MINUTES OF THE
CITY OF SAN RAMON COUNCIL MEETING
April 23, 2013
A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held April 23, 2013 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, Division Manager Esther Lucas, Senior Planner Lauren Barr, Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain, Special Projects Manager Pat Perry, Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Arianna Belloso, Ava Kontaxis, Malavika Raghuram, and Devanshi Sharma, members of Brownie Troop 30286 from Bollinger Elementary School, led those present in the pledge of allegiance.
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The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda. There were no changes or corrections to the meetings listed on the agenda.
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(#4.1) Proclamation Recognizing April 21-27, 2013 as “National Volunteer Week”. Introduction by Bill Meine, Member of the Parks and Community Services Commission. Presentation by Mayor Clarkson received by Lois Holeman; Yaeko Kennelly; and Bob Fracolli, on behalf of the City Lights Volunteers.
Bill Meine, Member of the Parks and Community Services Commission, introduced Lois Holeman, Yaeko Kennelly, and Bob Fracolli. These residents were recognized for their volunteer service to the City. Mayor Clarkson presented the proclamation to the volunteers who accepted on behalf of the City Lights Volunteer Program. Ms. Holeman stated that volunteers get a lot out of volunteering and the social interaction. As a volunteer at the Senior center, it is a real pleasure to see people enjoying the Center. Mr. Fracolli stated that San Ramon is a wonderful place to live and he is fortunate to be able to give back to the community. Cm. Perkins stated that the City appreciates the work and thousands of hours donated by volunteers. This makes a huge impact on budget savings and programs. Mayor Clarkson noted that San Ramon works well as a community and important social relationships are created in volunteer opportunities. He thanked the volunteers for their contributions to the City.
(#4.2) Proclamation Recognizing San Ramon Library Volunteers. Presentation by Mayor Clarkson to Jo Mahaney, President of the San Ramon Library Foundation Board.
Jo Mahaney, President of the San Ramon Library Foundation Board, stated that she was honored to accept the proclamation on behalf of the Library volunteers. Mayor Clarkson presented the proclamation to Ms. Mahaney. Nancy Kreiser, Acting Senior Community Library Manager, thanked all the volunteers who helped in the library. San Ramon is fortunate to have many volunteers and she welcomed new library volunteers to join them. The 266 San Ramon library volunteers donated 7,600 hours of service.
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CITY COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS
(#6.1) Teen Council Appointments
Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report. Seventy-seven (77) applications were submitted for the Teen Council by the deadline of March 1, 2013. A sub-committee of the Parks and Community Services Commission interviewed all of the candidates and prioritized the candidates for appointment, alternate, wait list, or denied status. The Commission approved the recommendations and forwarded the recommendations to the City Council for appointment.
Cm. Perkins’ motion to appoint the proposed slate of members, alternates, and wait list for the Teen Council with terms expiring in July 2014 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0.
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APPROVAL OF MINUTES
(#7.1) Minutes of the April 9, 2013 regular meeting.
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to approve the April 9, 2013 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-0-1. Cm. Perkins abstained.
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(#8.1) Register of Demands as Presented by the City Treasurer (Period ending March 31, 2013).
(#8.2) City of San Ramon Quarterly Investment Report (Period Ending March 31, 2013).
(#8.3) Resolution No. 2013-030 – Accepting Certain Roadway Dedications and Improvements in Subdivision 8306 for Maintenance (Shapell Industries, Inc.).
(#8.4) Resolution No. 2013-031 – Accepting Certain Landscape Dedications and Landscape Improvements for Maintenance in Subdivision 9023 (Windemere BLC Land Development Co., LLC).
(#8.5) Resolution No. 2013-032 – Adopting Findings to Appropriate Funds in the City’s Beautification, Child Care, Conditions of Approval Mitigation, Creek Mitigation, Drainage Mitigation, Park Development, and Traffic Improvement Funds for the Period Ending June 30, 2012.
(#8.6) Resolution No. 2013-033 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with MCK Services Inc. for the Construction of the 2013 Pavement Management Project (CIP 5509), in an Amount Not to Exceed $579,384; and Authorizing the Appropriation of $25,000 from the Gas Tax/Measure J Funds for the 2013 Pavement Management Project (CIP 5509).
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.6 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.
