Dude, Where’s My Carport?

Imagine there’s no parking, it isn’t hard to do.

Parking in Cal State Fullerton is a mess, and it seems that even efforts to alleviate it (like the opening of two parking garages) only makes the situation  worse.

Back in 2016, when the City was busy pushing College Town, the promise of addressing the parking problem was the method the city used to try to overcome local resistance (even if their plan amounted to nothing more than the creation of a “Parking Management Plan”, that is, a plan to plan to deal with the problem). Even in the fall of 2021, with reduced attendance on campus due to COVID 19, the campus is offering free parking as an incentive for people to get vaccinated. And when the pandemic finally ends, we will likely see the return of off campus student parking as far south as Orangethorpe and as far East as Raymond.

With the massive parking shortfall, the idea of approving a high density development with almost no parking would be an absolute non-starter. Or, at least, it would be in a sane world.

On September 29, 2021, the Fullerton Planning Commission approved, on a 3-2 vote, the application of Core Spaces to re-zone the property at 2601-2751 East Chapman Avenue (the portion of Chapman running East of Commonwealth to the 57 Freeway) and a allow for the development of a mixed use 420 unit, apartment complex consisting of studio and one through four bedroom units.

All told, there will be an anticipated 1,251 new residents in the City of Fullerton once approved and built. The total number of parking spaces for those new residents is just 273 (with additional spaces for guest parking and the ground floor mixed use). And, no, I did not forget to add a zero.

This isn’t even remotely close to the parking requirements set forth in Table 15.17.070.H of the Fullerton Municipal Code, which requires 1 ¾ spaces for each studio apartment, 2 for each one bedroom, 2 ½ for each two bedroom and 3 for each 3 bedroom apartment. The total required parking spaces should be in excess of one thousand, and its not even a third of that.

Given the absolutely massive shortfall in available spaces, the Planning Commission should have had an extremely solid rationale for their decision. Unfortunately, the decision amounts to little more than the claim that caring about parking spaces is “boomer” thinking, and totally, like, not with it, man:

The notion that the driving a car is a thing of the past will come as a surprise to most of the residents of Fullerton near the Cal State Fullerton campus (myself included), not to mention the students at Cal State Fullerton themselves, who are still clogging up the streets near campus even with the temporary reduction in in-person attendance due to COVID protocols


Pictured: The cars that today’s College Students totally don’t drive.

Currently, over 70% of college age Americans hold a driver’s license and, while that number is lower than in decades past, it still amounts to far more students who will want to drive than parking spaces being offered. In fact, if just half of the licensed students in the Core Communities project choose to drive on campus (a generously low assumption), the proposed parking structure is still about 250 parking spaces below what would be needed, and that’s just for the residents; the available space for the lower level commercial development is grossly underutilized and pretty much destined to failure, as the number of spaces are less than the property across the street owned by Cameron Irons. Incidentally, Mr. Irons was present at the Planning Commission meeting and he insisted the number of parking spaces was perfectly adequate for this development even while acknowledging the same amount of commercial spaces for his own venture doomed the restaurants in his building to failure.

Core Communities insists that they would not be proposing such a low number of spaces if they didn’t believe it would work, but their optimistic appraisals are contradicted by their own prior developments. For example, their facebook page for the Hub at Tuscon basically advises students to not even bother asking for a lease for a parking space as they are all booked and have been for years. Students at the Hub at East Lansing have also complained about the lack of parking (among other issues). And both of those complexes were built in neighborhoods with very high walkability scores. East Fullerton is still highly car dependent, there’s no bars, minimal shopping options, and not nearly enough restaurants to accommodate the students during meal hours.

The Planning Commissioners seem to be aware of this but insist that this is fine, the creation of this development without adequate spaces is a good thing because it will force kids to leave their cars at home.

And there you have it. This Hub project is nothing more than enforced social engineering masquerading as free enterprise. Creation of this development without adequate parking isn’t fair to the students who need the spaces, nor is it fair to the resident who will be forced to deal with the additional vehicles. And it is contrary to the law, meaning the exception being created is not fair to every other apartment complex builder in this City (hell, even Red Oak, which itself had fewer spaces than required by law, is a virtual parking lot compared to this development). This project benefits nobody except the people who intend to build it and it should be rejected by the City Council on November 2.

