The Yucaipa Planning Com mission heard a home occupation permit case for a psychic reader at the 35000 block of Yucaipa at the June 4 meeting. Commissioners Denise Work and Clinton Brown were ab sent. Several members of the religious community attended to oppose the permit on moral grounds.
Assistant Planner Nikki Smith presented the case to the commission. She explained that home occupations may be permitted as an accessory use to residential land uses subject to an approved home occupation permit and compliance with all general requirements outlined in the specific conditions of approval.
Home occupation permits are generally proc essed administratively, however due to opposition from surrounding neighbors the public hearing would be made available at the planning commission regular meeting. The home is a nonconforming use in a commercial zone.
The applicant, John Johnson, moved to Yucaipa from Los Angeles area to continue what he has been doing for the past several decades — provide psychic readings. Johnson told the committee he is leasing the house and resides there with his family.
“I have done everything the city has asked me to do,” said Johnson. I am 65 years old. I have no tickets or record.”
Planning Commissioner Kat hy Fellenz asked what hours and days he is expecting to operate his business.
He told her with a business like his, it is difficult to say but he thought it would be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Planning Commissioner Bart Brizzee asked if there was sufficient parking at the site. Director of Development Ser vices Joe Lambert said yes.
The first speaker, George Bedlion Sr., urged the planning commission to deny the home occupation permit.
“I don’t want to see a psychic reader in Uptown Yucaipa,” said Bedlion. “My church sponsors the soap box race and we just don’t want to see this kind of influence. It’s opening something that is not very good,” Bedlion said.
Joél Vincent, a pastor from First Assembly of God Church, was the second speaker opposing the psychic home occupancy permit. Vincent read Bible scriptures and said, “I believe that danger and harm is brought to our community if we encourage this (psychic reader) and God’s own judgment on our city. There’s concern for our children, our youth and all our citizens. I think the Lord would like us to be a city that is thinking of him and is focused on him.”
William Clark is the property owner of the Johnson residence in question and he spoke in favor of allowing a home occupation permit for the business. He said he is a Christian and attends St. Frances Cath olic Church. “But there is also one thing that I am very heavily involved in and that’s our rights in the United States of America. As an engineer and an instructor in the public school system, we’re working with people every day. When Amer ica changes we might as well start living in a socialist nation. If we are to restrict people that are legitimate business people and I am not in favor of psychic readers but we have rights in America but when we start discriminating — it’s not right.”
John Pohl said, “Why would you want to come to Yucaipa? We don’t need a business like that. Yucaipa believes in the morals of the Lord and they don’t need a thorn in their eye.”
Flora Pohl said, “I do not like psychics and I don not approve it. There’s so many bad things and I’m not for it. He can pick up and go back to where he came from.”
Sharon Orr, who owns Up town Pets, said she was not in favor of the next door business and the potential problems it could bring.
Ceasar and Yolanda Flores from the Christ the Redeemer Church said they were very much opposed to the psychic reader. “If we permit this, than anything else (can come here),” said Ceasar. “We do not approve or believe in this. Not any part of it.”
“What’s next,” asked Yol anda. “Like my husband said, someone’s gonna sell drugs in front of our church? I’m sorry but I don’t believe good people would go into this business. I’m sorry. I’m against this.”
Doug Leja said, “I am a 50 year plus resident and I hope the committee will weigh in on the people here. I thought we were trying to get more commercial in the uptown?
Jenny Pulliam added that despite all the “feelings” expressed at the meeting, the bu siness was not in a good location.
“I’ve never hurt any children or gone astray,” responded Johnson. “I don’t take drugs nor have any tattoos. You people judge me without even knowing me. I’m surprised you know me. I’m a devoted Cath olic.”
Kathy Fellenz said, “We can’t say no because we don’t like the business, right?”
Lambert said he “would caution the decision should be linked to the HOP standards.”
Brizzee asked, “Staff doesn’t have a firm recommendation on this?” to which Lambert replied “exactly.”
Lambert said if the HOP was denied, the ongoing conditions must include at least one standard that was not in compliance.
Julie Bullock made a motion to deny the project because it did not adhere to item number one (with traffic issues) and item number four. There wasn’t a second so her motion died.
“As far as I know a psychic reader is a legal business,” said Brizzee. “Also of concern to me is that if this was strictly a commercial building we would not be here tonight.”
The vote to approve the item put forth by Brizzee was tied. With two voting for approval (Fellenz and Brizzee) and Coleman and Bullock voting no. Algower said he was struggling with the item and abstained.
The item will be continued at the June 25 special meeting.