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  Agenda Item   9.    
Planning Commission
Meeting Date: 08/24/2021  

Plan Review No. PR 21-06, Administrative Remedy No. AR 21-03, and Mitigated Negative Declaration No. MND 21-02: A Request To construct a new 131,500 square-foot warehouse facility, allow lot area coverage over fifty percent, and adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the site located at 2929 East Imperial Highway in the M-1 (light industrial) zone.


The Applicant, Western Realco LLC., is requesting a Plan Review (PR) and Administrative Remedy (AR) to allow the demolition of an existing office building for the construction of a new 131,500 square-foot warehouse facility and allow lot area coverage to exceed fifty percent at 2929 East Imperial Highway, in the M-1 (Light Industrial) Zone. The project includes an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The above-mentioned entitlements herein are referred to as the “Project.”



Staff recommends that the Planning Commission take the following actions:


1.    Adopt Mitigated Negative Declaration No. MND 2021-02 and the Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting Program (Attachment C) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15369.5; and,


2.    Approve Plan Review No. 2021-06 to allow the construction of a new 131,500 square-foot warehouse facility, and associated site improvements, based on the findings and conclusions in the attached resolution (Attachment A), and subject to the recommended conditions of approval (Attachment B); and,


3.    Approve Administrative Remedy No. 2021-03 to exceed the allowed by-right lot area coverage in the M-1 (Light Industrial) Zone, based on the findings and conclusions in the attached resolution (Attachment A), and subject to the recommended conditions of approval (Attachment B).


The Project site (reference Figure 1) is located on the northwest corner of Imperial Highway and Saturn Street, and has a General Plan Land Use and zoning designation of M-1 (Light Industrial). The approximately 5.6-acre site is currently developed with a 126,000 square-foot, two-story office building, surface parking lot, and landscaping. The zoning designation and existing use for the adjacent properties are as follows:

The Project proposes the demolition of the existing two-story office building, parking lot, and landscaping. The Project would construct a new two-story, 40-foot tall, 131,500 square-foot concrete tilt-up warehouse building with 6,500 square feet of office space (reference Figure 2). The proposed warehouse building would have 11 roll-up gates for truck docks on the north building façade.  Truck ingress and egress to the site is taken from Saturn Street where an 8-foot tall metal driveway gate and fence with landscaping is proposed to secure and screen the truck loading area.

The surface parking lot would include 151 parking spaces and new landscaping. The existing Canary Island Pine trees along the west and north property lines are proposed to remain.  The existing southernly driveway approach along Saturn Street would be removed. All other existing driveway approaches would remain.


At the time this report was prepared, the applicant has not identified a use or tenant for the Project. Any tenant seeking to occupy the building would be subject to review by City staff. 

Plan Review
Pursuant to Brea City Code (BCC) Section 20.252.050, all proposed development in the M-1 zone requires a PR, subject to review and approval by the Community Development Director (Director). The Director has deferred review of the PR to the Planning Commission given the scope of the Project and to provide an opportunity for additional participation in the development process.

The proposed warehouse building would be positioned towards the southeast corner of the Project site, near the intersection of Imperial Highway and Saturn Street.  The building would be setback approximately 50-feet from Imperial Highway and 15-feet from Saturn Street. The building would be designed in a contemporary style and would be painted white and gray with blue/green accents(reference Figure 3). Façade accents comprised of aluminum mullions with reflective blue/green glass are proposed at the southwest and southeast corners of the building.

