More details of the new Hyundai North American Headquarters on Talbert Avenue and an update on its environmental impact report were provided to the Fountain Valley City Planning Commission on Wednesday night at its regular biweekly public meeting in City Hall.
The six-story main building is four more stories than the original structure and will stand 120 feet high. Along with a new single-story medical services building to the northeast and a four-story parking structure in one corner, the 18-ace campus will encompass 469,700 square feet, or more than double the old structure, which already has been demolished.
The company, Hyundai Motor America, will employ an estimated 1,300 workers, an increase of 500 jobs. Most of the current workforce is working temporarily in Costa Mesa and another part of Fountain Valley. The new buildings will house administrative and executive functions, research and design, testing, marketing and customer support.
The project is now in the draft environmental impact report (EIR) period. During this time, the public can submit comments to the planning commission but only on the draft report. The EIR public review period began Feb. 2 and runs for 45 days, or until March 19 at 5 p.m.
No decisions were made Wednesday by the Planning Commission pending the outcome of the EIR. The cost for the EIR was paid by Hyundai Motor America, but it isn't the first time Hyundai has been down this road.
In 1989 the company received approval from the Planning Commission to build basically the same structures, but the additions were never constructed. Provided all goes well this time, Hyundai expects to be in their spacious, new North American headquarters within about 19 months from the start of construction.
Designed by renowned architecture and design firm Gensler, the building will feature "floating translucent glass floors," an inner courtyard and a vehicle showroom visible from the 405 Freeway. The building's $150-million price tag represents the largest investment ever made by Hyundai in a U.S.-based office building.
The public hearing on the draft EIR drew only one comment, which was in stark contrast to the last meeting when a dozen comments were heard by the Planning Commission on the Ayres/Olson project. A resident whose home backs up to project, on the opposite side of 10550 Talbert Avenue, made several observations that the commission likely will be focusing on.
Some of those issues included the extended height and brightness of the light standards above the parking structure next to Talbert, which could measure 65 to 70 feet above ground; elimination of all landscape, including mature trees, along the median that separates the eastbound and westbound lanes of Talbert, which means one less buffer for nearby residents; and the new traffic light and streetlights along the crosswalk that are proposed for Talbert going into the center of the facility. But being closer to Ward St. also could result in more back-ups for commuters.
Speaking of commuters, the EIR does address how traffic conditions would be inpacted in and around the new Ayres/Olson project on Brookhurst and Slater, combined with the new, grander Hyundai complex less than two miles away on Talbert and Ward. However, no mention of it was made just two weeks after 200 people packed the same council chambers to, among other things, questioned the same study on traffic conditions between the two sites, particularly during rush hours.
The Planning Commission has given every indication that it will recommend the project be passed, provided the EIR passes and a few modifications and concessions are made to the proposal. Hyundai then must wait 20 days before it can begin to submit building permits for the project to the city.
Hyundai has been a great benefactor for the city and will be instrumental in boosting the local economy for both large and small businesses. Both sides have had a good working relationship.
If Hyundai can show the same empathy and willingness to work with the surrounding residents that the Olson people showed its new neighbors, a public hearing to certify Hyundai's EIR could be held as soon as April 11.
Public viewing of the plans is available online at www.fountainvalley.org under "Planning Commission."
In other Planning Commission news:
Ping pong coming to Fountain Valley.
The commission approved a petition submitted by Rev. Vincent H. Phamtoopen and operate a ping pong hall at 16131 Harbor Blvd. The hall, to be called "Spin Garden," will have eight ping pong tables, a waiting area, a soda vending machine and a 30" TV. The hall will be open from noon to 9 p.m., seven days a week. The cost to play will be $35 a month or $5 a day.
Correction: Single-family residential high restrictions.
The planning commission voted to recommend to the City Council that the height limit remain unchanged regarding the R-1 development standards, which upholds the existing height limit in the R-1 zone is 25’.
The commission approved the municipal code that will effectively put height limitations to single-family residences. Up until 2006 the maximum allowable height limit for the R-1 zone was 28’, but then development standards were reviewed and amended to address “mansionization” concerns, corrected Andy Perea, Planning & Building Director for the City of Fountain Valley.
Part of the changes, he says, were adopted in 2006 and included a reduction of the permitted R-1 building height to 25’. In December, the City Council requested the Planning Commission revisit building heights for the single family residential zone.
There also are limitations on second-story windows and ceiling heights for first-story areas.
Beauty College to open cosmetology school.
The commission approved a petition by Coastline Beauty College to open a cosmetology school at 16151-16161 Harbor Blvd.