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September 25, 2012

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held September 25, 2012 at 7:05 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Clarkson presiding. 
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, O’Loane, Perkins and Mayor Clarkson.
STAFF PRESENT:  City Manager Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe, Police Chief Scott Holder, Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps, Finance Division Manager Candace Daniels, Associate Planner Cindy Yee, Planning/Community Development Director Phil Wong, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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Evan Barnes, Jack Borovitz, Henry Geach, Matthew Geach, Gabriel Goh, James Gonzales, Matthew Hanson, Thomas Hegar, Mikael Melaker, Nathan Mertz, Jack Moore, Marc Rossellini, Tyler Stephens, and Zachary Stephens, members of Cub Scout Pack 841 from Walt Disney Elementary School, led those present in the pledge of allegiance.  

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The City Clerk requested that item 4.2 be deferred to a future meeting as the awards did not arrive in time for this meeting.  The City Clerk requested that the Council defer action on the August 28, 2012 and the September 25, 2012 minutes to the October 9, 2012 City Council meeting.  The Council voiced no objections.  The City Clerk stated that there was one change to the meetings listed on the agenda.  The October 8, 2012 Open Space Task Force meeting has been cancelled.

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(#4.1) Recognizing City Read 2012 "Two Cities, One Tale" – October 1, 2012 – November 5, 2012.  Presented by Mayor Clarkson to Town of Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Danville Community Library Manager Seng Lovan, San Ramon Libraries’ Community Library Manager Kathy Middleton, San Ramon Library Youth Services Librarian Amy Mockoski.

Youth Services Librarian Amy Mockoski announced that this year’s book is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Amy Bender.  She thanked the Library Foundations for providing the funding to purchase the books.  Free copies of the book will be available in libraries and various locations in San Ramon and Danville.  She urged residents to read the book and attend the author’s presentation on November 7, 2012 at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center.  Tickets will be a $5.00 donation to the Foundations and reservations are required.  Danville Community Library Manager Seng Lovan informed residents that this is the ninth year for "Two Cities, One Tale" event.  She stated that books are now available in many formats: paperback, downloadable media, audio books, large print, and cds in an effort to make this a community wide event.  Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich presented the proclamation to Mayor Clarkson.  He stated that both the City of San Ramon and the Town of Danville are very proud of their libraries and he thanked the librarians for their work.

(#4.2) Recognition of the Sponsors of the 2012 San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair.  Introduction by Raymond Riordan, Emergency Preparedness Manager.  Presentation by Mayor Clarkson.

This presentation was deferred to a future meeting.

(#4.3) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2011.  Presented to Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps and Finance Division Manager Candace Daniels by Mayor Clarkson.

Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps reported that San Ramon received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2011.  This award is the highest form of recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association for financial reporting.  She recognized Finance Division Manager Candace Daniels for her work in compiling the report.  This is the eighth year that the City has received this award.  Cm. Hudson stated that this is an impressive achievement.  Mayor Clarkson noted that this award was received in recognition of exemplary recordkeeping and demonstrates the City’s transparency.

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Cristene Burr, Executive Director of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation, thanked the City and the City Council for their leadership and support of the Primo’s Run.  She stated that the Foundation appreciates the level of preparation by the City to make this a safe event.  Vice Mayor Livingstone recognized Ms. Burr’s contributions to the community.  The Primo’s Run earns approximately $300,000 per year.  Mayor Clarkson concurred with Vice Mayor Livingstone’s comments.    

Doug Dattawalker, representing Contra Costa County Climate Leaders (4CL), stated that 4CL’s goal is to share information and resources to support and encourage the County’s cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  4CL produces a monthly newsletter, conducts workshops, and maintains a web site listing city information relative to the climate action process and sustainability.  Because a representative from San Ramon attended the recent benchmarking workshop, 4CL will provide free assistance to the City in their efforts to benchmark City buildings.  He invited the City to send a representative to the October workshop which will focus on vehicle miles traveled.

Jim Gibbon, resident, stated that Building Bridges will be held on October 20, 2012.  He encouraged residents to participate in this day of community building.  Safeway has donated $5,000 and organized 80 volunteers to install the second phase of the Memorial Park at Camp Parks.  All of the needed materials will be provided by Home Depot.  Volunteers can sign up at www.srpc.org

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(#6.1) Arts Advisory Committee Appointments.

Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Elizabeth Brathwaite for a term ending in April 2014 and Lee Merritts as the second alternate for a term ending in April 2013 on the Arts Advisory Committee was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 5-0. 

(#6.2) Library Advisory Committee Appointment.

Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint April Scott as Alternate #2 to serve on the Library Advisory Committee for a term to expire April 2013 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0. 

(#6.3) Senior Advisory Committee Appointments.

Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Dorothy Dees and Astrid Brassinga (Alternate #1) for terms to expire April 2014 and Ethelyn Ryan (Alternate #2) for a term to expire April 2013 on the Senior Advisory Committee was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0. 

(#6.4) Housing Advisory Committee Appointments

Associate Planner Cindy M. Yee provided the report.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Kris Viers and Vincent Salinas Jr. to the Housing Advisory Committee for terms to run through July 30, 2014 was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 5-0. 

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(#7.1) Minutes of the August 28, 2012 regular meeting.

(#7.2) Minutes of the September 11, 2012 regular meeting.

The minutes were deferred to the October 9, 2012 Council meeting.

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Vice Mayor Livingstone requested that item 8.6 be pulled for discussion. 

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

(#8.2) Ordinance No. 432 – Authorizing an Amendment to the Contract Between the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees Retirement System and the City Council of the City of San Ramon.

(#8.3) Resolution No. 2012-091 – Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Agreement with the State of California Office of Traffic Safety for Participation in the Traffic Safety Grant Program for the Automated Collision Database, Analysis and Tracking—GIS Project in the Amount of $38,080.

(#8.4) Resolution No. 2012-092 – Approving Functional Classification Changes to the California Road System Records for the City of San Ramon.

(#8.5) Resolution No. 2012-093 – Accepting Certain Drainage Dedications and Improvements in DA 0018 for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Company, LLC).

Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.5 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.

(#8.6) Resolution No. 2012-094 – Authorizing an Expenditure from the Police
Vehicle Replacement Fund for the Purchase of Four New Replacement Patrol Vehicles in the Amount of $107,359.

Vice Mayor Livingstone asked how much money is available in the Vehicle Replacement Fund.  Police Chief Holder stated that there is approximately $300,000 in the Fund with ample funding for the motorcycles and vehicles.  City Manager Greg Rogers responded that the fund balance is substantial.

Vice Mayor Livingstone’s motion to adopt item 8.6 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.

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(#9.1) Continued Public Hearings on Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance:
(1) Adoption of Resolution No. 2012-090 in Consideration of Initial       Study/Negative Declaration (IS 12-250-001); and

(2) Adoption of Ordinance No. 433 – Adopting Revised Title D, Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment TA 10-410-001, Zoning of the Municipal Code of the City of San Ramon.

Cindy Yee, Associate Planner, provided the report.  The objective of this Zoning Ordinance (ZO) text amendment is to: implement the Housing Element; incorporate the hillside, creek, and ridgeline preservation protection requirements of General Plan 2030; and clarify text ambiguities.  She provided a summary comparison of Ordinance 197 and the corresponding elements in the proposed Zoning Ordinance (ZO).

Cm. O’Loane asked about the development of viewshed criteria to manage views of the natural hillsides.  Ms. Yee responded that the original Resource Conservation Overlay District (RCOD) and Ordinance 197 identified some view guidelines which are being incorporated in the ZO.  Cm. O’Loane asked how the previous RCOD provisions are incorporated into the ZO.  Ms. Yee responded that the RCOD requirements in the 2006 ZO are included in Division D5 of the new ZO and will also include ridgelines in addition to creeks and hillsides.  She stated that the RCOD standards only applied to properties which had an Overlay District. 

