Fullerton City Council elects Doug Chaffee as new mayor

In Local News, News
(Ethan Peschansky / Daily Titan)

Doug Chaffee was unanimously appointed to be the new mayor of Fullerton for 2018 by the City Council on Tuesday.

The position of mayor is not voted on by Fullerton citizens, but instead appointed by the members of city council each December. Chaffee succeeds Bruce Whitaker for the position and his appointment is effective immediately.

“I remain as optimistic about the future of this city as I was when I first joined the council,” Whitaker said during his outgoing address. “It’s time for leadership in this city to move forward and create the quality in so many areas that we should deserve and expect in the city of Fullerton.”

According to the city’s policy, the mayor is chosen based on seniority, which is determined by “the number of years a council member has served on city council without being mayor.” Chaffee has served three years since last serving as mayor in 2014.

Councilman Greg Sebourn was chosen to be the mayor pro tem, the council member traditionally next in line to become mayor. Although there are no guidelines for the selection of a mayor pro tem, city council chooses the council member with the next highest seniority because it is the mayor pro tem who generally becomes mayor the following year.

Sebourn last served as mayor two years ago.

The meeting then moved to the topic of the Fox Block Development plan and its different proposed options.

Council members first heard the alternatives in a special joint meeting with the city planning commission on Aug. 29. Mixed-use development company Pelican Communities presented options that included a 200-space parking structure, a parking structure plus retail store, a residential building and a movie theatre.

Based on the feedback heard at that meeting and further research, the options presented had been narrowed down to the parking structure-only plan and the parking structure-plus retail option.

After seeing presentations, the council voted 3-2 in favor of the parking plan plus retail option with Chaffee as well as council members Jennifer Fitzgerald and Jesus Silva voting “yes.”

“Our ability to maximize our assets in this situation is clear to me,” Fitzgerald said. “We need more people in the downtown (area) who are here in the daytime to support the other daytime businesses, to bring new daytime businesses here.”

In addition to the 200-space parking structure, the plan also calls for development in some adjacent lots. One development includes replacing the parking lot at the corner of Chapman Avenue and Pomona Avenue with either a multi-story office space or a two-story mixed-use space with a two-story residential development.

“The first benefit is parking for Angelo’s and Vinci’s, for the Dripp and for the Fox Theatre. Once the Fox Theatre opens up, they’ll need that parking,” said Richard Hamm, division manager for Pelican Communities. “The benefit of the community, to developing the other lots, is that that can create some funds for the city that the city can use to pay for the parking structure and other improvements.

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