MINUTES OF THE
CITY OF SAN RAMON – COUNCIL MEETING
March 8, 2011
A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held March 8, 2011 at 7:05 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Wilson presiding.
PRESENT: Councilmembers Hudson, Perkins, Rowley, and Mayor Wilson.
ABSENT: Councilmember Livingstone
STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Herb Moniz, City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner, Acting Police Chief Joe Gorton, Economic Development Director Marc Fontes, Associate Planner Cindy Yee, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
City Manager Herb Moniz led those present in the pledge of allegiance.
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The City Clerk noted that there were no changes or additions to the agenda. The City Clerk noted that there were no changes or additions to the meetings listed on the agenda.
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(#5.1) Proclamation Declaring March 2011 as American Red Cross Month. Presented by Mayor Wilson to Sandra Scherer, member of the Contra Costa Leadership Council for American Red Cross Bay Area.
Sandra Scherer, member of the Contra Costa Leadership Council for American Red Cross Bay Area, accepted the proclamation from Mayor Wilson. She thanked the Council for recognizing the importance of the work by the Red Cross.
(#5.2) Proclamation Declaring March 2011 as “Women’s History Month”. Presented by Mayor Wilson to Nimfa Gamez, Commissioner, Contra Costa Commission for Women.
Nimfa Gamez, Contra Costa Commission for Women Commissioner, accepted the proclamation from Mayor Wilson. She thanked the Council for this recognition and stated that she was proud to receive this honor.
(#5.3) Recognition of Deputy City Clerk Renee Beck on Achieving her Master Municipal Clerk Certification. Presentation by Karen Gonzales, Communications Chair of the Northern Division of the City Clerks Association of California.
Karen Gonzales, Communications Chair of the Northern Division of the City Clerks Association of California, presented Deputy City Clerk Renee Beck with a plaque from the City Clerk Association of California. Ms. Beck was recognized for her dedication to achieving the highest level of professional competency which increases her ability to serve San Ramon. Ms. Beck thanked the City Clerk Association and the City.
(#5.4) Valley Vista Senior Housing Update by Marc Fontes, Economic Development Director.
Economic Development Director Marc Fontes stated that the Valley Vista Senior housing project is a $30 million joint private/public development. The Church on the Hill sold the property to Satellite Housing and American Baptist Homes of the West. The project is 104 units. The project was funded with: $5.5 million for the property from the Redevelopment Agency’s (RDA) Affordable Housing funds; $2.5 million in County Community Development Block Grants and HOME funds; and $13.8 million from federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 202 funds. The project generated approximately 200 temporary construction jobs and five permanent positions. City outreach for the housing project included a mailing to every City household, three workshops, and press articles. Because 590 applications were received, a housing lottery was held on February 28, 2011. Final applicants will be screened for age and income eligibility. The project is expected to be completed in late April/May.
Cm. Rowley stated that she is excited about this affordable housing opportunity for seniors. Vice Mayor Perkins noted that the project utilized $5.5 million of RDA funds and reminded residents that the Governor is proposing to take RDA funds away from California cities. Mayor Wilson noted that he had the honor of selecting the lottery winners. He questioned if American citizenship is one of the eligibility criteria. Mr. Fontes stated that the criteria are made by HUD and that the housing provider is obligated to comply with HUD regulations. Mayor Wilson stated that the housing units should be available only for American citizens. He asked staff to research this requirement. Cm. Rowley clarified that the HUD criteria are a federal requirement. Mayor Wilson stated that the Council accepts the report.
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CITY COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS
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APPROVAL OF MINUTES
(#7.1) Minutes of the February 1, 2011 City Council/Planning Commission Joint Public Hearing.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the February 1, 2011 City Council/Planning Commission Joint Public Hearing minutes was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
(#7.2) Minutes of the February 21, 2011 special meeting.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the February 21, 2011 special meeting minutes was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
(#7.3) Minutes of the February 22, 2011 regular meeting.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the February 22, 2011 regular meeting minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Perkins and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
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(#8.1) Minute Order No. 2011-04 – Ratifying the Architectural Review Board Appointments.
(#8.2) Resolution No. 2011-027 – Accepting Certain Roadway Easements and Improvements in Subdivision 8776 for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Co., LLC).
(#8.3) Resolution No. 2011-028 – Accepting PA 0040 (Bark and Ride Park, Parcels J, L, and O of Subdivision 8684) Dedications and Improvements for Maintenance (Shapell Industries).
Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.3 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
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(#10.1 Annual Report - 2011 General Plan 2020 Implementation Work Plan and Schedule.
