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October 8, 2013

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held October 8, 2013 at 7:01 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, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

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The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda.  There was one correction to the meeting information listed on the agenda.  The Transportation Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for October 17, 2013 has been cancelled.

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(#4.1) Resolution No. 2013-093 – Accepting Certain Roadway Dedications and Improvements in Subdivision 8619 for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Co., LLC).

(#4.2) Resolution No. 2013-094 – Approving the Tri-Valley Transportation Council Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement and Authorizing the San Ramon Representative to Endorse Said Amendments at the Tri-Valley Transportation Council Public Hearing Scheduled for October 17, 2013.

(#4.3) Resolution No. 2013-095 – Authorizing the City Manager to Sign Cooperative Agreement No. 17SR.14 Between the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the City of San Ramon to Receive a Total Cost of $417,196 in Transportation Funds for Clean Air, Measure J Commute Alternative and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Funds for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 to Implement the City of San Ramon and Southwest Area Transportation (SWAT) Transportation Demand Management Programs.

(#4.4) Resolution No. 2013-096 – Authorizing Execution of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of San Ramon and the San Ramon Police Officer’s Association.

Cm. Livingstone’s motion to adopt items 4.1 through 4.4 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0. 

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(#5.1) Recognition of Parks and Community Services Commissioner Kathy Berner’s Service to the City of San Ramon.  Presentation by Bill Meine, Chair of the Parks and Community Services Commission.

Parks and Community Services Commission Chair Bill Meine recognized Commissioner Kathy Berner’s dedication, service, and the variety of her accomplishments for the City.  Cm. Perkins stated that he was pleased with Mrs. Berner’s appointment and accomplishments.  Commissioner Dominique Yancey stated that it was a joy to work with Mrs. Berner because she was very enthusiastic and gave from her heart.  It is a great loss for the City.  Jeff Eorio, retired Parks and Community Services Director, stated that Mrs. Berner was a great Parks Commissioner and that the City was blessed to have her.  Mr. Wayne Berner stated that his wife believed in community, had worked extensively with the Girl Scouts, and loved being a Parks Commissioner. 

(#5.2) Announcement of the Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley’s 9-11 Essay Contest Winners.  Presentation by Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley President Richard Price, Past President Karen Stepper, and Chair of Essay Contest Alicia Watson.

Exchange Club Past President Karen Stepper and Essay Contest Chair Alicia Watson presented the item.  Ms. Watson noted that 88 essays were received for this year’s contest.  The topic for this year’s essay was “Why do we have a memorial service on 9/11?”  Ms. Stepper and Ms. Watson recognized the 9-11 Essay Contest participants.  Elementary school winners were:  Sophia Kraskowsky (First Place); Kyle Lew (Second Place); and Andrew Yee (Third Place).  Middle school winners were:  Kyungbin Oh (First Place); Avery Chapman (Second Place); and Danya Gao (Third Place).  Winners in the high school competition were:  Michaela Gines (First Place); Alex Collelo (Second Place); and Sophia Collelo (Third Place).  Winners were awarded a certificate and a cash prize.  Ms. Stepper thanked all the participants and the sponsors.

(#5.3) Recognizing City Read 2013 "Two Cities, One Tale" – October 7, 2013 – November 8, 2013.  Presented by Mayor Clarkson to Town of Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Danville Community Library Manager Seng Lovan, San Ramon Libraries’ Community Acting Library Manager Nancy Kreiser, San Ramon Library Youth Services Librarian Amy Mockoski.

Danville Community Library Manager Seng Lovan thanked San Ramon for its support of City Reads.  The event, which is in its tenth year, benefits citizens by fostering discussion and building excitement for reading.  She announced that this year’s book is Gulp – Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by local author Mary Roach.   San Ramon Libraries’ Community Acting Library Manager Nancy Kreiser thanked Danville and San Ramon for their support, the library staff, the Library Foundations, and local businesses.  Free copies of the book are 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 20, 2013 at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center.  Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich presented the proclamation to Mayor Clarkson.  He presented Mayor Clarkson with a book on Danville’s history which includes San Ramon as part of the San Ramon Valley. 

(#5.4) Proclamation Recognizing the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation’s “30th Annual Run for Education”.  Presented by Mayor Clarkson to Foundation Executive Director Christine Burr and Foundation President Ed Chiverton. 

