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June 2, 2009

A meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Patrino 7:05 p.m., Tuesday, June 2, 2009 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.

 1. CALL TO ORDER /ROLL CALL: Comms; Kerger, Viers, Sachs, Chair Patrino

Absent: Vice Chair O’Loane

Staff:  Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Manager; Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner; Alicia Poon; Deputy City Attorney; Robin Barlett, Associate Engineer; Lieutenant Gresham, Luisa Willnecker; Recording Secretary

Audience:     8


Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll gave a PowerPoint Presentation and stated that the purpose of tonight’s meeting was to discuss the General Plan 2030 update and the Parks and Recreation, Public Facilities, and Open Space Elements.   Mr. Driscoll further stated that at the May 19, 2009 meeting the Planning Commission provided a discussion and direction to three policy issues related to Measure G, the Urban Growth Boundary Line, and Ordinance 197.  The Planning Commission also provided direction to the policy changes in the Land Use, Traffic and Circulation and Safety Elements. 


A. Parks and Recreation Element

Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll stated that existing policy 6.5-I-1 establishes two standards. This policy will continue to maintain the existing standard of 6.5 acres of public parks per 1,000 residents at general plan buildout. Two new polices would be added requiring  a one-half mile and three-mile radius around different park types to ensure adequate park coverage at General Plan buildout.

Mr. Driscoll further added that Policy 6.5-I-12 would be revised to include language that states San Ramon may work with a variety of agencies to preserve open space and ridgelines. The preservation of land surrounding San Ramon may include other agencies in addition to East Bay Regional Parks District.

B. Public Facilities Element

Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll stated that the purpose of the Public Facilities Element revisions is to clarify the goal and policy intent. Policy 7.1-I-4 would be revised to maintain teen services on or adjacent to middle school sites. The School Aged Child Care Ordinance, last updated in 2005, would allow planning staff the ability to assess the adequacy of the School Aged Child Care and a change to the policy is proposed to address non-profits. New policies are proposed to encourage the collocation of telecommunication facilities to minimize potential visual impacts and encourage the City to develop consumer friendly, convenient and affordable options for community serving recycling services. Finally, the Public Facilities Element would incorporate two new sections.  The first, Fire Protection Services would encourage a closer collaborative relationship with the Fire District and a new Police Services section would be added to acknowledge a new Police Department created  in July 2007. 

C. Open Space

Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll stated that this element was recently reviewed by the Open Space Task Force and the Parks and Community Services Commission. Mr. Driscoll also stated that in 2008 at the direction of the City Council, the Open Space Task Force met to discuss revisions to the Open Space Conservation Element. In January 2009, the Parks and Community Services Commission recommended the revisions by the Task Force. All recommend revisions have been included in the General Plan 2030 update.

Comm. Sachs asked Mr. Driscoll for clarification on policy 6.5-I-9 and asked if the Sphere of Influence or the Urban Growth Boundary is more advantageous. Chair Patrino replied that the Sphere of Influence encompasses a wider geographic area. Comm. Sachs also asked for clarification on policy 7.4-I-2 on the ways in which the City encourages PG&E to improve the corridor in southern portion of City. Mr. Driscoll replied that through the development review process the City works with applicants, such as wireless telecommunication companies, to encourage landscape improvements throughout the corridor.

Comm. Kerger stated that she would like see the PG&E utility lines be placed underground. Comm. Kerger asked Mr. Driscoll if East Bay Regional Park District Master Plan coincides with the City’s Parks Master Plan Update.

Mr. Driscoll replied that planning staff would follow-up on this question. Comm. Kerger asked for clarification if the majority of open space within the City is in Dougherty Valley. Mr. Driscoll replied yes.

Comm. Kerger also asked what guides the new Air Quality/Climate Change Element. Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Manager stated that in response to AB32 the Global Warming Solutions Act a new element would be added to the General Plan. Ms. Chamberlain further added that this element would include new Greenhouse Gas Emission policies and guidelines. Comm. Kerger commented that she was concerned about the cuts that will be made at the teen centers.

Chair Patrino stated that in policy 6.5.I.3 language  be added to discourage the development private parks, tot lots and development of project serving parks, which only serve the residents in the development. Chair Patrino added that the City should encourage developing parks over two acres.   

