On January 23, 2018, the Fountain Valley City Council adopted the Fountain Valley Crossings Specific Plan (FVCSP). The FVCSP contains the development regulations for the Crossing Specific Plan area generally located south of Talbert Avenue, north of Ellis Avenue, east of Ward Street, and west of the Santa Ana River. The FVCSP is divided into the Activity Core Target Area, the Workplace Neighborhood District, the Workplace Gateway District, and the Mixed Industry District. Each district contains a separate land use and development vision.
The overall purpose of the FVCSP is to create land-use flexibility, spur economic development, and foster the creation of a “Fountain Valley” scale main street experience, which would provide a gathering place for families and residents to shop and dine.
However, since its adoption, there has been minimal activity in the FVCSP area, consisting of a few new businesses reusing existing buildings and one façade remodel. As staff, property owners, and potential developers have started to use the FVCSP, it has become clear that plan adjustments would provide the flexibility to help spur development and entice new business to locate in the area while maintaining the desired vision of the plan.
On September 15, 2020, the City Council approved a proposed code amendment to the FVCSP that would, in summary:
- Accommodate land uses that could take advantage of freeway exposure, such as commercial entertainment.
- Broaden the types of retail uses that could locate in the area, such as grocery stores.
- Fairly allocate the 491 unit residential capacity within the plan.
- Allow desired uses, such as gyms, to re-use existing buildings.
- Remove artificial constraints that preclude desirable uses from locating in the area.
- Create flexible design options for mixed-use projects.
- Streamline and clarify the application process.
More specifically, the following changes to the Crossings Specific Plan were approved:
- Provide street setback standards for local streets to ensure clarity and consistency.
- Clarify CEQA approval process to remove ambiguity and ensure the intended streamlined review.
- Allow gyms on the ground floor as a permitted use in the Activity Core to encourage active uses and to facilitate the reuse of existing one-story buildings.
- Allow Entertainment & Recreation uses in the Workplace Gateway District with a conditional use permit to take advantage of the valuable freeway frontage and encourage active uses.
- Allow ground floor residential uses when commercial uses are located along the street frontage to provide design flexibility and development options that still meet the intent of activating the street.
- Specify the maximum number of residential units permitted and allocate residential units equitably.
- Allow Planning Director approvals for all exterior façade renovations to streamline the application process.
- All Specialty Goods Anchors (retail) by-right in the Workplace Neighborhood District to streamline the application process.
- Allow Community Oriented Anchors and Entertainment & Recreations uses by-right in the Workplace Neighborhood District to expand use options and serve residents.
- Allow vehicle sales outdoors with a conditional use permit in the Workplace Gateway & Mixed Industry Districts to accommodate a standard industry practice and allow options.
- Allow entertainment uses by-right in the Workplace Gateway District to expand use options in an area far from noise sensitive uses.
- Remove the minimum square footage requirement for Specialty Good Anchors (non-food retail stores) as it is an artificial and unnecessary limitation.
- Increase the number of allowable seats for eating/drinking establishments as a Convenience Use in all Districts to be consistent with recent amendments to the Municipal Code.
- Allow Financial Services by-right in all Districts to expand use options and serve residents.
- Add additional uses in the definition of Personal Services for all Districts.
- Require Indoor Veterinary Clinics to be prohibited when adjacent to residential uses in all Districts to minimize noise and odor impacts.
- Clarify that storage and warehousing is allowed as an accessory use for Light Industrial uses.
- Remove the maximum square footage requirement for Convenience Clusters in all Districts as it is an artificial and unnecessary limitation.
- Clarify the required public frontage improvement measurements for projects in all Districts.