Foothills Sentry December 2020

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Anaheim Hills • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons• North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper December 2020 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 4 Guest Commentary Page 4 Canyon Beat Page 6 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Real Estate Page 14 Obituaries Page 14 The Best News In Town Since 1969 CROWD SOURCING Public outcry over gutting of Orange Design Review Committee makes city council think again. See Orange, page 2 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry Voters turn down Measure AA by wide margin Orange voters rejected Mea- sure AA, which would have up- held a change to the city’s Gen- eral Plan enabling a housing de- velopment to be built on a former sand and gravel mine, by a 63 to 36% margin. The number of people who vot- ed against the measure (39,832) was higher than the number (36,248) who reelected Mayor Mark Murphy. The total vote count for and against the measure was 63,082, as opposed to the to- tal count, 61,062, for either may- oral candidate. Milan Capital, the property owner, provided major funding for the Yes on AA campaign. The company shelled out $700,000 at a cost of $30.10 per “yes” vote. Meanwhile, Orange Citizens, a volunteer group, raised $16,000 for its successful campaign, spending just 40 cents per “no” vote. Concerns countermanded The measure’s defeat reverses the go-ahead the city council gave Milan Capital in October 2019. The council's approval discount- ed voluminous opposition from citizens. The land in question – 109 acres adjacent to Santiago Can- yon Road in East Orange - was designated “open space” in three separate community plans dating back to the 1970s. These plans were created to govern future land use, and were approved by city and county au- thorities when they were written. The point of specific plans is to ensure that land use goals remain consistent even as governing bod- ies change. The city’s General Plan never supported houses in that area. In addition to the council’s dis- missal of long-held community plans, residents objected to the proposed housing development itself because the land that would host it is in a flood plain, a high fire zone, and borders a methane gas emitting landfill. Area traffic is already congested, and neigh- bors feared more housing would make it worse. In addition, residents forced to evacuate during the 2017 Canyon 2 Fire endured two-hour drive times from East Orange to the nearest freeway and advised that additional housing in that loca- tion would tie up exit routes and hamper emergency evacuations even more. Speak louder When the city council ap- proved the General Plan amend- ment/housing project, residents circulated a petition to place the issue on the ballot. Over 13,000 voters signed it, nearly twice the number needed to qualify the ref- erendum. Orange voters dodged a bullet. “The General Plan amendment changed the land-use designation to low-density residential on 40 acres,” Adrienne Gladson, former Orange planning commission chair, explains. “Low-density res- idential would have allowed 240 houses on that acreage. The 128 units that were advertised were part of a development agreement between the city and the land- owner. That’s a contract that is easy to change, to be renegoti- ated.” Once a General Plan designa- tion is “upzoned” for housing, it is rarely, if ever, reversed. The designation remains with the property no matter who owns it or how many times it is sold. Strike three? The Trails at Santiago Creek is the site's third housing develop- ment proposal that has been re- jected. In 2003, a Fieldstone tract for 183 houses was approved by the council and then reversed af- ter 9,000 voters signed a referen- dum petition. In 2014, a 265-unit senior housing facility and 130 single-family homes were denied by the Orange Planning Com- mission and City Council for the same reasons residents sought to block this project. Milan Capital still has zoning entitlements to build six houses on the horse arena site on San- tiago Canyon Road and 22 hous- es on acreage north of Santiago Creek below Mabury Ranch. Milan Capital has been using the site to stockpile construction waste. The annual Field of Valor, presented by the Community Founda- tion of Orange, drew veterans and families of veterans to honor those who have served and are currently serving. At left the family of WWII Air Force vet Mike Artukov- ich pay their respects: daughter Anita Pintola, great-grandson Myles Pintola, Genevie Pinto- la, grandson Louis Pin- tola. Genevie is wearing her father Donald Va- lenzuela’s Vietnam War fatigue jacket. Short-term rentals will be phased out in Orange By Tina Richards The Orange City Council de- clined to pass an ordinance regu- lating short-term rentals (STRs), choosing instead to enforce exist- ing codes that prohibit them. The Nov. 10 decision followed 10 months of discussion, meet- ings with concerned parties and comparisons with other cities. The public weighed in over sev- eral city council meetings with stories of all-night parties, cars blocking driveways, neighbor- hoods littered with trash, repeated calls to the police department and property damage. Residents’ complaints were tempered with success stories from operators of STRs who explained that they screened tenants, imposed restric- tions, received no negative com- ments from neighbors and were available to solve problems when they came up. Following public testimony and council discussion back in February, city staff was directed to draft an ordinance that would regulate the terms of an STR, suggesting that an outright ban was off the table. The resulting ordinance spelled out landlords’ responsibilities, guest limitations, parking restrictions and a 24-hour hotline for neighbors adversely affected by them. Once licensed, STR landlords would be required to pay the city a tenant occupan- cy tax (like hotels and motels). That revenue would be used to hire additional code enforcement personnel or contract with a third party company to oversee them. Already illegal? Councilman Mike Alvarez, who has opposed STRs all along, opened the November meeting discussion by asking why an anti- STR petition signed by 236 resi- dents had not been mentioned by staff or read aloud during public comments. He was assured that it was part of the public record. Councilman Chip Monaco, See "Short-term" continued on page 5 Cease and desist order for unlawful debris disposal upheld By Tina Richards The cease and desist order is- sued by the county Local En- forcement Agency (LEA) to halt the stockpiling of construction waste on the East Orange site of a proposed housing development was upheld by a hearing officer, Nov. 4. In his ruling favoring the LEA, Eric Blum wrote, “A cease and desist order (CDO) is a proper order to be issued if the local enforcement agency suspects a violation. The CDO was validly issued and was properly asserted against the petitioners’ (Chandler/ Milan) operations as an Inert De- bris Type A facility.” LEA issued the cease and de- sist order Aug. 3, but operator Chandler Rio Santiago and prop- erty owner Milan Capital ignored it. The cease and desist order followed LEA’s July 23 instruc- tion to the operators to return the permit the agency had issued for inert debris disposal and later re- voked. Chandler/Milan ignored that, too. Name that dune Chandler/Milan subsequently demanded a hearing, claiming the CDO did not allow them due process. They later changed their challenge, claiming the cease and desist order did not apply because they were not operating a dispos- al site, but instead conducting an engineered fill operation. Blum found that due process had not been violated. Chandler/ Milan argued that LEA should have issued a notice of intent be- fore the cease and desist order. The hearing officer ruled that a “notice of intent and cease and desist order are two separate tools provided to the LEA to ensure See "Disposal" continued on page 5 THE EARTH MOVED Long-awaited headquarters for Orange Fire Department gets closer to reality with ceremonial shoveling. See Council, page 3 RAISE HIGH THE ROOFBEAMS New Measure S-funded STEM Center opens for students at Orange High School. See New OHS, page 7 THIS ONE DIDN’T GET AWAY An OPA fisherman reels in a big one, and has a tall fish tale to tell. See Community Sports page 15 HERITAGE BEGINS AT HOME A North Tustin residence records regional history in bricks, tiles and homeowner husbandry. See House, page 9 Photo by Tony Richards