Home City Council Departments Services Calendar Contact Us Search
cherry blossoms in Central Park
San Ramon LogoCity Council Minutes title line

June 12, 2012

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held June 12, 2012 at 7:03 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Clarkson presiding. 
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, O’Loane, and Mayor Clarkson.
ABSENT:  Councilmember Perkins.
STAFF PRESENT:  City Manager Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe, Police Chief Scott Holder, Interim City Engineer Brian Bornstein, Engineering Services Director Maria Fierner, Administrative Analyst Jen Dye, Senior Administrative Analyst Julie Vargas, Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll, Senior Planner Lauren Barr, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

* * * *


(#1.1) Pursuant to Government Code §54957.6 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 6:31 p.m., the Council convened to Closed Session.  At 7:03 p.m., Mayor Clarkson reconvened the meeting.  All Councilmembers were present except Cm. Perkins.  Mayor Clarkson reported that the City Council took no action on the Closed Session item.

* * * *


Cm. O’Loane led those present in the pledge of allegiance.   

* * * *


The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda and that there were no changes or corrections to the meetings listed on the agenda. 

* * * *


(#4.1) Recognition of 7th Annual Street Smarts “Be Reel!” Video Contest Winners: Nikhil Sawhney, Nithin Kumar, and Vikas Ravi for First Place and Jessica Graves for Second Place.  Presentation by Corinne Ferrerya, Street Smarts Coordinator. 

Corinne Ferrerya, Street Smarts Coordinator, stated that more than 220 students participated in this year’s contest.  Seventy videos were submitted.  Videos were judged based on content, creativity and video production quality.  Ms. Ferrerya showed the winning videos.  She presented certificates to the winners and thanked San Ramon for its involvement.  Mayor Clarkson thanked Ms. Ferrerya and the contest participants. 

* * * *


Abram Wilson, resident, requested that the Council consider enacting an ordinance to control political signs in the City.  He thanked Mayor Clarkson for correcting the District Attorney’s information on truancy in San Ramon. He thanked Vice Mayor Livingstone for recommending that the City address this issue without waiting for the School District.

* * * *


(#6.1) Parks and Community Services Commission Appointments – Report.

Mayor Clarkson announced that the Council appointed Will Doerlich, David Ernest, Carol Lopez, and John Mills to the Parks and Community Services Commission for terms expiring June 2016.

(#6.2) Planning Commission Appointments – Report.

Mayor Clarkson announced that the Council appointed Donna Kerger, Dennis Viers, and Eric Wallis to the Planning Commission for terms expiring June 2016.

(#6.3) Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control District Board of Trustees Appointment.

The City Clerk provided the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to re-appoint Sharyn Rossi as the City’s representative to the Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control District Board of Trustees through June 2016 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent. 

(#6.4) Transportation Advisory Committee Appointments.

This item was postponed to later in the meeting.

* * * *


(#7.1) Minutes of the May 22, 2012 special meeting.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the May 22, 2012 special City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 3-0-1-1.  Cm. Perkins was absent and Cm. O’Loane abstained.

(#7.2) Minutes of the May 22, 2012 regular meeting.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt the May 22, 2012 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent. 

* * * *


The City Clerk noted that there were speaker cards for items 8.2 and 8.3.

(#8.1) Minute Order No. 2012-019 – Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into Annual Contracts with Kris Milligan and Bay Area Community Theatre for Contracts Which are Expected to Exceed $50,000 Annually.

(#8.4) Resolution No. 2012-058 – Accepting Parcel A and Certain Roadway Dedications, Easements, and Improvements in Subdivision 8699 for Maintenance (Shapell Industries, Inc.).

(#8.5) Resolution No. 2012-059 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Easement Agreement for Landscape Purposes with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for Continued City Maintenance of Certain Landscape Improvements on the East Side of Alcosta Boulevard at PG&E’s Transmission Corridor (APN: 212-040-002).

(#8.6) Resolution No. 2012-060 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Amendment No. 2 with Dutchover and Associates for Landscape Inspection and Consulting Services in a Total Annual Amount Not to Exceed $50,000 and a Cumulative Five Year Agreement Amount Not to Exceed $250,000.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt items 8.1 and 8.4 through 8.6 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

(#8.2) Minute Order No. 2012-020 – City Council Designation of a Voting Delegate and Voting Delegate Alternates to the League of California Cities 2012 Annual Conference.