Cm. O’Loane noted that an approval exists for one residence located between the major and minor ridgelines.  Ms. Yee stated that there is one property located within a pocket area that is approved for a single residence.  Cm. O’Loane asked how the new ZO impacts this property.  Ms. Yee stated that one single family home was approved in a pocket area in Circle E’s Conditions of Approval.  No specifics regarding the process for that exception were provided in the old ZO.  The new ZO dictates the procedures for how this property must meet guidelines of the viewshed standards.  Cm. O’Loane asked if anyone could see this house if it were built.  Ms. Yee stated that the two ridgelines could potentially block the view of this home.  Cm. O’Loane asked who makes and approves “findings”.  Ms. Yee responded that findings exist to provide clarity for the City and for project applicants.  It established the standards by which a project is or is not approved.  Findings would be made for all types of development applications.  She noted that Chapter 7 describes which body implements the specific application decision.  Cm. O’Loane asked if there were any changes to the approval methodology.  Ms. Yee stated that Ordinance 197 did not establish a public noticing requirement or require an application for a variance to be made in order to allow for an exception.  Cm. O’Loane asked who would approve the creek side set-backs on the property behind the Wood Lot.  Ms. Yee replied that Ordinance 197 and the previous ZO dealt with creek protection but the previous ZO was not as strong as Ordinance 197.  It did not establish how exceptions would be permitted for exceptions to creek side development.  Ms. Yee stated that the Zoning Administrator (ZA) made the findings for that exception process.  Cm. O’Loane asked if anyone else would approve the variance such as the Planning Commission.  Ms. Yee stated that the ZA made the findings for the variance application.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the ZO is as strong as Ordinance 197.  Ms. Yee stated that Ordinance 197 allowed for exceptions.  Three findings were required before the variance was allowed.  She noted that Implementation D states that the City Council would make findings to allow for additional densities on the property.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the ZO is substituting authority and lessening the decision to a ministerial approval versus a Commission or Council approval.  Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that Ordinance 197 allowed for variance procedures to be done by the City Council.  The variance procedure in the new ZO is done by the ‘reviewing authority’ which is the entity or individual that approves the project.  This would be the Planning Commission for a subdivision and the Zoning Administrator for development plans.  The variance procedure under Ordinance 197 applied to everything under Ordinance 197.  Under the new ZO, the variance authority only applies to creek setbacks.  Cm. O’Loane stated that he wanted to verify the substitutions and any exceptions.  With reference to the Bollinger Canyon Road prezone area, he asked if both the names and the terms of the zoning elements have been changed.  Ms. Yee responded that there were no changes to the definitions for rural residential which are parcels greater than or equal to five acres for a single family home.  

Cm. O’Loane asked if there were any changes to the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).  Ms. Yee stated that the ZO only implements the General Plan.  The General Plan identifies the UGB and that there are no changes to the UGB associated with the ZO.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the UGB meets the City’s Sphere of Influence (SOI).  Ms. Yee clarified that the City’s UGB is within the City’s SOI.  Referring to Section 1(i) in Ordinance 197, Cm. O’Loane asked how General Plan amendments were done in the past without a vote of the residents.  Mr. Saxe stated that the intent was not to prevent the City from a General Plan amendment or land use provision which differed from the provisions of Ordinance 197.  Cm. Perkins stated that a public vote was not be required if it was consistent with Ordinance 197.  Cm. O’Loane questioned if the requirements of Section 3(g) and (h) exist in the ZO update.  Mr. Saxe responded that they do not.  Cm. O’Loane asked if all of the provisions of Ordinance 197 were woven into the General Plan.  Mr. Saxe stated that General Plan 2030 adopts the basic components of Ordinance 197 by reference.  The variance procedure to prevent a taking in the ZO is stricter than the variance procedure for takings in Ordinance 197.  The creek setback variance language in the new ZO is not identical to Ordinance 197 but the concept is the same to have a procedure in the case of a creek setback to avoid a taking by making these findings.  The findings are tighter and the scope of the variance is more narrow. 

Cm. O’Loane referenced the letter from the East Bay Regional Parks District regarding incorporating the spirit of Ordinance 197 into the new ZO.  Planning/Community Development Director Wong stated that his response included: clarification that funding mechanisms are not part of the ZO and that open space would be preserved; information on the viewshed, and the definition of built urban land included in Figure 8-3. 

