MINUTES OF THE
November 3, 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, November 3, 2009 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.
Present: Comms. Viers, Vice Chair Sachs, Chair O’Loane
Absent: Commissioner Kerger
Staff: Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Services Manager; Herb Moniz, City Manager; Alicia Poon, Deputy City Attorney; Roger Peters, Interim City Attorney; Lieutenant Gresham; Luisa Willnecker, Recording Secretary
1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
4. PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
5. ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS -None-
6. CONSENT CALENDAR
7. CONTINUED ITEMS AFTER CLOSING OF PUBLIC HEARING-None-
8. CONTINUED ITEMS – OPEN PUBLIC HEARING -None-
9. PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEMS
Interim City Attorney Roger Peters provided a PowerPoint Presentation and stated that the purpose of the meeting was to request approval of proposed amendments to the City Center development agreements. The amendments will extend the deadline to complete transfers of the properties and the time for the right of first refusal and right of reacquisition, and the extension of the maturity date on a promissory note payable by Sunset Development Company to the City of San Ramon. Mr. Peters added that based on the information provided, the project complies with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and is consistent with the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance,and the Subdivision Map Act. Sunset Development Company has provided sufficient grounds for amending the development agreements.
Vice Chair Sachs asked if the Chevron Development Agreement could be amended given that there is pending litigation. Mr. Peters replied yes and the new amendments would supersede the prior amendments four and six completed in January 2009.
Alex Mehran – President of Sunset Development Company stated that Sunset Development Company is requesting additional time for the completion of the City Center project. Mr. Mehran further stated that with the current economy, homebuilding and retail businesses are facing financial hardship and to begin construction of the City Center would not be prudent. Mr. Mehran added that the City Center is a dual anchored retail project with 700,000.00 square feet of retail space. Mr. Mehran further added that Sunset Development Company and the City of San Ramon are committed in building the City Center project and the goal is to create a dynamic, active City Center for all San Ramon residents.
Comm. Viers commented that Sunset Development Company is committed to building the City Center project and that with the economic down turn it is appropriate to consider the extensions.
Vice Chair Sachs asked Mr. Mehran if it would be possible to construct the City Hall, Library and Transit Center as Phase 1, while waiting for the economy to improve. Mr. Mehran replied that Sunset Development Company is eager to start any aspect of this project and if the City would like to commence early, Sunset Development Company will be glad to entertain that possibility. Vice Chair Sachs further asked if there are constraints to moving forward with City Hall. Mr. Mehran replied that caution must be used in making a financial commitment in these economic times.
Chair O’Loane asked for clarification that since the project is dual anchored would the dual anchors determine the parameters of the transaction. Mr. Mehran replied that no one knows what the retail business will look like coming out of this recession and that one needs to wait and see what the future will be like. Mr. Mehran concluded that he would move forward when the time was right.
Chair O’Loane opened the public hearing.
Michael Carrell –San Ramon stated that with the economic down turn, would the currently vacant office space effect the City’s ability to compete with vacancies in other cities.
Chair O’Loane replied that the City will own City Hall and the Transit Center. The retail, office and hotel is will be owned by Sunset Development Company.
Jennifer Botelho - stated that she lives in Tracy and works in San Ramon and asked if construction of the new Transit Center could commence now while construction costs are lower.
Herb Moniz – San Ramon City Manager stated that City Center is a financial land transaction and the financing for the City Hall and Transit Center is based on a land transfer. Mr. Moniz further stated that we are currently working on the infrastructure and moving ahead with the project.
Chair O’Loane asked for examples of infrastructure. Mr. Moniz replied that the City is currently working with Bollinger Canyon Road property owners on relocating fiber optics and designing the roadway improvements for Bollinger Canyon Road.
Chair O’Loane closed the public hearing.
Vice Chair Sachs stated that there is no reason not to extend the amendments. Vice Chair Sachs further requested that City Hall and the Transit Center be constructed first.
Comm. Viers agreed with extending the amendments and indicated it is unfortunate that the current economy has postponed the start of the City Center project. Comm. Viers added that the project complies with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and is consistent with the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Map Act.
Chair O’Loane stated that the City does not have the funds for the project and it makes sense to extend the agreements.
Comm. Viers stated that he is not in favor of telling a developer how to build a project and it is not a recommendation that he can make to the City Council. Comm. Viers further stated that the City and Sunset Development Company will determine which portion of the project is constructed first.
Vice Chair Sachs stated that he is confident that the right decision would be made.
It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Viers that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 14-09 Recommending Approval of a Seventh Amendment to Development Agreement Between the City of San Ramon and Sunset Development Company and Others, and a Fifth Amendment to the Portion of Development Agreement Between the City of San Ramon and Chevron U.S.A., Inc., Assigned To and Assumed by Sunset Building Company, LLC, and Making Related Findings.
AYES: Comms. Sachs, Viers, and Chair O’Loane
10. NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS
11. STUDY SESSION/COMMISSIONER LIAISON REPORT AND INTEREST ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS.
12. ADJOURNMENT There being no further discussion, Chair O’Loane adjourned the meeting at 8:15 p.m.
Respectively Submitted, Luisa Willnecker