The proposed warehouse building would be approximately 40’ tall. Additional site improvements would include new landscaping along the Imperial Highway and Saturn Street frontages. The parking spaces proposed were calculated utilizing the parking ratio for warehouse/storage buildings at one space per 1,000 square feet of warehouse/storage and one space per 250 square feet of office area. The Project would provide an art piece located at the southeast corner of Imperial Highway and Saturn Street, subject to compliance with the Art in Public Places Program (Attachment B – Condition of Approval “m”). Below is a table the demonstrates compliance with applicable development standards:

As proposed, the building is designed to be complementary to the existing streetscape and to buildings in the vicinity, and would not adversely impact adjacent properties. The Project complies with all applicable development, with the exception of lot cover.  Staff is supportive of the PR request for the development of a new warehousing building as proposed.
To further ensure the Project would be compatible with surrounding uses and development, staff has prepared draft Conditions of Approval (Attachment B). A notable condition of approval requires that all truck ingress and egress to the site be limited to Saturn Street and prohibited from Imperial Highway (Condition of Approval “d”). In addition, Condition of Approval “z” requires all existing public utilities located within the existing 20-foot utility easement within private property are to be protected in place.  No trees, utility vaults or cabinets, or structures with footing elements shall be allowed within the existing 20-foot utility easement area.
Administrative Remedy
Pursuant to BCC Section 20.252.040, the M-1 Zone allows up to 50-percent of the total lot area to be covered by buildings and structures. As proposed, the Project would have a total building lot coverage of 52.55-percent, exceeding the allowed lot coverage by 2.55-percent.  Pursuant to BCC Section 20.408.020, an increase of up to 10-percent of the permitted lot coverage may be granted through an AR, subject to review and approval by the Director. The maximum 50-percent lot coverage would allow a building footprint of 122,030 square feet. The Applicant’s request for 52.55-percent lot coverage would result in a building footprint of 128,253 square feet. This results in an increased lot coverage of approximately 6,223 square feet or 2.55-percent.  
As proposed, the building would comply with all other applicable development standards including setbacks, height, landscaping, and parking. The Applicant is proposing a 15’ setback along Saturn Street, 5’ greater than required by the BCC. The 15’ setback would provide a consistent side yard setback with the building to the north along Saturn Street. The 2.55-percent increase would result in a marginal increase in building area and would not result in any impacts to surrounding uses or development. Further, the Project is consistent with the General Plan Land Use and zoning designation of Light Industrial, which encourages warehouse buildings.  Therefore, staff is supportive of the Applicant’s Administrative Remedy request for the increase in lot coverage.


This Project was noticed in accordance with the City’s public noticing requirements, which involved mailed notices sent to property owners within 500-feet of the Project site, and publication in the local paper. The public hearing notice for this Project is provided as Attachment G. As of the writing of this report, staff has not received public comments.
Pursuant to CEQA, the Project’s MND was subject to a 21-day public review and comment period.  As required, MND No. 2021-02 was made available for public review and comment from August 2, 2021 through August 23, 2021. No public comments were received on MND No. 2021-02.


This Project has been assessed in accordance with the CEQA guidelines. As a result, MND No. 2021-02 was prepared for the Project and serves as the environmental clearance document. Mitigation measures identified in the study address impacts to biology, cultural resources, geology and soils, and hazardous materials. With these mitigation measures (Attachment C) the Project would not result in any significant environmental impacts.
Assembly Bill – 52 (AB52)
Pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21080.3.1(b) notices were mailed to California Native American tribes to provide an opportunity to share any knowledge of cultural resources within the Project vicinity or request a tribal consultation. A total of 29 notices were mailed. A request for a tribal consultation was only received from the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians - Kizh Nation. The consultation was held and electronic comments and communication was provided by the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians - Kizh Nation. Mitigation measures were provided, and include having a Native American Monitor on-site during any ground-disturbing activity. In addition, if any cultural resources are discovered on-site then work shall cease immediately to evaluate the finds.


For the reasons discussed above and the information attached to this report, the Project would conform with all the requirements of the General Plan and the provisions of the BCC. The proposed recommendation would not have an adverse effect on the public, health, safety, or general welfare. Therefore, staff recommends approval of the Project. 
Jason Killebrew, City Planner
Prepared by: Jose Barriga, Associate Planner
A. Draft Resolution
B. Conditions of Approval Summary
C. Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and Appendices
D. Project Plans
E. Technical Background
F. Vicinity Map
G. Public Hearing Notice

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