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November 1, 2011

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Kerger at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2011 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


Present:          Commissioners, Benedetti, Sachs, Wallis, Vice Chair Viers, Chair Kerger

Absent:           None  

Staff:  Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain; Division Manager; Ryan Driscoll; Assistant Planner; Alicia Poon, Deputy City Attorney; Luisa Amerigo, Recording Secretary

Audience:    22

 1.        CALL TO ORDER                    

 2.        ROLL CALL

 3.        PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE           



6.1 Minutes from the September 20, 2011 meeting Approved as written.


 8.1 San Ramon Valley Islamic Center Expansion (LUP 11-500-003) By Ryan   Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner stated that the applicant is requesting a Land Use Permit to expand a “Meeting Facility Public or Private” use to allow an increase from a maximum 325 person occupancy to 541 person occupancy for prayer services on Friday afternoons from 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm. Mr. Driscoll added that the “Meeting Facility” use has been in operation at the current location since September 1992.  Mr. Driscoll continued and provided background information on San Ramon Valley Islamic Center Expansion at the project site. Mr. Driscoll also added that on September 6, 2011, the Planning  Commission held a public hearing on the expansion proposal. After receiving public testimony and considering the application, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a motion to continue the open public hearing to November 1, 2011 and to support a Temporary Use Permit application to allow the applicant up to 541 people for Friday prayer services the November 1, 2011 public hearing meeting.  The continuance was intended to provide the applicant the opportunity to meet with the Commons Office Park Association Board to discuss the Board’s concerns related to parking and traffic. The applicant was unable to follow up with the Planning Commission’s request prior to the November 1, 2011 public hearing date.  The meeting with the Association Board has been scheduled for November 8, 2011.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager stated that a late communication was received today from the Commons Office Park Association Legal Council.

Chair Kerger asked if the applicant had received a copy of the late communication. Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if staff and the applicant have been looking into parking.  Mr. Driscoll replied yes. Commissioner Benedetti further asked that if the Minor Use Permit is extended to November 15, 2011 would that give staff adequate time to prepare a report and provide a recommendation. Mr. Driscoll replied yes.

Ms. Chamberlain added that the request of continuance was to allow the parties to meet. Staff has been monitoring the parking and if the meeting had occurred between the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center and the Association occurred staff would have presented the data at tonight’s meeting.

Vice Chair Viers clarified that on November 15, 2011 staff will provide the Planning Commission with a report on parking. Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.          

Commissioner Sachs asked Alicia Poon Deputy City Attorney what the City’s decision was and how does it affects the surrounding property owners and their agreement with the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) and will it affect their property values.

Alicia Poon Deputy City Attorney replied that she has only completed preliminary research and could provide Commissioner Sachs with her research.

Chair Kerger stated that she would prefer to hear from the applicant first and that Ms. Poon can give clarification shortly.

Noman Munif Board member of the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center stated that they had not received the letter from the Commons Office Park Association Legal Council. Mr. Munif further stated they have attempted to meet with the Association but were told that the only available date was November 8, 2011.  Mr. Munif added that the application was submitted 12 months ago and they have been accommodating to the City requests and have completed numerous parking surveys. Mr. Munif further added that they are following all the procedures given and feel that the Commons Office Park Association Board is not dealing in good faith.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if the Commons Office Park Association was made up by property owners.  Mr. Munif replied yes.

Chair Kerger opened the public hearing.

Dr. Alan Kelchner Senior Pastor of Danville Congregational Church – stated that he is in favor of the project. Dr. Kelchner further stated that it is unfair that this has been going on for so long and hopes that a decision can be made soon.

Dan O’Connor Attorney representing San Ramon Valley Islamic Center – stated the members of the San Ramon Islamic Center are not being treated fair and that The Korean Church and the Korean Presbyterian Church were permitted to get Use Permits and the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center submitted their application 12 months ago and nothing has been resolved. Mr. O’Connor further stated that representatives of the Board, in attendance at the Planning Commission meeting were encouraged to meet to discuss and resolve parking issues, and indicated that there would be no problem in arranging a Board meeting for this purpose.  Attempts at scheduling such a meeting by the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center resulted in a succession of delays, and often being ignored, followed by the statement that it would be impossible to meet before the next scheduled Board meeting on November 8, 2011. Mr. O’Connor added that the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center beliefs are there is only attempts to delay this process and not acting in good faith.

Chair Kerger stated that at the last Planning Commission meeting she had requested the Board to meet with the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. O’Connor if the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center had to cancel a service because of lack of action from the City. Mr. O’Connor replied no. Mr. O’Connor added that the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center has spent $20,000.00 on the application process that has been protracted. The fact that they cannot rest assured that they can continue to practice their religion without having to come to the City offices every two weeks and obtaining extensions to their permit is in fact impending there religious practice.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. O’Connor to clarify the Federal Law allows to deny a Land Use Permit.  Mr. O’Connor replied that he was unable to answer Commissioner Sachs question but would provide a written explanation.

