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February 28, 2012

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held February 28, 2012 at 7:07 p.m. in the Dougherty Station Community Center, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road, Mayor Clarkson presiding.
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, O’Loane, Perkins, and Mayor Clarkson.
STAFF PRESENT:  City Manager Greg Rogers, City Attorney City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner, Police Chief Scott Holder, Public Services Director Karen McNamara, Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps, Engineering Services Director Maria Fierner, Economic Development Director Marc Fontes, Planning Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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Scouts Ryan Ozawa and Patrick Rettig of San Ramon Troop 84 led those present in the pledge of allegiance. 

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The City Clerk requested that adoption of the January 24, 2012 minutes be deferred.  She noted that there were no changes or corrections to the meetings listed on the agenda. 

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(#4.1) Recognition of former Mayor Abram Wilson’s and Cm. Carol Rowley’s Service to the City of San Ramon.

After a reception at 6:30 p.m., Mayor Clarkson and the Council recognized former Mayor Abram Wilson’s and Cm. Carol Rowley’s service to the City.  Mayor Clarkson presented each of them with a proclamation recognizing their achievements.  Mrs. Rowley stated that it was an honor and privilege to serve the residents while she was on the Council and that she remains involved in community activities and organizations.  Mr. Wilson recapped the City’s accomplishments during his tenure on the Council.  He recognized each Councilmember and wished them continued success.  He thanked the citizens for giving him the honor of serving as mayor.  Mayor Clarkson presented both Mrs. Rowley and Mr. Wilson with a customized photo collage. 

(#4.2) Introduction of Michael Roush, Interim Deputy City Attorney.

City Attorney City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner introduced Interim Deputy City Attorney Michael Roush.  Mr. Roush has worked in the municipal attorney profession for 30 years.  Mr. Rousch said that he appreciates the opportunity to work in San Ramon.  Mayor Clarkson welcomed Mr. Roush to the City and thanked him for his counsel.

(#4.3) Recognition Gordon Despins, Maintenance Technician II, and Steve Piersol, Program Manager, as Employees of the Month for February 2012.  Presented by Public Services Director Karen McNamara. Public Services Director Karen McNamara recognized Gordon Despins, Maintenance Technician II, and Steve Piersol, Program Manager, as Employees of the Month for February 2012.  Their actions enabled the City to provide a commercial photo shoot at the Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center in December 2011.  She noted that Mr. Piersol negotiated an excellent agreement for the City.  Mr. Despins was on site for the entire day in order to field requests.  Ms. McNamara presented each of them with a certificate and a gold star and thanked them for their efforts to showcase the City’s facilities and staff.

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Roz Rogoff, resident and representative of the Safe Cat Foundation, reported that the State is considering budget cuts which would decrease the holding period which stray animals are held in shelters.  A hearing on this item is scheduled for March 14, 2012.  She requested that the Council send a letter opposing these budget cuts to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. 

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(#6.1) Economic Development Advisory Committee Appointments.

Mayor Clarkson reported that the Council voted unanimously to appoint: Devon Powers, Michael Smart, and Walt Trembley as Members at Large; Geoff Johnson as the Redevelopment Area Property Owner; and Joe Nelson as the Chamber of Commerce representative to the Economic Development Advisory Committee with terms expiring January 2014.

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(#7.1) Minutes of the January 24, 2012 regular meeting.

Adoption of the January 24, 2012 meeting minutes were deferred to a future meeting.

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(#8.1) Register of Demands as presented by the City Treasurer (Period ending January 31, 2012).

(#8.2) Minute Order No. 2012-01 – Authorizing Cm. Hudson to Attend the League of California Cities 2012 Policy Committee for Transportation and Public Works Meeting in Ontario, CA on March 29, 2012.

(#8.3) Minute Order No. 2012-02 – Ratifying the Architectural Review Board Appointments.

(#8.4) Minute Order No. 2012-03 – Accepting the Work by AJW Construction for the Construction of the Annual Curb, Gutter and Sidewalk Repair Project (CIP 5471) as Complete and Authorizing the City Clerk to File a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder's Office.

(#8.5) Resolution No. 2012-013 – Accepting Certain Drainage Dedications and Improvements in DA 0015 (Water Quality Pond 6, Lot 10 of Subdivision 8507) for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Company, LLC).

