Planning Commission Minutes
MINUTES OF THE
February 15, 2011
A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Sachs at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 15, 2011 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.
Present: Comms. Benedetti, Viers, Wallis, Vice Chair Kerger, Chair Sachs
Staff: Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain; Division Manager; Lauren Barr, Senior Planner; Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner; Cindy Yee, Associate Planner; Alicia Poon, Deputy City Attorney; Debbie Hince, Recording Secretary
1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
4. PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
Dave Hudson, Chair of County Connection, gave a brief review of the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority that is a joint power agency of 11 jurisdictions. This agency services an area of approximately 200 square miles, 482,000 people, 3.5 million trips a year on 132 fully accessible buses, all equipped with bicycle racks, 63 passenger vans for Para-transit, and contract services for Bishop Ranch Business Park, Chevron USA, Galaxy Office Park, Concord Airport Plaza, St. Mary’s College, and JFK University in Pleasant Hill.
5. ADDITIONS AND REVISIONS
6. CONSENT CALENDAR
6.1 Resolution No. 01-11 – Recommending City Council approval of General Plan Amendment (GPA 09-400-002) to change the land use designation of the El Nido Property (project site) from “Parks” to “Medium-Density” Residential.
Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager, Planning Services stated there are corrections to Resolution No. 01-11 that need to be made prior to approval. The item passed unanimously, as amended.
7. CONTINUED ITEMS AFTER CLOSING OF PUBLIC HEARING
8. CONTINUED ITEMS – OPEN PUBLIC HEARING
9. PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEMS
9.1 Planning the City’s Future – The General Plan 2030 (Update to the General Plan 2020) (GPA 09-400-001) and Proposed Climate Action Plan. Staff Report by: Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager, Planning Services.
Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager, provided a PowerPoint presentation depicting the proposed changes to the General Plan 2020.
Chair Sachs asked for clarification of the residential numbers and if they are projections.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that this is in anticipation of how the City will grow based on the land use patterns in the General Plan and regional housing allocation needs provided from ABAG.
Commissioner Benedetti questioned that between the General Plan 2020 and General Plan 2030 the City is only adding 60 units.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that was correct and that the horizon year is being extended by 10 years to 2030.
Ms. Chamberlain explained the growth potential for the NCRSP including the addition of 168,000 sq. ft. over the General Plan 2020 and an additional 376 residential units over General Plan 2030 update baseline year.
Commissioner Benedetti questioned if the 376 units were only in the specific plan area.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that the additional 376 units are part of a separate and independent EIR for the NCRSP area.
Chair Sachs asked for clarification on the Housing Element adopted in 2009 in that the 1,124 units projected for the NCRSP were opportunity sites, and that there was no guarantee of build-out.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that was correct.
Chair Sachs stated that the General Plan 2030 includes language identifying the North Camino Ramon Planning Area and the proposed zoning changes for mixed-use. The language allows the City to create a specific plan but no specific plan is currently being adopted.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that this was correct and that the General Plan gives the City the ability to create a Specific Plan.
Ms. Chamberlain explained that the General Plan 2020 included grading exceptions for certain properties within the UGB including a minor ridgeline on the Laborer’s Union property in the Westside Specific Plan area which was intended to correspond to the portion of the property within the UGB designated for development as Hillside Residential by the General Plan 2020. During development of the General Plan 2020 the ridgeline outside the UGB designated as Open Space was incorrectly identified as the ridgeline that may be altered. The purpose of this correction is to rectify a mapping error from the General Plan 2020, that incorrectly designated the ridgeline west of the Laborer’s property and outside the UGB as the ridgeline that may be altered with development of the property to accurately reflect the guidance of the General Plan Review Commission (GPRC).
Ms. Chamberlain gave a brief summary on the Climate Action Plan questions brought up at the February joint meeting with City Council, including charging stations and the benefit of new and existing development.
Chair Sachs opened the Public Hearing.
Jodi Bailey of Save Mount Diablo requested that all references to development in the Tassajara Valley be removed from the document. Ms. Bailey stated that General Plan 2020 has a policy in place to require a Habitat Protection Plan and that the current language states that it may be required. Ms. Bailey said that these are preliminary comments and that further comments will be submitted in the future.
Commissioner Kerger asked Ms. Bailey if Save Mount Diablo has been to the Town of Danville regarding the New Farm Project that is also in Tassajara Valley.
Ms. Bailey stated that she personally has not been at that meeting and cannot speak to what may have been said by other members of Save Mount Diablo.
Chair Sachs asked Ms. Bailey if the Urban Growth Boundary was the primary focus in their involvement in the Measure W election.
