By Olivia Harden


The Orange City Council voted unanimously in November to remove Craig Wheeler, a 14-year member of the Design Review Committee (DRC), after learning the municipal code limits committee members’ terms to 12 years. .

The City is searching for a new committee member. Applicants should have knowledge of, or experience in, the visual arts, architecture, landscape architecture or similar fields professional experience in urban planning, architectural history or historic preservation. They should also be familiar with the architecture prevalent in Old Towne Orange.

Terms for committee members are a minimum of four years. The committee meets twice a month at city hall to discuss proposed  projects in Orange.

“I’m just glad to have been able to serve and see the results of our meetings all around the city,” Wheeler said.

Carol Fox, chairwoman of the Design Review Committee, was shocked and visibly saddened after learning of  Wheeler’s departure at the Nov. 16 meeting.

“Craig has an incredible attention to detail, more than anyone else I’ve served with the Committee,” Fox said. “It’s going to be hard to fill these shoes.””

Kris Olsen, vice president of campus planning and operations at Chapman University, said tongue-in-cheek that he will miss Wheeler’s lists of suggested tweaks to campus projects.

The City Council heavily relies on the Design Review Committee’s analysis of plans for new developments in the city because the committee consists of professionals working in architecture, urban planners e and preservation of historic buildings.

Jeff Frankel, preservation chairman for the Old Towne Preservation Association. Frankel speculated that Wheeler’s extra two years in office was just an oversight.  He doesn’t have a prefered nominee  replace Wheeler, but hopes the new member will focus on preservation.


“We don’t have anyone specific in mind, we have in the past, but we hope and I hope that they have a strong historic preservation background because that’s really important for a design review committee that reviews projects for the largest national registry district in California,” Frankel said.

Orange City Council Removes 14-year Design Review Committee Member After Discovering Term Limit

Photo by Daniel Langhorne

Design Review Committee Member Craig Wheeler enjoys a celebratory slice of pie at his last meeting.