Town Center 'commons' to create 'sense of place'
An important element of Yorba Linda's new Town Center project will be a three-quarter acre “central open space” – or “commons” – envisioned as “the heart of the retail center,” where community members can gather, interact and experience "a sense of place.”
The area, according to a report from city staffer Dave Brantley, “also is intended to allow opportunity for outdoor community and special events.” Brantley, formerly the city's principal planner, has been named community development director to replace retiree Steve Harris.
Current plans picture a space with artificial turf “and decorative hardscape areas organized around a central water feature” that is flanked by building units leased by small retail, food and quick-serve businesses, such as yogurt, ice cream, smoothie, bakery and coffee shops.
Brantley notes developer Zelman Retail Partners has signaled strong interest by well-known brands and operators to lease space, so the open area will include outdoor dining tables, casual seating areas, benches and other features to support “an active, informal setting.”
Also planned are a “garden room with casual seating” – featuring covered outdoor furniture for patrons to “relax and interact” and “enjoy food and beverages” – and several kiosks selling “unique and/or seasonal items” to be positioned on one side of the commons.
A pedestrian pathway will link the Imperial Highway-Yorba Linda Boulevard intersection, the open space-commons area and the proposed 10-screen, 1,100-seat upscale movie theater, as well as the other major anchor tenant, a gourmet-specialty market, perhaps Bristol Farms.
Questions about parking still concern some of the adjacent Main Street business owners and several residents who have observed the Old Towne-Town Center planning permutations for the past couple of decades.
A city-hired consultant determined Town Center needs 1,122 parking spaces during the week and 1,039 on the weekend, and, at build-out, “there will be a remaining deficiency of approximately 316 parking spaces during the week and 245 spaces during the weekend.”
Included in proposals for sufficient parking is a 429-space, four-story structure that would be partially subterranean to allow the height to meet a 35-foot limit for Town Center buildings, to be located on a one-acre, city-owned parcel across a newly built street just north of the open space-commons area.
To alleviate typical anxieties about parking structures, the facility would be well-lighted – “light and bright,” notes a planning document – and include features to “soften the service-oriented feel of such structures,” with color variations and painted murals.
And, as more projects occur within Town Center, including future retail and a potential new library, more parking spaces will be provided. Also noted are several properties that have underutilized parking lots that could expand the public supply by shared-use agreements.