The City Clerk provided the report.  There were no questions from the Council and the requests to address this item were incorrectly numbered.  Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to adopt item 8.2 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

(#8.3) Resolution No. 2012-057 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Amendment No. 5 to the Reimbursement Agreement with Shapell Industries for the Construction of the Bollinger Canyon Road Operational Improvements from Alcosta Boulevard to Canyon Lakes Drive (CIP 5325) in an Amount Not to Exceed $1,019,855.

Interim City Engineer Brian Bornstein provided the report which included the history of the project and an analysis of the benefits and impacts of the alternatives provided by the transportation consultant.  Funding for the project is available from the South Contra Costa Joint Exercise of Powers Authority (SCCJEPA Dougherty Valley Mitigation Funds) for traffic mitigation required for Dougherty Valley.

Cm. Hudson asked if it was possible to narrow the median by four feet and keep the trees.  Mr. Bornstein responded that it is not.  Mayor Clarkson noted that the original roadway was two lanes in each direction.  Mr. Bornstein stated that the Dougherty Valley Settlement Agreement obligated Shapell to widen the road to three lanes in each direction to satisfy the traffic mitigation requirement.  Mayor Clarkson asked if the golf course bridge abutment is the choke point.  Mr. Bornstein noted that the bridge abutment is a constraint.  The proposal would strip the façade to provide space.  Mayor Clarkson asked the width of the current lanes.  Mr. Bornstein responded that the lanes are 11, 10, and 11 feet wide.  The posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour (mph).  There is a posted advisory speed of 35 mph through the S curve.  Mayor Clarkson asked the standard width of a road with a speed limit of 40 mph.  Mr. Bornstein responded that the road width can vary between 10 to 12 feet.  Mayor Clarkson asked if there is a standard width for a lane that includes ‘recovery’ space.  Mr. Bornstein stated that the existing lane is an acceptable width.  The road variables (8% grade, S curve, and fence) warrant additional recovery area in the right lane.  Most of the accidents occurred in the far right lane because of a lack of recovery room.  One accident occurred in the middle lane. 

Cm. O’Loane asked how many accidents have occurred since the road was widened.  Mr. Bornstein stated that there have been 7 accidents in the east bound lanes.  There is a separate issue for accidents in the west bound direction which were rear end collisions.   Cm. O’Loane asked if any accidents were due to speeding.  Mr. Bornstein stated that there was only one speeding accident.  The most common source of accidents for drivers is not maintaining their lane.  Chief Holder stated that only one accident was attributed to speed but he did not know how fast the vehicle was traveling.  Cm. O’Loane asked what the typical recovery distance is.  Mr. Bornstein responded that the plan is to increase the lane widths to 12, 11, and 13 feet to allow more recovery room.  Cm. O’Loane asked about installing a wall versus widening the lanes.  Mr. Bornstein responded that a wall would prevent vehicles from crossing the sidewalk but it does not get to the root issue which is to get more room in the right lane.  If only a wall is constructed, a vehicle which hits the wall might bounce back into traffic and hit another car.  The main emphasis is to add more recovery area to the right lane to eliminate collisions.  Cm. O’Loane asked what is the expectation for the width of a wall.  Mr. Bornstein stated that a permanent barrier of concrete or wall is generally 2 ½ feet high and 2 feet wide at the base. 

Mayor Clarkson asked if there were any schematics on what the wall would look like.  Engineering Services Director Maria Fierner stated that staff does not have any barrier schematics.  Mayor Clarkson asked what was the primary instruction given to the consultants.  Mr. Bornstein responded that the transportation consultant was asked to provide operational improvements, analyze the accidents, and provide the City with recommendations to improve overall drivability.

Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.

Rajiv Tibrewala, resident, asked what guarantee there is that the accidents will stop if the road is widened.  He asked the Council to preserve the trees.  He stated that the City should have provided more information about the project.  He requested that the Council scrap the proposal and look at other options such as decreasing the speed limit.  He asked that information be provided to the Home Owners Associations (HOA).

Viraj Patel, resident, stated that the accidents occur because of poor driving habits.  Seven accidents do not justify cutting down the trees.  Increasing the lane width will not eliminate the problem drivers.

Todd Erickson, resident, representing the Vista Point HOA, distributed copies of a petition signed by 746 residents.  He stated that one resident established a Facebook page “Save The Bollinger Canyon Road Trees” to rally residents and protect the sycamore trees.  He agreed that ground cover on the median should be changed to protect City workers.  He stated that the residents want a decorative wall to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, to save the trees, and to enforce the speed limit.  He requested data for the accidents.  Police Chief Holder stated that he did not have the data at the meeting.  The City’s Traffic Officers investigated each of the incidents.  He is not aware of any hit and run incidents.  Mr. Erikson asked when the power point presentation was created.  Mr. Bornstein stated that it is essentially the same as the one presented at the March 22, 2012 Council meeting.  Mr. Erickson stated that the HOAs were not contacted in advance of the Council’s vote.  He added that none of the public outreach is effective under professional scrutiny.  He also asked when the water was turned off.  He requested that the Council vote to terminate the project and save the trees. 

