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September 15, 2009

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission, City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair O’Loane at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 15, 2009 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


Present:          Comms. Kerger, Viers, Sachs, Chair O’Loane

Absent:            None    

Staff:   Phil Wong, Planning Director; Alicia Poon, Deputy City Attorney; Cindy Yee, Associate Planner; Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner; Lieutenant Liz Gresham; Luisa Willnecker, Recording Secretary.

Audience:     10

 1. CALL TO ORDER               



 4.PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION At this time, those in the audience are encouraged to address the Planning Commission on any item not already included in tonight’s agenda.  If possible, comments should not exceed five (5) minutes         



6.1 Minutes from the May 5, 2009 meeting.     Approved

6.2 Minutes from the May 19, 2009 workshop.  Approved with modifications

6.3 Minutes from the June 2, 2009 workshop.      Approved

6.4 Minutes from the June 16, 2009workshop.     Approved

6.5 Minutes from the July 21, 2009 workshop.     Approved

6.6 Minutes from the August 18, 2009 meeting.   Approved

6.7 Minutes from the August 18, 2000 workshop. Approved



9.1 Housing Element Update General Plan Amendment (GPA 08-400-001 and IS 09-250-003).
Staff Report by: Cindy M. Yee, Associate Planner.

Associate Planner Cindy Yee gave a brief summary on the Housing Element Update. Ms. Yee stated that the Housing Element update has been before the Planning Commission on two previous occasions and the request this evening is to adopt a General Plan Amendment to modify the Housing Element of the General Plan in compliance with State Housing Law. 

Veronica Tam – Veronica Tam and Associates stated that on January 15, 2009, the draft Housing Element was submitted for review to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). On March 16, 2009, comments were received from the State documenting their concerns. A revised draft Housing Element was submitted to the State addressing their concerns on May 29, 2009. Ms. Tam noted that HCD was complementary of the Housing Element that the City of San Ramon put together and had only three comments. The State commented that they would like to see; 1) more detailed information on existing uses of sites and realistic capacity for redevelopment. 2) promoting energy conservation, and 3) ensuring that transitional and supportive housing is treated the same way as a regular housing. On July 28, 2009, the City of San Ramon received a letter finding substantial compliance with State Housing Law from HCD. On August 14, 2009 to September 15, 2009, an Initial Study/Negative Declaration was circulated for a 30-day public review period. Ms. Tam further added that letters were received on the Negative Declaration from Caltrans stating that any new development shall mitigate any needed improvements to state highways. Caltrans also encourages cities to locate housing near major mass transit nodes, facilitating walking, and biking. East Bay Municipal Utility District also provided comments, which stated that any new development must pay their connection fee and may be required to conduct a Water Supply assessment to comply with AB 325, Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. Ms. Tam stated that the next steps after this hearing is to hold a third public hearing with the City Council, resubmit the adopted Housing Element to initiate a 90-day Housing Community Development review and receive the final certification letter from the Housing Community Development.

Comm. Kerger asked for clarification on when Caltrans and East Bay Municipal Utility District were given copies of the Initial Study/Negative Declaration. Comm. Kerger indicated that she was concerned that their comments were provided so late in the process.  Ms. Yee replied that with all development applications including,  General Plan Amendments applications, the City sends out a request for comment to all service providers to solicit their comments and concerns early in the process. As part of the CEQA process, the City is also required to provide outside agencies with a copy of the Initial Study/Negative Declaration for a 30-day public review and the comments the City received back were within the required time frame.

Comm. Viers commented that the City of San Ramon is one of the first cities found to be in compliance with State law.

Comm. Sachs commented that he was pleased to see that the City is promoting energy efficient housing for new residential development in the Housing Element.

Chair O’Loane opened the public hearing.

Carlos Soria - Toyota Motor Sales, Project Development Manager congratulated the City of San Ramon on its achievement. Mr. Soria commented that it was unfortunate for Toyota Motor Sales, that the City of San Ramon has met the site adequacy requirement by designating residential uses on the property which Toyota Motor Sales, intended to develop on.

Comm. Viers stated that there might be flexibility with the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan.  Mr. Soria replied that he is aware of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan and supports placing more commercial uses on and near the Toyota site and removing the residential land use designation.  

Chair O’Loane closed the public hearing.

Comm. Kerger commented that the San Ramon Chamber of Commence is reaching out to the business community on a green building policy and asked if the General Plan 2030 update makes reference to Green Building. Planning Director Phil Wong replied that Air Quality/Greenhouse Gas Element is a significant component of the General Plan 2030 update.

It was moved by Commissioner Viers  and seconded by Commissioner  Kerger  that the Planning Commission, having considered the proposed project and findings accordingly, adopts Resolution No. 12-09 recommending City Council approval of General Plan Amendment (GPA 08-400-001) and adoption of Initial Study/Negative Declaration (IS 09-250-003) for the proposed project.