Ms. Bailey stated that she recently has been added to the staff and she cannot speak to the history of how Save Mount Diablo was involved in Measure W.
Chair Sachs asked Ms. Bailey if Save Mount Diablo was in favor of Smart Growth and in-fill development where applicable.
Ms. Bailey stated that was correct.
Chair Sachs asked Ms. Bailey about the western hillsides and to clarify Save Mount Diablo’s position on the 30-acre adjustment of the UGB allowed by the County.
Ms. Bailey stated that Save Mount Diablo would like the City to keep it at a 25-acre adjustment only.
Commissioner Wallis asked Ms. Bailey if Save Mount Diablo is in favor of the County’s Urban Limit Line on the west side of San Ramon.
Ms. Bailey stated that she could not answer that question but would be happy to get back to the Commission.
Commissioner Wallis stated that he would like an answer by the next meeting.
Carlos Soria of Toyota Motor Sales USA asked that the City consider Toyota’s future in the City and its 200 employees. Toyota would reach size capacity in 2015 and would like to expand in San Ramon. Mr. Soria stated that Toyota is against the rezoning in the NCRSP area.
Commissioner Kerger asked if Toyota had submitted any plans for expansion.
Mr. Soria stated that Toyota had not submitted an application. Mr. Soria stated that the Planning Department has informed Toyota that they would not support the expansion.
Commissioner Benedetti asked if a formal application had been submitted to staff for consideration. Ms. Benedetti stated that the City is pro-business and always considers applications in the best interest of the City and businesses.
Mr. Soria stated that he received a letter from Marc Fontes stating that the City could not support expansion because the City has a significant unmet demand for retail in the NCRSP area.
Commissioner Kerger corrected Mr. Soria in that Economic Development is not part of the Planning Department.
Commissioner Wallis asked Mr. Soria what was the land use designation for Toyota.
Mr. Soria stated that there are two designations on the property currently – 1) 8 acres are very high density residential and 2) the balance is manufacturing/warehouse.
Commissioner Wallis asked if the residential designation was placed on the property in 2002.
Mr. Soria stated that was correct.
Chair Sachs asked Mr. Soria if Toyota was prepared to submit an application to the Planning staff and stated that the Toyota property is an opportunity site for high density residential. Chair Sachs also asked how many Toyota employees live in San Ramon.
Mr. Soria stated that Toyota is not prepared to submit at this time. He was also unsure as to how many Toyota employees live in San Ramon.
Commissioner Wallis asked if the warehouse expansion would require a General Plan Amendment to change the designation.
Mr. Soria stated that was correct to return the 8 acres to Manufacturing/Warehouse designation
Commissioner Benedetti asked Mr. Soria if Toyota wanted to expand their warehouse but also build residential.
Mr. Soria stated that Toyota absolutely does not want to build residential.
Don Carlson of Toyota Motor Sales USA stated that Mr. Soria had covered all his concerns and deferred his comments.
Sandy Barclay, San Ramon Resident, stated that she supported Toyota’s expansion.
Bill Newman, Tassajara Valley Resident, stated that he would like to drop the language allowing cemeteries in the Tassajara Valley. Mr. Newman suggested that this designation apply to all City lands designated Open Space and be included as an Implementing Policy in Section 4.6, Land use.
Commissioner Kerger stated that she appreciated Mr. Newman’s comments and that he suggested another place to put this language in the General Plan.
Commissioner Wallis stated that the issue of zoning for a cemetery in the Eastside Specific Plan was part of the original General Plan 2020 and passed in 2002.
Jim Blickenstaff, San Ramon resident and member of the Mt. Diablo Sierra Club, stated if the City is significantly altering the General Plan 2020 without a ballot measure is crossing a line and becomes a legal issue. Mr. Blickenstaff stated that the defeat of Measure W rejected the NCRSP and the Laborer’s Camp ridgeline alteration.
Commissioner Wallis asked Mr. Blickenstaff if there was a particular provision in the San Ramon City Charter or the California Government Code that he thinks provides support to the idea that a General Plan Amendment, like the one the City is proposing, would require a City vote.
Mr. Blickenstaff stated that he does not know of any particular provision; however, he will have answers by the next meeting.
Commissioner Kerger stated that the General Plan updates are mandated by the State of California.
Chair Sachs stated by State law the City is allowed up to four (4) General Plan Amendments per year. Chair Sachs asked Mr. Blickenstaff if Mt. Diablo Sierra Club is supportive of Smart Growth and in-fill Development.
Mr. Blickenstaff stated that they are supportive of Smart Growth and in-fill development as it saves Open Space.