Tony Arakawa, resident, stated that he drives the road several times a day.  If drivers are attentive and driving the speed limit, there is no reason why the road will not work in its existing form.  He observed that some people use it as an ‘interstate’.  He remarked that he does not see much of a police presence on the roadway.

Karyne Ghantous, resident, stated that the City did not provide a sign on the roadway to indicate that the trees would be removed.  She added that it is not the Council’s decision to make.  She suggested that the Council utilize eminent domain, abolish the walkway, and take the needed space from the golf course.  She stated that there are legal options and that the agreement with Shapell to widen the roads should be reviewed.  Without proper notice, due process was not provided to residents.  Residents should make the decision because it is their community.  She suggested that the Council secure the services of another consultant.

Justin DiGrazia, resident and president of the Copper Ridge HOA Board, stated that he became aware of the City’s plans when the signs were placed on the roadway.  If the lanes meet the state requirements, he asked what is the primary objective.  Is it operational efficiency or pedestrian safety?  He asked how widening the lane versus the option of constructing a wall will fix anything.  He requested that the City consider its options and construct the barrier.  If that does not alleviate the problem of vehicles hitting the wall, then the Council should consider other options.  He acknowledged the City’s liability and the potential for pedestrians to be injured.  He stated that the trees represent the community and he asked that the Council not remove another piece of the community.  He asked that the water be turned on.  He requested that the Council allow the community and HOAs to have input regarding the design of the wall.  He recommended that there be more police enforcement.

Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that she was not aware of the issue until the previous day.  She stated that the problem is not the median or the road but the sidewalk.  She asked if the sidewalk has to be eight feet wide.  She believes that the sidewalk is unsafe and recommended placing barriers.  She suggested that the sidewalk be raised above the gutter.  Drivers will hit the sidewalk even if the lanes are widened.

Abram Wilson, resident, stated that it is the job of residents to help the Council when they think the Council is wrong.  He stated that he fought against the road widening in 2004.  This is an example of what happens when the County develops a project.  The City would never have allowed six lanes.  The roadway was widened in 2008 with the understanding that the landscaping would be protected.  In 2010, it is the drivers, not the roadway, which is the cause of the problem.  He requested that the roadway speed be reduced, that more police officers be present, and that the cost of the ticket be increased.  He noted that the water sewers in the middle lane are not correctly installed and that this problem needs to be examined.  He requested that the trees be saved and a decorative barrier installed.

Mayor Clarkson read a speaker card submitted by Madelaine Rasala, resident.  She requested that the trees be saved.

Scott Rasala, resident, stated that these are not the first trees on Bollinger Canyon to be cut down.  He stated that widening the road will not fix the issue.  He added that the sidewalk is not safe and that the fence is not attractive.  He requested that a wall be constructed to protect pedestrians and save the trees.

Lynda Gann, resident and member of the Bridges HOA Board, stated that the trees are an iconic landmark in San Ramon.  She suggested that slowing the traffic would save money which might be better served in the community such as using it in overcrowded classrooms.

David Hayllar, resident, reiterated Mayor Clarkson’s question regarding what objective was give to the consultants.  He noted that if one car jumps the barrier and injures a pedestrian that the liability for the City will be astronomical.  He observed that the list of benefits does not include the word ‘safety’.  He stated that, if the lanes are widened, the traffic will increase because drivers will feel the comfort of a wider area to speed in.

Mahmoud Janbakhsh, resident, noted that several items have increased (taxes, crime, City salaries) and several items have been going down (the quality of the City, the landscape, the maintenance).  He asked the Council to forget the project and hire another police officer to control traffic.

Mayor Clarkson read a speaker card submitted by Sukhmani Bal, resident, who asked who has to die.  The trees provide more than an aesthetic value.  In the time it takes for the new median to re-establish, the City risks a head-on collision.  He requested more police presence in the area. 

Dyan Young, resident, stated that she did not receive any City mail on this item and became aware of the issue when the roadway signs appeared.  She expressed outrage at the lack of information.  She requested that the trees be saved.

Mindy Sideris, resident, noted speeders frequently on North Gale Ridge Road.  She asked the Council to save the trees, consider placing a concrete barrier, and increasing the police presence.

Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.