(#8.6) Resolution No. 2012-014 – Accepting Certain Drainage Dedications and Improvements in DA 0025 (Water Quality Ponds 7 & 8, Lot 11 and Lot 12 of Subdivision 8507) for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Company, LLC).

(#8.7) Resolution No. 2012-015 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with Waterworks Industries, Inc. for Fountain Maintenance and Fountain Equipment Repair and Standby Services in an Annual Amount Not to Exceed $220,000 and a Cumulative Five Year Agreement Amount Not to Exceed $1,100,000.

(#8.8) Resolution No. 2012-016 – Authorizing the Application for, and the Execution of, a Standard Agreement and any Amendments Thereto and any Other Documents Necessary to Secure a Housing Related Parks Grant from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.8 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 5-0. 

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(#9.1) Event Plan for the Fourth of July

Karen McNamara, Public Services Director, presented the report.  She summarized the event history, plans, current impacts, budget, alternatives, and options.  She noted that more that 600 emails were received in response to the City’s request for comments from residents.  A predominant theme among the email respondents was the importance of the event’s tradition and expression of civic pride.  Many emails expressed concern about public safety, the cost of the event, and resource priorities.  The responses were split almost 50/50 for keeping the event versus postponing the event. 

Ms. McNamara presented several alternative program suggestions.  One suggestion is called “Celebrate America, Celebrate San Ramon” and would include a concert, dance band, decorating the park, recognizing local veterans, and providing activities for children.  This event could last for 2-3 hours starting at 6:00 p.m.  Ms. McNamara also presented an event option to provide a ground fireworks display.  The ground display would be provided at Baseball Field 3 with the firing site near the fire station.  She noted that the ground display would only be visible to people in Central Park.  Another suggestion was to open the City pools from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and possibly provide free swimming.  This event could also provide an opportunity for fund raising by the City’s foundations.  She requested that the Council provide direction for the 2012 event.    She recommended that the Parks and Community Services Commission convene a working group to explore options for 2013 and future years.  Police Chief Scott Holder stated that he did not have a report but was available to answer questions.

Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.

Roger Zou, Teen Council liaison, stated that San Ramon is a great community and that the Fourth of July is an important event.  He noted that it would be reasonable for the Council to cancel the fireworks but added that the event is critical for San Ramon.  If the fireworks are postponed for this year, he urged the City to bring it back in 2013.  He supports Cm. Hudson’s suggestion for the sale of safe and sane fireworks.

Mischa Fritz, Teen Council representative, stated that the fireworks event is part of San Ramon and family traditions.  He supports Cm. Hudson’s suggestion for the temporary sale of legal fireworks.  He questioned if cancelling the aerial fireworks would increase the activity of illegal fireworks.  He urged the Council to investigate the sale of safe and sane fireworks.

Steven Rettig, resident, supports the statements made by Mr. Zou and Mr. Fritz.  He stated that the fireworks are a recreation program which provides a family activity for the day.  He believes that no other recreational program reaches and positively affects as many residents and nonresidents.  He encouraged the Council to consider providing an aerial fireworks display if it does not negatively affect other city services.

Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.

Mayor Clarkson stated that the three options available were: aerial fireworks, ground display, or nothing.  Cm. Hudson recognized the desire to have a community oriented Fourth of July event.  He does not support eliminating the aerial fireworks display.  He summarized reports which indicate that the majority of the problems and damage associated with fireworks are due to illegal fireworks.  He supports the sale of legal fireworks and discussed the potential profits from the sale of legal fireworks for the four City foundations and the two high schools.  He supports the four recommendations proposed by staff for Celebrate America, Celebrate San Ramon and requests that staff produce an ordinance to allow legal fireworks to be sold in the City by the four City foundations and two high schools.

Vice Mayor Livingstone supports the sale of legal fireworks only if the Fire District is OK with it.  He stated that his number one job is safety.  He supports suspending the fireworks for one year and utilizing the Parks Commission to provide a comprehensive study of the event and options.  He is very worried about what could happen if the event continues as it is.  He stated that he does not support a ground display. 