Cindy Yee, Associate Planner, provided the report which is required by the California Government Code and the San Ramon General Plan 2020. Accomplishments for 2010-11 include: drafting of the General Plan 2030; the Climate Action Plan; certification of the City’s Housing Element; preparation of an Economic Development Strategic Plan; and ongoing Capital Improvement Projects implementation; and ongoing Dougherty Valley implementation. Priority goals for next year include: adoption of the five year update to the General Plan; preparation of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan; implementation of the Housing Element; and completion of the 2011 the Economic Development Strategic Plan. She reported that no General Plan Amendments (GPA) were approved by the Council in 2010. The City is currently processing two General Plan Amendments: the five-year update to the General Plan referred to as General Plan 2030, and the proposal to redesignate the El Nido site to “Medium Density” Residential.
There were no questions from the Council. Mayor Wilson opened the public hearing. There were no requests to address this item. Mayor Wilson closed the public hearing.
Cm. Hudson’s motion to accept the 2011 General Plan 2020 Implementation Strategy and Work Plan and to direct staff to forward the 2011 General Plan 2020 Implementation Strategy and Work Plan to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the Department of Housing and Community Development was seconded by Vice Mayor Perkins and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
(#10.2) Public Hearing: General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-002) El Nido Property GPA. Consider a General Plan Amendment to Modify the General Plan Land Use Designation of the Property Located at 19251 San Ramon Valley Boulevard (APN: 211-100-057) From “Parks” to “Medium-Density” Residential Designation.
Resolution No. 2011-029 – General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-002) Amending the Land Use Designation From “Parks” to “Medium-Density” Residential Designation for the Property Located at 19251 San Ramon Valley Boulevard (APN: 211-100-057) Initiated on June 16, 2009.
Associate Planner Cindy Yee provided the report and a history of the El Nido property. Ms. Yee stated that the application for the change in land use designation does not include any plans for the parcel’s development and does not address the disposition of the El Nido house. Upon approval of the change to the land use designation, an amendment to the Westside Specific Plan, development plans, and an environmental review are required before the property could be developed. Public Hearings have been conducted by the Parks and Community Services Commission, Joint Planning Commission and City Council, and Planning Commission. The site is not identified as a future public park in either the General Plan Parks and Recreation Element or the City’s Parks Master Plan.
Allan Moore, land use attorney with Gagen McCoy, represents the owners of the El Nido site and the El Nido Trust which own the House. He stated his appreciation for the extensive work done by the Planning Commission on this project. He noted that this General Plan Amendment (GPA) is a change in land use designation and does not approve a specific project. He noted that some “Parks” uses can have a more significant impact on the area than the proposed medium density designation. He noted that the property’s land use designation will impact the El Nido House. He suggested that the best way to save the House is to move the House to a location where it can be preserved. He stated that the Harlan Family Trust will pay for the house to be moved and for a new foundation. He reported that his office has had discussions with the community, the Harlan family, the San Ramon Historic Foundation and the local Home Owners Association. Mr. Moore stated that he is disappointed that the California Preservation Foundation has not participated in the process yet is requesting further environmental review for the project. He does not believe that this additional review is needed and he asked the Council to approve the El Nido GPA.
Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.
Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that she is disgusted with the Historic Foundation’s lack of action to protect the Mudd’s building. She suggested that the Harlan House be moved to the Mudd’s property. She suggested that the City cancel the ‘give away’ lease to Ron Taylor. She questioned whether the Crow Canyon Gardens are being maintained. She asked why Mudd’s is being used for a restaurant site instead of the nature and event center or year round Farmer’s Market for which it was originally purchased by the City. She does not support the City’s action which benefits an investor. She supports the Council’s action to preserve the Harlan House.
David Schmidt, Walnut Creek resident, stated that he supports historic preservation in Contra Costa County. He was involved in successful efforts to save historic homes in Contra Costa County including the Leach House in Walnut Creek and the Ivy House in Concord. He stated that the Harlan House should be preserved. He believes that the statement that the GPA is not a developmental proposal and that the environmental review is adequate is incorrect because the GPA is the first step in the development process which impacts the House. He stated that the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) was not prepared for the El Nido project and is therefore not adequate. He suggested that the Council had three options: to approve the GPA with detailed conditions to protect the House on site; to approve the GPA with detailed conditions requiring that the House be moved and protected off site; and to defer action on the GPA to give time for further environmental review or to develop an agreement with the El Nido trust to protect and preserve the House. He offered to work with the City to protect the House either on or off site. With adequate conditions to protect the House, this project can be a win-win project for the land owner and for preservationists. Cm. Rowley asked Mr. Schmidt if he had attended any of the prior meetings which dealt with the El Nido project. Mr. Schmidt responded that he was unaware of earlier meetings until he read an online news article about the project.
