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MINUTES OF THE
PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING
December 7, 2010

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission, City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Sachs at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 7, 2010 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.

ROLL CALL

Present:          Comms. Benedetti, Viers, Wallis, Vice Chair Kerger, Chair Sachs

Absent             None            

Staff:              Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain; Division Manager; Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner; Alicia Poon, Deputy City attorney; Luisa Amerigo, Recording Secretary

Audience:     8

 1.        CALL TO ORDER                    

 2.        ROLL CALL

 3.        PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE           

 4.        PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

 5.        ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS           

 6.        CONSENT CALENDAR
6.1 Minutes from the November 16, 2010 meeting. Approved as corrected

7.         CONTINUED ITEMS AFTER CLOSING OF PUBLIC HEARING -None-

8.         CONTINUED ITEMS – OPEN PUBLIC HEARING-None-                     

9.         PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEMS
9.1   Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Air Quality Monitoring Station at Devil Mountain Nursery – 9885 Alcosta Boulevard (LUP 10-500-004) Staff Report by: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner

Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto gave a brief PowerPoint presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting a land use permit to establish an unmanned air quality monitoring station at Devil Mountain Nursery. Mr. Tsukamoto stated that the proposed air quality monitoring station would be located in the southwestern guardant of the Devil Mountain Nursery adjacent to San Ramon Golf Club.  Mr. Tsukamoto further stated that the proposed facility would consist of a 35-ft tall steel lattice tower with a wind sensor at the top; and a 7-ft wide by 16-ft long and 9-ft tall trailer to house the equipment and to anchor two 20-ft tall air-sampling probes. Mr. Tsukamoto added that the electrical power would be brought in from an existing power pole within 100 feet of the project site on the PG&E property, and the phone line would be connected at the existing nursery office within the same property for transmitting the data through the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).  Mr. Tsukamoto also added that the proposed air quality monitoring station would have minimal visual impact to the nearby residences and not be visible from the adjacent streets due to its size and location.

Vice Chair Kerger commented that five residents’ were concerned about the visibility of the proposed monitoring station and only four residents were noted in the staff report and asked who the fifth resident was. Mr. Tsukamoto replied that the applicant would be able to address her question.

Comm. Benedetti stated that the equipment trailer would not generate more than 60 decibels (dB) and asked what would be the source of the noise. Mr. Tsukamoto replied that the noise source is internal to the equipment trailer. Comm. Benedetti asked Mr. Tsukamoto if the equipment trailer is acoustically constructed.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied that the applicant would be able to address her question.

Comm. Viers asked Mr. Tsukamoto if the Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) was located underground. Mr. Tsukamoto replied yes.  Comm. Viers further asked for clarification on the camouflage colors.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied that the applicant, prior to issuance of building permits, would submit color samples to Planning Services for review and approval to ensure the trailer colors are compatible with the surrounding area.

Ann Welsh representing Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) stated that the site was chosen because it meets the strict guidelines established by BAAQMD for sitting monitoring stations. Ms. Welsh further stated that draft conditions were discussed with BAAQMD and PG&E and all draft conditions were acceptable with the exception of painting the trailer. Ms. Welsh also stated that the trailer intended to be used for this site is white with a finish, which cannot be painted.  Ms. Welsh added that she has spoken with PG&E and they are not in favor of adding fencing around the trailer but proposed to have the nursery add potted plants along the fence area. Ms. Welsh also added that the project has a public benefit that will help the City to establish a specific air quality baseline to quantify the air quality improvement efforts in the years to come. Without the proposed air monitoring station in San Ramon, the air quality baseline would be established with the data gathered at nearby monitoring stations such as Livermore or Concord, which might not accurately reflect the City’s air quality.  Ms. Welsh stated that the fifth person who had contacted her was Mr. John Bush whose concerns were the impact the air quality monitoring district standards for Spare the Air and limiting the use of fireplaces.

Vice Chair Kerger asked where the closest monitoring stations were located. Ms. Welsh replied Livermore and Concord. Vice Chair Kerger further asked what are the distance requirements between monitoring stations.  Ms. Welsh replied that Eric Stevenson from BAAQMD would be able to address her question.