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(#9.1) Public Hearing #3: General Plan Amendment-ACRE Townhome Development (GPA 12-400-001) for the Properties Located at 125 and 130 Ryan Industrial Court (APN: 208-280-017 and 208-280-018).
Senior Planner Lauren Barr provided the report and an overview of the project, location, site context, project design, and General Plan Amendment request. At the March 12, 2013 public hearing, comments were received from the applicant. The Council discussed the site conditions (small lot size and slope), density, connectivity, and amenities. Mr. Barr noted that the General Plan currently provides residential uses on the site as part of the Mixed-Use designation. Given the site conditions, the viability of non-residential as part of a mixed-use project is questionable. There are challenges associated with the development of the site regardless of whether the site were to be developed as a mixed-use concept or purely residential.
Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing.
Tom Schulz, representing the property owner ACRE investment, reviewed the Project’s advantages and disadvantages. He stated that the Project has no economic impact on the budget because it will cover its costs and generate $1.2 million in fees. The Project will have its own HOA to maintain the onsite infra-structure. The storm drain system on Ryan Industrial Court will be improved and the street will be repaved. The Project has generated minimal public opposition. He acknowledged that the Project has minimal connectivity with other neighborhoods and a 10% site gradient. Mr. Schultz stated that he was unable to obtain an easement from neighboring communities. He noted that the Project’s density is less than that of adjoining neighborhoods. The Project is too small to have large scale amenities. By providing workforce housing for Bishop Ranch, these employees will not have to commute and will spend their money in San Ramon. The Project revitalizes a very outdated and underutilized area. This site is identified in the General Plan as a housing opportunity site. There have been many concepts and plans in the past twenty-five years for this area but none have come to fruition. He stated that all of the issues associated with the Project have been vetted. He noted that the Planning Commission voted 5-0 in support of the Project. If the Council does not approve this Project, he will look at a residential/mixed-use development for the area.
Jim Gibbon, resident, reported that none of his recommendations for the Project were accepted by the Planning Commission. He stated that this is a substandard residential project in an industrial area with no amenities. There is no open space and no access to open space. He noted the constrictions in the street widths and parking. The site is better used as a mixed-use site project with real affordable housing. Eliminating four units might provide some area for open space.
Jim Blickenstaff, resident, believes that the 2 and 3 story frontage create aesthetic blight. These residents will not be connected to a residential community because they are connected to an industrial area. He expressed concern about one access to the Project through an industrial area and one egress out and that the Project’s density will create safety issues. One of the weaknesses of the Crow Canyon Specific Plan is that it did not dedicate parks. He is concerned that this Project may set a density standard at the expense of recreation and parking and start a bad precedent for the City. He suggested decreasing the number of housing units to make the Project more livable.
Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing.
Cm. Perkins asked if this area is considered an industrial or a commercial area. Mr. Barr responded that the area is designated as Mixed-Use. The current use is commercial office. Cm. Perkins confirmed that the number of parking spaces was increased from 12 to 20. Mr. Barr noted that anyone can use these spaces but the time duration is limited so that the space will turn over. The residents are required to make space in their garage for their cars per the CC&R’s. In response to the question about a 32 feet height limit and aesthetic blight, Mr. Barr stated that there is an Architecture Review process and that the Project’s design creates aesthetics which have less impact than a traditional Mixed-Use project. Cm. Perkins asked if there was an access problem. Mr. Barr stated that there is no access or road grade problem. Fire Department requirements for access standards have been met and the planning process vetted the turning radius issues. Cm. Perkins noted that, based on the General Plan proposed Amendment and Zoning Ordinance, the maximum allowed density is 66 to 90 units and the proposed Project is at the bottom of the density. This Project looks like a traditional infill project to reuse underutilized area.
Vice Mayor Hudson stated that 16 units per acre is the break-even point for transit working. The Project is 600 yards from a transit stop. He added that there were six key sites in the Crow Canyon Redevelopment area. The original site was 30 acres and included Home Depot, Staples, and Silicon Valley Investment built the housing. The Planning Commission acknowledged the constraints of the property and believed that the proposed General Plan Amendment and Rezone had merit because of the changes in circumstances over the years. Redevelopment funds are not available and there are no subsidies for housing. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that he would need a good reason to deny a project that is coming in as zoned. This area is not suitable for single family homes and he supports the Project.
