Planning Commission Minutes
MINUTES OF THE
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, February 16, 2010 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.
Present: Comms. Kerger, Wallis, Sachs, and Chair O’Loane
Absent: Comms. Viers
Staff: Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Services Manager; Lauren Barr, Senior Planner; 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
Senior Planner Lauren Barr gave a brief PowerPoint presentation. Mr. Barr stated that on May 2, 2008, Trumark Commercial filed applications for a proposed Medical Office Building and an expansion of the Church of the Nazarene. On February 17, 2009, a public hearing was held before the Planning Commission. At this meeting, a number of people voiced their concerns and the Planning Commission requested that the applicant revisit the project design. The Planning Commission requested a reduction in height and mass of the building, consider a parking variance to remove the underground parking lot to reduce the height of the medical office building, alternative building materials, and screening for the adjacent residential neighborhood. Mr. Barr further stated that the revised proposal is a 2-story, approximately 45,000 square foot medical office building including shared parking with the Church and landscape improvements. Mr. Barr added that the Church has been reduced to approximately 30,000 square feet which includes a new sanctuary, offices, classrooms and landscaping. Mr. Barr also added that a variance is requested for a reduction in shared parking requirements. Mr. Barr continued with the PowerPoint presentation explaining the revised project design.
Jessica Roseman - Project Manager for Trumark Commercial gave a brief PowerPoint presentation stating that design changes have been made to the building since the April 7, 2009 Planning Commission meeting. Ms. Roseman added that the parking garage has been removed, the height of the building has been reduced, and the architecture has been changed to reduce the use of stone by adding stucco and changing the entry feature to a residential look. Ms. Roseman also added that the Planning Commission had concerns about the v-ditch, lights, noise, and views of the HVAC. Ms. Roseman clarified that the drainage has been redesigned so no water from the medical office building will drain into the v-ditch. Furthermore, Trumark Commercial has offered to replace the existing wooden fences with a 6 to 8 foot wall along the property line. Trumark Commercial is proposing to heavily landscape the site to screen the building, increase the box size of the trees from 24” to 36” and increase the number of evergreens; installing non-reflective tinted glass on the building, and using 15’ pole lights in the parking lot with defusing lenses. The HVAC systems will be enclosed and not seen from neighbors below or above. The units will be LEED qualified.
David Austin Smith - Architect stated that the Planning Commission requested changes to the architecture of the church. The interior roofline of the new sanctuary has been lowered by 4 feet, the main nursery roof has been lowered by 3 feet, and the roof of the nursery closest to the neighbors has been lowered by 6 feet. Mr. Smith also added that the removal of the second floor of phase two has lowered the roof by 12 feet and has greatly reduced the project’s visual impact. The facility has been reduced in size by 7,678 square feet. Mr. Smith further added that the church would like to install Redwood trees to reduce the visual impact from the neighborhood.
Fred Hull – Consultant for Christ Community Church of the Nazarene stated that at the last Planning Commission meeting a question about how the design size of the sanctuary was determined. Mr. Hull stated that in 1980 a plan was approved by the San Ramon Valley Regional Planning Commission for a sanctuary of 500 seats plus a two-story school and the existing building. Mr. Hull further stated Mr. John Calhoun, District Superintendent for the Church of The Nazarene had provided written correspondence stating that the church had envisioned an expansion similar to the one under consideration now.
Comm. Kerger expressed her concern about construction of phase two of the church and that in ten years things can change. Mr. Barr replied that it is not uncommon to condition a staff level review for future phases. The original approval had a similar requirement for a site design review at a later date.
Vice Chair Sachs asked for clarification on the liability associated with the existing geotechnical hazard on the property. City Attorney Roger Peters replied it would be the property owner’s responsibility. Vice Chair Sachs further asked if the City would have any liability. Mr. Peters replied no.
Comm. Wallis asked if the current level of parking proves to be inadequate does Trumark Commercial have a plan to remediate the issue. Ms. Roseman replied that Trumark Commercial has looked at different options. One option would be finding off-site parking with a potential shuttle. Another option is to provide on-site valet parking.
Chair O’Loane asked what types of physicians would lease space at the medical office. Ms. Roseman replied that Trumark Commercial has an interest list of different physicians who would like to lease or own the space.