Comm. Benedetti asked what would be the source of the noise and how long would the trailer be at the proposed location. Ms. Welsh replied that Eric Stevenson would be able to address her question. 

Vice Chair Kerger asked what are the distance requirements between monitoring stations. Eric Stevenson, Director of Technical Services for Bay Area Air Quality Management District stated that there is no set standard.The monitoring station locations are selected based on the gap in data collection. There is a substantial data gap in the I-680 corridor and the district found that the propose location in San Ramon would be the best location to close this data gap.

Vice Chair Kerger stated that BAAQMD prefers not to paint the trailer and asked Mr. Stevenson what kind of material the trailer is constructed from. Mr. Stevenson replied that the trailer is made from a Mylar white board material and the paint would not adhere very well. Vice Chair Kerger further asked if monthly maintenance occurs. Mr. Stevenson replied that routine maintenance is done weekly to ensure that the equipment is operating properly.

Comm. Benedetti asked Mr. Stevenson what would be the source of noise. Mr. Stevenson replied noise from fans and pumps located inside the trailer. Comm. Benedetti asked if the noise level from the fans and pumps could be heard from outside. Mr. Stevenson replied no.

Comm. Benedetti further asked if the trailer is intended to be permanent. Mr. Stevenson replied that the intent is to remain at this location as long as the data provides value, which is a minimum of three to ten years. Comm. Benedetti also asked Mr. Stevenson what are the benefits of a monitoring station in San Ramon.   Mr. Stevenson replied that the main purpose of this particular station is to identify the compounds that lend themselves to the creation of ozone also provide information on secondary formation of particulate matter and airflow on the I-680 corridor. Mr. Stevenson added that it does not measure Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the area

Comm. Wallis asked Mr. Stevenson how the height of the tower was determined. Mr. Stevenson replied that the tower has a wind sensor at the top to measure the airflow. The proposed 35 feet is a minimum height to ensure that the air flow is unobstructed by homes, trees, rooflines and other structures, and to gather accurate air quality information.

Comm. Viers asked if the Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) was located underground. Mr. Stevenson replied yes.  Comm. Viers further asked if the monitoring station is able to determine when other air particles are flowing from other communities into San Ramon.  Mr. Stevenson replied yes.

Chair Sachs stated that PG&E is not in favor of adding a fence along the perimeter of the trailer and asked about the standards for security. Mr. Stevenson replied that the trailer has a lock and that security issues were discussed with  PG&E. Mr. Stevenson added that monitoring stations are located throughout the Bay Area and they have not had seen any vandalism. If it were to occur, extra security would be added. Chair Sachs asked if the trailer was alarmed. Mr. Stevenson replied no.  

Chair Sachs stated that the City is in the process of adopting a Climate Action Plan (CAP) and how the monitoring station would help establish these efforts. Mr. Stevenson replied that compounds would be measured such as nitrogen (N2) and ozone concentration and BAAQMD would be able to compile annual averages to monitor increase and decreases in the air.  Chair Sachs asked Mr. Stevenson if alternative sites were considered. Mr. Stevenson replied I-680 corridor has many topographical changes and it is difficult to identity an area where the airflow is not influenced by mountains or valley regions. Mr. Stevenson added that out of the three sites being considered two were unsuitable and the proposed site met all the criteria.

Chair Sachs opened the public hearing.

Jim Gibbon – San Ramon stated that if PG&E is not in favor of painting the trailer that a condition be added for landscaping to camouflage the trailer. Mr. Gibbon added that a different location be considered because PG&E substation and organic compounds being moved by the nursery would interfere with the equipment and not generate accurate readings. Mr. Gibbon further added that solar power be considered to power the trailer

Sandy Barclay - San Ramon stated she was not pleased with the site which BAAQMD had chosen for the trailer. She added that the landscaping along the PG&E corridor needs to be completed.

Christa Freihofner - San Ramon representing South San Ramon Neighborhood Association stated a different location needs to be considered and that the monitoring station should not be in a residential area. Ms. Freihofner added that the tower is visible to residents and should be screened.

