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July 19, 2010

A special meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held July 19, 2010 at 5:09 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Wilson presiding.
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, Perkins, Rowley and Mayor Wilson.
STAFF PRESENT:  Acting City Manager/Administrative Services Director Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Roger Peters, Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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Mayor Wilson led staff and the audience in the pledge of allegiance.

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(#3.1a) Public Hearing: Final Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan 2030 and Related Actions.

Resolution No. 2010-083 – Certifying the Environmental Impact Report (SCH# 200082002) for the Proposed San Ramon City General Plan 2030 and Related Applications (Project).

(#3.1b) Public Hearing:  General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-001) “Planning The City’s Future-The General Plan 2030.” Consider proposed amendment to 2020 General Plan including adjustments to the City’s Planning Area, Urban Growth Boundary, Sphere of Influence, and an extension of Section 2 of Ordinance 197 (1990), including Implementing Policies A-H, and replacement and amendment of the Ridgeline Creek Protection Zone (RCPZ) Map by Figure 8-3 of the General Plan 2030.

Resolution No. 2010-084 – Recommending Voter Approval of General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-001) “Planning the City’s Future – The General Plan 2030”, Including Adjustments to the City’s Planning Area, Urban Growth Boundary, and Sphere of Influence and Extension of Section 2 of Ordinance 197 (1990), Including Implementing Policies A-H, and Replacement and Amendment of the Ridgeline Creek Protection Zone (RCPZ) Map by Figure 8-3 of the General

Plan 2030 Initiated February 24, 2009 City of San Ramon (Applicant).

(#3.1c) Public Hearing: Proposed Climate Action Plan.

Resolution No. 2010-085 – Adopting the Climate Action Plan Prepared for the City of San Ramon and General Plan 2030 Update.

Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain provided a summary of the General Plan 2030 process.  Staff requested that the City Council adopt the resolutions which would:  (1) certify the Final Environmental Impact Report; (2) recommend voter approval of the General Plan Amendment (GPA-09-400-001); and adopt the Climate Action Plan.  The El Nido and Measure G issues will not be considered at this time.

There were no questions of staff by the Council.  Mayor Wilson opened the public hearing.

Troy Bristol, Land Conservation Associate for Save Mt. Diablo, questioned the City’s extension of the Sphere of Influence (SOI) and Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) into the Tassajara Valley.  He stated that the only reason to expand the UGB is to allow land development.  He projected that as many as 4,280 residences could be built in the Tassajara Valley.  He stated that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) does not comply with CEQA guidelines.  It does not adequately analyze the potential impacts of the UGB expansion and fails to make reasonable forecasts of development in the Valley.  He noted that the City is not required to put the UGB issue on the ballot.  He added that the voting history for San Ramon indicates that the voters do not support expansion of the UGB.  Save Mt. Diablo recommends that San Ramon maintain its current SOI and UGB. 

Doug Burr, resident, stated that he opposes the ballot measure.  He asked the Council to reconsider the Ordinance because the proposed General Plan 2030 is confusing and there is no requirement for it to be on the 2010 ballot.  The Ordinance contains a confusing mix of items for the voters.  He requested that the items be separated so voters may vote on each issue and understand the implications of their vote.  He asked the Council to vote against the entire Measure as it will lead to development in the Tassajara Valley and on San Ramon’s west side hills.  He believes that San Ramon voters, not the City government, should control its boundaries. 

Dorothy Burt, Tassajara Valley resident, stated that the EIR is inadequate because it does not address the growth issues, development, and traffic.  She stated that the change in the UGB is premature and ill considered.  She requested that the UGB be separated from the General Plan so that the voters can decide on the issues individually.  She asked the Council not to expand the UGB. 