Cm. Livingstone concurred with Vice Mayor Hudson. Although this may not be a great Project, it is the best that can be done with the site. If the Fire Department does not have a problem with the Project, he stated that he does not see a better use for the property and supports the Project.
Cm. O’Loane stated that it is not a very good project. He stated that there seems to be little aspiration for what this site could be. No one really likes the proposed Project but seems to be ‘settling’ for it. He stated that he tried to imagine living there, raising a family, and working in Bishop Ranch. He believes that the Projects needs a ‘bit more’ and a ‘bit less’. Less housing units may make it a more livable infill project. He does not believe that this Project is a catalyst. He believes that the City can do better.
Mayor Clarkson thanked Mr. Schulz and Mr. Barr for their presentations. The lack of opposition or surplus of opposition to a project should not drive the Council to make a good or bad decision. There is an accumulation of concerns about the Project including the 10% slope, where children will play, the Project’s isolation, lack of playing space. He is concerned that residents will have to travel through a commercial area to get to their homes. This is not a residential area and it lacks open space. The City should not focus on building housing but on building great neighborhoods. He likes the Mixed-Use idea and work/live units. It is important to create great neighborhoods first, then housing.
Cm. Perkins asked Cm. O’Loane what it would take, based on the current residential, to support a project. Cm. O’Loane suggested 10% to 15% less housing units, a recreation area, live/work space which would fit into Mixed-Use. Cm. Perkins asked how much “mixed-use” constitutes Mixed-Use. Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain stated that the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance do not identify a percentage of residential and nonresidential for Mixed-Use. The applicant determines the percentages of mixed-use and presents them to the Planning Commission for consideration. Mixed-Use configurations must meet a .70 FAR (floor area ratio). Vice Mayor Hudson requested clarification regarding the comment that the Project is isolated from other neighborhoods. Silicon Valley Investments built housing behind Home Depot which is not more than 50 feet from the proposed Project. He stated that Ryan Industrial Court was a ‘left over’ from the original planned development and the proposed Project completes the project. He asked if there is a connection to this housing. He noted that the housing behind Home Depot does not have amenities. Mr. Schulz stated that the Stone Pine Association is open but the BRE property is fenced off. There is a concrete v-ditch on the edge of the property. Liability is their major concern. Mr. Schulz stated that retail does not make sense unless it is close to a public right-of-way.
Mayor Clarkson stated that he is not convinced that this is the best project that can be done and that some smart people could get together and make this a better project, a great neighborhood, and economically viable. If this Project is not approved, Cm. Perkins stated that he does not believe the City will see a fundamental shift in the appearance of a new project. The new project might have essentially the same configuration with work/space or live/space units and will be presented to the Planning Commission. The Council will not see the project unless there is an associated zoning change. Mayor Clarkson stated that he may not have a lot of control over how the next project goes to the Planning Commission. He does not want to accept a project that is not a good neighborhood. He does not want to make a decision based on fear. He wants to put a marker down. It is important to communicate to the Planning Commission that the City should not just build housing but should build great neighborhoods that work for families. The City has an obligation to build great neighborhoods and a place for families.
Cm. Perkin make a motion to continue the Public Hearing for additional public comment to May 14, 2013 and to accept the General Plan Amendment as presented. Mr. Barr requested a straw vote to identify the Council’s intent so that staff could prepare a resolution for the next meeting. Vice Mayor Hudson seconded Cm. Perkins’ motion. He said that the Council may have an idea of what should be in a neighborhood but people want different things. This is a mixed-use housing component of the initial planned development. The City can look for the ‘community’ part of it by imagining what the entire project will look like. The area is not a winner now. Cm. Livingstone stated that there may be people without kids who want to live there. He believes that something needs to happen. The area does not work for retail and the commercial area is experiencing a 30% vacancy rate. After looking at alternatives, he stated that this Project makes sense. Mayor Clarkson said that one of the things that begins to define a City is when it starts to say no. It is not a good project right now and he wants to find a way to make the project better. The City has an obligation to build for children because there will be children in the Project. This is not a family friendly project and this is not the best project for this site. Cm. Perkins stated that the housing at the City Center will not be family friendly. Not all projects will meet all demographics but this Project meets a particular demographic. Mayor Clarkson requested a straw vote. The vote was 3-2 with Mayor Clarkson and Cm. O’Loane dissenting. Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that a 3-2 vote does not amend the General Plan. He suggested that staff return with a resolution for the Council to adopt. If the vote remains 3-2, nothing is done.
