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May 1, 2012

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Kerger at 7:05 p.m., Tuesday, May 1, 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; Lauren Barr; Senior Planner; Shinei Tsukamoto; Associate Planner; Ryan Driscoll; Assistant Planner; Michael Roush, Interim Deputy City Attorney; Luisa Amerigo, Recording Secretary

Audience:    14

 1.        CALL TO ORDER                    

 2.        ROLL CALL

 3.        PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE                    



6.1 Minutes from the April 3, 2012 Approved with modifications.

6.2 Minutes from the April 17, 2012 Joint Study Session Meeting Approved.


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

Lauren Barr, Senior Planner stated that the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan (NCRSP) area consists of approximately 295 acres bordered generally by the City limits to the north, Executive Parkway to the south, Highway 680 on the west and Alcosta Boulevard to the east.

Chair Kerger highlighted five areas to guide the discussion.

1. Should we continue with 1,500 or should we reduce the number of housing units? Mr. Barr explained the options and consideration related to reducing the total number of housing units or leaving as proposed. By leaving the housing units at 1,500, it provides the City flexibility to address future housing needs and potentially relocate housing opportunity sites from other parts of the City that are less likely to develop to this area.

2 Traffic being compounded by other projects such as City Center, Dougherty Valley how is this addressed in the plan?  Mr. Barr stated that the DEIR (Draft Environmental Impact Report) addressed all the cumulative traffic impacts from all approved projects in the 2030 scenario, as well as all planned traffic improvements.

3. Do we need to process a Rezoning and a General Plan Amendment if the area north of Crow Canyon Road is removed? Mr. Barr explained that housing and Service Commercial uses are currently being addressed in the Specific Plan. If the area north of Crow Canyon road was removed from the Plan area it would be necessary to rezone and amend the General Plan to address the changes to the housing opportunity sites and service commercial uses

4. What are the benefits and disadvantages of traffic and housing needs and does it need to be reanalyzed? Mr. Barr explained as discussed prior housing, traffic, and commercial uses are inter-related. Any significant alternations to the specific plan assumptions may trigger requirements for additional analysis and may not provide the flexibility for future housing and protection for service commercial uses. 

5. Is there protection for commercial service north of Crow Canyon Road? Mr. Barr explained as discussed, the Specific Plan includes land use standards for service commercial uses. If the area north of Crow Canyon Road were to be removed those land use standards would not apply to those existing service commercial uses.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. Barr if we were to remove upper quadrant above Crow Canyon Road would we still have a Specific Plan area that would have 1,500 programmed units. 

Mr. Barr replied yes because all 1,500 units are programmed for south of Crow Canyon Road. However, if the northern portion is removed the General Plan 2030 still designates 150 units on the school district property. To maintain a total of 1,500 units north and south of Crow Canyon Road as discussed in the EIR the Plan Core area would need to be reduced to maximum of 1,350.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager added preserving Service Commercial Uses is a priority to the Planning Commission and City Council and is one of the core principals of this plan. The Specific Plan establishes Service Commercial uses in that area north of Crow Canyon Road an allowed use, currently they are legal non-conforming. Maintaining the area north of Crow Canyon Road as part of the plan area achieves the Planning Commission’s goal of preserving and providing opportunities for Service Commercial Uses without any additional Planning Commission action.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that she is in favor of leaving the area north of Crow Canyon Road in the Plan area.  It would give us the flexibility to reallocate the 1,500 units within the core area which would be a benefit for the City. Commissioner Benedetti added not to reduce the plan area.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he agrees with leaving north of Crow Canyon Road in the plan area. Commissioner Sachs added that he is still concerned about the housing numbers.

Commissioner Wallis stated that he is in favor of leaving north of Crow Canyon Road in the plan area. Commissioner Wallis further stated that he agrees with Commissioner Sachs to ensure we do not over build that the reevaluation provides that opportunity and when 1,000 units have been approved given the long term nature of the plan, this would be the best resolution for this issue. 