Matt Vander Sluis, Senior Field Representative for Greenbelt Alliance, asked the Council to maintain the UGB in its current location in order to preserve the Tassajara Valley.  The public is not being allowed to understand the ramifications of expanding the UGB because of failures in the EIR to assess and analyze those effects.  There is a fundamental flaw in the EIR because it states that removing the protections provided by the UGB has no identifiable significant environmental effect.  He stated that the UGB is a central tool to protect the farms, forests, and water sheds and to maintain the Valley’s agricultural heritage.  He added that the UGB in San Ramon has served its purpose well by protecting development in Tassajara Valley.  He urged the Council to tell the truth regarding the results of expanding the UGB into the Tassajara Valley.  He noted that the “Dougherty Valley” can’t happen again because strong growth protections are in place.  Mayor Wilson questioned what provisions were made to ensure that “Dougherty Valley” would not happen again.  Mr. Vander Sluis stated that the UGB protects areas like the Tassajara Valley from future development.  Cm. Hudson noted that any city can develop a maximum of 30 acres outside their UGB without a citizen vote.  Mr. Vander Sluis stated that the prevailing County trend is to maintain or constrict the county UGB in order to protect the land and open spaces.

Jim Gibbon, resident, requested the separation of the UGB from the General Plan update.  He suggested that it is not too late to change the General Plan update and the UGB.  The UGB could be either eliminated or separated into its own issue.  Another alternative is to leave the UGB in the ballot measure but remove the Tassajara Valley portion.  He recommends separating the issues because San Ramon residents need a clear vote on this item.  He suggested that the Tassajara Valley be prezoned to remain as open space and agriculture.  He stated that moving the UGB violates the tenants of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) to preserve open space.  He wants the General Plan approved in November but believes that including the UGB expansion in Tassajara Valley may jeopardize it. 

Edward Lee, resident, stated that the original General Plan emphasized preservation of Bollinger, Dougherty Hills, and Tassajara Valley.  He believes that the current City leadership is comfortable with growth in Tassajara and that this General Plan will assist the county with development in Tassajara.  He suggested that the Council review the original General Plan.  He stated that expansion of the UGB to the west and south makes sense.  He requested that the Tassajara Valley be removed from the General Plan.

Jim Blickenstaff, representing the Mt. Diablo Sierra Club, stated that the EIR is inadequate because it does not address the basic issues, consider the potential for growth, or address growth inducing impacts.  The Urban Limit Line (ULL) currently protects the Tassajara Valley.  He stated that once the City’s planning area is changed, utilities will have to follow and then development will follow.  He stated that if the City should establish a preserve if it really wants to control Tassajara Valley.  He requested that the UGB be segregated from the General Plan.  Cm. Hudson noted that San Ramon’s ULL is not coterminous with the county ULL in Dougherty Valley and that the General Plan 2030 will reduce population by 4,000.  Vice Mayor Rowley stated that the City planned 4,000 homes for Dougherty Valley.  The county permitted 11,000 homes.  Mayor Wilson asked if the Sierra Club benefitted financially from the Dougherty Valley lawsuit.  Mr. Blickenstaff responded that lawyer fees were paid and that an endowment may have been established but that the Sierra Club did not benefit directly.

Roz Rogoff, resident, asked if residents have the ability to approve any changes or amendments to the General Plan.  Mayor Wilson responded that they do not.  Ms. Rogoff  noted that, if the UGB is expanded, the General Plan states that Tassajara Valley will remain as open space.  However, this could change if a Specific Plan is developed.  She asked if residents can vote on the Specific Plan.  Mayor Wilson responded no.  Ms. Rogoff noted that Mayor Wilson criticized several nonresidents who spoke.  She asked what input Tassajara Valley residents have in San Ramon’s General Plan.  Mayor Wilson stated that he would fight for the Tassajara Valley residents to have a say with their property.  His concern was for outside sources addressing San Ramon issues.  Cm. Hudson clarified that this is not a Tassajara Valley vote.  A committee of citizens, not the City Council, did the General Plan and required the 2010 voter review.  The voters will decide if the UGB will be moved. 

Dan Alex, resident, stated his opposition to the movement of the ULL and requested that Tassajara Valley open space be maintained.

Bridget Guzzi, resident, stated her opposition to the expansion of the UGB as it would infringe upon the quality of life in San Ramon.  She requested that the City protect the Tassajara Valley by keeping the UGB in its current place.