Mayor Clarkson presented the proclamation to Foundation President Ed Chiverton and thanked him for his leadership on the Education Foundation.  Mr. Chiverton stated that schools contribute to the wonderful quality of life in San Ramon.  He thanked the Council and the City for their assistance on this great partnership.  Mr. Chiverton encouraged residents to participate in the Run for Education to be held on October 13, 2013.

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Sandy Murchison, resident, encouraged music lovers to attend “Adventures in Jazz 2013” this year’s Jazz at the Library series.  Two performances are available on October 11, 2013 and October 18, 2013 at the San Ramon Library.  San Ramon has the largest collection of jazz recordings in the United States.

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(#9.1) Minutes of the August 13, 2013 regular meeting.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to approve the August 13, 2013 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson and passed 5-0.

(#9.2) Minutes of the September 24, 2013 regular meeting.

Cm. Perkins’ motion to approve the September 24, 2013 regular City Council minutes as corrected was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson and passed 4-0-0-1.  Cm. Livingstone abstained.

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(#11.1) Resolution No. 2013-097 – Approving a Memorandum of Understanding between Sunset Development Company and the City of San Ramon to Design and Construct a City Hall Building

Receive a Report on a Potential Project to Expand and Renovate the San Ramon Library; and Receive an Update on Subsequent Phases of the City Center Project.

City Manager Greg Rogers presented the staff report which included: an overview of the City Center site and surrounding land uses and a review of the City Center History including developments in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2007.  The 2007 City Center concept included a 110,000 sq. ft. Civic Building on three acres of land owned by Sunset.  The estimated cost to acquire the land and construct the building exceeded $40 million.  Approximately $14.8 million was available from the value of the secured Note and the option price for the City-owned eleven acre parcel.  Financing the more than $25 million needed to construct the Civic Building and to acquire the land was not feasible given City budget constraints.  The “Great Recession” delayed construction of the retail portion of the Project.  The City’s purchase of the building at 2401 Crow Canyon Road relieved the City of a portion of its space needs.  The City evaluated what it could afford to do with the $14.8 million.  A 45,000 sq. ft. City Hall can be built on the site where the basketball courts are currently located if costs are carefully managed.  This can be accomplished with a Design/Build contract with Sunset.  If costs can be held to $13.4 million, $1.4 million would be available for a Library expansion and upgrade project.  Mr. Rogers showed conceptual design pictures of the proposed City Hall.  He reviewed the components of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sunset including the obligations of Sunset and the City.  

Interim Parks and Community Services Director Karen McNamara discussed options for relocation of the basketball court.  The basketball court can be reconfigured in Central Park.  Four potential relocation sites were identified.  Consideration needs to be given to the 24/7 operation, lighting, levels of use, loss of any existing sport fields, and noise.  Ms. McNamara also discussed the improvement opportunities for the San Ramon Library.  Library options include: expansion of the second floor; repurposing existing space; reconditioning and renovating existing space.  She included input from the recent Library Advisory Committee survey.  Bob Desautels from ATI Architects and Engineers provided information on the second floor expansion.  The analyses included reviewing support structure, space at the roof line, major building systems, and needed structural improvements.  Ms. McNamara stated that the preliminary cost estimate is $2.35 million.  Other issues which need to be considered are parking, restrooms, second floor access and egress, book sales, book drops, and relocating library services for one year. 

President and CEO of Sunset Development Alex Mehran stated that the City Center Project provides two immediate benefits to the City: a new City Hall and an upgraded library facility.  The MOU will properly align ownership interests and clearly define uses so that the next round of plans for the City Center Project can proceed.  Mr. Mehran stated that Sunset is committed to the development of the City Center Project which is important to Bishop Ranch, the City, and the entire Tri-Valley.

Mayor Clarkson opened the public hearing.

Jim Blickenstaff, resident, noted that the previous project involved the Sierra Club and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) and the settlement resulted in an improved project.  He is concerned that locating City Hall in a community park is an improvement but may be problematic because it reduces space for other community purposes.  City Hall and the Civic Center will create an architectural identity for the City.  The buildings should have a unique ‘San Ramon quality’ and family orientation.  He questioned the price of the land and if it would increase 3% annually.  Mr. Rogers stated that $7.5 million is the current cost for the land and it would increase by the inflation factor.