Mayor Clarkson reported that 65 citations were written last month on that roadway.  Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that his number one job as an elected official is to provide safety for residents.  He recognizes the seven accidents and the City’s liability and that someone could get killed.  He thinks that the sewer grates are a contributing factor to the accidents.  The sidewalk is eight feet wide to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.  Mr. Bornstein stated that it is a Class 3 combination pedestrian and bike path.  Vice Mayor Livingstone asked if the sidewalk options have been studied.  Mr. Bornstein stated that is has.  Staff considered moving the bike path to the north side but there is a problem at the bottom of the hill where there is very little setback, high retaining wall, and golf course right-of-way.  Staff looked at options with the golf course.  Eminent domain is very difficult if the golf course did not want to do it.  Changing the roadway to four lanes is not an option.  He asked Chief Holder to explain the speed limit.  Many people stated that the problem is not the road but the drivers.  Chief Holder stated that, in order to enforce speed laws, the road needs to be surveyed by a traffic engineer.  A posted roadway sign of 25 mph is not enforceable under the California Vehicle Code.  The speed limit can only be enforced relative to a valid traffic engineering survey.

Vice Mayor Livingstone asked if a barrier could be constructed without widening the road.  Mr. Bornstein stated that a barrier is considered an obstacle for the traveling public.  The guidelines typically require a minimum of eighteen inches between the barrier and the travel lane.   Placing the barrier on the curb would cause cars to collide with the barrier and possibly collide with other vehicles.  Vice Mayor Livingstone asked if the roadway can be widened without removing the trees.  Mr. Bornstein responded no.  Staff looked at several elements to widen the lane. 

Vice Mayor Livingstone asked if the City can get a safe barrier without eliminating the trees.  John Zellmer, with Ruggeri-Jensen-Azar & Associates (RJA), responded no.  He stated that installing a barrier without widening the roadway would protect pedestrians but automobile accidents will continue and possibly increase in severity.  He analyzed many alternatives.  The process of taking land from the golf course would take two or more years and involve the Justice Department to execute eminent domain.  The option of decreasing the sidewalk does not provide the additional width needed for the right lane.  A twelve foot lane gives drivers time to recover.  He noted that the median crowns and there is up to a two foot difference between the top of the median and the curb.  The trees are not centered in the middle of the median but are staggered.  They consulted with an arborist to create something that will have value for San Ramon residents.  Five feet is needed from the trunk of the tree.  Saving the north trees would create an odd configuration as the trees are located high on the median.  Vice Mayor Livingstone noted that no one commented that the sycamores are ‘sticks’ for half of the year without leaves and color.  He sees the replacement plan as an improvement.

Cm. Hudson stated that there are several factors which simplify the decision.  The road cannot be widened to a better standard without removing the trees in the median.  He added that if the City does nothing, a bad situation remains.  He stated that the six lanes should be there for Dougherty Valley.  He cannot conceive of a way to do the project without removing the trees and removing the trees is unacceptable.  He suggested trying to get land from the golf course.  The barrier will not fix the problem but it is part of the solution.  He suggested that the sidewalk be moved into the golf course and fix this as one major project.  He is not sure where the funding will come from.

Cm. O’Loane stated that the sidewalk is not a sidewalk, or a bike lane, but it is a utility lane.  It is not a question of moving a wide sidewalk but moving the utilities too.  It may be a question of spending $5-8 million to move the sidewalk if you can locate the golf course owner.  He suggested that rumble strips be put on the roadway.  He stated that the roadway is just a bad road.  He asked if reminding people of the speed limit will actually help the problem.  If the median is changed from 16 feet to 12 feet, perhaps removing half of the trees is worth trying.  There is not a good solution and the road is not safe.  A barrier should probably be added.  He asked what is a reasonable way to deal with the problem – making the right lane wider?  A nonstop police officer is not an effective use of the City’s resources.  He asked what additional measures could be used to slow down traffic.  What might a barrier do in lieu of widening all three lanes?  Pushing into the golf course is not a viable option or a possible alternative.