(#9.2) Public Hearing: Consideration of Ordinance (next in line) – Approving Rezone RZ 12-600-001 Amending the City Zoning Map to Rezone Property Located at 125 and 130 Ryan Industrial Court (APN: 208-280-017 and 208-280-018) from Mixed Use (MU) to Medium-High-Density Residential (RHM).
Senior Planner Lauren Barr stated that the Rezone must be consistent with the General Plan. He recommended that this item be continued to the May 14, 2013 Council meeting. The Council concurred.
(#9.3) Public Hearing: Resolution No. 2013-034 – Establishing Fees and Charges for Various Municipal Services for Fiscal Year 2013-14 and Repealing Resolution No. 2012-049.
Special Projects Manager Pat Perry provided the report. On March 11, 2013, the Finance Committee reviewed the proposed fees and charges and directed staff to forward the document to the City Council. The City Council approved a motion on March 26, 2013 to schedule a Public Hearing on April 23, 2013 to consider approving the Fee Schedule. Ms. Perry stated that notices and a copy of the draft Fee Resolution were sent in response to those who submitted written requests. No public inquiries were received regarding the fee schedule. Ms. Perry stated that two changes are being recommended. Staff is recommending that a provision be added to the Marriage Ceremony Fee which states that “This fee is payable at the time of the reservation; and is non-refundable if not canceled within three (3) business days of the event.” An addition is recommended to the Business License Fees in order to comply with AB 1186 which was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 19, 2012. This law requires an additional $1.00 fee for a local business license or similar instrument or permit and renewals which is to be submitted to the state. If approved, the fees will be effective as of July 1, 2013.
Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing. There were no requests to address this item. Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing.
Cm. Perkin’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2013-034 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0. Cm. Livingstone thanked Ms. Perry for compiling an exceptionally clear and annotated Fee Resolution. Cm. O’Loane concurred.
(#9.4) Discussion of Even Year Election Procedures.
City Clerk Patricia Edwards presented the staff report and reviewed the five options relating to even year elections and the impact on the terms of the Mayor and Councilmembers, which elections would be held, and the resulting election costs.
Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.
Jim Blickenstaff, representing the Mt. Diablo Sierra Club, stated that the issue of even year elections should be presented to the voters. He expressed concern that there could be a potential conflict of interest and that extending terms could create political or monetary gain. It is important in the democratic process for voters to decide the issue.
Jim Gibbon, representing San Ramon for Open Government (SROG), stated that he believes in open government and transparency. Eliminating the November election would eliminate the opportunity for people to run for the open Council seats. Cm. Perkins asked about SROG membership. Mr. Gibbon stated that anyone can join SROG by sending him an email. There are no meetings. SROG acts as an information source and provides the Planning Commission and Council agendas with comments on issues.
Thomas von Thury, resident, stated that he believes in elections and wants the November 2013 election to be held. Cancelling the election and extending terms will rub people the wrong way regardless of whether the Council has the authority. He supports Option 3.
Andrew Weiss, resident, stated that the residents elected Councilmembers to specific terms in office. Elected officials have an obligation to act on the will of San Ramon. The Council was not elected with the intent that they could arbitrarily extend their terms. He reminded the Council that we live in a democracy.
Lowell Lamb, resident, noted that the only justification offered for changing to even year elections was to save money. He said that there is no way to make this calculation. No legitimate justification has been offered to extend terms without an election. He urged the Council to reject any Options which arbitrarily extend the terms of anyone who has been elected previously without a vote of the citizens. Cm. O’Loane stated that there is an option for a ballot initiative that would move elections to even years and extend terms of those who are not running. Mr. Lamb said that this would satisfy the spirit of the law.
Tom Lacher, resident, stated that it was wrong for the Concord City Council to extend their terms without a vote of the citizens. It is best for citizens to vote on changing the election cycle and possibly extend some terms.
Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.
Cm. Perkins asked if there was a conflict of interest for Councils who changed their election cycles and extended their terms. Interim City Attorney Saxe stated that there is no legal conflict of interest and the California Election Code specifically authorizes the City Council to change the election date and change the terms. Cm. Perkins stated that it is most appropriate to present the issue to the voters. He supports Option 2 and Option 3.