Commissioner Sachs stated would allowing the extension to the number of people that can meet going up to 521 and 207 parking spaces for a four hour period if the City would approve how does it affect the municipality standing in regards to a standing executed agreement.  Mr. O’Connor replied that he does not feel that any reasonable trier or fact would say the San Ramon Islamic Center without the CC&R’s is impending the proper use of this facility by anyone.

Chair Kerger commented that  members of the Planning Commission have observed the parking situation on Fridays and added that she has not heard any complaints and thought the parking issues were resolved.

Chair Kerger closed the public hearing.

Chair Kerger asked Ms. Poon if she could give an overview given what has occurred. Ms. Poon replied based on the letter received from the Association’s attorney and Commissioner Sachs question we need to separate the LUPA and the CC&R issue. They are separate issues, which need to be discussed separately. LUPA has to do with a government action taken. The City does not enforce CC&R’s these are private agreements. The City’s responsibility is only to look at the question of whether the use is consistent with the land and our Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Commission can determine whether the type of use is allowed per the General Plan and Zoning Ordnance and evaluate that. If there is a dispute between the applicant and the Association that the City remains neutral.

Commissioner Wallis stated that there are no staff reports, or videos and the Planning Commission is not in a position to make a decision on the application. Commissioner Wallis added that the hearing be continued and to make sure that the use being proposed is consistent with the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  Commissioner Wallis further added that providing evidence of parking impacts that are affecting other people.

Vice Chair Viers stated that he had visited the Friday prayer and was impressed with the parking. Vice Chair Viers added that there were plenty of empty parking stalls and he did not see any problems with parking.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that the delay in approving the proposed application is addressing all the concerns.

Chair Kerger thanked the applicant for their patience.

It was moved by Planning Commissioner Wallis and seconded by Planning Commissioner to continue the public hearing to November 15, 2011.

Ms. Chamberlain clarified that the November 15, 2011 meeting would be a Open Public Hearing.  Chair Kerger replied yes.                                    

9.1 San Ramon Farmer’s Market at Bishop Ranch 3 (LUP 11-500-008) By: Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner gave a brief PowerPoint presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting approval of a Land Use Permit application to establish a year-round outdoor farmer’s market in the parking lot adjacent to the Bishop Ranch 3 southern parking structure. The farmer’s market will only operate on Thursdays, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Mr. Driscoll added that in April 2011, the Zoning Administrator approved a Temporary Use Permit application to allow an outdoor farmer’s market on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from June 2, 2011 through October 27, 2011. During that period, the Zoning Administrator did not receive or observe any parking, circulation, or operation issues. As a result, the applicant submitted a Land Use Permit application to continue the operation on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Commissioner Sachs stated his concern about the “land banking” finding and requested that the reference to the future development of the City Center project be removed.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if the Land Use Permit continues into perpetuity with payment of fees, and continue to compliance. Mr. Driscoll replied yes. Commissioner Benedetti further asked what does the strip of land become in the future once City Center is built. Mr. Driscoll replied that in the future, the City Center will have a roadway developed south of the parking garages and the farmer’s market will have to be reviewed for a new location.

Phil Wong, Planning Director stated that the property the farmer’s market is on also has to be accrued by Sunset Development. When the City Center is built, there will be some other arrangements to accommodate the applicant.

Commissioner Benedetti asked for clarification on the signage and asked if there was a concern about how many Market’s logo directional banners there would be. Mr. Driscoll replied that language could be added to the Conditions of Approval to be consistent.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if the public could attend the Thursday farmer’s market and park in the garage parking structure. Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager replied yes.

Commissioner Wallis asked where the entrance to the parking structure was located.  Mr. Driscoll replied, there is a southern and northern entrance. Commissioner Wallis asked if there was any concern about traffic overflow with only one entrance and exit. Mr. Wong replied no. Ms. Chamberlain added that there are also on-site management, security guards and people directing traffic.

Harv Singh Applicant – stated that the market has been in operation since June and we have had a positive response from the community, business tenants and support from Bishop Ranch. The intent of the market is to provide a direct outlet for certified local growers to sell their products. Mr. Singh added that there are three entrances in the parking garage, two on-site management, and two security guards, which Bishop Ranch has on site.

Chair Kerger asked how many of the vendors would be returning. Mr. Singh replied that most of the farmers are running out of their products but we are working with local artist and craters to bring in.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs  and seconded by Commissioner Wallis that Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 15-11 the Land Use permit application  (LUP 11-500-008) for the proposed farmer’s market on-going use and the parking reduction. Based on the required findings subject to the Conditions of Approval attached to exhibit A with amendments.

  AYES:    Commissioners, Sachs, Wallis, Benedetti, Vice Chair Viers, Chair Kerger

  NOES:    None

  ABSTAIN: None  

  ABSENT:  None

10.     NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS - None-                                           


There being no further discussion, Chair Kerger adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

Respectively Submitted,

Luisa Amerigo  


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