Mayor Clarkson stated that it appears that the spirit of Ordinance 197 is laid out in the General Plan.  He noted that Ordinance 197 had certain ground rules for administrative and ministerial decisions.  He asked for clarification on administrative and legislative reviews in the ZO.  Ms. Yee stated that the implementation policies in Ordinance 197 A-H are in the text of the ZO.  Regarding the review procedures, the reviewing authorities remained the same except for the implementation on takings related to creek side for which the Council would make findings.  The proposed ZO reflects the height limits of Ordinance 197 plus an additional increase of 15% in certain situations.  Consideration of this request would be done by the Planning Commission.  Mayor Clarkson asked for the process for owners of property next to but outside the City limits to discuss property development.  Mr. Saxe responded that, under the Subdivision Map Act, the owners can apply for a tentative subdivision map.  The City can give approval to the subdivision but the approval is not effective until the property is annexed.   The City can also prezone a property but the prezone is not effective until the property is annexed.  These are State laws.  This process is usually done for major projects.  The process is the same as for any other subdivision application.  Mr. Wong noted that property outside of the City limits must comply with City standards.    Mr. Saxe stated that the Subdivision Map Act accommodates the property owner and the City to process the subdivision prior to annexation.  Mayor Clarkson noted that property contiguous to the City but outside the UGB is off limits.  Cm. Hudson stated that property owners outside the UGB who apply for a subdivision, without a vote of the people, would result in the loss of Measure J return to source funds.  He added that Ordinance 197 copied Ordinance 129 which is still in effect.  He recounted that the first test of Ordinance 197 came to the Council in the 1990’s for plans to build a barn on a 60 degree slope.  Mr. Wong stated that it was a 10,000 square foot barn on Bollinger Hills.  The Council determined that the barn was not habitable and allowed it to be built.  Cm. Hudson asked who would review the issue if it were presented now.  Ms. Yee stated that it would be reviewed by the ZA.  Mr. Saxe noted that the primary issue in that case was whether the barn qualified as a structure as an interpretation not the implementation of Ordinance 197.  Cm. Hudson noted that the land had been graded previously and so the building was no longer a natural slope.  Mayor Clarkson asked if a ZA decision is appealable to the City Council.  Ms. Yee stated that it is and the information would be provided in the minutes of the public hearing.

Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearings.

Jim Blickenstaff, resident, stated that the ZO needs to be reviewed by the Open Space Task Force (OSTF) for comments.  This input in needed for verification of the effects on open space protection.  Including “takings” in the language of a charter city’s ordinance reinforces the possibilities of infringing on the creeks.  He stated that the references to “takings” should be removed.  The review authority should be legislative not ministerial.  The Council needs to be specific about the kinds of review authority.  The Council should be clear on the notification process when there is action being taken that infringes on the general concepts of protections in Ordinance 197.  He emphasized the need for transparency.  The voters want strong protection of hillsides and creeks. 

Jim Gibbon, resident, stated that the Council has to decide if it wants change or what is in the General Plan.  The basic change is eliminating the RCOD of the General Plan and Zoning and putting parts of it into the Resource Management Division which manages development.  The RCOD restricts development and requires public disclosure and review to the Council level.  The RCOD requires a resource conservation plan which is not required by the Resource Management Plan (RMP).  The RCOD review process included a Commission review.  The RMP review authority is the ZA who provides an administrative review.  He noted that Walmart was not appealable because the ZA determined that it did not violate the zoning for that property.  He stated that the UGB did not exist when Ordinance 197 was adopted and the RCOD was incorporated in the General Plan.  The UGB was approved by the voters and supersedes anything allowed by the RMP.  He asked how the City will have any oversight if the ZA is the determining factor.  He asked the Council not to allow the Planning Department to negotiate with any developer outside the UGB. 

Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearings.

Cm. Hudson stated that he supports Resolution No. 2012-090.  San Ramon cannot negotiate outside the City limits for a development plan without risking the loss of Measure J funds.  He stated that there was no zoning change when Walmart went into the grocery store site.  Synchronizing the ZO with the General Plan makes the General Plan a comprehensive plan which is important in order to get return to source funds.  Regional entities are being pressured to have a Sustainable Community Strategy by 2013.  If the ZA holds a noticed public hearing and does something wrong, an appeal is available. 

Cm. Perkins stated his appreciation for Cm. O’Loane’s questions.  He noted that he met with staff to review Ordinance 197 against the proposed ZO.  He supports Resolution 2012-090 and the ZO.

