Saving Sunrise Village Small Businesses

Development of 149 units vs Sunrise Shopping Center from a customer and business perspective

by Cathy Yang

As an Asian American, I am writing to offer my perspective on the Pines at Sunrise Village residential development project. A few decades ago when my family and I first moved to Sunny Hills, I met a white man living in the neighborhood and he told me a story that when he lived in Sunny Hills in By the 1960s, there had been a petition among some of the white neighbors to “stop” an Asian American family from buying a house in the neighborhood because “they weren’t the right kind of people.” He declined to sign the petition, but the story illustrates the racism and discrimination Asian Americans faced when they first settled here in North Fullerton.

Conceptual drawing of the proposed Pines at Sunrise Village project based on a municipal staff report.

Over the years, Asian Americans have flocked to Fullerton in increasing numbers for its safe neighborhoods, award-winning schools, open spaces, and recreational opportunities. Today, Asian Americans make up 25% of Fullerton residents, and the Sunrise Village Mall has become the hub of Asian American life in North Fullerton. for the community of North Fullerton, including 38,000 Asian Americans who reside in Fullerton. For example, my family and I regularly go to Sunrise Village for dental treatment at Dr. Kim’s dental office, after-school activities for kids at Kumon and Elite, and delicious meals at Dumpling House.

Dr. Charles Kim Dentistry in Sunrise Village is one of several Korean-owned businesses in this mall that could be displaced by the Pines housing development. Photo by Jesse La Tour.

Pines’ proposed residential development to replace Sunrise Village would undoubtedly destroy much of the thriving Asian American community that took decades to build. In addition, Asian-owned businesses would suffer disproportionate harm, displacing essential services that many residents now rely on and harming the way of life of the Asian-American community. I understand the need for more housing and I am not against development. But the need for housing should not and cannot come at the expense of the Asian American community, especially in this time of a global pandemic where Asian Americans around the world have had to contend with everything, from overt racism to outright hostility and physical and verbal violence just for being of Asian descent. If our city approved the Pines residential project, not only would the move cripple much of the Asian American community, it would also send an alarming message that the will, voices and concerns of Asian Americans are irrelevant, and that as in the past, Asian Americans can simply be ignored, pushed aside and looked down upon.

Fullerton City Council should show its support for the Asian American community and help them continue to thrive and develop in Fullerton by retaining Sunrise Village and voting NO to the zoning change. If you are opposed to the Pines zoning change, please sign the petition at www.Change.org/SaveSunriseVillage.

As a numbers person, I will conclude with a set of statistics from Clear Gov on Fullerton, Anaheim, Brea, and La Habra comparing the ratio of sales tax to property tax that the city collects as revenue. Reading the data I see it is evident that Fullerton has no sales tax compared to our neighboring towns and we need more retail and less housing.

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