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April 3, 2012

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, April 3, 2012 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; Cindy Yee; Associate Planner; Lauren Barr; Senior Planner; Michael Roush, Interim Deputy City Attorney; Luisa Amerigo, Recording Secretary

Audience:    12

1.CALL TO ORDER                    





6.1 Minutes from the March 6, 2012 Meeting. Approved

6.2 Minutes from the February 21, 2012 City Council/Planning Commission Joint Meeting. Approved.  


8.1 North Camino Ramon Specific Plan (SP 09-800-001) Staff Report by: Lauren Barr

Lauren Barr, Senior Planner gave a background summary of the proposed North Camino Ramon Specific Plan. Mr. Barr stated that at the March 6, 2012 public hearing new comments were received about the removal of the area north of Crow Canyon Road.  Questions had been raised about the proposed number of housing units within the plan area, and how the 1,500 housing units cap was selected. A concern with the height of buildings and the increase demand for schools resulting from the increased population associated with new housing units was also raised. There was also a comment to limit the size of larger retail space to ensure it is consistent with the plan’s vision.

Commissioner Wallis asked for clarification if the rest of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan housing units would be estimated at 1,350.Mr. Barr replied no, but there  are still 1,500 homes in the plan area, if the area were to be reduced due to a housing opportunity site outside the plan area.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) ramps are part of a regional project and cannot be mitigation for the project because it is already factored in the traffic model.

Mr. Barr replied it is in the background along with required traffic improvements for City Center, Dougherty Valley, and any of the other regional projects, which occur within the area.

Commissioner Wallis stated that the area north of Crow Canyon Road is designated as Mixed Use and, if we do not include that area as part of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan does the land use designation of the parcels need to be changed.

Mr. Barr replied that a portion north of Crow Canyon Road has a mix of retail, commercial and service commercial uses. The General Plan 2030 changed the land use designation to mixed use and if this area was removed we would have to address any land use changes through a rezone or general plan amendment.

Commissioner Wallis asked what are the advantages and disadvantages if the section of north Crow Canyon Road area was to be removed.  Mr. Barr replied one advantage would be that the plan area would be smaller. The disadvantages would be that a traffic analysis and the housing opportunity site may have to be re-analyzed. Mr. Barr added that the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) created opportunities for funding that no longer exist.

Commissioner Wallis stated that RDA may have provided additional opportunities for development in the area north Crow Canyon Road.  If the area north of Crow Canyon Road is removed and development would be driven solely by market forces.

Mr. Barr added that the area north of Crow Canyon Road is more of a fragmented area and difficult for redevelopment to occur. It is also the area where service commercial uses are located.

 Chair Kerger opened the public hearing.

Kathy Berner – Parks and Community Services Commissioner stated that the Parks Commission had a concern designating the median strip in the core area as a “park”. Ms. Berner added that the Parks Commission has a concern about allowing privately owned opened space with public access park dedication requirements.

Michael Cass – Danville resident asked  if the area north of Crow Canyon Road were removed would the Alcosta Boulevard extension be eliminated.

Jim Gibbon – San Ramon resident stated that staff is proposing to remove the area north of Crow Canyon.  Toyota Motor Sales and Kaiser Permanente both oppose to the plan. Mr. Gibbon further stated litigation should be expected as a result of the proposed rezoning. Mr. Gibbon added that 1,500 housing units are being proposed and to reduce the core area to zero. Mr. Gibbon further added that the traffic analysis does not include City Center and other approved projects. Mr. Gibbon also added that changing office space to retail and mixed use is not permitted according to the zoning ordinance.

Chair Kerger asked Mr. Barr if letters were received from Kaiser Permanente or Toyota Motor Sales approving the plan. Mr. Barr replied no.

Commissioner Benedetti asked Mr. Barr if a use like Kaiser Permanente was permitted. Mr. Barr replied yes. 

Kevin L’Hommedieu – San Ramon stated that steps need to be taken to preserve commercial service and supports the removal of the area  north of Crow Canyon Road to protect the sales tax generating uses.  Mr. L’Hommedieu further stated that the Planning Commission consider 2-3 story buildings similar to the surrounding communities.

Chair Kerger closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Sachs asked what were RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation)  housing unit numbers going to be for 2014-2022 and where should we be with our housing numbers with the proposed plan.

Commissioner Sachs stated that with the absent of the incentives for affordable housing the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan will help us meet ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) target numbers in providing opportunity sites.

Commissioner Sachs asked if the 376 housing units were needed and if the northern portion of Crow Canyon Road is removed how do we protect service commercial.

Commissioner Sachs asked for an overview of what is mandated regarding Sustainable Communities Strategy and what is the priority development areas.

Commissioner Benedetti asked who defines peak hours. 

Phil Wong, Planning Director replied that it is part of industry standards and that every City uses the same am/pm peak periods.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager added it is also included as a policy in our General Plan 2030.

Commissioner Benedetti asked for clarification if the area north of Crow Canyon Road were to be removed how many housing units would there be.

Mr. Barr replied that under the current condition there is a housing opportunity site on the school district property. Under the Specific Plan, those 149 housing units were relocated into the core area.

Commissioner Benedetti further asked if we remove the area north of Crow Canyon Road would the 149 housing units be removed. Mr. Barr replied that it would be a policy question.

Commissioner Benedetti also asked by keeping the additional 376 units or additional 150 units will ABAG assign us more numbers.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager clarified Commissioner Benedetti question would ABAG assign us more numbers to meet our RHNA allocations.

Commissioner Benedetti replied yes. 

Ms. Chamberlain replied that the number of units we have in our General Plan does not dictate how ABAG assigns our housing allocations.

Vice Chair Viers asked if there was a nexus between the Alcosta extension and the development south of Crow Canyon Road if we remove the area north of Crow Canyon Road and the Alcosta Boulevard extension. Mr. Barr replied the Alcosta extension is is an improvement included in the General Plan 2030, as it was in General Plan 2020 and its construction it is not triggered by this plan. Vice Chair Viers further added that he is in favor of a plan that provides more open space and parks.

Commissioner Wallis stated if we remove the area north of Crow Canyon Road how do we protect the commercial service uses. Commissioner Wallis added that he is not concerned about ABAG numbers and further added that as far as parks we have to be creative in terms of what is considered a park and recreational activity and should explore opportunities for public or private partnerships with the School District.

Chair Kerger stated that her concerns are the housing numbers and the removal of 149 housing units. Chair Kerger added that she likes having the flexibility and that she is not in favor of the removal of the area north of Crow Canyon Road.

Chair Kerger further added she is in favor of having more parks and since we cannot always dedicate park space in-lieu fees paid that will enable the Parks Commission to use the in-lieu-fees for offsite park improvements.

Commission Sachs motioned to continue the public hearing on the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan until May 1, 2012 seconded by Commissioner Wallis.  


10.1 2012 General Plan 2030 Implementation Annual Report and Work Plan Schedule. Staff Report by: Cindy M. Yee, Associate Planner  

Cindy Yee Associate Planner gave a brief summary of the General Plan 2030 Annual Report and Work Plan. The General Plan requires that an Annual Report on the Implementation Strategy and Work Plan be prepared and that year to date, the City has not approved any General Plan Amendments, but is currently processing one general plan amendment application filed by the Laborers’ Union to update the Westside Specific Plan.

Priority goals for the upcoming fiscal year includes  preparation and adoption of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan, implementation of the Northwest Specific Plan and San Ramon City Center project, implementation of the Housing Element and Measure J Project and Program.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Wallis that the Planning Commission accept the staff report and forward to the City Council for their consideration.


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

Submitted, Luisa Amerigo  


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