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June 15, 2010

A joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon was held on June 15, 2010 at 7:03 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Vice Mayor Rowley presiding. 
PRESENT:  Councilmembers: Dave Hudson, Jim Livingstone, and Vice Mayor Rowley
ABSENT:  Mayor Wilson, Councilmember Perkins
Planning Commissioners: Donna Kerger, Dennis Viers, Eric Wallis, Vice Chair Harry Sachs, Chair Phil O’Loane.
STAFF PRESENT:  Interim City Attorney Roger Peters, Planning/Community Development Director Phil Wong, Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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Planning/Community Development Director Phil Wong led staff and the audience in the pledge of allegiance.

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(#3.1) Minutes of the June 1, 2010 Joint Public Hearing meeting.

The City Clerk requested that each body vote their approval of the minutes.
Vice Mayor Rowley requested a correction.  She stated that “The El Nido rezoning should be separated from the General Plan.” 

Commissioner Kerger’s motion to approve the June 1, 2010 Joint Public Hearing Meeting Minutes as corrected was seconded by Planning Vice Chair Sachs and passed 5-0.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to approve the June 1, 2010 Joint Public Hearing Meeting Minutes as amended was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 3-0.  Cm. Perkins abstained.  Mayor Wilson was absent. 


(#4.1) Public Hearing:  Planning the City’s Future - The General Plan 2030 (General Plan Amendments 09-400-001 and -002). Consider proposed amendments to 2020 General Plan including changes to policies and maps, Urban Growth Boundary, and procedures for amending the General Plan; and proposal to re-designate the El Nido Property from Parks to Multi-Family High Density Residential.

Public Hearing: Consider Proposed Climate Action Plan.

Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain introduced the item.  She reviewed the General Plan 2030 public hearing notification.  She summarized the discussion from the June 1, 2010 Joint Public Hearing concerning: jurisdictional boundaries; General Plan Review Commission (GPRC) consideration of the Tassajara Valley; expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)/Sphere of Influence (SOI) into the Tassajara Valley; extension of Ordinance 197 Implementing Policies; modifications to Measure G; El Nido Property; incentivizing Ordinance 197 and Environmental Impact Review (EIR) alternatives.  She reviewed the City’s jurisdictional boundaries which include the Planning Area, the SOI, the UGB, and the relationship of these boundaries.  She noted that prezoning sets the zoning in place for a particular area but does not provide the City with the ability to enforce its rules and regulations.  She stated that the Tassajara Valley is within San Ramon’s Planning Area but not within the City’s SOI.  She provided a history of the development of Dougherty Valley and compared Dougherty Valley and Tassajara Valley.

Ms. Chamberlain reviewed the proposed modification to Measure G.  Due to the need to move forward with the General Plan and the additional time required to research Measure G, staff recommends that no changes be made to Measure G at this time.  The El Nido General Plan Amendment discussion included consensus for the lower end of ‘Medium Density’ and the need to explore funding opportunities for preservation of the Harlan House.  Staff recommends that the El Nido Amendment be continued indefinitely by the Planning Commission.    

Staff requested two motions: (1) The City Council to provide comments and direction to the Planning Commission for consideration at their June 29, 2010 meeting; and (2) The Planning Commission to continue to June 29, 2010 for consideration and recommendation of the Final EIR, Climate Action Plan (CAP), and General Plan 2030 to the City Council.

Vice Mayor Rowley opened the public hearing.

D. Burt, Tassajara Valley resident, stated that she was not aware of the City Council’s consideration of the fire training facility in the Tassajara Valley.  She asked if this facility replaces the New Farm Fire Station.  She asked how this project could be approved at five stories when this exceeds the height limit allowed for homes.  She questioned the water source for this facility.  She stated that she was not sure whether the county or San Ramon would do a better job of protecting the Valley.  Planning/Community Development Director Phil Wong stated that the county is processing the New Farm project.  San Ramon has not seen the New Farm plans or the plans for the fire facility.

Geoff Jacobs, Greystone Ranch resident, asked why the El Nido property was originally designated as a ‘Park’.  He asked what has changed to reverse the Park designation to residential.  He asked if the original plan would have been approved without including the park space.  He stated that the residents were promised park areas. 

Matt Vander Sluis, Senior Field Representative for Greenbelt Alliance, noted that Measure F, an effort to expand Brentwood’s UGB, lost.  He encouraged the Planning Commission and City Council to take the public pulse of the community as he believes that San Ramon voters are increasingly supportive of maintaining open space protection and the existing UGB.

Jim Gibbon, resident, stated that the Council should not make a decision about moving into the Tassajara Valley based on fear.  He stated that the county aligned their Urban Limit Line (ULL) to San Ramon’s UGB.  The people in the county clearly stated the need for an ULL/UGB in the county to control urbanism.  He stated that the Council is approving a CAP that limits urbanism.  He recommended eliminating any UGB changes or eliminating moving the UGB into the Tassajara Valley.  He anticipates that there will be vigorous opposition to expanding the UGB into the Tassajara Valley.  He asked the Council to consider adding language to the Mixed Use designation which mandates preservation of open space so that the City can achieve its goal of six acres of park for every 1,000 residents in Mixed Use areas.  He requested that the City set aside a percentage of funds from developer fees for the preservation and purchase of open space.