Vice Chair Sachs asked if the wall located behind the residences would run the entire length of the property. Ms. Roseman replied yes. Vice Chair Sachs further asked if the wall would continue to the church property. Ms. Roseman replied that the wall stops where the medical office building and church properties meet.
Comm. Kerger asked who Trumark Commercial was using as a Geotechnical Consultant. Ms. Roseman replied Cornerstone. Comm. Kerger further asked if Church of the Nazarene was using the same consultant. Ms. Roseman replied yes. Comm. Kerger further asked if the consultant was at tonight’s meeting. Ms. Roseman replied no. Comm. Kerger stated that she had concerns about the landslide. Mr. Hull stated that he has been a licensed Civil Engineer since 1970. Mr. Hull further stated that the original soil and geotechnical study for the church was done in 1971. At that time, it was believed that the Calaveras fault had a splinter fault down the eastside of San Ramon Valley. The State and County Geologist have determined that the fault was not located in this area. The study concluded that the church property has two minor landslides, which are between 7-10 feet in depth. Comm. Kerger asked if the landslides would be removed. Mr. Hull replied yes.
Comm. Wallis commented that there are a fair amount of doctors interested in Trumark Commercial’s medical facility and asked what the percentage of interest located outside San Ramon was. Ms. Roseman replied about 50%.
Chair O’Loane opened the public hearing.
Paula Hemenway – San Ramon did not wish to speak. Chair O’Loane read her speaker card into the record stating that she would like to see the project modified so it is less intrusive to the adjacent neighborhood.
John Osborn – San Ramon did not wish to speak. Chair O’Loane read his speaker card into the record stating that he is in favor of the Church of the Nazarene.
Roy Nelson – San Ramon stated that he is against the church proposal due to its size. Mr. Nelson further stated that he would like to see more trees planted surrounding the medical building. Mr. Nelson added that Bishop Ranch has office vacancies and do we need another office building. Mr. Nelson also added that existing office space at Bishop Ranch should be used to meet the needs of the medical offices.
Bill Scott – San Ramon stated that he is in favor of the project and the expansion of the church.
Keith Williams – San Ramon stated that he is in favor of the project and the expansion of the church, and feels it would benefit the community.
Comm. Kerger asked Mr. Williams if he was still a board member for Christ Community Church. Mr. Williams replied yes. Comm. Kerger further asked if it is the intent of the church to open its facility to other denominations. Mr. Williams replied that Pastor Steinhart would answer her question.
David Steinhart – Pastor of Christ Community Church San Ramon stated that he is in favor of the project and feels the expansion of the church would be a benefit to the community. The church would provide a Youth Group, and Junior High gatherings where children could go after school.
Comm. Kerger asked Pastor Steinhart if all denominations would be together at one time. Pastor Steinhart replied no and that all three denominations meet on Sunday at different times. Comm. Kerger further asked if any activities occur during the week. Pastor Steinhart replied yes.
Vice Chair Sachs asked for clarification that in addition to Sundays would the church be used during the week for youth groups and junior high school after schoolwork groups. Pastor Steinhart replied the use would be limited and based on the parking agreement.
Daryl Grijalva – San Ramon stated that he is not opposed to a new medical building or the church. Mr. Grijalva further stated that the project is tastefully designed and has been accepted by the neighbors. Mr. Grijalva added that the poles did not accurately simulate the height of the church. Mr. Grijalva further added that the height of the church impacts their view and will have an impact of their property value.
Catherine Grijalva - San Ramon stated that she is opposed to the project. Ms. Grijalva added with the church expansion it would increase church activities, which will increase the noise level. Ms. Grijalva further added that the size of the church building would have an impact on her view.
Vice Chair Sachs asked Ms. Grijalva to be specific if she prefers additional trees to screen her view of the church. Ms. Grijalva replied that the project does not fit the community and would obstruct her view. Mr. Grijalva added they would consider additional trees and a wall should the project move forward.
Comm. Kerger asked Ms. Grijalva what would make the project palatable to her. Ms. Grijalva replied not to be impacted by the height of the church building that will be blocking her views of the hills.
Tamara Battino - San Ramon did not speak. Chair O’Loane read her speaker card into the record stating that she is against the project.