Abram Wilson, resident, stated that the original agreement was made because of overcrowding at City Hall.  The library is an integral part of the San Ramon community.  He suggested that a new Library be built in the proposed City Hall site and put City Hall in the current library’s location.  Enhancing a community building so that it could be used 24/7 is important.  He suggested that a museum and art be included.  San Ramon has the largest jazz recording collection in the United States.  He questioned how this project fits into the entire downtown concept.  He noted that the basketball courts are in a public area, used by many people, located for safety, and are easily monitored by the Police.  He believes that the current proposal is a drastic mistake.

Thomas von Thury, resident, stated that he has issues with the proposal but will focus on the procedural aspects.  As a Council candidate speaking with citizens, he stated that the nature and scope of the new City Center is not well known among residents.  Many residents are unaware of the new City Hall proposal.  The City has failed to communicate on important issues because its communication efforts are not effective.  He requested more extensive outreach, open meetings, etc.  He asked that the Council defer voting on the proposal until outreach has been done, resident input is received, and after the November election.  He complimented City staff on their presentations.

Lowell Lamb, resident, stated that he appreciated the presentation.  He added that the project is not well known in the community.  The City needs to reconnect with the voters and can do this by putting big projects on the ballot.  This allows voters to participate in making the big decisions and enables the Council to find out what voters think about the issues.   He believes that the citizens should participate in this decision.

Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that some of the suggestions are good.  She does not support starting over again because the City will never get anything done.  The City needs to make a decision and should not continue to drag out the Project.

Jim Gibbon, resident and representing SROG, stated that SROG sued the City regarding the City Center Project.  He disagreed with the statement that citizens did not know about the City Center.  The Project could be a benefit to San Ramon.  The only item lacking was the synergy between the Civic Center and the Community Center.  He stated that the downtown will be transformed over the next seven to ten years and the City must grow with the downtown and become a twenty-first century city.  The financial arrangement for this Project is good.  He supports the MOU and the proposed location for City Hall because of the synergy with the tennis courts and Fire Station.  He stated that the Camino Ramon Project, the Faria Project, and the HOV lanes are out of place and not smart growth.  The City Center is a perfect example of using smart technology and infrastructure for smart growth.  He requested that the design for the library and Civic Center be separated from the MOU and asked the Council to approve the MOU.

Sherry Rosso, resident and Chair of the Library Advisory Committee, stated that she appreciated the City’s thorough evaluation and Ms. McNamara’s very careful review of the Library Advisory Committee Survey and analysis.  The public wants a library which is comparable to new libraries in existing communities.  She does not want to give up the option for a second building in the future and asked if the MOU precluded setting aside any land on the City Center site for a future new library.  Rehabbing the existing library will not solve the parking problem.  She expressed concerns regarding the second floor.   Adding a second story will increase staffing needs and she asked if the City will pay for additional staff.  She discussed relocation costs associated with rehabbing the library.  She asked if the City would commit any of the projected revenue from the City Center retail for a library building if land is set aside.

Mayor Clarkson closed the public hearing.

Cm. Perkins asked staff to consider the “Meadow” at the corner of Alcosta and Bollinger as an alternate location for the basketball court.   This location would provide additional hardscape for the Art and Wind event and would not displace an athletic field or require an adjustment of the City’s agreement with the School District.  He asked if there were any library functions which could be relocated to the new City Hall such as storing books for the Foundation’s book sales which would expand the library’s usable space.  He suggested single user unisex bathrooms.  He stated that he is committed to improving and enlarging the library and will evaluate associated staffing needs.  Updating the facility to the ways in which libraries are currently used will present the greatest benefits although enlarging the library would also create benefits.  Regarding the suggestion to put big projects on the ballot, he stated that citizens elect the Council to study the issues and obtain input from interested parties.  San Ramon is a representative government. 

Placing items on the ballot is a long, arduous, and expensive process.  The City has had many hearings on the City Center.  Opportunities to learn about the project exist through meetings, emails, City website, broadcasts, and the City newsletter.