Mayor Clarkson stated that this is a classic example of decisions made 30 years ago that do not work today.  The corridor is not wide enough to handle the traffic.  The sidewalk is the only option to walk or bike from Crow Canyon to Old Ranch Road.  Although the lanes in both directions are the same widths, the problem only exists on the east bond side.  The uphill right lane is the problem.  Public safety is the Council’s first concern.  The barrier would take six inches of the sidewalk.  Mr. Zellmer stated that eight feet is the generally accepted standard for a Class 3 bike lane.  Mayor Clarkson asked if the trees would be saved if 18 inches were taken from the median to extend the lane to accommodate the barrier.  Mr. Zellmer thought that the north side trees would be alright but the arborist should be consulted regarding the south side trees.  Mayor Clarkson asked how long sycamore trees live.  Jim Williams, landscape consultant, replied that they live about 100 years.  Mayor Clarkson asked if the trees could survive in the median for 40-50 years.  Mr. Williams responded yes.  Mayor Clarkson asked if it would be possible to change only one lane by taking 18 inches from the median.  The trees are not worth a life but they are worth making the effort to save.  The barrier may be something that the City also needs to do.  Mr. Bornstein stated that the barrier is an alternative that is being considered.  Mayor Clarkson stated that he cannot support Cm. Hudson’s suggestion.  The Council needs to take decisive action on a safe solution which would still save the trees.  Mr. Bornstein stated that a five foot clear zone is needed around the trees to protect them.  It is possible that taking 18 inches might cause the loss of some trees.  Mayor Clarkson stated that the City needs to exhaust all opportunities and perform due diligence.  Vice Mayor Livingstone asked how close the trees are to the curb.  Mr. Zellmer stated that the trees on the south side are on average about six feet from the edge of the mound.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to deny item 8.3 and turn on the water did not receive a second.  Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to continue the item for two weeks, direct the consultant to evaluate Council comments and direction to save the trees, and evaluate the barrier option was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent. 

Mr. Bornstein stated that staff will evaluate a combination of removing 18 inches from the media, installing a barrier, rumble strips, and other elements which were mentioned.  Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that he wanted to make sure that the City errs on the side of safety, the barrier makes sense and is the proper distance from the land, and that the trees are saved.  Cm. O’Loane asked if it was possible that one side of the trees could be saved and post this visual.  Mr. Bornstein responded that it may be possible.  Mayor Clarkson stated that anyone who wants to be notified of the Council agenda should provide an email address to the City Clerk.  Residents requested a larger meeting room.  Mayor Clarkson stated that staff would locate a larger facility.  Ms. Fierner stated that two weeks may be insufficient for staff and consultants to do due diligence and requested that the July 10, 2012 meeting be a target date. 

* * * *

At 9:35 p.m., Mayor Clarkson requested a five minute break.  The Council reconvened at 9:48 p.m.  All Council members were present except Cm. Perkins.

* * * *

(#6.4) Transportation Advisory Committee Appointments.

Transportation staff was not available to provide the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Mark Ballock, Ed Boyan, Victoria Harris, and Harvey Riggs, to the Transportation Advisory Committee for terms to run through June 30, 2014 and to appoint Steve Filson, as the Chamber of Commerce representative, for a term to expire June 30, 2014, was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent. 

* * * *


(#9.1) Resolution No. 2012-061 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Amendment No. 1 to the Agreement with Republic ITS for Phase 2 of the LED Streetlight Conversion Services Project in an Amount Not to Exceed $3,100,485; and Authorizing an Appropriation of $353,183 from the General Fund to CIP No. 5499 (Citywide Lighting Upgrades) as Capital Contribution Advance, Equivalent to the PG&E Rebate Amount.

Resolution No. 2012-062 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute a 12-Year Lease Agreement with Banc of America Public Capital Corporation to Provide Funding for Phase 2 of the LED Streetlight Conversion Services Project in an Amount Not to Exceed $2,687,302 and Total 12-Year Lease Payments Not to Exceed $3,203,298.

The staff report was given by Jennifer Dye, Administrative Analyst.  She summarized what was included in Phase 1 and what will be included in Phase 2.  As requested at the May 22, 2012 Council meeting, the Change Cash Flow Model to reflect:  12 versus 15 year project calculation; Scenario reducing annual energy escalation to 0%; and Scenario reducing annual operational savings to $0 (leave annual maintenance/contract cost savings).  She provided a detailed breakdown of annual operational cost savings.  The competitive bid was re-issued for the final interest rate proposal and staff clarified the warranty for product versus labor.  She described the process for the financing agreement and the project timelines.

Cm. O’Loane clarified that the warrant period starts on the first day after the last LED light is installed.  Dick Murphy with Republic ITS stated that that is correct.  Cm. O’Loane stated that the estimated bulb life is 15-20 years with a .5% failure rate per year from the date of installation.  Ms. Dye clarified that if a component in the LED is faulty, the bulb will fail fairly soon.  These bulb failures will be captured under the warranty in the first year.  The bulbs cost between $300-$900 depending on the wattage.  The median price is $590.  At year 15, the City may need to start replacing the bulbs. 

Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.