Jean Ohman, resident and President of the San Ramon Historic Foundation, expressed her desire to save the House. She stated that there is a need to preserve the history and the homes in the Valley. The Harlan House is significant because it was built in 1856 and is the oldest home in the Valley. She noted that it took ten years to complete the Glass House and estimated that the El Nido House would require the same amount of time. She stated that the City needs to identify a site and move and stabilize the House. She reminded the Council that the Trust will pay to move the House and to pay for a new foundation. She asked the Council to save this valuable House.
Bill Harlan, Walnut Creek resident, represented the Harlan Family Association. He stated that he is speaking for the House and asked the Council to save it. The Harlan House is the oldest house in the Valley which is still standing. He stated that the GPA provides an opportunity to save the House. He noted that no one expects the House to be restored to historical purity. He added that he is meeting with the Harlan Family Association in Texas to discuss the House. He personally pledged $1,000 towards the process of saving and refurbishing the House.
The City Clerk read two pieces of correspondence into the record. A March 7, 2011 letter was received from Gagen McCoy which supports the Planning Commission’s decision that the GPA be approved for a medium density designation. The House will continue to deteriorate if the GPA is denied. The El Nido Trust will fund the reasonable costs of moving the El Nido House to a new location and placing the House on a temporary foundation. The letter also stated that no specific development is proposed at this time. Comments from the California Preservation Foundation’s March 8, 2011 letter states that they recognize the Harlan House as a historic community resource. They state that the EIR is unclear and request that a supplemental EIR be developed for the project. They state that relocation of the House requires an environmental review and is considered a substantial adverse change. If a supplemental EIR is not prepared for the GPA, then an EIR should be prepared during the additional discretionary permitting processes that are required to develop this property.
Mr. Moore stated that Gagen McCoy has offered to assist on a pro bono basis with the legal background for the fund raising effort. This offer is not associated with the GPA hearing. He disagrees with Mr. Schmidt’s claims that the GPA is deficient. Mr. Moore noted that the GPA and related Resolution confirms the Trust’s promise to pay to move the House and for a reasonable foundation.
Mayor Wilson closed the public comment.
Vice Mayor Perkins stated the he will not approve any development on the property that does not include preservation of the Harlan House. The GPA allows the Trust to move the House. He recommended that the House be moved to another corner of the site and asked the Trust to explore that possibility. He noted that additional environmental review will be conducted when there is a project to evaluate. He asked the Council to find a way to protect the House. He stated that the medium density designation is more compatible with the neighborhood and will not generate significant traffic and parking problems. He asked the City Attorney’s opinion for the best way to preserve the House. City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner stated that a side agreement would make the arrangements clearer and more predictable. She noted that the Resolution is the basis on which the approval is given and that a side agreement would be stronger. Vice Mayor Perkins asked the Council to consider directing staff to develop a side agreement with the El Nido Trust to ensure that the structure is maintained and moved to an appropriate site.
Cm. Rowley stated that she is concerned with preserving the House and the amount of money which will be needed for the House. She is concerned that the Trust is funding a temporary foundation. She recommended that the House be moved to another site on the property or find another location where it can be preserved and secure.
Cm. Hudson stated that the Council’s primary concern is the House. He recommended that the Council approve the GPA. He suggested the establishment of a Task Force involving citizens who can find a solution for the relocation before the end of the year. It is important to move the house to a new foundation. He does not believe that the House can be moved more than once. He stated his support for the GPA.
Mayor Wilson stated that he was a member of the Arts Council when the City first dealt with the House. He stated that the House is part of San Ramon’s history and needs to be protected. He requested that the Task Force provide monthly reports to the Council.
City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner recommended a correction to Resolution No. 2011-029. She recommended that the wording “the City does hereby adopt City Council Resolution No. 2011-XX approving General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-002) (Exhibit A)” be revised to read “the City does hereby approve General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-002) as depicted in Exhibit 1.”
Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution No. 2011-029 as amended by the City Attorney was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 4-0. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
Cm. Hudson stressed the importance of establishing a Task Force without delay. He suggested that the Planning Director and the Parks Director establish a Task Force of citizens to provide possible location solutions.
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CITY MANAGER COMMENTS
City Manager Herb Moniz thanked everyone associated with the City – the citizens, the Committees, the Commissions, the volunteers, the businesses and the wonderful staff - for the ability to work for the City of San Ramon. He particularly thanked the current Council for the opportunity to come back to the City. He thanked Diane Schinnerer, Mary Lou Oliver, Wayne Bennett, and John Meakin, and Rick Harmon for ‘taking a chance on a Parks guy’. He thanked Mayor Wilson and Cm. Hudson for their support.
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San Ramon Historic Foundation members Carol Lopez, Jean Ohman, Pat Boom, and Donna Kerger presented a certificate to Mr. Moniz recognizing his unwavering support of Forest Home Farms and awarding him a lifetime honorary Foundation membership.
