair ends. The possibility of making the Paseo permanent, seasonal, or simply shutting it down, was explored during the July council meeting. Members agreed to temporarily reopen it after the street fair while the de- bate over its long-term fate con- tinued. At that time, Arianna Bar- rios asked that the reopening be postponed for a few weeks to give Old Towne residents “a break.” The council agreed to a Sept. 24 reopening. Outside influences Since that meeting, however, staff learned that the street clo- sure waiver granted the city by the Orange County Transporta- tion Agency (OCTA) would ex- pire if Glassell remained open in September. That waiver was granted “administratively” by OCTA staff as an emergency re- sponse to the pandemic. If the waiver expires, the city would have to seek a new one, and this time it would have to be approved by the OCTA Board of Directors. That could take several months. OCTA advised re-closing Glassell right away to keep the original permit in place. Even if the street remained open, OCTA said it would continue to reroute bus lines through residential Old Towne rather than revert back to pre-Paseo routes for three weeks, and then change them again. Mayor Mark Murphy sits on the OCTA board and confirmed that was the case. “They’re not going to reroute buses for three weeks,” he said. “There will be no respite for Old Towne resi- dents.” When asked when he thought the Paseo should reopen, Murphy said, “within a few days, a week at most.” Barrios, who represents the Old Towne area, reiterated her opposition to reopening the Paseo early, and suggested the city just leave it closed until staff could study the impacts of a seasonal street closure. Her colleagues did not want to wait and the “within a few days” reopening was accept- ed without a formal vote. Details before a decision The purpose of the August council discussion was to direct city staff to perform an envi- ronmental review and develop design guidelines for a seasonal Paseo, not to define an ultimate outcome. Staff had recommended a seasonal presence rather than a permanent one, and most of the council agreed to that course. But not everyone in Old Towne wants the Paseo to continue. Pub- lic speakers at the August council meeting included business own- ers who reported their shops, lo- cated beyond the Glassell closure, are suffering. They have little walk-in traffic, and customers can’t find parking. Residents who live on the streets where vehicle traffic and bus lines were rerout- ed noted their neighborhoods are now thoroughfares. Tony Trabuco, president of The Old Towne Preservation Associa- tion (OTPA), stressed the need for a thorough environmental study to include parking and traffic, Old Towne design standards, and a re- view of historical conditions. He also noted that Glassell is part of the county’s master plan of high- ways. Any changes would raise Orange Acres Backbreakers 4-H triumphed at the OC Fair. Ella Rosas, center, shows Hattie, her Reserve Champion Market Goat, flanked by Project Leader Max Horan and mom Jaimee Rosas. See photos, page 10. Tustin Costco gas station site shown to contain high levels of toxic contamination A site assessment report on property approved to host a Cost- co gas station at Tustin Ranch Road and Bryan found toxic lev- els of perchloroethylene. This gave Tustin residents opposing the project more grounds in their appeal of a lawsuit dismissed by a superior court judge last year. The community group Protect Tustin Ranch had challenged the city’s decision not to require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in court. The Tustin City Council had approved the 32-noz- zle Costco gas station and granted Costco a categorical exemption from an EIR. The residents ar- gued that the exemption was not applicable, and because the gas station was to be built within 500 feet of homes and within one mile of three schools an EIR that stud- ied traffic, noise, air and water quality was necessary. Unhealthy and unwise The court found in favor of the city and Costco last October. Pro- tect Tustin Ranch appealed; the hearing was Aug. 19. The levels of soil contamination identified in the April 2021 site assessment exceed human-health safety standards by 867%. Protect Tustin Ranch alleges that City of Tustin officials and Costco never revealed the site’s contamination to the public and did not disclose it during the original lawsuit between Protect Tustin Ranch, Costco and the city. “Hopefully this latest devel- opment will help us to prevail,” Anne Lee of Project Tustin Ranch said. “The newly revealed information about the site’s toxic contamination bolsters the urgent need for an EIR. This mega gas station will have a significant negative impact on the health and safety of at-risk communities.” The site assessment report also notes on-site concentrations of benzene, TCE and vinyl chloride that exceed human health screen- Annie Drews, 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist, was celebrated by the City of Orange, with Mayor Mark Murphy declaring Aug. 18 “An- nie Drews Day.” She was also a special guest at the Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon cutting, Aug. 17. A member of the Team USA volleyball squad, Drews helped secure the team’s first Gold Med- al, scoring 15 points in the match against Brazil. Born in Elkhart, Indiana, the Olympian now calls Orange home. From left, city Councilmembers Jon Dumitru and Chip Monaco, Annie Drews, Councilmember Ana Gutierrez, Mayor Mark Murphy, Council- members Arianna Barrios and Kim Nichols. Photo by Tony Richards