Todd Lewis, resident and principal of Omega Pacific Electrical Supply, Inc., congratulated San Ramon on being a leader in this innovation.  He asked the Council to ensure that the standard and superior level of street lighting is maintained in San Ramon.

Dennis Davis, resident and representative of BetaLED, stated that San Ramon has selected a good product.  He added that the City’s west side looks forward to this high quality lighting.  The industry’s standard is 15-20 years for these bulbs at 70% or greater of its light output.  He noted that individual LEDs on a board may fail but the decrease in the milliamperage provided to that LED will be shared with the remaining LEDs so the usable light remains the same.

Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution Nos. 2012-061 and 2012-062 was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

(#9.2) Public Hearing:  Resolution No. 2012-063 – Confirming the Landscaping and Lighting District No. 1984-1 District Diagram and Assessments and Levying the Landscaping and Lighting District No. 1984-1 Assessments for Fiscal Year 2012/13.

Julie Vargas, Senior Administrative Analyst, provided the staff report.  She  described the Landscaping and Lighting Districts (L&L) history, purpose, and districts within the City.  Property owners within each zone pay an annual assessment to fund the maintenance of public landscaping and street lighting within that zone. Such maintenance is performed through a combination of City staff and contractors.  Resolution No. 2012-035, adopted at the Council’s April 10, 2012 meeting, was the first step required to re-establish the L&L for this year.  The Resolution described new improvements and called for the District Engineer to prepare the Engineer’s Report for Fiscal Year 2012/13.  On May 22, 2012, Resolution No. 2012-053 accepted the Engineer’s Report and the intent to levy and collect assessments for Fiscal Year 2012/13 and set a public hearing for June 12, 2012.  After the Council holds the Public Hearing and adopts a resolution confirming the diagram and assessments and levying the assessments, staff will prepare the data base of parcels and the assessments to be included on the property tax roll which must be submitted to the Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office by August 10, 2012.

Mayor Clarkson opened the Public Hearing.  There were no requests to address the item.    Mayor Clarkson closed the Public Hearing. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2012-063 was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

  * * * *


(#10.1) Public Hearing:  Introduction of Ordinance No. (next in line) – Approving the Prezoning (Prezone 12-610-001) of Approximately 41.54 Acres in Gale Ranch Phase 3 as Planned Development (PD) and Park and Recreation (P).

Resolution No. 2012-064 – Making an Application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Requesting Initiation of Proceedings for Reorganization Pursuant to the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 for Dougherty Valley Annexation #15 – Gale Ranch Phase 3 (Portion).

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner, provided the report.  On May 1, 2012, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. 04-12 recommending that the City Council approve Prezone application (PZ 12-610-001) of approximately 41.54 acres in Gale Ranch Phase 3 as Planned Development (PD) Zoning District (approximately 36.68 acres) and Parks and Recreation (P) Zoning District (approximately 4.86 acres).  These prezones are consistent with General Plan 2020 and the Dougherty Valley Specific Plan.  The City’s portion of the property tax revenue is estimated to be approximately $12,000 in Fiscal Year 2013-14 and will increase once the area is built out to approximately $112,200 per fiscal year.  This is the only Dougherty Valley annexation anticipated for 2012. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to introduce the Ordinance and waive the reading and read by title only and open the public hearing was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

Mayor Clarkson opened the Public Hearing.  There were no requests to address the item.    Mayor Clarkson closed the Public Hearing. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to set the Ordinance for adoption at the June 26, 2012 Council Meeting was seconded by Cm. O’Loane.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the part outside of the City limits near the creek will be accepted into the City.  Mr. Driscoll responded that the property east of Annexation #15 is not included in this annexation but will eventually be added to the City.  The motion passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

(#10.2) Public Hearing #2:  North Camino Ramon Specific Plan (SP 09-800-001 - filed March 24, 2009). 

The staff report was presented by Lauren Barr, Senior Planner.  The proposed North Camino Ramon Specific Plan (NCRSP) area consists of approximately 295 acres bounded generally by the City limits to the north, Executive Parkway to the south, Highway 680 on the west and Alcosta Boulevard to the east.  The proposed NCRSP is a City-initiated Specific Plan to provide land use direction pursuant to General Plan 2030 Implementing Policy 4.7-I-4 for the defined Plan Area.  The NCRSP  is a long range planning document and not a project entitlement.  The underlying goal is to create a land use plan that provides a stimulus for economic development to address unmet commercial and retail needs while balancing quality of life for San Ramon residents.  The vision includes a mixed-use blend of commercial and housing in proximity to new and existing jobs. 