Cm. O’Loane stated that he supports Option 2. Although it is within the power of the Council to change to even years, he preferred that the voters weigh in. This is the most prudent financial course for the Council to take and allow the residents to vote.
Vice Mayor Hudson clarified that the even year elections would be held in November. An important issue when changing to even year elections is whether to shorten or lengthen Council terms. He noted that there is no requirement for residents to vote on this issue but people want to vote on the issue. He stated that what does require a public vote is the Charter amendment changing the mayor’s term to nine years. At the public budget meeting, the question was asked if the City could change to even year elections and save money. He referenced Elections Code 1301 and the necessary procedures. He believes that an election in 2014 is required. He would not vote yes to extend terms.
Cm. Perkins stated that changing from odd to even year elections would save about $210,000. It costs $90,000 per day to run the City. He asked if extending the terms would or would not eliminate the 2014 election. Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that a measure in November extending the terms by one year would result in two council appointments through 2018, mayoral candidates running in 2016, and two Council seats open in 2016. An election in 2014 would not be required. Vice Mayor Hudson summarized Election Code 1301 and stated that after the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved the change to even year elections, an election would be required in 2014. Cm. O’Loane suggested that the Council follow the City Attorney’s counsel. Cm. Perkins requested that the City Attorney craft a ballot measure to extend the mayoral and all Councilmember’s by one year. Mr. Saxe stated that he will obtain clarification of the impact of Election Code 1301. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that an election in 2014 will cost less than an election in 2013. He wants residents to understand what they are voting for. Cm. O’Loane noted that residents will understand the measure if it is well written. He referenced the recent election by the City of Livermore. He requested that Mr. Saxe research the issue. Cm. O’Loane has consistently stated that the residents should weigh in on this issue. He supports Option 2. Cm. Perkins stated that there are two cost savings: one is the result of changing from odd to even year elections; and the second is a one time savings realized by extending terms and eliminating the 2015 election. Vice Mayor Hudson responded that the only way to save money is to eliminate the 2013 election. He added that it appears the majority of Councilmembers support a 2013 election although this will not accomplish the requested budget savings. He stated that the ballot measure should be about the mayor. Cm. Perkins said that there is a savings in 2015 because an election would not be held. Mr. Saxe stated that if the terms are extended, there would not be an election in 2015 but there would be one in 2016.
Mayor Clarkson said that the City needs to have a 2013 election. The people should be asked to decide on even year elections. Voters should decide if terms are lengthened or shortened. Extending terms will save money but shortening terms will cost money. Cm. Livingstone noted that the Council does not have consensus. He said that saving $250,000 is significant. The Council was elected by the people to make tough decisions and saving $250,000 is significant. He does not believe that the people understand the complexity of the odd/even year election issue. He stated that the Council knows the City’s financial situation and the residents should be concerned with the $250,000 which could be used to pay for another police officer. He supports Option 1. He does not care if his term is extended. He stated that changing to even year elections is the right thing to do for an elected official to make the proper decision for the City. Cm. O’Loane requested that Mr. Saxe research the election issue. Mr. Saxe stated that he would check with the County and craft a ballot measure based on the Council’s motion.
Cm. Livingstone’s motion to adopt Option 1 was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson. Cm. Perkins requested a roll call vote. The motion failed 2 (Hudson, Livingstone) to 3 (O’Loane, Perkins, Clarkson).
Cm. O’Loane’s motion to adopt Option 2 was seconded by Cm. Perkins with an amendment that it include a Charter Amendment that allows the mayor to serve four terms with a maximum of nine years. Cm. Perkins requested a roll call vote. The motion passed 3 (O’Loane, Perkins, Clarkson) to 2 (Hudson, Livingstone). Cm. Perkins asked Mr. Saxe to bring a proposed ballot measure for the Council to evaluate. Mr. Saxe stated that he would provide the final version for the Council’s vote.
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Mayor Clarkson requested a recess at 9:31 p.m. The Council reconvened at 9:39 p.m. with all members in attendance.
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(#10.1) Public Hearing: Introduction of Ordinance (next in line) – Adopting Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment TA 13-410-001 Addressing: 1) Raising of Chickens; 2) Beekeeping; 3) Providing Educational Services with a Home Occupation Permit; and 4) Conducting Cottage Food Operations, Pursuant to Assembly Bill 1616, within Title D, Zoning Ordinance of the Municipal Code of the City of San Ramon.
Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto presented the staff report. The Amendment was prepared in response to: resident’s inquiries about raising chickens and beekeeping; direction from the Policy Committee to address education services with a home Occupation permit; and State Law AB 1616 regarding Cottage Food Industry operations. He reviewed the Planning Commission discussions regarding raising chickens, beekeeping, home based educational services, and cottage food operations. Cm. Livingstone requested that the Council discuss beekeeping. Cm. O’Loane expressed support for beekeeping, home based educational services, and the cottage based industries. Interim City Attorney Saxe clarified that these items are included in a single Zoning Ordinance amendment. The Public Hearing includes an adoption of this Amendment. The Planning Commission segregated the Amendment into these topics.
Cm. Perkins’ motion to introduce the Ordinance, waive the reading and read by title only, and conduct the public hearing was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson and passed 5-0.
Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing.
Sharon Sprague, resident, stated that she does not support beekeeping in backyards. She has experienced many problems with bees at her home.
Douglas Graver, resident, thanked the Council for including chickens in the Ordinance. Honey bees are low impact and suggested limiting hives to two per backyard.
Elisa Dowd, resident, encouraged the Council to adopt the Ordinance regarding chickens.
Paul Sprague, resident, stated that removing the entire text regarding beekeeping also removes the Zoning Administrator’s authority and allows uncontrolled beekeeping. Bee hives are inappropriate and create a problem in residential areas. He suggested that bees be classified as farm animals so that they can be regulated.
Joseph and Terese Montemarano, residents, left before making public comment. Their speaker card noted that they are concerned about safety for their family. They have experienced swarms and hives which needed to be removed in the neighborhood.
Laura Hamel, resident, left before making public comment. Her speaker card stated that she does not want beekeeping permits issued.
Terry Osborn, resident, requested that bee hives should not be allowed in residential neighborhoods because they are dangerous.
Sandra Osborn, resident, explained the danger of bees experienced by her neighbor. She disapproves of hives in the neighborhood. The problem will be worse in the summer. She concurs with the Planning Commission’s position against bees.
Peter Schumacher, resident, addressed several bee issues. The problems which his neighbors have experienced are not always a result of his bees and not all the swarms come from his house. He noted that bees generally do not attack people during swarming. He acknowledged that he did have too many hives last year. He supports regulations regarding flight path barriers and providing water sources. He stated that many Bay Area communities allow beekeeping. Vice Mayor Hudson discussed the number of hives and bee swarming. Cm. Livingstone asked Mr. Schumacher if his hives negatively impact the neighbors. Mr. Schumacher stated that it appeared so from their testimony. There was a lot of negative impact when he had too many hives. Mayor Clarkson asked him what size his lot is. Mr. Schumacher replied 7,000 square feet.
Pamela Stefani, resident, stated that she does not want beekeeping in residential areas. She is concerned with the impact of bees on property values.
Lisa Hemphill, resident, stated that there was a problem last year with bee swarms in her neighborhood. She requested that bees not be allowed in residential areas.
Rio Iwanaga, resident, stated that bees are vital to the world. He has not experienced a bee problem at his home which abuts Mr. Schumacher’s. He requested that the Council review the beekeeping ordinances of other cities and create a compromise rather than eliminating beekeeping in San Ramon.
Paul and Ranju Chahal, residents, left before making public comment. Their speaker card noted they are concerned about their family’s safety. The bees have curtailed some family activities. Mrs. Chahal and the family dog have been stung by bees.
Jack Worthington, resident, stated he has not been bothered by the bee hives. He asked the Council to exercise reasonable constraints to achieve a balance.
Tom Lacher, resident, stated his support for residential beekeeping. He asked the Council to authorize beekeeping or direct the Planning Commission to reconsider the issue. The Mt. Diablo Bee Association is the largest residential beekeeping organization in California. He noted that many cities in dense urban areas allow residential beekeeping. He asked the Council to remove the designation of honey bees as livestock and allow residential beekeeping.
Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing.
Vice Mayor Hudson stated that no one is banning bees in San Ramon. The discussion involves bee hives in residential areas. He believes that the Planning Commission made the right decision. He suggested that staff get information from other cities and present their findings to the Policy Committee. He acknowledge that a problem exists.