AYES:    Comms. Viers, Kerger, Sachs, and Chair O’Loane       

NOES:    None    


ABSENT:   None

9.2 Land Use Permit LUP 09-500-003 T-Mobile at Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery.
Staff Report by: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner

Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto gave a PowerPoint presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting a Land Use Permit approval to co-locate a new wireless telecommunication facility on an existing PG&E tower, which is located within the Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery. Mr. Tsukamoto added that the proposed facility would include six panel antennas and one 2-ft. diameter microwave dish mounted on top of the existing 107-ft tall lattice tower.  The equipment would be screened behind a 6-ft. tall solid wood fence located near the base of the tower. Mr. Tsukamoto added that PG&E representative were at tonight’s meeting and are available to answer any questions or concerns.

Ann Welsh – Representing T-Mobile commented that T-Mobile is building this site in response to customer complaints of dropped calls and weak signals. Ms. Welsh added that T-Mobile reviewed the General Plan, which identified preferred sites, including the PG&E corridor. Ms. Welsh further added that Mr. Tsukamoto had reviewed the landscaping mitigation from previous applications and T-Mobile is agreeable to paying the mitigation fee in order to soften the visual impact. Ms. Welsh added that other sites were considered, but were too close to the proximity of homes. Ms. Welsh stated that T-Mobile held a neighborhood meeting where 89 residents were noticed and only two attended the meeting. Ms. Welsh also stated that the two residents who attended the neighborhood meeting were also at this evenings meeting.   Ms. Welsh further stated that at the neighborhood meeting, there was concern about the height and the number of antennas. T-Mobile is willing to contribute to the landscaping fund and beautify the area in order to mitigate any negative visual impact.

Comm. Kerger asked Ms. Welsh if T-Mobile contacted (EBMUD) about placing the antenna on one of their tanks. Ms. Welsh replied that T-Mobile already has a cell tower located at that their site. Comm. Kerger commented that EBMUD has only one antenna on their tank and they can add more antennas.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied that he is not certain of the number of antennas on EBMUD site.

Comm. Sachs asked Ms. Welsh if she had spoken to PG&E regarding landscaping enhancements. Ms. Wels

Comm. Viers expressed his concern about the Radio Frequency (RF) with multiple facilities. Ms. Welsh replied T-Mobile will comply with the prevailing standards for limiting public exposure to radio frequency energy.

Chair O’Loane opened the public hearing.

Christa Freihofner – San Ramon added that she is not opposed to the location of the proposed project because of the distance to the nearest home. Ms. Freihofner added that she would prefer to see landscaping surrounding the 6-ft tall enclosure. Ms. Freihofner further added that the City of San Ramon and residents should meet with PG&E to improve the area along the PG&E corridor.

Sandy Barclay – San Ramon stated that landscaping improvements need to be made on Davona Drive and Broadmoor Drive. Ms. Barclay added that the City of San Ramon should consider not having any future cell towers installed in the PG&E corridor.

Chair O’Loane closed the public hearing

Comm. Kerger expressed her concern about the height of the antenna. Ms. Welsh replied that for adequate reception a distance needs to be maintained between AT&T and T-Mobile antennas and that T-Mobile cannot attach their antennas to an existing antenna. Comm. Kerger asked what is the maximum separation between antennas.

Teresa Heine – Representing PG&E replied twelve feet.

Comm. Sachs asked Ms. Heine how old the towers located within the PG&E corridor were. Ms. Heine replied that she was unsure. Comm. Sachs further asked Ms. Heine for her title with PG&E. Ms. Heine replied that she is an Account Manager. Comm. Sachs also asked Ms. Heine if she was familiar with the landscaping concerns along the PG&E corridor. Ms. Heine replied that PG&E does have a land agent who handles the landscaping concerns. Comm. Sachs stated that the PG&E corridor is an eye sore and needs improvement.

Comm. Viers asked how many towers were located at Tarreyton Avenue. Mr. Tsukamoto replied that there are two towers on Tarreyton Avenue one tower has two carriers and the other tower has one carrier.  Mr. Tsukamoto added that when the Tarreyton Avenue project was approved, they were required to provide on-site landscaping along the westside of Tarreyton Avenue. Comm. Viers further asked if T-Mobile was contributing funds to improve the landscaping and does the City decide which areas need to be improved. Phil Wong replied that it is managed between PG&E and the City of San Ramon Engineering Services Department. Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Comm. Viers further asked if the landscaping improvements could occur on Broadmoor Drive or Davona Drive.  Mr. Wong replied that the City of San Ramon would work to identify a site that provides a benefit to the public.

Comm. Kerger added that landscaping improvements need to occur within the PG&E corridor and the equipment boxes need to be concealed by landscaping. Chair O’Loane added that planting Oleander shrubs could help screen the equipment boxes. Comm. Sachs added that improving the PG&E corridor landscaping should be added as a condition of approval.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Viers that the Planning Commission approves LUP 09-500-003 authorizing T-Mobile to co-locate a telecommunication facility and adopt Resolution No 13-09 with Conditions of Approval, as amended.

AYES:           Comms. Sachs, Viers, Kerger, and Chair O’Loane
NOES:          None   

ABSTAIN:      None

ABSENT:       None


Liaison Assignments were assigned.      

There being no further discussion, Chair O’Loane adjourned the meeting at   8:45 p.m.  

Respectively Submitted, Luisa Willnecker




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