Cm. O’Loane agreed that public safety is the overriding consideration.  He believes that providing the ground display will send a mixed message and still create a problem for the City.  He noted that there is also an economic aspect to this event.  He believes that the event should be deferred. 

Cm. Perkins asked what happens before 6:00 p.m. in Central Park.  Ms. McNamara stated that staff envisions that people will be in the Park enjoying the Park.  Cm. Perkins stated that the City will still need to deal with the barbecues, animals, and parking problems.  Ms. McNamara stated that the public release information would state what activities were planned and that there were no aerial fireworks.  Cm. Perkins stated that public safety is number one.  He recognized that there is a problem getting emergency services in and out of Central Park due to the size of the crowds.  He remarked that very few of the residents which he spoke to actually go to Central Park to view the fireworks.  The City is a victim of its own success.  He does not support spending $318,000 in order to provide a safe event with aerial fireworks.  He supports Option 1 (a-f) without an aerial or ground fireworks display.  He would like the City to consider the opportunity to sell legal fireworks.  He requested that the Parks Commission establish a committee and include Dale Halterman to discuss what can be done in the future.  He added that safety responsibilities must come first and budgetary responsibilities are a close second.

Mayor Clarkson stated that safety is the number one priority and that the City budget is also a consideration.  He thanked staff for the process and the residents for their input and recognized that the process took longer but that citizen feedback is important.  He noted that nearby communities did volunteer financial and staff support.  The City cannot provide an event which places residents in a dangerous position.  He supports the ground display.  He summarized the position of the Councilmembers and requested a motion.

Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to direct staff to postpone any City activities at Central Park in 2012 and have the Parks Commission lead a study group to come up with alternatives for 2013 was seconded by Cm. O’Loane.  Mayor Clarkson requested a roll call vote.  Cm. O’Loane and Vice Mayor Livingstone voted yes.  Cm. Hudson, Cm.Perkins, and Mayor Clarkson voted no.  The motion failed 2-3.

Cm. Perkins provided an alternate motion.  He moved that the City:

  • Hold an event in San Ramon Central Park :  Celebrate America, Celebrate San Ramon
    • Three (3) hour event - 6:00pm to 9:00pm.   Avoids the heat of the day and allows time in between the Danville parade and a late afternoon event. 
    • Event to include a concert with patriotic music including the San Ramon Symphonic Band and another family/fun band [similar to those heard at the Summer Concert Series].
    • Decorate the park in patriotic colors, flags, streamers.
    • Provide an opportunity to the local Blue Star Moms chapter to use the venue as a collection point for donations of goods and items for care packages for the armed services as well as collect postcards and notes to send to the members of the armed services.
    • Recognize local veterans as a part of the program with a flag ceremony and appropriate music.
    • Allow ride vendor to set up children’s attraction and rides at Central Park throughout the day; and
  • Direct the Parks and Community Services Commission to lead a committee made up of citizens and Parks and Community Services Commission members for a future aerial display program for the City in 2013; and
  • To present an ordinance to the Policy Committee regarding the sale of safe and sane fireworks in San Ramon.

The motion was seconded by Cm. Hudson.  Cm. O’Loane questioned the budget for this event.  Cm. Perkins stated that the Celebrate America, Celebrate San Ramon event could be provided for less than the existing budgeted amount.  City Manager Greg Rogers added that this item will be in the 2012-13 budget.  The Council will review the budget request.  Cm. Perkins stated that the Council cannot approve an event and not provide the budget.  Mr. Rogers responded that the Council may need to modify the event as part of the budget process.  He anticipates that $175,000 is sufficient funding for the event as proposed.  Cm. O’Loane stated that he expects that a scaled back event would cost less than what is budgeted.  He clarified the direction provided in the motion.  Vice Mayor Livingstone clarified that this motion does not provide for either aerial or ground fireworks.  Mayor Clarkson requested a roll call vote.  The motion passed 5-0.

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(#10.1) Mid-Year Financial Review Report. Resolution No. 2012-017 – Authorizing Mid-Year 2011-2012 Budget Adjustments.

Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps provided the report.  The Review provides a mid-year look at the City’s financial condition.  General Fund expenditures are projected to be slightly below budgeted levels.  General Fund revenues are projected to be above budgeted levels by $0.5 million from sales tax, property tax, and Transient Occupancy Tax.  The Mid-Year Financial Review identified several mid-year adjustments and would use $539,848 of General Fund reserves. In addition, $591,976 of other special revenue fund reserves would be used for additional appropriations.  There are sufficient reserves in each of these funding sources to fund the additional appropriations.  The City’s Reserves were $34.8 million at the beginning of the fiscal year.  The projected ending policy reserves are expected to be $31.7 million at the end of the year.

Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.

Patricia Boom, resident and member of the San Ramon Historic Foundation Board of Directors, provided an overview of the Windmill Tank House Project at Forest Home Farms.  Initially, both the City and the Foundation each contributed $25,000 for the Project.  However, due to the uniqueness of the windmill components, she explained that an additional $17,000 was needed.  The Glass House Family Reunion provided $11,000 for this cost overrun.  She requested an additional $6,000 from the City. 

Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to add $6,000 to Resolution No. 2012-017 for the San Ramon Historic Foundation was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 4-1.  Vice Mayor Livingstone dissenting.  Cm. Perkins thanked the Foundation for raising $11,000 of the needed $17,000 and for making the project safer for the public. 

Cm. O’Loane questioned several of the mid-year adjustments.  He asked for an explanation for purchasing the radios.  Police Chief Holder explained that the East Bay Regional Communications System was not expected to be operational in this part of the County until 2012-13.  These radios will allow interoperability between Police, Fire, and several City departments.  It is part of a four year Joint Powers Agreement.

Cm. Perkins explained that the lowest responsible bidder for the fountain maintenance contract was higher than the estimate and what was paid in the past.  He added that it is important to maintain the fountains over the long run.

Cm. O’Loane questioned the funding for the Iron Horse Trail Landscaping and Beautification.  Cm. Perkins responded that the funds for this project are from the City’s Beautification Fund, which is a restricted fund, and not from the City’s General Fund.  Sunset Development will be working on the north end of the Trail.  The City will work on the south end.  The major expense is providing the water line.  City Manager Rogers stated that this funding is provided through the Capital Improvement Program.     Engineering Services Director Maria Fierner stated that staff was successful in applying for $105,000 of Transportation for Livable Communities (Measure J) grant funding for the design, permits, and irrigation plans for this project. 

Cm. O’Loane asked about the aerial mapping photography.  Ms. Fierner explained that the aerial mapping is typically done every two years but has not been done for four years. 

Vice Mayor Livingstone asked if the Council wants to continue the pay freeze and furlough.  Cm. O’Loane stated that it is a 2012-13 budget consideration.  Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution No. 2012-017 with the amendment of $6,000 for the San Ramon Historic Foundation was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone.  Mayor Clarkson stated that the City’s structural deficit is approximately $4 million.  He asked how much the City needs to fully fund accounts needed for future funding, such as Dougherty Valley infrastructure, Capital Projects, etc.  Mr. Rogers stated that the City would need to set aside an additional $3-4 million in funding for these items.  Mayor Clarkson stated that the City’s true structural deficit is $7-8 million which gives a more accurate picture of the City’s financial state.  Cm. Hudson stated that San Ramon is holding its own.  Cm. O’Loane asked if funds were available from the wind down of the Redevelopment Agency.  Mr. Rogers replied that the City expects to receive $250,000 per year in 2012-13 and should cover the City’s overhead.  Mayor Clarkson requested a vote on the motion.  The motion passed 5-0.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to direct staff to conduct a series of Council, Commission, Committee, and citizen meetings and workshops to address the multi-million dollar structural deficit for Fiscal Year 2013-14 and beyond was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone.  Mayor Clarkson asked the City Attorney if the motion is in compliance with the Brown Act.  Ms. Schaffner responded that the motion is within the scope of the noticed in item 10.1 and does not present a Brown Act violation. The motion passed 5-0.

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At 9:40 p.m., the City Clerk requested that the Council adjourn to the Geologic Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) meeting in consideration of the time and the fact that a GHAD Public Hearing was noticed for 8:30 p.m.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to convene to the GHAD meeting was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.  The City Council meeting reconvened at 9:55 p.m. with all Councilmembers in attendance.