Chair Sachs asked Mr. Blickenstaff for his comments on what type of protections would have to be in place to incorporate the western hillsides.
Mr. Blickenstaff stated that the western hillside is a complex issue because of entitlements that already are in place and acted upon by the County.
Jim Gibbon, San Ramon resident, stated that the Laborer’s Camp is described in Figure 8 and nowhere else in the General Plan, and that the ridge was not originally included in the City’s UGB. Mr. Gibbon stated that the numbers for the housing and population are inconsistent between the General Plan 2020 and General Plan 2030.
Commissioner Wallis asked Mr. Gibbon if the ridgeline at the Laborer’s Camp is outside of the Urban Growth Boundary.
Mr. Gibbon stated that was correct as it is currently depicted on the map (Figure 8) throughout the General Plan.
Chair Sachs asked Mr. Gibbon if the City has an unmet need for affordable housing.
Mr. Gibbon stated that was correct and that the City needs more very low and low-income housing. Mr. Gibbon suggested that the City build 3,000 low and moderate income housing in the NCRSP area and reduce the square footage of the commercial aspect of the project.
Chair Sachs asked staff to clarify what the additional square footage that is being proposed in the NCRSP area that would be non-housing.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that it is 168,000 square feet.
Commissioner Wallis asked if this in addition to what is already there or what is programmed for the area.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that this number is programmed in the proposed General Plan update.
Mr. Gibbon asked if there was some provision in the Bishop Ranch CC&R’s that precludes residential in the area.
Phil Wong, Planning/Community Development Director, stated that the City Center project has 487 housing units and is within Bishop Ranch.
Chair Sachs asked Mr. Gibbon if he was supportive of building a vision in the NCRSP area.
Mr. Gibbon stated that NCRSP needs to be built on community consensus.
Roz Rogoff, San Ramon resident, asked about the Toyota expansion plans and stated that according to planning documents, Toyota had submitted an application.
Mr. Wong stated that Toyota had received approval by the Planning Commission for expansion of their office and training facilities.
Ms. Rogoff asked if any zoning changes have to be in the General Plan, including the Toyota property.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that we are only proposing now to change the General Plan designation for the NCRSP area. Twenty percent is currently designated mixed-use from the voter approved General Plan 2020. The General Plan 2020 Update is proposing to change just the General Plan designation, not the zoning designation. The zoning change, if the General Plan is approved, would then be included as part of the development of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan.
Chair Sachs asked if parcels within the NCRSP area would be addressed with regard to their zoning in the specific plan.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that was correct.
Ms. Rogoff asked how the other properties are zoned in this area, i.e. UPS, 24-hour Fitness, etc.
Chair Sachs stated that they are currently zoned manufacturing/warehouse.
Herb Moniz, City Manager and San Ramon resident, stated that there seems to be confusion between general planning and zoning and felt that there should be a discussion to clarify the difference. Mr. Moniz stated that the City has not turned down Toyota in the past, and that the City is pro- business and resident sensitive.
Chair Sachs suggested that Mr. Soria meet with Mr. Moniz and the Planning Staff.
Chair Sachs closed the public hearing.
It was moved by Vice Chair Kerger and seconded by Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission continue GPA 09-400-001 and Proposed Climate Action Plan to the next meeting of the Planning Commission on March 1, 2011.
AYES: Vice Chair Kerger, Comms. Benedetti, Viers, Wallis, Chair Sachs
9.2 San Ramon Sports (LUP 11-500-001 & VAR 11-320-001) Staff Report by: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner.
Chair Sachs read correspondence from Mr. John Penna stating that he has withdrawn the request to sell beer and wine from the current application.
Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner, provided a PowerPoint presentation on the proposed changes for San Ramon Sports. Mr. Tsukamoto also stated that there are no parking spaces being removed from the parking lot just the number of required spaces are being reduced. The parking analysis conducted showed that during peak hours on weekdays (4 – 6 p.m.) and weekends (10-11 a.m.) that parking lot capacity was at 70-76%, showing the 270 spaces appears to be adequate. Mr. Tsukamoto further stated that there would be 1-year and 5-year monitoring of the parking as part of the conditions of approval.
Commissioner Kerger asked if the applicant still wishes to stay open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Mr. Tsukamoto stated that was correct.
Commissioner Wallis asked if the demand for parking would be higher during the summer months when the children are out of school.
Mr. Tsukamoto explained that one of the conditions of approval is for the applicant and property owner to monitor the parking demands throughout the next 12 months. By the end of the 12-month period, they would need to provide the City with a report on the parking use throughout the year. If there were any discrepancy or need for additional parking spaces, the City would ask the property owner to apply for a Development Plan Amendment to construct 14 additional parking spaces.
