HRB Minutes — November 3, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 4pm.  Present were HRB members Steve Cauffman, Jan Fisher, Catherine Pugel, Hobart Taylor, Brad Conley, Sandrine Scherson and Barbara Taborek.  ICHA staff members Victor Van Zandt, Ron Reid and Andrew Herndon participated in the initial portion of the meeting. Guests Hector Rivera, L. Song Richardson, John Graham, Priya Ranjan, Wen Hui Hsu, Jonathan Feng, and two other participants who have requested that their names not be listed in the minutes due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, participated in portions of the meeting.

Phase 11 Planning Discussion: Victor was asked to speak about the trade-offs between housing and shared space in the preliminary Phase 11 plan. He explained that the density of Phase 11 is higher than all previous phases because the Chancellor’s office has established a goal of housing 500 new hires during the next ten years.  Projections based on anticipated re-sales and new construction indicate that Phase 11 will need to include 160 for-sale homes in order to meet this demand.  The current Phase 11 plan includes 160 for-sale homes, 140 rental townhomes, and about 0.75 acres of common space distributed across several locations within Phase 11.  The proposed 140 rental townhomes wouldn’t be higher than 2 or 3 stories, and likely will be similar to the Alturas design.  The ratio of shared space per resident in Phase 11 falls well short of City of Irvine standards, but the overall ratio for University Hills as a whole is in line with those standards.  Earlier phases were much less dense, and included more generous spaces, with paseos and larger parks.  ICHA has indicated that it may be feasible to scale back the number of rental units in order to increase the shared space in Phase 11, and has encouraged the HRB to propose a vision of the types of amenity/park features that would be appropriate.  The design of the first subdivision of Phase 11 is essentially fixed, however the later sections may still allow for adjustment.  The HRB will review the results of Amenity and Park surveys conducted in recent years to identify priorities and formulate suggested features to incorporate into the Phase 11 amenity plan. In answer to a question about making a different product that may appeal to older residents, thus freeing up homes in the recreation-rich older sections, Andrew pointed out that residents may swap homes with ICHA assistance anytime.

Community/Police Relations: An HRB sub-committee, consisting of Steve, Sandrine and Hobart, is planning two gatherings to discuss the Police/Community relations and related topics. The first is tentatively scheduled for Monday evening, December 7th and the second for Sunday evening, December 13th. Since the police investigation into the incident that occurred on September 1st is still on-going, the police department is unable to discuss the specifics of that incident, though they have expressed interest in discussing procedures in general.  Given the heated listserv discussion about the incident, and the interest in the broader issues of race and police tactics, it seems appropriate for people in the community to talk about their concerns and priorities with one another, first, without the police present. This first forum will include brief presentations by experts on these topics, and focused community discussion, in order to help identify subjects of interest for the following forum, in which the police and the community will discuss how to improve mutual understanding. The committee has enlisted the services of several experts to help navigate these encounters, including facilitator and trainer in Restorative Justice, Hector Rivera, from Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities (SA-BHC), and L. Song Richardson, UCI Law School Professor and expert in police sensitivity training.  Hector discussed techniques for helping groups learn to listen to each other, “scaffolding” an issue, and addressing complex topics step by step. The HRB decided that it would be a valuable training for community members. We propose to engage Hector’s facilitation team to give Restorative Justice one-day training (9am-4pm) to groups of interested residents in advance of the first forum.  Trained facilitators from SA-BHC and from UCI would then assist in facilitating small group discussions during the second phase of the first community forum.  The weekend days of November 21, 22 and December 5,6 are possibilities for the training.  Hobart commented that the dedication of Parker Vista gave tribute to the building of the homes, but now it’s time to build the community.

Tennis: The HRB was asked by ICHA to consider the appeal of an ICHA decision to terminate a tennis instructor’s privileges to conduct business on the University Hills courts after it was determined that he had been providing private lessons to non-residents.  Andrew informed the board that the instructor had recently been advised that he was operating under a 90-day probationary period due to a complaint about an argument with a resident which resulted in the police being called due to statements that were perceived as threatening physical harm.   Because the HRB lacks formal authority to overrule ICHA decisions, the HRB asked for clarification of its role, and was told that HRB was being asked for an opinion on the matter, but that any recommendation would not be binding, since HRB’s role in such matters is advisory.  The HRB asked ICHA representatives to exit the meeting prior to the HRB hearing the appeal and deliberating on the matter.  The instructor’s appeal claimed the instruction of non-residents was unintentional, and that the consequence was too severe.  Several residents attended the meeting and spoke of the benefits and convenience of the instruction that they and their children receive from this tennis coach. They argued that the punishment was too severe.  During deliberation, it was noted that the severity of the consequence was due to ICHA’s earlier placement of the instructor on probation, which, in turn, was effectively due to appeal to ICHA of a previous [July 2015] HRB recommendation, and that it was no longer clear where this circular appeal process would end.  The HRB chose to consider the issue very narrowly, addressing only the aspect that it had not already addressed in its previous recommendation.  The Board found that the coach’s actions violated the tennis court rules and the terms of ICHA's probation. The Board will work with ICHA to develop a well-defined protocol for handling these sorts of disputes in the future.

The meeting adjourned at 7:05pm.