Troy Bristol, representing Save Mt. Diablo, stated that their concerns regarding the general Plan update are the SOI and expansion of the UGB into the Tassajara Valley.  He recommended maintaining the City’s east side line.  He distributed a report to the Commission and Council members from Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger regarding the legality of proposed New Farm Project in Contra Costa County.  He stated that the county cannot legally approve the New Farm Project as proposed.  This means that San Ramon does not need to extend its UGB in order to protect the Tassajara Valley.  He supports the City’s existing UGB.  Cm. Hudson questioned why it is illegal for the county to process outside the ULL.  Mr. Bristol stated that the legal analysis concluded that, based on provisions of the county’s General Plan, the county cannot approve urban projects outside the ULL.  Cm. Hudson noted that processing outside the ULL is not illegal.  He stated that the county would lose its return to source money if it was found to be noncompliant.  He added that LAFCO is not bound by the ULL.  Mr. Bristol reiterated his statement regarding the legal analysis.  Planning Vice Chair Sachs stated that the county cannot process urban projects.  He asked if projects that were less dense such as rural projects could be processed.  Mr. Bristol stated that there were provisions in the county’s General Plan for other densities.

The City Clerk read comments from Cm. Perkins into the record.  Cm. Perkins stated his support for the expansion of the UGB on the westside and eastside of San Ramon.  He also supports the introduction of incentives to mitigate or reduce green house gases and other environment effects.  He recognized the potential legal issues regarding Measure G but felt it best to retain the provisions as voted in by San Ramon residents.  He wanted residents to be aware that the provisions of Ordinance 197 will expire at the end of 2010 without an affirmative vote of the General Plan.  The City Clerk also read comments from residents Jerry and Rikki Cole who requested that the issues of the General Plan 2030 and the El Nido property rezoning be separated.

Vice Mayor Rowley opened the public hearing.

Cm. Hudson asked for clarification of the work of the City Council versus that of the Planning Commission.  He stated that the City Council authorized a payment of $3 million to the Fire District as part of the mitigation for the City Center.  These funds support the training facility and are not tied into New Farm.  He stated that the county has not aligned  its UGB with San Ramon’s UGB.  San Ramon adopted its ULL in 2002.  He stated that both the General Plan 2020 and 2030 have open space.  If San Ramon votes to expand the UGB, it cannot build any homes in Tassajara without a Specific Plan and an EIR.  He stated that the issue is the City’s ability to have a say in the planning in Tassajara Valley.  The General Plan 2020 requires a voter review of Ordinance 197, the UGB, and the General Plan in 2010. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion for the City Council to forward General Plan 2030 to the Planning Commission with the proposed amendments to the General Plan 2020 including changes to policies and maps with direction to place General Plan 2030 on the November ballot with modifications to the UGB and extension of Ordinance 197 implementation policies A through H to 2015 as discussed at the Joint Meetings of the Planning Commission and the City Council was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 3-0.  Mayor Wilson and Cm. Perkins were absent. 

Cm. Hudson made a motion for the City Council to move the El Nido project to the Planning Commission.  Ms. Chamberlain clarified that the Errata will be included in the motion.  The motion was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 3-0.  Mayor Wilson and Cm. Perkins were absent.  Cm. Hudson noted that the Harlan House is the oldest house in the Valley.  He added that the real issue is funding and that action needs to be taken soon.  Vice Mayor Rowley concurred. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion for the City Council to forward the Climate Action Plan to the Planning Commission as part of the General Plan process was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 3-0.  Mayor Wilson and Cm. Perkins were absent. 

Commissioner Kerger stated that she is interested in the Council’s comments regarding Measure G.  Cm. Livingstone stated that it is a legal problem which should be corrected.   He recognized that staff recommends leaving Measure G as it is.  Cm. Hudson stated that Measure G was passed in 1999.  He noted that things change and Measure G may no longer serve the people.  If it becomes a test in the courts, he believes the City will lose.  He does not want it to keep General Plan 2030 from the ballot.  Vice Mayor Rowley requested more study on Measure G and stated that it should be separated from the General Plan.  Planning Vice Chair Sachs stated that the Ordinance includes a clause which allows the Council to change a defect if the court determines that a defect exists.  He noted that the Council can forward another initiative to the voters.

Commissioner Wallis requested clarification from staff regarding the recommendations the Planning Commission will make to the City Council at its June 29, 2010 meeting regarding separating the El Nido Amendment from the General Plan.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that this has already done.  The Planning Commission needs to address the General Plan 2030, the Final EIR, and the CAP.  Commissioner Wallis asked about Measure G.  Interim City Attorney Rogers stated that the Commission can make a recommendation regarding Measure G.  He clarified that El Nido is a separate amendment and can be scheduled at the Commission’s discretion.  Commissioner Wallis asked if a motion regarding the El Nido project is needed.  Ms. Chamberlain noted the Parks Commission would like to have additional discussion.  Commissioner Wallis’ motion to continue the El Nido project indefinitely subject to the normal planning process was seconded by Commissioner Kerger and passed 5-0.