Cm. Perkins discussed set-backs for small domestic animals. Mr. Tsukamoto clarified that it does not include dog houses. Cm. Perkins clarified that the Minor Use Permit references home based educational services. Mr. Tsukamoto stated that “anything which can be learned” is included. Cm. Perkins stated that bee stings are not comparable to dog bites and lightning strikes.
Cm. Livingstone expressed concern allowing chickens on a 6,000 square foot lot and recommended that the lot size be 10,000 square feet. He said that the set-backs do not make sense. Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain clarified that the set-backs for each Zoning District are defined in the Code. As the lots size increase, the chicken coops would be located farther away from the property line. Cm. O’Loane asked if a chicken coop was a permissible structure. Ms. Chamberlain stated that it is classified as an accessory structure and set-backs would apply. Cm. O’Loane noted the information received from Mr. Schumacher and suggested that the Policy Committee look at the rules in place in other communities. Ms. Chamberlain stated that the Planning Commission did not support beekeeping and the related materials were included in the staff report.
Mayor Clarkson acknowledged that bees are needed but that Mr. Schumacher had too many hives which created a community problem. He would support a discussion on how to construct a policy that encourages responsible and healthy care of bees and is also mindful of their impact. Ms. Chamberlain stated that the proposed Ordinance allows bee hives in lots larger than one acre.
Cm. Livingstone expressed concern with the problem of aggregate bee hives in a neighborhood. He supports more staff research on bees. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that the health and safety of people come first. He requested that staff research the issue and provide a report to the Policy Committee. Interim City Attorney Saxe stated that the proposed Ordinance does not include the provision on bees. Cm. Livingstone requested that the lot size requirement for raising chickens be increased from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet. Cm. O’Loane suggested that the Council have more discussion regarding raising chickens. Vice Mayor Hudson suggested that the issues regarding the number of chickens, lot size, and beekeeping be reviewed by the Policy Committee. Mr. Saxe stated that the Zoning Administrator’s interpretation is that bees are not allowed. He pointed out that the Planning Commission spent ten hours on this issue.
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to adopt the proposed Ordinance was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0.
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CITY MANAGER COMMENTS
(#11.1) Consideration of Cancelling the August 27, 2013 Council Meeting.
City Manager Greg Rogers requested that the Council consider cancelling an August Council meeting. He recommended the meeting of August 27, 2013 in case Council action is needed earlier in the month relative to election issues. The consensus of the Council was to cancel the August 27, 2013 meeting.
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Kevin L’Hommedieu, resident, requested that the Council temporarily re-open the Recycling Center. The Center was closed to accommodate an affordable housing project which never materialized. The City appropriated $160,000 for a curbside recycling program. To address the cost of staffing, he requested that the Council evaluate the success of the hazardous material curbside recycling program. He stated that it is more appropriate to reopen the Center and accept hazardous waste. Cm. Perkins stated that the regulations governing the receipt and handling of hazardous waste are extraordinary.
Douglas Graver, resident, thanked the City for the opportunity to clean South San Ramon Creek. He appreciated the support for this 4-H project and stated that fifteen bags of garbage were collected and removed.
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CITY COUNCILMEMBERS’ AND MAYOR’S COMMENTS
Vice Mayor Hudson stated that he does not believe that the curbside recycling program costs $160,000. He added that the cost is $1.68 per billing period for curbside recycling and the program is worth doing. It was unfortunate that the affordable housing projects anticipated for the Recycling Center site did not go forward.
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(#14.1) Pursuant to Government Code § 54957.6 to meet with the City Council’s Labor Negotiators: Karen McNamara, Eva Phelps, Toni Renault, and Bob Saxe concerning Negotiations with the San Ramon Police Officers Association.
At 11:20 p.m., the Council convened to Closed Session: (1) Pursuant to Government Code § 54957.6 to meet with the City Council’s Labor Negotiators: Karen McNamara, Eva Phelps, Toni Renault, and Bob Saxe concerning Negotiations with the San Ramon Police Officers Association. All Councilmembers were in attendance.
At 11:51 p.m., Mayor Clarkson reconvened the meeting. All Councilmembers were present. Mayor Clarkson reported that the Council took no action.
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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 May 28, 2013 City Council meeting 5-0.