Comm. Kerger commented that she was not supportive in discouraging tot lots and feels it is important for families in new communities.

Ms. Chamberlain asked for clarification from the Planning Commission if they were looking to discourage these types of parks which are funded and maintained by Homeowners Association dues or City maintained parks. Chair Patrino replied City maintained parks. Ms. Chamberlain stated that planning staff would discuss the Planning Commission comments with the Parks and Community Service Director and return to the Planning Commission at a later date. Chair Patrino further stated that policy 7.2-I-2 requires that residential development pay fees to the school district for the acquisition of school sites to provide adequate, permanent classroom space and asked if the City has the authority to request developers to pay the school district fees.  Ms. Chamberlain replied that the City does not collect fees from the school district and prior to issuing a building permit they need to show that all applicable school fees have been paid.  

Chair Patrino stated that policy 7.4-I.3 requires new development to underground all utility lines and asked why the City implements this policy when State law already requires it.   Ms. Chamberlain replied that the City has a stronger requirement to add this to the conditions of approval if it is supported by the General Plan Policy.

Chair Patrino asked for clarification if all future school sites would be   developed as a park site.  Ms. Chamberlain replied that there are two options in which schools sites can be developed as school parks. The first option is a school/park site in which the school has use during the day of the park and after school hours it is available to the public.  Ms. Chamberlain added that if the school site is 10 acres in size five acres would be counted as parkland acreage. Chair Patrino asked if the five acres count towards our parkland acreage requirements. Ms. Chamberlain replied yes. The second option is to develop facilities such as tot lots adjacent to school/parks which are available from dawn to dusk because it is not part of the school site.

Chair Patrino asked for public comments

Jim Gibbon – San Ramon stated that the General Plan Land Use  Element requires voter review of the Urban Growth Boundary in 2010 and that planning staff has taken the opportunity to update the entire General Plan and asked who authorized the change. Chair Patrino replied that the General Plan is continuously being updated and workshops are held to receive public input. 

Mr. Gibbon asked if the General Plan could be updated with only three public meetings without voter approval. Comm. Sachs replied yes and that State law allows four General Plan amendments per year without voter approval. Mr. Gibbon also expressed his concern about the Urban Growth Boundary that it is being taken to the voters but the Sphere of Influence is not and asked if the City Council was going to change the Sphere of Influence.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that there are no proposed changes to the Sphere of Influence. Amendments to the Sphere of Influence is at the direction of Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and if they chose to amend, reduce or expand it would be at their discretion.

Mr. Gibbons added that the General Plan shows Tassajara Valley in our Sphere of Influence. Ms. Chamberlain replied that Tassajara Valley is part of our Planning Area and not within our Sphere of Influence. Mr. Gibbon further added that Ordinance 197 should be modified and suggested that workshops be held to change Ordinance 197. Chair Patrino suggested to Mr. Gibbons submit any proposed changes for consideration by the Planning Commission.

Doug Burr - San Ramon Mr. Burr stated that he is disturbed by the addition of the Tassajara Valley to the San Ramon. He further stated that he looked back in the past at some San Ramon maps by the City of San Ramon and the Tassajara Valley was not there. Mr. Burr further stated that policy 3-I.3 is a change to preserve Open Space and talks about Open Space and questioned why revisions are required to allow flexibility for alternatives to preservations.

Chair Patrino asked Mr. Burr for clarification on his comment regarding the Sphere of Influence and if the City should plan development on the fringes or should another jurisdiction. Mr. Burr stated that he would prefer the county plan the Tassajara Valley at this time. Mr. Burr further indicated that it is logical that the city would rather be in control of planning its’ boundaries and borders. Mr. Burr concluded with that right now he believes the city is allowing the future of Tassajara Valley.

Public comment was received following the staff presentation         

Chair Patrino asked for the next steps.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that planning staff would be reviewing the proposed changes and forward the changes to the Parks Commission for review and returning to the Planning Commission at a later date. Ms. Chamberlain added that at the June 16 meeting the Planning Commission will discuss the proposed changes to the Noise and Economic Development Elements.       


There being no further discussion, Chair Patrino adjourned the meeting at  8:40 p.m.  

Respectively Submitted, Luisa Willnecker



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