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City Manager Greg Rogers stated that the City has received questions from the public regarding the leasing of public office space.   Economic Development Director Marc Fontes stated that a list of “Frequently Asked Questions About City Approval of Retail Businesses in San Ramon” is available on the City website.  In response to the question of when the City finds out when the new tenant is moving in, he noted that the tenant or the broker tells the City.  Cm. O’Loane asked if San Ramon’s process differs from other cities.  Mr. Fontes responded that the zoning and use permits process are approximately the same in most cities.

Planning Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain provided information on the zoning at 9100 Alcosta Blvd.  She stated that the site is zoned Mixed Use.  The building permit to complete tenant improvements was issued on February 6, 2012.  A permitted use is one that is allowed by right as long as it meets the requirements of zoning and building codes.  If these requirements are met, the City is not required to take any discretionary action.  All tenants are required to be treated equally.  The City’s Zoning Ordinance states that a use permit runs with the land and, unless a particular conditional use is revoked or modified, the use permit remains in effect.  As there were no changes in the grocery use or its 24/7condition of approval, any other grocery store may operate and be open 24/7 without further discretionary review. 

City Attorney Schaffner stated that Walmart’s grocery store is a permitted use which is ministerial and not discretionary and therefore is not appealable under the Zoning Code.  Because the permit runs with the land, there is no basis for providing a discretionary review of that application.  If the use expands the use of the conditional use permit, a new use permit would be required and this opens the door for review and possible appeal. 

Cm. O’Loane asked how many square feet are conditioned for a grocery store.  Ms. Chamberlain responded 50-55,000 square feet.  Cm. O’Loane asked if a Walmart pharmacy could operate in the CVS location if CVS vacates the site.  Ms. Chamberlain responded that the City would need to review the use type and if it is allowed in a Mixed Use Zoning District.  Cm. O’Loane asked if a Walmart could be incrementally created.  Ms. Chamberlain responded that it is theoretically possible if there were separate independent users using the Walmart name.  The City would review the tenant improvements and underlying conditions of approval.  She stated that the center is a commercial center with retail tenants.  Cm. O’Loane asked what change triggers an environmental review.  City Attorney Schaffner stated that things change over time and staff is looking at the Zoning Code in order to allow termination provisions for lapse of use in these permits so that they do not stay open ended forever.  The City cannot require someone with a valid vested permit to pay for mitigation business activities.  Without discretionary action, CEQA is not triggered.  Cm. O’Loane asked what defines a grocery store.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that it is basically food and beverage sales with permitted accessory uses.  She noted that the City Center project includes a specific condition that any store could not have more than 10% grocery sales.  Cm. O’Loane stated that there are no percentages on this project.  He asked what the change to Mixed Use does.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that the change to Mixed Use was done with the 2002 General Plan and allows residential units to be developed on that site in the future.  The underlying permits run with the land in perpetuity until a Mixed Use development is proposed.   

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Mayor Clarkson noted that Murad Khan submitted a speaker card but he was not present.

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Cm. Hudson stated that he voted on Consent Calendar item 8.2 which authorized his travel.  He asked the City Attorney if it was inappropriate for him to vote on this item.  City Attorney Schaffner recommended caution and suggested another vote.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt items 8.1 and 8.3 through 8.8 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.  Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt item 8.2 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and the motion passed 4-0-0-1.  Cm. Hudson abstained.  

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(#14.1) Pursuant to Government Code §54957 to evaluate the Position of City Attorney.

(#14.2) Pursuant to Government Code §54957 to meet with the City Council’s Labor Negotiators: Marc Fontes, Eva Phelps, Toni Renault, and Greg Rogers concerning Negotiations with SEIU Local 1021.

At 10:22 p.m., the Council convened to Closed Session for items 14.1 and 14.2.  At 11:00 p.m., Mayor Clarkson reconvened the meeting.  All Councilmembers were present. 

For item 14.1, Mayor Clarkson reported that the Council voted 5-0 to appoint Bob Saxe as the Interim City Attorney effective March 17, 2012 and authorized the Mayor to execute a contract with Mr. Saxe for his services.  For item 14.2, Mayor Clarkson reported that the City Council took no action.

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At 11:02 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Clarkson adjourned the meeting.

Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved as presented at the March 27, 2012 City Council meeting 4-0-1; O'Loane absent.

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