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        AUGUST 18, 2009

A workshop of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair O’Loane at 7:40 p.m., Tuesday, August 18, 2009 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.

1.   Call to Order/Roll Call: Comms.  Kerger, Sachs, Viers, Chair O’Loane

Absent:  Comm. Patrino

Staff:  Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Manager; Lauren Barr, Senior Planner; Shinei Tsukamoto; Associate Planner,  Alicia Poon, Deputy City Attorney; Lieutenant Gresham, Luisa Willnecker; Recording Secretary

Audience:    3

  Purpose of Meeting/Overview

Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto gave an update of the Safety Element of the General Plan.  Mr. Tsukamoto stated that the Safety Element is a mandated element of the General Plan. The purpose of this element is to provide information for the protection of the community from natural and man-made disasters.  Mr. Tsukamoto further stated that on May 19, 2009, staff presented to the Planning Commission draft revisions to the policies of the Safety Element for review and comment. Planning staff reviewed the recommended changes and incorporated the comments provided by the Planning Commission.  In addition, staff has been working with the Fire District, Police Services, Engineering Services and Building and Safety Services to clarify the polices and refine the narratives.  Mr. Tsukamoto also stated that during the revision process, Engineering Services proposed three new policies. Mr. Tsukamoto added that planning staff would be working with the consultants to prepare the “draft” Safety Element and forward to the Division of Mines Geology of The Department of Conservation for review.

Discussion and Answers

Comm. Viers asked for clarification on the approval process once the draft has been forwarded to the Department of Conservation. Planning Manager Debbie Chamberlain replied that the City of San Ramon is required to submit a “draft” of the Safety Element for review and comment by the Department of Conservation.  If the City does not support the comments received, the city needs to make findings for not incorporating the changes.

Ms. Chamberlain added that no substantial revisions were made to the Safety Element. Ms. Chamberlain further added that planning does not anticipate many changes.  

Comm. Viers asked for clarification about the new policy on increasing runoff and asked if the policy suggests that once a project is completed it cannot be substantially more runoff than what it had started with. Lauren Barr Senior Planner replied yes.                                                                      

Comm. Viers asked for clarification between a detention basin and retention pond. Mr. Tsukamoto replied that a retention pond is to water and a detention basin is to slow the release of the water into the ground or creek.  Comm. Viers added that he supports the changes made to the Safety Element.

Comm. Kerger stated that she was disappointed with the changes made to the Safety Element and asked why certain sections had been deleted.

 Chair O’Loane replied that changes have been reorganized to different sections within Safety Element. Planning Manager Debbie Chamberlain replied that the element has been reorganized some of the policies have been reorganized. Comm. Kerger added that the Safety Element is an important document for the protection of the community from natural and man-made disasters.

Comm. Sachs asked for clarification on Hazardous Materials and Underground Storage Tanks and if the City of San Ramon maintains a list of where these sites are located.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied yes and that the information is public record and available on the California Environmental Protection Agency and State Water Resources Control Board web sites. Comm. Sachs further asked about the requirements for a protection plan for homeowners association and are homeowner associations required to keep them updated. Ms. Chamberlain replied that homeowner associations work with the Fire District and not through the City unless there is a condition of approval that they have an open space management plan to maintain the open space. The Fire District requires homeowner associations to maintain a firebreak adjacent to open space. Comm. Sachs asked could language be included into the General Plan 2030 encouraging existing residential units to maintain firebreaks where necessary.  Ms. Chamberlain replied yes. Comm. Sachs commented that the gas leak on San Ramon Valley Boulevard was handled professionally and asked if the City of San Ramon has the technology to conduct a “Robocall” to residents.  Lieutenant Gresham stated that the call system works through Contra Costa County where specific areas can be outlined which have been affected. 

Chair O’Loane asked for clarification on funding mechanism to convert concrete lined flood control channels to a natural setting  and  could  it be funded through the  Geological Hazard Abatement District (GHAD). Ms. Chamberlain replied that this policy is to increase public awareness of the need to increase riparian habitat and requirements to convert channels to a more natural setting would potentially come from the Regional Water Quality Control Board as a way to mitigate for loss habitat.  A Geological Hazard Abatement District might be another way to fund the conversion.

Wrap up and Next Steps    

 Ms. Chamberlain stated staff would continue to work with the consultants to make final revisions and forward the draft to the State.

There being no further discussion, Chair O’Loane adjourned the meeting at  8:15 p.m.  

Respectively Submitted, Luisa Willnecker



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