Mr. Barr provided the background history of the NCRSP.  He reviewed the conceptual Land Use Plan which is based on themed mixed use districts.  Implementation of the NCRSP will provide flexibility for the location of future compatible uses.  The pace of that development will be property owner driven based on market conditions.  He provided information on the nonresidential, residential, and estimated employment potential for the NCRSP.  Mr. Barr reviewed the Project outreach efforts.  He presented information on the analyses provided through the Planning Commission’s public hearing process.  The Planning Commission extensively analyzed: traffic; school impacts; infrastructure development; reduction in Plan Area housing numbers; protection of service commercial uses; and reduction in the Plan Area.  The NCRSP, as a local land use vision (Priority Development Area), contributes to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) FOCUS program to align land use and transportation into complete, livable communities served by transit. 

Mr. Barr stated that adoption of the NCRSP requires the adoption of an ordinance amending the Zoning Map to re-designate the property located within the Plan Area boundary to NCRSP.  The NCRSP becomes the defacto zoning for the area.  Cm. Hudson clarified the process involved in adopting the related NCRSP Ordinance. 

Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing.

Jim Blickenstaff, resident and speaking on behalf of the Mt. Diablo Sierra Club, noted that the Environmental Impact Review (EIR) was not on the agenda.  He stated that there are significant problems with traffic, parks, and schools.  Although the idealized EIR outcome is that the NCRSP would improve traffic, traffic remains an outstanding issue on this project.  He added that he School District states it cannot accommodate the elementary school children generated by the 1,500 housing units.  These problems need resolution. The cumulative impact of parks has not been addressed.  He stated that the lessons from Measure W, to pull back on development, have not been learned.  The Mixed Use category is broad and discretionary and needs lots of attention from the public sector.  He requested that hearings be provided for public input on these decisions rather than having the decisions made in an administrative fashion.

Kris Viers, resident and member of the City’s Housing Advisory Committee (HAC), stated that the HAC reviewed the NCRSP with regard to the Housing Element.  It improves the City’s job/housing balance and provides housing within walking distance of major employers.  The traffic impact of additional housing units is mitigated because the housing is located near jobs.  The NCRSP provides integrated public spaces, walkability, and encourages a variety of housing types including senior and special needs housing.   The NCRSP provides for 25% affordable housing.  The HAC supports the NCRSP because it contains smart growth practices and sustainable community strategies. 

Greg Carr, resident, asked if there has been an analysis of the increase in students from the additional housing in the NCRSP.  He asked where these students will go to school.  He stated that the southwest corner of the general area is not included in the NCRSP.  He reminded the Council of the process used for the Kodak Site.  Stakeholders were identified and open forums were provided so that residents could share ideas.  It was a long process but the end result was a project that everyone could handle.  This is a successful approach to changes within City boundaries.  He asked the Council to step back as there is no hurry to complete the NCRSP process.  Everyone can then be involved in the process and create a project that is not contentious.

Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing. 

Cm. Hudson stated that the southwest corner is BR8.  He stated that the General Plan student projections were provided to the School District.  He supports the concept of flexibility for the parks.  The NCRSP is a new concept in “transit living community” where programs are as important as projects.  The NCRSP does not add square footage.  He hopes that the NCRSP will be designated a Priority Development Area (PDA) which will enable the City to qualify for PDA grants.  He stated that Infrastructure Finance Districts are becoming popular.  Planning is what you do now.  He would like the NCRSP to be more definitive on the flexibility for affordable housing and parks.  He supports proceeding with the NCRSP.  He added that the City has tried to work with the School District on projected student needs.

Vice Mayor Livingstone stated that the focus is to get the NCRSP done.  He does not think there is a need for more input after 27 meetings.  The NCRSP has been sufficiently studied.  The City has spent a considerable amount of money on it.  The NCRSP is an area in which the City needs to look at affordable housing.  Workers at Bishop Ranch will not qualify for the affordable housing so the affordable housing in the NCRSP needs to be very flexible.  He wants the best quality product for San Ramon.  The School District has severely underestimated the enrollment in San Ramon and will continue to do so.  He noted that the city should communicate as much as possible and tell the District what is being planned.  He does not support additional study for the NCRSP.