Vice Chair Viers stated that he is in favor of leaving north of Crow Canyon Road in the plan area. Vice Chair Viers added that he is concerned about the number of housing units and traffic.  Vice Chair Viers further added that the NCRSP is a long-range plan and it benefits the City.

Chair Kerger stated that she is in favor of leaving north of Crow Canyon Road in the plan which does not restrict us but gives the us an opportunity to make changes.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Benedetti

that the Planning Commission continue the Public Hearing for the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan to the May 15, 2012 Planning Commission meeting.           

AYES:     Commissioner Sachs,  Benedetti,  Viers, Wallis and Chair Kerger 

NOES:     None


ABSENT:   None 

9. PUBLIC HEARING – NEW ITEM   9.1 Dougherty Valley Annexation# 15 Gale Ranch Phase 3 Portion (PZ 12-610-001) Staff Report by: Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner gave a PowerPoint Presentation and stated that tonight’s request is for Dougherty Valley Annexation #15, which is approximately 41.54 acres. The prezone area is located north and east of Quail Run Elementary School and includes 520 housing units Mr. Driscoll further stated that this portion of Gale Ranch Phase 3 has already been reviewed by the City’s Architectural Review Board.

Commissioner Benedetti asked why they are deleting the minimum lot size as it relates to the Planned Development (PD). Mr. Driscoll replied all projects are approved with their own set of standards and that the minimum lot size in Gale Ranch varies among different developments.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager clarified that the minimum lot size is dictated by each application as approved through Contra Costa County, which is the final development plan.

Chair Kerger clarified that other annexations were completed in the past. Ms. Chamberlain stated that this is the City’s 15th annexation in Dougherty Valley and following the completion of the annexation process with the Local Agency  Formation Commission (LAFCO) this fall, all housing units within Gale Ranch Phase 3 would be annexed into the City.

Commissioner Sachs asked how many of the 520 housing units were affordable housing. Ms. Chamberlain replied that all of Dougherty Valley has a 25% affordable commitment and we would provide the Planning Commission with that information                                                                                        

Commissioner Wallis asked for clarification if Main Branch Road would be terminated once Dougherty Valley Annexation #15 development is annexed. Mr. Driscoll replied yes. Commissioner Wallis further asked how wide was the proposed green belt in Mosaic Park. Ms. Chamberlain replied 75 feet wide.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Vice Chair Viers   that the Planning Commission approve Resolution No. 04-12. A resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon recommending that the City Council approved Prezone 12-610-001 for the property commonly known as Gale Ranch Phase 3 (Portion) and Shapell Industries and various others (property owners)

AYES:       Commissioner Sachs, Viers, Benedetti, Wallis and Chair Kerger 

NOES:       None


ABSENT:   None  

10. NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS                                                    

10.1 The Bridges Apartments Master Sign Program Amendment (MSPA) 12-710-001). Staff Report by: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner

Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner stated that the applicant is requesting a Master Sign Program Amendment for an off-site directional sign, a monument sign, on-site directional signs, and building identification signs.  The proposed off-site directional sign would be approximately 5 ft. 10 in. tall with a 24 in. base at the southwest corner of Alcosta Boulevard and Market Place. The proposed sign face area for the identification of the apartment complex and the street address would be approximately 17.5 sq. ft.

A monument sign is proposed at the corner of  Springfield Drive., which is the main entrance to the Bridge Apartment complex from  the Market Place Shopping Center.  The proposed monument sign would be approximately 5 ft. tall and its sign face area would be approximately 11 sq. ft.  The proposed sign location would be within 30 ft. of an existing monument sign for the Reflections Condominium Community.

Commissioner Wallis asked if the directional sign was a marketing issue or an necessity on Alcosta Boulevard.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied that due to changes of the property ownership, the direct access point to the Bridges Apartments remains only on Market Place Drive. Reflections Condominium maintained its main entrance at Reflections Drive from Alcosta Boulevard. Without a sign on Alcosta Boulevard, the visibility of the Bridges Apartments would be minimal.