Tib Csabai - San Ramon stated that he is against the project. Mr. Csabai further stated that he feels the project does not fit in with the community. Mr. Csabai also stated that his home value would decline.
Angela Mooney - Walnut Creek stated she is in favor of the proposed project. Ms. Mooney further stated that she is a member of Christ Community Church and the proposed project would be an asset to the community and after school programs.
Comm. Kerger asked how many children were currently enrolled in after school programs. Ms. Mooney replied 12-14. Comm. Kerger further asked if 12-14 children attended daily. Ms. Mooney replied Friday evenings only.
Richard Perez - San Ramon stated that he is favor of the proposed project. Mr. Perez further stated that Christ Community Church has helped his family on many occasions.
Lynn Mottram - San Ramon stated that he is favor of the proposed project. Mr. Mottram further stated that the church has had positive influences on the community. Mr. Mottram added that San Ramon has very few church buildings for its population.
Comm. Kerger asked Mr. Mottram if he was a member of the Board of Directors for the church. Mr. Mottram replied yes. Comm. Kerger further asked Mr. Mottram that if Trumark Commercial is not involved could the church continue with the proposed project. Mr. Mottram replied no.
Mark Gullapalli - San Ramon stated that he is in favor of the proposed project. Mr. Gullapalli added that the church would be an asset to the community.
Aldo Battino - San Ramon stated that he is not effected by the project but is against the proposed project because of the massive size.
Ralph Gradney - San Ramon stated he is against the proposed project. Mr. Gradney added that the limited concessions made by the applicants are insignificant and do not adequately address the concerns of the Vista San Ramon residents.
Comm. Kerger asked Mr. Gradney if the medical building is located behind his home. Mr. Gradney replied yes. Comm. Kerger further asked Mr. Gradney how the proposed project could become palatable. Mr. Gradney added that the proposed wall does not fit the surrounding area and that the story poles are 25 feet closer to his property line.
Chair O’Loane asked Mr. Gradney what was the distance from his fence line to the proposed project. Mr. Gradney replied 150 feet. Chair O’Loane further asked what was the distance from his home. Mr. Gradney replied 180 feet.
Glen Denny – San Ramon stated that he is against the project and that it is too large and does not benefit the community. Mr. Denny further stated that the proposed 36-inch box trees would not completely block the view of the building.
Chair O’Loane stated that the trees Trumark Commercial is proposing to plant would screen the medical building. Mr. Denny replied the trees proposed are Redwood trees and mixture of small trees, which would not completely screen the building. Mr. Denny further expressed his concerns about parking.
Comm. Kerger asked Mr. Denny what he would like to see changed. Mr. Denny replied reduce the scope and add more trees to screen the views of the buildings. Comm. Kerger further asked Mr. Denny how many meetings he had attended with Trumark Commercial. Mr. Denny replied he had attended all of the meetings, which were very unproductive.
Comm. Wallis asked Mr. Denny for clarification if he wanted trees to be planted in front of the building or along his fence. Mr. Denny replied he would like to see multi-level screening similar to Bishop Ranch landscaping. Comm. Wallis commented that Mr. Denny had referred to breaking up the building into smaller units and if this would occur, you would have the same visual impacts. Mr. Denny replied no because they would be similar to the surrounding building structures.
Irene Gullapalli – San Ramon stated that she is in favor of the proposed project. Ms. Gullapalli added that her children have received an excellent education from the church.
Don Kowalski – San Ramon stated that San Ramon Regional Medical Center is not endorsing the project. Mr. Kowalski added the medical building does not fit with the surrounding building structures. Mr. Kowalski added his concerns about the traffic impacts on Alcosta Blvd. Mr. Kowalski also added that having a medical building would impact the hospital. Mr. Kowalski further added that the church building is massive and is concerned about the church being built and not having enough parishioners attending.
Lynn Wheeler – Danville stated that she is in favor of the proposed project and feels it would be a benefit to the community.
Bob Wheeler – Danville stated that he is in favor of the proposed project and would be a benefit to the community.
Jiwon Ha – San Ramon stated he is the secretary of Bethel Korean Church and is in favor of the proposed project. Mr. Ha further stated that Christ Community Church has always been accommodating when they needed space.