Cm. O’Loane stated that he is the Council liaison to the Library Foundation.  They have had conversations about a change in the notion of what a library is.  This is a great opportunity to rethink and pay for what a library can be.  It is important to have an open mind and think about the project as two public spaces.  This is an opportunity to build something very good within the City’s financial means.  He said that residents ask him when the City will have a City Center and downtown and that people want to socialize in San Ramon.  City Hall does not have to close at 5:00 p.m.  He does not agree with the suggestion that the proposed City Hall and current library swap places.  He anticipates that the City Center project will have further changes.  He does not want to delay the project.  Residents want the project and want it done in a prudent manner.  The City has a better fiscal footing and a better sense of what the City wants and the opportunity to do it within the City’s fiscal means than it did several years ago.  He suggested that the current City Hall could be a temporary library.  He noted that there has been good faith on the part of Sunset and the City to make the deal happen and now is the time to do it.

Cm. Livingstone stated that he concurs with Cm. Perkins and Cm. O’Loane.  The important thing is that the City can now afford to do this project.  After a four year austerity program, there are some remaining budget issues but this project will not cost the citizens any money from the General Fund.  The City will deliver on its promise to deliver a new Civic Center and will not ask the citizens for funding or reduce any services.  He asked what a ‘library’ would look like in ten years.  He supports improving the current library and stated that it does not make sense to build a new building or to relocate it.  He is pleased with the MOU and using what the City has to fund the project.

Vice Mayor Hudson suggested separating the City Center from the City Hall. 

Cm. Perkins stated that the previous City Center project was not feasible without significant debt and debt service.  The current proposal builds a City Hall with no debt for the City.  He appreciated the offer of Sunset’s building expertise.  The City Hall will be built with room for growth and clears the decks for moving forward with the rest of the City Center Project.  He supports the MOU and looks forward to the ground breaking ceremony.

Mayor Clarkson stated that San Ramon has a rich history in the Valley of great partnerships.  He appreciates Sunset’s partnership and creating a win/win for both parties.  The City will have a new City Hall and improved library without going into debt.  He suggested that the City Hall be a combination of public space and work space and that the book sale could be held in the lobby.  He requested that the City Hall architecture include something unique to San Ramon.  He requested that staff create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet for the City Hall to be placed on the City website and include the questions which were asked at the Council meeting with their answers.  He stated that the Council has clearly heard the importance of the library, City Center, and City Hall.  The challenge with the library expansion will be the cost for staffing.  He complimented the City Manager for being mindful of City funds.  He thanked the speakers for their participation, Sunset for its leadership, and City staff for their report.

Cm. Livingstone’s motion to adopt Resolution No. 2013-097 was seconded by Cm. Perkins and passed 5-0.

Because the issue of the library expansion and renovation was discussed, Cm. Perkins asked to continue the discussion to the Policy Committee.  Cm. Perkins’ motion to direct the Policy Committee to further investigate the upgrade and expansion of the library and the content and charter of a library working group was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson and passed 5-0.

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Donna Kerger, resident, invited the community to attend the first annual Hopfest sponsored by the Dougherty Valley San Ramon Rotary Club on October 12, 2013.  The proceeds will benefit the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation.   

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Vice Mayor Hudson invited interested students to attend the free Spare the Air Youth Program’s “Youth for the Environment and Sustainability” on November 2, 2013 at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter in Oakland.  Students from the San Francisco Bay Area will discuss global climate change and transportation issues in their communities.  He noted that he is the only sitting Councilmember who ran in the first Primo’s Run.

Mayor Clarkson encouraged residents to purchase tickets for the 2013-2014 San Ramon Performing Arts Season.  He reminded residents that the last day for residents to register to vote in the November municipal election is October 21, 2013. 

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(#15.1) Pursuant to Government Code §64956.9(a) to meet with City Attorney regarding In the Matter of the Armand Borel Trust (Superior Court No. P09-01129).

At 9:29 p.m., the Council convened to Closed Session: Pursuant to Government Code §64956.9(a) to meet with City Attorney regarding In the Matter of the Armand Borel Trust (Superior Court No. P09-01129).  All Councilmembers were present. 

At 10:03 p.m., Mayor Clarkson reconvened the Council meeting.  All Councilmembers were present.  Mayor Clarkson reported that the Council unanimously gave direction to the City Attorney.

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At 10:05 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 22, 2013 City Council meeting 5-0-0-1; Livingstone abstain.

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