Despite two recommendations by the Fillmore Planning Commission to deny the project, a shopping center proposed for the south side of California 126 near B Street received tentative approval from the Fillmore City Council this week.
However, the council backed the commission’s denial of a variance sought by the developer, which would have eliminated a 20-foot-wide open space at the rear of the project.
When developer Joel Block and architect Leroy Andrews first appeared before the Planning Commission in July, the mini-mall was judged too large for the site. Commissioners also objected to parking arrangements and predicted drainage problems.
Residents of a housing tract behind the project raised further objections concerning noise, lighting and loiterers who might gather in the area behind stores.
Two meetings and a variety of design changes failed to satisfy the commission, which finally denied approval because a proposal to eliminate loitering by building the structure on the rear property line required a variance.
During their appeal to the City Council on Tuesday, the applicants complained that the Planning Commission had failed to give them clear direction on how to make the project acceptable. Block contended that all major problems had been solved and that he and Andrews preferred to work with city planners to resolve minor issues, rather than to be sent back to the commission.
The council approved a suggestion by the developer to reverse the layout of the building, leaving the west side of the property open, to allow shared parking with an adjacent site also planned for commercial development. Council members asked that the 20-foot-wide alley behind the stores be fenced to prevent unauthorized access and declined to grant a variance to eliminate the space.