MINUTES OF THE JOINT PUBLIC MEETING
OCTOBER 21, 2008
A joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon was held on October 21, 2008 at 7:09 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Wilson presiding.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
City Attorney Byron Athan led staff and the audience in the pledge of allegiance.
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The City Clerk reported that there were no announcements.
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The City Clerk noted that there were no changes or additions to the agenda or to the Boards, Committee and Commission meetings listed on the agenda.
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Public Hearing: General Plan Amendment (GPA 08-400-002) and Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (TA 08-410-003) to Update the Growth Management, Traffic and Circulation, and Parks and Recreation Elements; and Mixed Use Policy.
Associate Planner Cindy Yee provided an overview of the history of the Growth Management Element (GME), Measure C, Measure J, Measure J Growth Management Program Objectives, and compared Measure C’s and Measure J’s Growth Management Programs. She reviewed San Ramon’s Draft GME. Modifications to the GME include: updating the reference from Measure C to Measure J; updating Performance Standard Statistics, specifying that the Community Centers, Libraries and Parks Performance Standards must be met by General Plan buildout (2020); and modifying the Library Performance Standard to an achievable standard. Modifications to the Traffic and Circulation Element include updating circulation and bicycle network maps and the terminology, street names and references to Measure C. Modifications to the Parks and Recreation Element include: updating park statistics and map to reflect the new adopted Parks and Community Services Master Plan; and clarifying that the parkland standard of 6.5 acres per 1,000 residents will be met at General Plan buildout (2020).
Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll provided the background and purpose of the Mixed Use Policy. The General Plan and Economic Strategic Plan provide goals to achieve a balance of retail, office, and other land uses. An applicant initiated request to adopt a General Plan Amendment and Zoning Text Amendment to remove the text "Continue to restrict non-retail uses [on Mixed Use parcels] to no more than 25 percent of gross ground floor area." from General Plan Implementing Policy 4.6-I-21 and to modify the Zoning Ordinance to allow Mixed Use properties to exceed the 25 percent non-retail ground floor limitation with a Minor Use Permit. These changes would provide the Zoning Administrator with flexibility to review Mixed Use properties on a case by case basis. The non-retail policy would be consistent across all Mixed Use zones and Community Commercial zones in the City.
Planning Commission Vice Chair O’Loane asked if the policy change applies to City Center project. Mr. Driscoll responded that the City Center has its own Mixed Use zoning. Commissioner Viers requested clarification regarding the parkland standard. Parks and Community Services Director Jeff Eorio stated that the City is currently at approximately 5.6 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents and that 6.5 acres is a goal at buildout in 2020.
Dermot O’Doherty, managing agent for the Courtyard Center, stated that the Center is a unique retail center because it has a variety of uses that are not all retail. Flexibility is needed in the current economic climate to allow the Center to replace tenants with something other than retail. They do not intend to change the nature of the Center but are asking the Council and Commission to consider allowing them to operate outside the strict retail requirements. Cm. Rowley asked if they would want a more service oriented tenant than a retail tenant. Mr. O’Doherty indicated that they would like to have a very mixed combination of tenants.
Vice Mayor Livingstone opened the public hearing. There were no requests to speak. City Attorney Athan stated that two separate actions were required, one from the City Council and one from the Planning Commission. Vice Mayor Livingstone closed the public hearing. Cm. Hudson stated that he supports the proposed GME changes as it is important to do what the market requires. He suggested that staff provide more public outreach for the Zoning Text Amendment. Cm. Rowley supports the proposed GME changes. City Attorney Athan stated that the Council will not vote on the proposal until the third public hearing.
Cm. Hudson’s motion that the City Council continue the public hearing to a date uncertain was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 3-0. Mayor Wilson and Cm. Perkins were absent.
Commissioner Viers’ motion that the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to November 4, 2008 was seconded by Commissioner Sachs and passed 4-0. Commissioner Kerger was absent.
Public Hearing: General Plan Amendment (GPA 08-400-001) to Update the Housing Element.
Veronica Tam of Veronica Tam and Associates provided an overview of the Housing Element Update including requirements, content, issues and challenges, update process and preliminary draft policies and programs. The Housing Element is unique because it must be reviewed by the State Department of Housing and Community Development for compliance with State laws. The State’s determination that the Housing Element is in compliance offers protection from lawsuits and a priority for Proposition 1C and other State administered funding.
Ms. Tam summarized the statutory requirements for the Housing Element. The City must: (1) identify adequate sites which will be made available through appropriate zoning and development standards and with services and facilities to facilitate and encourage the development of a variety of housing for all income levels; 2) assist in the development of adequate housing to meet the needs of lower and moderate income households; (3) address and where appropriate and legally possible, remove governmental constraints to the maintenance, improvement and development of housing; (4) conserve and improve the condition of the existing affordable housing stock; and (5) promote housing opportunities for all persons without discriminating.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has assigned a Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) of 3,463 units that the City must plan to accommodate. The availability and types of affordable housing in San Ramon was discussed. Recent changes to State laws that deal with adequate site analysis (AB 2348), housing for extremely low income households (AB 2634), housing for the homeless (SB 2), and housing for persons with disabilities (SB 520) were identified.
Associate Planner Cindy Yee noted that staff has identified nine policies and programs for discussion. These include: voluntary green building policy; adequate sites strategy; inclusionary housing; commercial linkage; second units; emergency shelters; transitional/supportive housing and single-room occupancy.
Ms. Yee clarified that commercial linkage fees would require new office developers to build housing units or pay a fee to offset the impact of the development. Cm. Hudson asked if this is a traffic fee. Ms. Yee replied that this is a type of impact fee and the change in policy would exempt Mixed Use projects from the linkage fee.
Ms. Yee explained that within one year, changes to the Zoning Ordinance would expand the opportunity for second units. She added that the Zoning Ordinance has restrictions regarding the visual impact of second units. Mayor Wilson expressed concern regarding second units.
Cm. Hudson asked how the City can comply with emergency shelters. Ms. Yee replied that staff has proposed two options. The City can allow shelters by-right in Thoroughfare Commercial Zones which serves the traveling community or identify a specific parcel and establish a specific overlay. The City Council and Planning Commission agreed on the Thoroughfare Commercial option. Commissioner Sachs suggested that the City talk with neighboring municipalities about this issue.
Ms. Yee noted that the City needs to identify zoning for transitional/supportive housing. Staff recommends that the City conditionally permit single room occupancy in high and very high density residential areas.
She reviewed the residential sites inventory and the City’s progress toward RHNA. The City meets its need for above moderate and moderate housing units but does not meet the RHNA for low and extremely low/very low housing units. The City is 24 housing units short of meeting its lower income RHNA. She reviewed the housing opportunity sites in the City which may provide the needed housing units. The Crow Canyon Specific Plan and the North Camino Ramon Plan may provide a solution.
Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that he does not agree with exempting Mixed Use from the linkage fee if it does not include housing. Cm. Hudson noted that he interprets SB 375 to allow the State to override City zoning.
Mayor Wilson opened the public hearing. There were no requests to speak. Mayor Wilson closed the public hearing.
Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to continue the Housing Element public hearing to the City Council/Planning Commission Joint meeting on December 16, 2008 was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 4-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
Commissioner Viers’ motion that the Planning Commission continue the Housing Element public hearing to the City Council/Planning Commission Joint meeting on December 16, 2008 was seconded by Commissioner Sachs and passed 4-0. Commissioner Kerger was absent.
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There being no further business, Mayor Wilson adjourned the meeting at 9:14 p.m.
Approved at the December 16, 2008 Joint City Council and Planning
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