Congrats to Fullerton Planning Commission

It’s pretty rare when one of our commissions really does its job, so when they do I’m happy to advertise the fact. Last week the Fullerton Planning Commission re-reviewed the noise ordinance that was kicked back to them by the City Council for further consideration, and they excelled themselves.

Their performance was so rewarding it almost makes me want to overlook the first time this group unanimously passed virtually the same proposed ordinance in November, 2023. This time they really took their jobs seriously.

The staff report for the item, given by some guy named Edgardo, was the same nonsense they pitched before, and they essentially asked the Commission to rubber stamp it yet again.

But this time there is a problem. It seems that no matter how many words they throw at the issue, staff can’t talk around their own complete lack of effort at code enforcement in Downtown Fullerton. They admit it now, claiming (without a shred of evidence) that the existing noise level is unsupportable in court, and begging the question of why amplified music is then allowed outdoors at all – it wasn’t for decades. We were informed that a “vibrant” downtown (pictures of happy people) requires more noise, not less. The underlying theme was the usual tripe: DTF is an economic asset whose saloon proprietors must be coddled at all cost. Look the other way, fast!

Incredibly, our new friend Edgardo informed the Commission that current levels of noise are acceptable to the citizenry based on the fact that so few complaints are lodged. Complete balderdash, of course. Naturally the bald declaration of “acceptability” was unsupported by any complaint data, suggesting that if there is a record, it is an embarrassing one. And the Commission learned from public speaker Joshua Ferguson that the City doesn’t bother with code enforcement and almost never has, leading Commissioner Patricia Tutor to wonder if this lack of responsiveness might have caused citizens to give up complaining.

One poor lady, the owner of Les Amis was there to push for the proposal. Unfortunately, as she admitted, she does live music in her establishment without the benefit of the required entertainment permit. Oops. Code enforcement to the rescue!

Local hero…

Tony Bushala got up to speak, sharing his story of being driven out of his downtown home due the noise. He also produced a lengthy list of errors and omissions in the proposed ordinance and stuff that was just contradictory. It turns out that the public and the Commission were not presented with a complete underline/strike-out version, showing pretty clearly that counsel Baron Bettenhauser of the I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm, had not, as he claimed, looking up from his cell phone, read the damn thing.

Edgardo and Baron work their magic…

One zoom caller named Maureen said the smartest thing of the night. She actually suggested that without actually hearing the sound on site, she (and presumably everybody else) was at a loss to really fathom the mystery of decibel levels.

Tutor tutors staff.

Commissioner Tutor was particularly effective in asking pertinent questions, one of which, was how come, after 10pm when music is supposed to move indoors, isn’t the decibel level lowered. A really commonsensical question. She didn’t get a commonsensical answer. The acoustical consultant from some operation called Dudek explained that during their noise collection procedure, that seemed to be the general noise level.

What’s going on here?

Oops again. Commissioner Cox pounced on the fact that the collected data was based on a noise level that was one, currently illegal; and two, based on a situation where there is no code enforcement, thus kicking up the noise level that staff was claiming was acceptable! He didn’t say so, but it was pretty clear that Mr. Dudek Guy had been receiving coaching from staff on the noise levels they found acceptable.

Mansuri ain’t buying it.

The other main sticking point was where to measure noise from – a certain distance from the noise source or a certain distance from the property line; two choices were offered with the greater distance being recommended. Commissioner Mansuri was unpersuaded by staff. That issue tied everybody up in knots off and on for the better part of an hour. Finally it was concluded that the noise sampling site needed a rethink.

Thanking God it’s over…

Finally, mercifully, Commissioner Arnel Dino moved that the whole thing come back in May with the entire code changes organized and clarified and that in the interim the Planning Commissioners would go out themselves with decibel monitors and experience for themselves the problems of sound accumulation, reverberation, etc. So that’s what is going to happen. Imagine that – first hand experience without the muddled abstraction of decibel levels on a piece of paper.

As usual it was obvious that our hand-wringing staff was pursuing their path of least residence by raising sound thresholds, making it harder to enforce even that, and refusing to enforce the requirements of the bar-owners’ entertainment permits – things like closing doors and windows. How many times have we seen staff guide the consultant they chose to get what they want? Happens all the time. And how many times must the public be subjected to uninformed or misinformed opinion passed along as Gospel truth by our public employees? Happens all the time. And when will the City Council demand honesty and competence from its bureaucrats? I’m afraid we all know the answer to that.