Cm. O’Loane noted that the NCRSP started in 2008 before the recession hit.  He said that he is puzzled because the NCRSP hasn’t changed significantly but is touted as the solution for when the market improves, in response to SB375, or for other things that come along.  He described the finance term “sunk costs”.  In terms of making a decision, it does not matter what money has been spent.  A decision should not be made based on the notion that a considerable amount of money has already been spent.  The NCRSP baseline is 1,200 housing units.  The notion that 300 more housing units is incremental is a false concept.  He stated that he does not like to be told when he has to make a decision.  The process should be to have a discussion and then the Council should decide when the Council will make a decision.  After two hours discussing 85 trees, the Council should be spending more time discussing a 30 year plan.  The NCRSP is a big deal and should not be put off to a specific date simply because additional notices may have to be mailed.  The NCRSP needs to be discussed at a reasonable hour.  He is concerned that the City’s response to the School District is to ‘stuff it’.  He asked why 1,500 housing units is better than 1,200 housing units.  The Council is not discussing the Alcosta extension because it is more than five years out but the extension is used in the estimates for the future.  He asked if it is acceptable to do the minimum.  He asked why the City needs to move forward on the NCRSP.  He stated that the Council should not default on what the citizens have voted on in Measure W.  It is incumbent for the Council to think about the School District and it is not proper process to dump the problem on the District.  He stated that he has never heard the term “Priority Conservation Area” (PCA).  There should be a parallel process for discussing PCAs.  He projects that the City Center will go ‘mid-market’ (no Neiman Marcus or Tiffany).  He asked staff what that will do to the estimates for additional retail needs provided in the NCRSP.  The NCRSP will compete with the City Center for retail.  He asked why the Council is rushing to do this Plan. 

Cm. Hudson stated that he has mentioned PCAs.  The four northern counties are the priority for PCA funds for the Association of Bay Area Governments.  He noted a correction that the NCRSP was filed in March 2009 after SB375 became law (2008).  The reduction in green house gases required by SB375 will be achieved by removing the lead from gas, increased miles per gallon, and vehicle miles travelled.  The NCRSP has the same number of housing units and jobs as required by the General Plan.  The NCRSP is keeping the integrity of General Plan 2020 updated for current legislation.  There is a need to approve the NCRSP so that it can be declared a PDA and be eligible for funding. 

Mayor Clarkson stated that it is important to look at the financial structure of the transaction.  He stated that 40-45% of the NCRSP is within the Bishop Ranch area.  Bishop Ranch pays property taxes but the funds are paid to the county.  San Ramon does not receive any of the property taxes but provides City services.  Arrangements for the City Center project include a provision to provide incremental taxes to the City.  He cannot support the NCRSP without a financial component.  The City needs property taxes as reimbursement for providing services to the NCRSP area.  Prospective developers should be aware of their potential financial obligations.  He wants the housing units to stay with the General Plan numbers.  He noted that the most common concern from the public is traffic.  He asked what the impact will be on traffic if fewer homes are built.  Property developers would be responsible for infrastructure costs.  He is concerned that the shared parking will not provide sufficient parking.  He asked staff to err on the side of more parking than is needed than less parking.  He requested that staff place this item first on the agenda at the next meeting.  These issues need to be addressed before he will make a decision regarding supporting the NCRSP.

Cm. O’Loane suggested that the language regarding parks be more flexible and address open space both within or outside the City.  Cm. Hudson clarified that it is not more or new homes.  It is the same number of houses that are being located in this Plan. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to continue the item to the July 10, 2012 Council meeting was seconded by Vice Mayor Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0.  Cm. Perkins was absent.

* * * *


(#11.1) Consideration of Cancelling One Council Meeting in August 2012.

City Manager Greg Rogers reported that it is the practice in many agencies to skip a meeting in the summer.  He asked the Council to discuss skipping a meeting in August.  Cm. Hudson stated that there is no need for a meeting if there are no action items.  The Mayor and City Manager could decide if there is a need for a meeting.  Vice Mayor Livingstone said that he supports cancelling the August 14, 2012 meeting.  Mayor Clarkson concurred and recommended that the August 14, 2012 meeting be cancelled.

* * * *


Donna Kerger, resident, invited residents to attend “Tennessee on the Farm” at Forest Home Farms on June 23-24, 2012.  This is a fund raiser for the San Ramon Historic Foundation and the Danville Role Players Ensemble Theatre.

* * * *


Mayor Clarkson noted that San Ramon received recognition as a “Tree City USA” from the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.  It is the twelfth time that the City has received this recognition.  He invited residents to participate in the Fourth of July events planned for the City.  These include an early morning Fun Run and “Celebrate America, Celebrate San Ramon” in Central Park.

* * * *


At 11:53 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Clarkson adjourned the meeting.

Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved as presented at the July 10, 2012 City Council meeting 5-0.

We provide efficient delivery of quality public services that are essential to those who live and work in San Ramon.
7000 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583 | Map | Phone (925) 973-2530 | Fax (925) 866-0547