Planning Chair O’Loane asked if other municipalities consider cemeteries to be open space.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that there is a policy in the East Side Specific Plan which  would allow cemeteries within the open space.  This Policy was carried forward from the General Plan 2020.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that an area in Old Ranch was designated as open space and a cemetery proposal was considered.  Parks Commission Chair Eaneman stated that the Colma considers cemeteries to be open space.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that staff will research the question.      

Planning Chair O’Loane asked the consequence to the UGB if the voters do not approve the General Plan.  Interim City Attorney Rogers stated that the UGB would remain the same.  Planning Chair O’Loane asked for clarification regarding the General Plan and Ordinance 197.  Mr. Rogers replied that two clauses are imbedded in the General Plan 2020 requiring a voter review: the UGB and Ordinance 197.  Staff will propose a General Plan which extends both clauses.  A vote in favor of General Plan 2030 means an extension of the UGB and of Ordinance 197.  Commissioner Wallis stated that Ordinance 197 sunsets in 2010.  Planning Chair O’Loane asked if Ordinance 197 is contingent on the General Plan.  Commissioner Wallis stated that a vote for General Plan 2030 will extend Ordinance 197.   Planning Chair O’Loane stated that the UGB and Ordinance 197 and being tied together to a not yet expiring General Plan.  Commissioner Wallis stated that a General Plan continues indefinitely until it is amended or a new one adopted.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that the state requires a General Plan update by 2012.  The UGB and Ordinance 197 are tied to General Plan 2030.  Ordinance 197 is Appendix A to the Open Space and Conservation Element and the UGB is shown on the map.  If voters reject the UGB, both Ordinance 197 and General Plan 2030 are voted down.  General Plan 2020 would remain in place and Ordinance 197 will sunset.  Planning Chair O’Loane asked if the voters were not voting for the General Plan if they would be voting for the UGB.  Ms. Chamberlain responded yes.  Planning Chair O’Loane for an explanation of the provisions of the Williamson Act.  Planning Chair O’Loane asked for the final file date to submit a ballot measure to the county.  The City Clerk responded August 6, 2010. 

Cm. Hudson recapped the earlier discussion of a cemetery in the valley.  All of the Tri-Valley cities agreed to a cemetery in Tassajara.  The project is stalled in the county. 

Planning Vice Chair Sachs asked for a comparison of the Dougherty Valley and Tassajara Valley regarding lot sizes and property owners.  He remarked that land preservation advocates did not comment on Dougherty Valley.  The opportunity for mass development does not exist in Tassajara because of the large number of land owners.  Cm. Hudson requested that the group focus on the objective of the UGB which is to preserve open space.  Planning Chair O’Loane stated that it is his understanding that the City is not willing to expend funds for the East Side Specific Plan and so a developer will be required to pay for the Plan.  He believes that if the City pays for a Specific Plan, more weight would be placed on the preservation of open space.  Vice Mayor Rowley disagreed and stated that developers would be required to adhere to the City guidelines and policies and the entity that paid for the Plan was not the determining factor.

Planning Chair O’Loane asked how the maps are laid out and why they show the existing City limits versus the expected City limits.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that the City does not control the expansion or contraction of its SOI or City limits.  These are determined by LAFCO.  The City adjusts its City limits after receiving notification from LAFCO. 

Planning Vice Chair Sachs requested clarification regarding the proposed Land Use Diagram (Figure 4-2).  Ms. Chamberlain stated that the area is open space and will remain as open space until the SOI is amended.  If the East Side Specific Plan is approved, the land use designations that are part of that Plan would be the zoning for that area.  This would be done prior to annexation by the City.  Planning Vice Chair Sachs Commission Sachs asked if the ESSP is staff generated.  Mr. Wong stated that the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan used a combination of funding sources (Redevelopment and affordable housing).  These funds are not applicable for the East Side Specific Plan.  The City would seek property owner participation in the planning process as was done in the West Side Specific Plan process.

Commissioner Viers’ motion to continue the El Nido Project indefinitely was seconded by Commissioner Kerger and passed 5-0.

Commissioner Wallis’ motion to indefinitely table the discussion of changing the 4/5s vote on Measure G was seconded by Commissioner Kerger and passed 5-0.

Commissioner Wallis’ motion for the Planning Commission to consider on June 29, 2010 adoption of the Final EIR, CAP, and the General Plan 2030 was seconded by Commission Kerger and passed 5-0.

Vice Mayor Rowley thanked the members of the Planning Commission and the Council.

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At 8:35 p.m., there being no further business, Vice Mayor Rowley adjourned the meeting.

H. Abram Wilson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved at the July 13, 2010 City Council meeting 4-0; Perkins absent.

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