Nannette Hopson – Pierce Signs and Displays, Inc representing The Bridges Apartments stated that a directional sign is needed  to help people find the entrance to the property.

Commissioner Wallis asked if there have been a significant number of instances where people have entered through  the main entrance off Alcosta Boulevard looking for the apartments only to be told these where  condominiums.

Ms. Hopson replied that there has been significant confusion with people trying to get into Reflections from that side and not being able to because it is controlled entry.

It is important for directional purposes to let people know where the entrance to the property is.

Chair Kerger asked Mr. Tsukamoto what was the justification of the increase in size and height. Mr. Tsukamoto replied to have the street address above the landscaping and with the sign being low to the ground, the landscaping would cover the address and not be visible. 

Chair Kerger asked if this was precedence setting. Ms. Chamberlain replied that each sign is looked at on its own merits because each location is unique. Typically on a major arterial, such as, Alcosta Boulevard a large sign could be located to balance the features that surround it.

Commissioner Sachs stated that the proposed sign on Alcosta Boulevard seems large and according to the Zoning Ordinance, a freestanding sign for a residential development shall include the street address and not taller than 5 ft. and its sign face area shall be no more than 15 sq. ft.

Mr. Tsukamoto replied that sign face area is 17 sq. ft and only the sign face would be larger and not the structure.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. Tsukamoto to clarify what the Architectural Review Board had suggested (ARB) Mr. Tsukamoto replied that ARB suggested relocating it to the east side of the driveway or creating one integrated monument sign for two residential communities to avoid confusion and sign clutter.  Reflections Maintenance Association the HOA for the Reflections Condominium, community indicated to staff that the HOA would not be interested in relocating the existing monument sign or creating one integrated monument sign at this time.

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission approve Resolution No. 05-12. Resolution of the Planning Commission City of San Ramon approving Master Sign Program Amendment  MSPA 12-710-001 The Bridges Apartments Master Sign Program Amendment filed by Pierce Signs and Displays, Inc. the applicant Oak Reflections 12B 2010, LLC  property owner noting the conditions of approval and staff recommendation to remove the street address.

AYES:   Commissioner Sachs, Benedetti, Wallis, Viers, and Chair Kerger  

NOES:   None




Review of the City of San Ramon’s Draft Fiscal Year 2012/2013 through Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for General Plan Conformance. Staff Report: Amy Amiri; Senior CIP Administrative Analyst.

Amy Amiri Senior Analyst gave a brief background on the Capital Improvement Program. Ms. Amiri stated that the Capital Improvement Program projects are grouped in nine categories that consist of Circulation, Signal, Parks, Landscaping, Drainage, Facilities, Other; Developer, and Planning. Ms. Amiri stated that the 5-year Capital Improvement Program was reviewed by the Finance Committee, Parks & Community Services, and Transportation Advisory Committee.

Commissioner Sachs asked Ms. Amiri for an on the update pavement management program at Sunny Glen Senior Community.

Maria Fierner, Engineering Services Director replied that none of the streets are programmed in the 5 year CIP (Capital Improvement Program) but that there are localized areas that are going to be taken care of through our Stop Gap Pavement Repair.

Commissioner Sachs stated that Country Club Elementary School pedestrian sidewalk is a narrow sidewalk and if Engineering Services could add it to the 5 year CIP.

Chair Kerger asked Ms. Amiri about the in-lieu fees for St. James. Ms. Amiri replied that fees would be scheduled for fiscal year 2012/2013 and year 2013/2014.

It was moved by Commissioner Viers and seconded by Commissioner Wallis that the Planning Commission adopts Resolution No. 03-12 finding the Five-Year FY 2012/2013 through FY 2016/2017 Capital Improvement Program in conformance with the City’s General Plan.

AYES: Commissioner Viers, Wallis, Benedetti, and Chair Kerger  

NOES: None





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

Submitted by, Luisa Amerigo  



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