George Phillips, Walnut Creek resident, opposed the Tassajara Valley UBG expansion.

Ken Dawdy, resident, opposed any change in the UGB because he wants to maintain San Ramon’s quality of life.

Seth Adams, Director of Land Programs for Save Mt. Diablo and representing its San Ramon members, stated that the Council should stop repeating misinformation.  San Ramon worked with the county and the developers on Dougherty Valley.  He said that the county did not force San Ramon to accept Dougherty Valley but the City did because it was interested in its own growth.  He clarified that the Dougherty Settlement Agreement is held by the East Bay Community Foundation and benefits the Tri-Valley.  He emphasized that there is no need to expand the UGB.  The Council is supporting development by recommending to citizens that they vote for the UGB expansion.  He noted that the Tassajara Valley has always been under the county’s control not San Ramon’s.  The Tassajara Valley is outside the county’s ULL and City’s UGB and this provides protection so that growth cannot occur.  The only reason to move the UGB or for a Specific Plan is to allow development.  Moving the UGB defies logic.  He asked why the City is proposing to expand the UGB if the City does not want growth.  The way to limit growth and preserve the agriculture area is to prezone the area.  He believes that the UGB is buried in several other issues.  Mayor Wilson stated that he takes exception to Mr. Adam’s statements that he has not spoken the truth. 

Jim Eaneman, resident, stated that are multiple issues.  There has been well intended criticism of the quality of the staff’s efforts and the process.  There has been a question of the Council’s integrity.  He added that these accusations detract from the real issue.  He relayed his experience with the addition of Dougherty Valley and how it changed the view and habitat near his home.  He stated that the General Plan will prevent that from happening in the Tassajara Valley.  He added that the General Plan process has been open and transparent and seeks to do the best job possible on behalf of the citizens.  He urged the Council to support the resolutions.

The City Clerk read two emails into the record. 

Andrew Kirsch urged the Council to vote against increasing the City’s UGB.

Laura Baker, Conservation Committee Chair for the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, asking the City Council to reject the expansion of the City’s Sphere of Influence or its UGB to encompass the Tassajara Valley.  Additional information which was promised has not yet been received.

An email received from Jim Zelinski, resident, was mistakenly not read aloud as requested.  Mr. Zelinski’s email was, however, received by the full City Council before the close of the comment period and is part of the official record.

Mayor Wilson thanked the speakers for attending and providing discourse regarding the General Plan.  He closed the public hearing.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-083 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone.   

Cm. Hudson stated that there were no comments regarding the EIR approved by the Planning Commission.  The citizens of San Ramon designed the General Plan 2020 and required voter review of Ordinance 197 and the UGB in 2010.  He stated that the UGB does not expand growth.  The General Plan 2030 reduces San Ramon growth by 4,000 residents.  There is nothing in the General Plan 2030 which allows New Farm.  San Ramon’s citizens will decide if they want to be involved with planning in Tassajara.

Cm. Perkins stated that the General Plan is neutral to growth.  It calls for the development of the East Side Specific Plan which is only a plan.  He pledged to keep the Tassajara Valley as an agricultural preserve.  He noted that the burden is often placed on the adjacent city when the county develops an area.  For example, Norris Canyon uses City facilities and services but the City does not receive any of its property taxes.  He does not believe that changing the UGB will flood the housing market and decrease housing values.  He noted that there has been no progress on the Faria Project because the market is not conducive to new housing at this time.  He noted that the Council cares about the quality of life in San Ramon.  The Council is not comfortable with growth.  He stated that most homes in San Ramon were built by developers and as they were built, they impacted already existing 0homes.  He stated that he wants the Tassajara Valley to be kept as agricultural and open space and not developed.  The citizens of San Ramon will have the final say and their vote gives them the choice.  The issue is about control because the UGB is about control.  He noted that the county also has housing quotas.  He stated that the City, not the county, is better able to protect the Tassajara Valley.  Ordinance 197 will not continue if the Measure fails.  He stated that Norris Canyon and the Laborers Camp are within the west side UGB.  The Gelderman parcel is inside the UGB but there are no plans for development.  The East Side Specific Plan will determine what and if development will occur in that area and will include an EIR if needed.  The UGB is an integral part of the General Plan.  It is incumbent upon San Ramon citizens to vote and take control of their future which will impact the quality of life in this area.