Commissioner Wallis asked if the Use Permit is conditioned upon having adequate parking, as determined by the City.
Mr. Tsukamoto stated that was correct.
Ms. Chamberlain further stated that Condition of Approval #3 allows the project to be brought back before the Commission for review if there are any ongoing problems with the parking.
Chair Sachs opened the public hearing.
John Penna, owner San Ramon Sports, provided an overview of how his facility operates. Mr. Penna further stated that he has had requests for use of the facility after hours and is requesting the additional open hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Commissioner Benedetti asked where the main entrance would be located and if there is access to a parking lot on the northeast corner near this entrance.
Mr. Penna stated that there is a parking lot near this entrance. The door closest to Splash Swim School would be an exit only door.
Mr. Stephen Cortese, property owner of Crow Canyon Commerce Center, stated that he supports the expansion of San Ramon Sports. Mr. Cortese stated that the building has become more of a recreation use complex. Mr. Cortese further stated that the other occupants of the building did not have any concerns with the expansion of San Ramon Sports, but rather the beer and wine sales.
Commissioner Wallis asked Mr. Cortese if other business can use the office parking lot.
Mr. Cortese stated that there is no assigned parking and all spaces are available for all patrons of the center.
Mike Cheney, Pleasanton resident, stated that he is a patron of San Ramon Sports and is in support of the expansion of the business.
Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Cheney if he had a business in this complex.
Mr. Cheney stated no.
Chair Sachs closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Kerger stated that she knows this facility Commissioner Kerger further stated that this complex is a great asset to the City of San Ramon.
Commissioner Wallis asked about the extension of hours from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and if the Police Department had signed off on the project.
Lt. Gresham stated that the Police Department had signed off on the time extension for the project. Lt. Gresham also stated that there had been concern about the alcohol sales but nothing that would preclude the application from happening.
Chair Sachs asked for clarification as to what should be removed from the conditions of approval regarding the alcohol sales.
Ms. Chamberlain stated that the Conditions of Approval and Resolution need to be modified with the removal of alcohol sales, and adjust the findings accordingly. Ms. Chamberlain further recommended that the item be continued to the March 1 meeting to allow preparation of a revised resolution and Conditions of Approval for consideration by the Commission on the Consent calendar.
It was moved by Vice Chair Kerger and seconded by Commissioner Benedetti to continue LUP 11-500-001 and VAR 11-320-001 to the next meeting of the Planning Commission on March 1, 2011.
AYES: Vice Chair Kerger, Comms. Benedetti, Viers, Wallis, Chair Sachs
10. NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS
10.1 2011- General Plan 2020 Implementation Annual Report and Work Plan Schedule. Staff Report by Cindy Yee, Associate Planner
Ms. Yee gave an overview of the General Plan 2020 Annual Report. The City currently has two Amendments in process including the El Nido General Plan Amendment and the General Plan 2030 update. Goals for this review included the drafting of the General Plan 2030, Climate Action Plan, Certification of the Housing Element by the State Department of Housing and Community Development, and initiating the preparation of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan.
Priority goals for the upcoming fiscal year include adoption of the 5-year update to the General Plan, preparation of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan and the ongoing implementation of the Housing Element and Dougherty Valley Settlement Agreements.
Staff recommends that the Planning Commission accept the staff report and forward the annual report to the City Council for their consideration and ultimately forward on to the State for their review.
Chair Sachs asked if the language was necessary that the Planning Commission also have a 4/5 vote.
Ms. Chamberlain explained that this is a General Plan policy and we cannot change the policy.
It was moved by Vice Chair Kerger and seconded by Commissioner Viers that the Planning Commission accept the staff report and forward to the City Council for their consideration.
AYES: Vice Chair Kerger, Comms. Viers, Benedetti, Wallis, Chair Sachs
11. STUDY SESSION/COMMISSIONER LIAISON REPORT AND INTEREST ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS.
11.1 Chair Sachs stated that he attended a Housing Advisory Committee meeting with an update on Valley Vista Senior Housing project, and there are over 600 applications for the senior housing.
11.2 Commissioner Wallis stated that he attended the EDAC meeting and they are currently updating the Strategic Plan. A Retail Demand Survey Report was completed about retail demand in San Ramon and with the NCRSP they are looking to update that analysis for a better idea of what the actual retail demand for this area would be. It is currently projected to be approximately 500,000 to 1,000,000 square feet of retail.
There being no further discussion, Chair Sachs adjourned the meeting at 10:16 p.m.