26 Replies to “Dude, Where’s My Carport?”

  1. We’ve seen this show before: Jefferson Commons 14 years ago. Every lame argument was slurped up by the 2 bald tires, Quirky and Pam Kellar and the ever widening Shawn Nelson.

    Speaking of widening, I’d like to know if Hansber is getting a kickback from the developer.

    1. He’s not too bright and probably sees this as a “property rights” issues, i.e. the developer makes the huge profit and the everybody else in east Fullerton gets stuck with the negative externalities.

  2. She can’t imagine living like “these folks” are going to be living. Stuck in a rabbit warren, that is.

    Is Mr. Irons that Cameron Irons?

  3. Urban planners make the worst planning commissioners. They despise people who have autonomy and agency over their own lives. When the public fails to sign up for their authoritarian visions, they scold us and move on to the next grand idea.

  4. I looked up this Hansburg lady – there’s nothing on her LinkedIn that resembles a real job. How does she get paid?

    1. The hamburglar works for YIMBY and is surely paid by them as a lobbyist. How the F a housing lobbyist was allowed on planning commission is beyond me.

      1. It’s the YIYBYs that push that kind of ratpacking. They don’t live in the neighborhoods that get stuck with shitty projects like that, so of course they come up with creative theories that minimize the impacts.

  5. What is this fascination with forcing people out of their cars? You can’t buy groceries or take the kids to day care on a bike!

    But you know, these radicals shows up and volunteer and get their way. Why don’t normal people do the same?

  6. Elizabeth Hansberg needs to stop her excessive eating and mix some veggies into her diet. When she loses 80 pounds, she can lecture others on self-discipline and improving their behavior.

    1. As one can guess, it was Zahra who appointed Hansberg to the Planning Commission. Since Zahra is up for reelection in 2022, how much money do you believe Zahra’s campaign fund has already received from the developer of this project?

  7. There’s already a parking problem in most cities in North Orange County including Fullerton and Buena Park and likely others. Why? Because the areas with apartments and condos and town houses have many residents in each unit and each resident has a car. Also, as the children grow up and get to driving age they get a car and continue living with their parents in those residences. The parking in these residential places is inadequate for this number of residents with each adult having their own car. They are forced to try and find a parking space at curbside around the neighborhood. At times there are no open spaces. This also creates hostilities with the neighbors who live in the single family homes in those neighborhoods as their streets become overcrowded and noisy with many vehicles driving around and trying to park. Then what? With this new complex is there enough curbside parking around the neighborhood to accommodate the possibly 1000 vehicles? That is the maybe 1000 vehicles that can’t park on site. ……………. When they built the transportation center and train station in Buena Park just off of Malvern and Dale the city officials were warned by some other officials that there was not enough parking planned for that venture. And guess what? When that facility opened a mess quickly developed There is not enough parking and train passengers/commuters are forced to park around that neighborhood at curbside and that irritates the residents in that neighborhood (Bellehurst). Other train passengers/commuters using that train station are also forced to park over in Fullerton’s Park and Ride facility on Orangethorpe (about 2 miles away) and are transported to and from the train station via shuttles.

    1. That was (and is) the myth of the Transit Oriented Development. Fewer cars on the road at – which is sort of true as far as it goes. But it didn’t lessen the number of cars and they have to park somewhere.

  8. Interesting article Mr. Paden, thank you.

    The rendering of this project looks a bit like the University House (or whatever it’s now called), replete with ground floor “cafes and shops.” Ahh, the dream of every urbane sophisticate from sea to shining pothole! Just look around our city and see how successful these ground floor businesses have done! Oggi’s, a pizza and beer joint, couldn’t survive in a building full of college kids! How many restaurants have lived and died in the strip facing Chapman in that same building? I think at least three in the larger space. Jersey Mike’s and Chase couldn’t even survive there.

    The approach to the freeway is going to become even more of a parking lot with this project. How will that be handled or do we just not give a shit?

    One last thing-the building currently on that site-there’s been a Vanguard Properties sign on the window for years. I think it’s one of their locations. Doesn’t Mr Irons work for Vanguard?

    1. Quite correct. This phony “mixed use” crap has been going on for 30 years. The ground floor retail is always a joke from Day One. It’s just there to as a selling point to those who aren’t paying attention (councilmembers).

    2. Mr. Irons used to work for Vanguard Properties of Fullerton owned by Ed Diaz. He’s now at SVN Vanguard in Santa Ana and is listed as the executive director. I’ve no idea as to whether the 2 Vanguards are related.

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