Fullerton, being Fullerton.

18 Replies to “Congrats to Fullerton Planning Commission”

  1. Great post! I gotta set aside some time tomorrow to watch the video of that meeting for myself! We stopped going to dinner in downtown to one of my wife’s favorite restaurants, Kentro, All because the walk from the rear public parking lot caused us to traverse through the lot and pasted by the Slidebar to get to Kentro. It was pretty intimidating (we heard words from the singer screaming nasty words something like “come on baby suck on this”. Just walking pasting that place was detrimental to our health and welfare.

    1. Um….you know Slidebar has been closed for around 3 years? Where did “come on baby suck this” come from? It was so traumatizing that you’ve not gone downtown for years?

      1. I remember you. You’re the one that keeps making lame-ass excuses for your friend Marovic. Have you had a fishbowl drink lately?

      2. When a reputations been ruined, its hard to over come that reputation. Downtown Fullerton developed a bad reputation with many people in this community and with people who have families. There was this really good home made Italian ice cream parlor called Frappe Gelato on W. Commonweath. It was located west of Roscoe’s, not so Famous Deli. Famous for ruining the adjacent businesses owners business, as well the atmosphere around it.

        Frappe Gelato had the best Italian Ice Cream we’ve ever tasted. We always would look forward to going there. It was hand made Italian Ice Cream. It was our favorite place to eat desert in downtown. We used to take our family there after we had dinner in down town. But when we got our ice cream it was very annoying to sit outside to eat without any peace peaceful enjoyment. This happened day or night.

        During the day or night, Roscoe’s had loud rock bands BLASTING music on the back patio which was adjacent to where Gellato had their tables and chairs for their customers to eat their ice cream.

        But one day that all changed. Roscoe’s moved the loud bands inside and started playing house music through loud speakers outside. When the bands moved inside the band stand and huge loud speakers were placed on the opposite side of the thick brick wall separating Roscoe’s from Frappe Gelato. Now, when you went to order Ice Cream it was so loud you hat to shout your order loud enough for the people working the counter to hear what you were ordering. So what happened? They couldn’t take the disturbance made by the not so Famous deli and moved their business!

        We miss them dearly, it was a very good establishment, but driven out of business by Roscoe’s. I’m sure this story has happened to other good business who were located next door to one of the Big 10 loud and annoying bars,

        We definitely have a serious issue as Fullerton is slowly but surely becoming an outdoor air booze saloon for adults who just want to drink and party like there’s no tomorrow. I’m wondering what permits these booze peddlers actually have that allows them to do this? I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s hurting the business of the real restaurants still operating in downtown. If things don’t get better, the remaining good restaurants and businesses in the downtown will pack their bags and move to on. Maybe to Brea, Anaheim, Buena Park, Placenta, etc. To a city that does not permit this type of outdoor LOUDNESS anywhere, but Fullerton. They will move to a city where their customers will feel safe and can hear each other talk day or night, inside or outside, without shouting.

        Same things goes for those places who thrive by placing very loud speakers outside (think Tijuana). Where the volume of the outside noise produced are keeping people living downtown and adjacent to downtown awake at night. Eventually they will start moving out of downtown and what will remain?

        I like this blog because there are no other place in Fullerton that talk about real issues. And the best part – it’s free and has no advertisements!

        Thank you Fullerton’s Future. Keep up the good work!

        1. I agree and sorry to see Gelato go. We no longer go to restaurants/bars downtown that have music because it’s too LOUD to even eat. Sometimes you just want a burger and a beer. Not in Fullerton. I don’t think even the drinkers want it that loud, so I don’t get why it is that way.

          1. It’s a race to the bottom. After a while you don’t even ask why you’re sinking. That’s Downtown Fullerton, where you can succeed at every one else’s expense.

  2. There was a little restaurant called Table Ten that moved into a place on Commonwealth from Placentia.

    They were driven out of business by Roscoe’s noise blast. Thanks, Jack Franklyn.

  3. I wonder if Ms. Les Amis was there at the behest of staff to encourage pushing their nonsense along. You want an entertainment permit? We can help. But first you gotta do a little something for us.

  4. This Planning Commission is who you want on the City Council – as long as they could resist taking bribes from public safety unions, greasy developers and other assorted charlatans. But then again, Fullerton being Fullerton.

  5. Was a pleasure to watch the video of that meeting. Local hero gave them hell! Let’s see if this time they put their money where their mouth is and get this Noise Ordinance sorted out.

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