By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
It took nearly two hours and comments from multiple speakers. One man was thrown out for breaking decorum and Mayor Carol Warren used her gavel to keep order. Many versions of the same question were asked.
Some property owners were concerned about a myriad of issues: that they might be forced to change their property zoning, that someone would try to force them off their property, that they would never be able to change their property zoning, that property values would fall or that the city planned on putting in immediately the designs from the plan inspiration boards.
Property owners Donna and Brandon Layton voiced a concern over implementation, practicality and what would it do for their property value.
“I’m all for this idea in the long run, I mean, what you have planned here is beautiful and I would love to have a beautiful city and I would love to help do something like that,” said Brandon, “Thing is, how are you going to get there?”
The Laytons said that they would be happy to eventually sell their property, but under the city’s plan for zoning, the city wanted their property to be in a future residential area.
“I don’t think it is a good idea for a residential area to right next to a main thoroughfare, no one is going to want to live there. You can’t tell us that if we [their property] became a residential property that our value would go up,” said Donna.
So what does this mean for current residents and commercial and industrial business owners at present?
Very little, for now.
“No one is forcing anyone to do anything,” said David Shawver, mayor pro tem. “You can keep your property, as you like it, indefinitely, so long as you don’t abandon it for 180-plus days.”
The Town Center plan applies to a roughly 95-acre area generally north and east of the civic center at Katella Avenue and Beach Boulevard. The boundaries are Cerritos Avenue on the north, Katella on the south, Fern Avenue on the east and Rose Street on the west.
According to the plan, current property owners may keep their property zoned as it is at present for as long as they, the owner, wish to retain that zoning.
If a property owner wished to stay at their current residential, commercial or industrial property but wants to remodel or rebuild, the remodeling/rebuilding needs to have agreement with a variety of styles that are approved in the plan.
The “specific plan” is a hope that over the course of the next 40 plus years, that as properties are sold, remodeled or redeveloped that they will have continuity to their structure and appearance and beautified.
There is no action plan involved to make this idea come into reality. It is merely a guide to look towards an idea for the future.
The idea of “specific plan” comes with a zoning for the area of the same name.
If a property owner finds an investor or developer that wants to purchase their property and change the property use, they [owner and investor/purchaser] may come to city hall and have a zoning amendment drafted.
This is applicable only to this area, as outlined in the specific plan. If surrounding owners wish to argue the change of zoning by their neighbor, they can do so through the city planning commission.
Part of the plan outlines a preferred arrangement for clusters of business, commercial and resident or mixed-use areas. That is what the city would like to see happen.
However, what really happens is up to the property owners themselves.
“We can’t make you change anything. If you want to change, you can. If you don’t, you don’t have to. What we’re trying to do here is make things more flexible for you if you do want to change [as property owners],” said Shawver.