Cm. Hudson stated that the citizens of San Ramon in 2006 voted for the choice between the City ULL or the county ULL.  The vote in 2006 reaffirmed the 2002 vote.

Cm. Livingstone thanked everyone for expressing their views.  San Ramon needs to have control over its own quality of life.  He asked why residents would trust the county instead of the City.  The county has financial problems and will do whatever is necessary to get funds into their coffers.  He supports the General Plan and urged residents to do so.

Vice Mayor Rowley noted that she met with Ron Brown of Save Mt. Diablo.  Mr. Brown requested that the City maintain its UGB and trust the county.  She thanked the speakers who came to the meeting.  She said that the General Plan 2030 does not assume a higher level of development for Tassajara Valley than what currently exists. 

Mayor Wilson stated that the goal is to protect the quality of life.  He supports extending Ordinance 197 to protect the ridgelines.  He supports expanding the UGB to give San Ramon a seat at the table for decisions on Tassajara Valley. 

Mayor Wilson requested a voice vote on Resolution No. 2010-083.  The motion carried 5-0.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-084 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone.  Mayor Wilson requested a voice vote.  The motion carried 5-0.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-085 was seconded by Vice Mayor Rowley.  Mayor Wilson requested a voice vote.  The motion carried 5-0.

(#3.2) Resolution No. 2010-086 – Requesting and Consenting to Consolidation of Elections and Setting Specifications of the Election Order.

City Clerk Patricia Edwards provided the report.  Resolution No. 2010-086 authorizes the County Clerk’s office to administer the November 2, 2010 Municipal Election in San Ramon and outlines the specifics for the election.  There was no Council discussion.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-086 was seconded by Vice Mayor Rowley.  Mayor Wilson requested a voice vote.  The motion carried 5-0.

(#3.3) Resolution No. 2010-087 – Calling a Special Municipal Election to be Held on November 2, 2010 for the Submission of a Measure to the Voters to Adopt an Ordinance to Approve General Plan 2030; Extend Ordinance 197 Policies and Procedures to 2015; Expand the Ridgeline Creek Protection Zone Map; and Extend the Urban Growth Boundary.

Interim City Attorney Roger Peters presented the report.  He reviewed the Measure, its purpose, and outlined the components of the Measure including the General Plan 2030, Ordinance 197, and UGB expansion.  He noted that the Measure wording will be changed to read wording to read “while preserving our quality of life”. 

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Roz Rogoff, resident, requested that the ballot measure provide specific information on the proposed location changes for the UGB.

Dorothy Burt, Tassajara Valley resident, asked why rebuttal arguments to the Measure would not be allowed.  Mr. Peters stated that rebuttal arguments are optional and that it is a Council policy decision.  Ms. Burt requested that rebuttal arguments be allowed.

Edward Lee, resident, supports the inclusion of rebuttal arguments.

Matt Vander Sluis, Senior Field Representative for Greenbelt Alliance, supports the inclusion of rebuttal arguments.

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment.

Cm. Hudson stated that the Measure focuses on the General Plan, the EIR and not just Tassajara Valley.  He does not support the rebuttal argument option.  Cm. Perkins noted that 300 words are allowed for the pro and con arguments.  Interim City Attorney Peters said that the Voter Pamphlet includes the Measure question, the text of the Ordinance, a 500 word impartial analysis, and primary arguments pro and con if submitted.  The City Clerk stated that the Voter Pamphlet will include a statement that the full text of the Measure is available from the City Clerk’s office and on the City website.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-087 as amended was seconded by Cm. Livingstone.  Mayor Wilson requested a voice vote.  The motion carried 5-0.

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At 7:37 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Wilson adjourned the meeting.

Carol J. Rowley, Vice Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved at the August 10, 2010 City Council meeting 4-0; Wilson absent.

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