Mayor Wilson presented Mr. Moniz with a plaque from the San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Citizen Corps Council recognizing his leadership and vision in creating a unique joint collaboration between San Ramon, San Ramon Unified School District, the San Ramon Police Department and the Town of Danville.
Sana Sareshwala, Teen Council representative, formally invited the City Council to participate in the Teen Council’s Government Shadow Day on March 29, 2011.
Jim Gibbon, resident, requested additional information on the owner and manager of the Valley Vista Senior Housing. Mayor Wilson responded that it is owned and operated by a non-profit entity which is separate from the City. Mr. Gibbon stated that the Laborers’ Camp map (Figure 8.3) in General Plan 2030 designates which minor ridgelines can be graded for development. That map identified a parcel of land which is outside the City’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). He stated that the Planning Commission is moving this designation into the UGB because it was a mistake. This map was approved by the voters in 2002. Moving the graded ridgeline into the UGB allows a sixty foot cut next to the park on Westside Drive. He stated that this interpretation is wrong. He does not want this change to be buried in the Council’s approval of General Plan 2030.
Pat Boom, resident, commended Mr. Moniz for his professionalism, his ability to guide the City to great financial security, and for his ability to challenge City staff to provide superior service to the citizens. She thanked him for his service to San Ramon. Mr. Moniz thanked Ms. Boom for her support.
Chris Mosser, Ministry Leader for Faith and Survival in Pleasanton, cited the current shortfall in the federal budget. He recommended that residents establish a budget and follow their budget in order to live within their means.
Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that people have a funny notion of what is historical. She vehemently stated that tearing down the Mudd’s restaurant is wrong because the building is part of San Ramon’s history. She is suspicious because the Council is giving the property away to one of its investors. She stated that Virginia Mudd started the organic food movement in California with Mudd’s restaurant and the gardens. They are an important part of San Ramon’s history and should be preserved. Mayor Wilson noted that the City is taking care of the Crow Canyon Gardens. Cm. Rowley stated that the Gardens look wonderful and are well maintained. She added that the meadow is used for the City’s summer camps. She added that there is a lot of interior damage to the Mudd’s building and that the City will try to preserve part of the building. She noted that Mr. LeBlanc embraces the gardens and Virginia Mudd’s ideals. Ms. Rogoff requested to review the inspection report for the property.
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Vice Mayor Perkins thanked Mr. Moniz for his exceptional leadership and management skills and for being a great strategist, friend, and mentor. Mr. Moniz maintained high standards of customer service, high quality staff, and the quality of life in San Ramon.
Cm. Rowley thanked Mr. Moniz for his amazing skills and for his mentoring. She added that he hired exceptional people and noted that the Council will have a hard time replacing him. She presented him with a San Ramon tapestry blanket.
Cm. Hudson reported on the meetings which he attended. These included: a budget briefing by Senator DeSaulnier and State Treasurer Lockyer which included a discussion of the disposition of Redevelopment funds; the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG); legislative updates at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; and the state requirement for a Sustainable Community Strategy by 2013. He discussed the City’s AAA bond rating. He noted that 2,438 bills have been introduced by the California Legislature. He stated that AB 710 is of particular concern because it is an effort to eliminate excessive minimum parking requirements in infill and transit oriented development areas. He discussed proposals for parking reform and the emphasis on greenhouse gas emissions versus congestion management. He noted that ABAG will soon release its Regional Housing Needs Assessment update. He reminded residents that the General Plan embraces a smart growth philosophy through the creation of mixed-use districts to accommodate both commercial and residential use as well as a continuing commitment to regional programs. The 2010 Census notes that San Ramon’s population is more than 72,000. He added that the State will tell cities where to place transit oriented development if the cities do not plan for it.
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MAYOR’S REPORTS AND COMMENTS
Mayor Wilson reminded residents to purchase tickets for performance of “The Music Man” on March 19, 2011 at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center. Mayor Wilson described Mr. Moniz as the “Music Man/Conductor of the City”. He is an outstanding leader who only had the best for San Ramon in his vision for the City.
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(#14.1) PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE § 54956.8 – For City Council to Meet With its Real Property Negotiator Herb Moniz Regarding APN: 222-270-011.
At 9:39 p.m., the Council except for Cm. Livingstone met in Closed Session pursuant to Government Code § 54956.8 – For City Council to Meet With its Real Property Negotiator Herb Moniz Regarding APN: 222-270-011.
At 10:00 p.m., Mayor Wilson reconvened the meeting. All Councilmembers except Cm. Livingstone were in attendance. Mayor Wilson reported that no action was taken when the Council met pursuant to Government Code § 54956.8 – For City Council to Meet With its Real Property Negotiator Herb Moniz Regarding APN: 222-270-011.
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At 10:01 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Wilson adjourned the meeting.
H. Abram Wilson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk
Approved as presented at the March 22, 2011 City Council meeting 4-0-1; Livingstone abstained.