Nearly 60 people attended the Fullerton library auditorium Monday night to get an overview of a proposed zoning plan, known as CollegeTown, that could give property owners surrounding Cal State Fullerton and Hope University more leeway to expand their businesses.
The forum, put on by Neighborhoods United for Fullerton (NUFF), was hosted by Karen Haluza, director of community development for the city, who answered questions surrounding the proposal that concerns the land bordered by the 57 freeway, State College Boulevard, Nutwood Avenue and Chapman Avenue.
Haluza made it clear to residents that CollegeTown is a plan, not a project, that would give property owners more options to develop their buildings, like having a combination of residential and commercial in one building. Buildings could go as high as 10 stories in some locations. But just because the owners may get the option, it doesn’t mean that they will max out development she said.
One of the biggest concerns residents have is the current parking situation in and around the universities.
With parking at a premium on campus, students often park in the surrounding neighborhoods. This has led to many complaints from residents who say their streets are increasingly clogged with student cars.
If the plan — which could mean an increase of 3,400 residents — was implemented and the new housing developed, it could significantly reduce the number of student cars parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Another concern of the residents lies on the possible closure of a portion of Nutwood Avenue between Titan Drive and Folino Drive, which would create a public plaza for pedestrians and bicyclists and increase safety in the area.
Haluza said that the traffic reports showed that traffic on Nutwood was less than that of Chapman Avenue and Yorba Linda Boulevard, the two closest streets that residents can use to get to the 57 freeway.
However, Chapman Avenue would need two additional lanes and on- and off-ramps to the 57 freeway would have to be redone. Haluza said that there are mechanisms in the plan to help cover the costs, like having new development fees that would go to fund the street widening and ramp overhaul projects.
Many residents scoffed when they heard Haluza cite the traffic report and some said that they should just put pedestrian bridges over the heavy foot traffic intersections instead, like Fullerton College has.
Kim Apel, manager of physical and capital planning for CSUF, said building such a bridge would not be as easy as residents might think. Costs would be considerable, he said, particularly because of requirements relating to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“It’s not as easy as saying: ‘why don’t you build a bridge over it,’” Apel told residents.
Near the end of the forum, some residents began to voice their objections and opinions, instead of writing their questions on a card so they could be answered.
Haluza told them that the Feb. 10 Fullerton Planning Commission meeting would be the appropriate place for addressing their thoughts on specific details like the possible Nutwood Avenue closure.
The College Town plan is expected to go before the Fullerton City Council for a vote in March.
Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC intern. Please contact him at Scustodio21@csu.fullerton.edu.