Cm. O’Loane asked if it is typical for “takings” to be defined in a charter city’s ZO.  Mr. Saxe stated that there is not a problem with this procedure.  He added that it was better to have rules in the ZO.  If an issue goes to court, the court can determine if the City followed its rules.  Five findings are needed to constitute a taking.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the reference to the reviewing authority over ridgelines is essentially the same between Ordinance 197 and the ZO.  Mr. Saxe stated that Ordinance 197 laid down the rules but was not a process ordinance.  The ZA has always handled minor changes and plan modifications.  There is no change in the reviewing authority responsibilities by the Planning Commission or the ZA for projects under the new ZO or Ordinance 197.  Cm. O’Loane asked if the lot which has a creek side setback variance also has the approval of Fish and Game.  Ms. Yee responded that is correct and that the parcel is part of a larger subdivision and the lot is approved for one residential home. 

Cm. Hudson noted that the Council is aware of all developable sites in the Housing Element are in General Plan 2020 and General Plan 2030.  Cm. O’Loane said that it appears (in Table 6-1) that the only review authority change is for reasonable accommodation for the American with Disabilities Act.  He asked if that was accurate.  Mr. Saxe stated that it is and that the difference between Ordinance 197 and the ZO is on the variance for takings and creek set-backs.  Under Ordinance 197 it was the City Council.  Under the new ZO, it is the reviewing authority who acts on the project.  The normal appeal process depends on the project.  Cm. O’Loane stated he is interested in the UGB to make sure that the protections are in place. 

Mayor Clarkson thanked the citizens who participated.  He noted his appreciation for the staff’s work and noted that the citizens want to preserve open space and save San Ramon’s essence.  He noted the importance of transparency for the Council and citizens regarding future projects.  Mr. Saxe stated that the reviewing authority is specifically defined in the new ZO.  Mayor Clarkson added that creeks should be preserved and left accessible for citizens.  He wants to ensure that important safeguards are in place.  The process would not have been as thorough without the public process.

Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2012-090 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to adopt Ordinance No. 433 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.

Cm. Hudson stated that many cities did creek culverts in the early years.  San Ramon tried to keep them natural but the problem is maintenance.  He stated that it is the Council’s responsibility to hold onto creek and hillside preservation.

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(#10.1) Public Hearing:  Introduction of Ordinance (next in line) – Amending Title A, General and Administration, Division A5, Boards and Commissions, Chapter II Planning Commission and Chapter IV Parks and Community Services Commission Membership Requirements.

The staff report was presented by City Clerk Patricia Edwards.  The amendments are clarification of the Municipal Code for member qualifications for the Planning Commission and for the Parks and Community Services Commission.  The revisions create consistency in residency requirements for both Commissions by stating that “all members shall be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the City.”  Comparable changes were made to the associated Commissions’ Bylaws. 

Cm. Hudson’s motion to introduce the Ordinance, waive the reading, and read by title only was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 5-0.

There were no questions from the Council.  Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing.  There were no requests to address this item.  Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing. 

Cm. Perkins’ motion to set the Ordinance for adoption at the October 9, 2012 Council meeting was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.

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City Manager Greg Rogers stated that Chief Holder has information relating to item 8.6.  Chief Holder reported that the Vehicle Replacement Fund balance is $720,000 at the end of the year.  Cm. O’Loane asked what happens to the insurance monies for the damaged car.  Chief Holder replied that the money is returned to the Vehicle Replacement Fund.

Mr. Saxe introduced Neal Gupta, Teen Council representative, who was in the audience.

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Cm. Hudson informed residents that the Police Department will hold a Prescription Drug Take Back event on September 29, 2012.  This is an excellent opportunity to get rid of outdated prescriptions.  He announced that County Connection will purchase ten new buses.  He stated that Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, strongly supports no texting while driving.  He announced that there is a new bill which would increase funding for transit (bicycle, pedestrian, and other activities) to improve air quality and relieve congestion.  He noted that the Association of Bay Area Governments may proceed with the purchase of 590 Main Street in San Francisco.

Mayor Clarkson encouraged citizens to attend the Town Hall meeting on October 1, 2012 at Dougherty Station Community Center.  He reminded resident that the monthly no host Mayor’s Breakfast will be held on September 28, 2012 at Clementine’s Restaurant.

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At 9:05 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Clarkson adjourned the meeting.

Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved as presented at the October 23, 2012 City Council meeting 4-0-1-0; O'Loane absent.

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