Chair Sachs asked Mr. Stevenson if other monitoring station sites are located in residential areas. Mr. Stevenson replied that a majority of BAAQMD stations are located in mixed-use communities and retail areas. Chairs Sachs asked for clarification on the location of the monitoring station equipment in the retail areas. Mr. Stevenson replied that BAAQMD rents space within the building and mounts the probes.  Chair Sachs further asked if a 35-ft tower were located at other sites.  Mr. Stevenson replied yes. Chair Sachs also asked Mr. Stevenson if BAAQMD is leasing the property at the proposed location.  Mr. Stevenson replied yes. Chair Sachs further asked Mr. Stevenson if BAAQMD explored leasing space at various retail locations. Mr. Stevenson replied that BAAQMD had explored other areas and part of the problem was as they approach I-680 the measurements become dwarfed by the traffic.

Chair Sachs asked Mr. Stevenson if Dougherty Valley was considered.  Mr. Stevenson replied that he is was not familiar with the Dougherty Valley area. Mr. Stevenson added that BAAQMD also looked at the Walnut Creek and the Alamo area. Chair Sachs added if there was any validity in the comments made from the public on accurate readings. Mr. Stevenson replied that all of their instrumentation is shielded against radio frequencies and electromagnetic interface.

Chair Sachs asked Mr. Stevenson if additional screening can be added to camouflage the white trailer. Mr. Stevenson replied that BAAQMD would work with PG&E and the nursery to purchase more tress so the neighborhood is not visually impacted.

Comm. Benedetti asked rather  than camouflaging the trailer if a condition was to be placed to use trees to shield the equipment trailer would that be acceptable.  Mr. Stevenson replied yes.

Vice Chair Kerger asked if the equipment trailer was insulated. Mr. Stevenson replied yes.  Vice Chair Kerger added that she is not in favor of the white color trailer and would prefer to see the trailer be screened. Mr. Stevenson added that he would investigate what types of coating could be applied to the trailer.

Comm. Wallis asked for clarification on Vice Chair Kerger comments and asked if she was requesting that language be added to screen the equipment trailer. Vice Chair Kerger replied yes.

Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain clarified the conditions of approval and recommended the Planning Commission consider adding a condition that would require submitting a landscaping plan for the southern property line prior to issuance of a building permit.  Ms. Chamberlain added that the applicant would have to explore alternate colors for the equipment trailer

Comm. Viers commented that the landscaping along the PG&E corridor needs to be installed as funds become available.

Ms. Chamberlain added that Planning Services would address the concerns of Ms. Freihofner and Ms. Barclay to the Public Works Director and see if the installation can be expedited. 

Chair Sachs asked if the Landscaping and Lighting funds could be used to improve the PG&E corridor. Planning Director Phil Wong replied that the Assessment District requires any funds collected be spent in that District.

hair Sachs added that alterative sites should be considered for future telecommunication equipment in the area.

It was moved by Commissioner Viers and seconded by Commissioner Wallis that the Planning Commission approves LUP 10-500-004 authorizing Bay Area Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to establish an unmanned air quality monitoring station and adopt Resolution No. 14-10 with Conditions of Approval as amended including landscape screening and explore an alternative  color for the equipment trailer, as amended

AYES:       Comms. Viers, Wallis, Benedetti, Vice Chair Kerger, Chair Sachs

NOES:       None

ABSTAIN:   None  

ABSENT:    None

10NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS - None-
                                                                                                                           

11. STUDY SESSION/COMMISSIONER LIAISON REPORT AND INTEREST ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS.  

Chair Sachs asked if public comment was required as part of a study session. Mr. Wong replied no, and generally, it would be part of a workshop. Chair Sachs asked Deputy City Attorney Alicia Poon to review and report back. Chair Sachs also suggested a study session with the Parks and Community Service and other City Committees participated in the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan.  

12.  ADJOURNMENT There being no further discussion, Chair Sachs adjourned the meeting at
8:35 p.m.

Respectively Submitted, Luisa Amerigo


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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