Hengki Tjahjadi – San Ramon Pastor of the Indonesian Community Church stated he is in favor of the proposed project.
Jessica Roseman – addressed the concerns of the residents and stated that without a proper property appraisal declining property values could not be taken into account. Ms. Roseman further stated that Cornerstone did a geotechnical report and the existing landslide would be repaired.
Comm. Kerger expressed her concerns about the landslide and added that she had not seen any geotechnical information or a report. Debbie Chamberlain Planning Manager replied that the Mitigated Negative Declaration described the geotechnical aspects of the project.
Ms. Roseman stated that there were concerns about the distance to the property line from the Trumark building. Ms. Roseman further stated that the closet house from the Trumark building is 162 feet. Ms. Roseman added that Trumark Commercial had been involved with the neighbors from the beginning and to state that Trumark had not been involved with the neighbors was an unfair statement. Ms. Roseman added because the property is a very steep hillside Trumark Commercial cannot build small buildings. Ms. Roseman also added that Trumark Commercial is not comparable to Bishop Ranch. Bishop Ranch leases out office space and with the proposed project, doctors will have the opportunity to purchase their space. Ms. Roseman added that heavy landscape has been added to the project to screen the view of the building. Ms. Roseman further added that Trumark Commercial and Church of the Nazarene are working as a partnership and have developed an association, which will be responsible for maintaining the landscaping. Ms. Roseman also added the trees which are being planted are 36-inch box trees which can grow up to 18 inches a year.
Chair O’Loane asked Ms. Roseman how far apart the trees are being planted. Ms. Roseman replied 10 feet on center and they are 6 feet wide.
Vice Chair Sachs stated that the back entrance to the medical building is heavily landscaped. Ms. Roseman replied to soften the back entrance to the building Trumark Commercial decided to increase the landscape. Vice Chair Sachs expressed his concerns about the potential problem with parking as the church grows and with the medical building at full occupancy. Ms. Roseman replied that the parking analysis conducted took into account the peak times. Ms. Roseman added that they have estimated that the peak times will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and that the medical offices will have the most visitors. Ms. Roseman further added that there should not be any concern for potential parking problems and that the church would conduct their activities after 7:00 p.m. and on the weekends. Vice Chair Sachs stated that it was his understanding that the church would not only be holding activities in the evening hours but on the weekends and during the week as well. Ms. Roseman replied that Trumark Commercial and the church have negotiated a parking agreement that allows utilizing a certain amount of parking spaces.
Chair O’Loane asked Mr. Barr how parking concerns have been remediated in the past. Mr. Barr replied with off-site parking or restricted schedules. Mr. Barr further added that if a parking remediation plan is required that Trumark Commercial would be required to submit a plan to resolve the parking problem, which would be subject to the Zoning Administrator’s review.
Vice Chair Sachs asked if the “wings” of the building were to be reduced how many parking spaces could be added. Comm. Wallis replied 229. Ms. Roseman replied that the size of the building has been reduced to its capacity and Trumark Commercial is asking for a parking variance and if there was a problem a plan would be in place to resolve the issue.
Chair O’Loane asked Ms. Chamberlain if the parking for the medical office was based on if the doctors were specialist or general practitioner. Ms. Chamberlain replied the city’s parking standards for medical office do not differentiate between the two.
Vice Chair Sachs added that adding more trees to the front portion of the building should be considered. Ms. Roseman replied that adding more trees to the front of the building would reduce the number of parking spaces.
Paul Reed – Reed Associates Landscape Architecture stated that the trees located on the upper portion are on the same level as if they were against the building.
Comm. Wallis asked Mr. Reed that if trees were planted in front of the medical building would the roots damage the foundation. Mr. Reed replied yes.
Chair O’Loane asked Mr. Reed if the section of trees he was referring to would screen the medical building within five years. Mr. Reed replied yes.
Fred Hull – Church of the Nazarene addressed the concerns of the residents and stated that the story poles were set by a licensed engineer. Mr. Hull further stated that there was discussion about the footprint of the church being large. Mr. Hull added that significant changes were made by removing the entire second floor of phase two. Mr. Hull also added that the proposed medical office building is the only building in San Ramon that has a non-competitive agreement with San Ramon Regional Medical Center. Mr. Hull further added that he has had meetings with Mr. Gary Sloan CEO of San Ramon Regional Medical Center and was encouraged to proceed with the medical office building because of the need for additional office space to support the hospital. Mr. Hull also added that he does not have any concerns with the parking and that the Church and Trumark Commercial have a parking agreement. Mr. Hull further added that the landslide on the property would be repaired when the site was developed.
Vice Chair Sachs asked Mr. Hull what is the square footage of the multi-room. Mr. Hull replied 5,700 square feet. Vice Chair Sachs further asked what the multi-room would be used for. Mr. Hull replied it would be used for a large fellowship hall where dinners could be held. Vice Chair Sachs added what other options does the church have to decrease the square footage of the multi- room to avoid backing up to the resident’s backyard. Mr. Hull replied the footage was decreased by half with removing the upper floor.
Chair O’Loane asked how far is the fence line to the building. Mr. Hull replied 20 feet from the wall.
Vice Chair Sachs added by reducing the square footage off the multi-use room and pushing the building further back would reduce the impact on the Grijalva’s view. Mr. Hull added that the church is proposing to plant 36-inch box redwood trees. Vice Chair Sachs asked how tall will the trees be? Mr. Reed replied 18 feet tall and the trees grow about 18 inches per year.
Vice Chair Sachs further added that the neighbors were not amenable to a wall and that he would like to see a continuous wall. Mr. Reed added that Boston ivy could be planted to cover the wall. Vice Chair Sachs asked Mr. Hull when the construction of phase two would begin. Mr. Hull replied in ten years.
Chair O’Loane closed the public hearing.
Comm. Wallis expressed his concerns about potential for inadequate parking and the parking agreement between Trumark Commercial and Church of the Nazarene.
Comm. Kerger asked if valet parking would affect San Ramon Regional Medical Center driveway. Ms. Roseman replied no.
Chair O’Loane asked Mr. Barr for suggestions on parking agreement language. Mr. Barr replied that staff will work with the applicant to develop conditions of approval that relate to the shared parking agreement, term of review, valet parking, and adjustment to schedules should all be considered. Any plans to solve the parking problems would require Zoning Administrator approval prior to acceptance.
Chair O’Loane asked how the Planning Commissioners felt about phase two to start in ten years. Comm. Kerger added that she was aware it would not have to return to Planning Commission.
Ms. Chamberlain replied that phase two would not require further approval. It could be conditioned to return to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) for review. Vice Chair Sachs asked Ms. Chamberlain if a condition could be added to have the church return before phase two begins construction. Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.
Comm. Wallis asked what guidelines for approval are. Ms. Chamberlain replied that primarily the aesthetics of the building and how it blends with the approved church and the character of the community. Comm. Wallis clarified if the Architectural Review process would have the Planning Commission approving the current size and location Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.
Phil Wong stated that the church is looking for a certainty so they can work with Trumark Commercial and without phase two, the church may not proceed.
Comm. Kerger asked why does phase two of the project needs to be part of the approval. Mr. Hull replied that the church would like to have some kind of consensual approval of phase two.
Mr. Hull further added that any architectural concerns can be added as a condition.
Comm. Wallis asked for clarification on what the Planning Commission is required to do and on what basis. Ms. Chamberlain replied that the Planning Commission would approve the project in its entirety, which would include phase two. Ms. Chamberlain added that when phase two would be constructed the Planning Commission could revisit the architecture of the building including, potential setbacks.
Chair O’Loane asked for clarification why steps were located in the back of the building. Mr. Hull replied that the purpose for the steps is basically security for the building and being able to get to the back of the property without going around the building.
Comm. Kerger asked what kind of lighting was being used. Mr. Hull replied they will be using bollard lighting which lights the steps and stairs and not the walls. This will prevent of light shining into the neighbor’s homes.
It was motioned by Vice Chair Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Wallis that staff prepare conditions per discussion and points raised to March 2, 2010.
AYES: Comms. Sachs, Kerger, Wallis and Chair O’Loane
9. PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEMS -None-
10. NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS -None-
11. STUDY SESSION/COMMISSIONER LIAISON REPORT AND INTEREST ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS.
Respectively Submitted, Luisa Willnecker