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October 2, 2012

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Viers at 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


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

Absent: Commissioner Kerger            

Staff:  Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager; Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner; Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner; Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe; Luisa Amerigo, Recording Secretary

Audience:   4

1.   CALL TO ORDER                  



4PUBLIC COMMENTS OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: At this time, those in the audience are encouraged to address the Planning Commission on any item not already included in tonight’s agenda.  If possible, comments should not exceed five (5) minutes.


6.1 Minutes from the September 18, 2012 Meeting.  Approved.



9.1 Kingdom Hall – Amendment to Condition of Approval (DPA 12-310-002) By: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner.

Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner stated that the applicant is proposing to revise the daily meeting schedule to eliminate trips during the peak hours and is requesting reimbursement of $56,250 in traffic impact fees, which were paid on September 2, 2011, prior to issuance of the building permit to construct a new 5,000 sq. ft. religious congregation/meeting facility. Mr. Tsukamoto added that in order to approve the proposed change, the use of the subject facility would have to be restricted for use to after 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Chair Viers announced that the applicant submitted late communications, which were e-mail communications between the applicant and staff and among the congregation members.

Commissioner Sachs asked when the e-mail communication between staff and Mr. Chris Johnson took place regarding the change of the meeting hours and the traffic impact fees.

Interim City Attorney Saxe stated that the decisions made by the Planning Commission needed to be amended by the Planning Commission unless it is allowed to do so by the Zoning Administrator by Conditions of Approval.

Vice Chair Wallis stated that in May 2009, the Planning Commission adopted the Conditions of Approval. The email being referred to was sent in August 2011 and the first payment was not made until September of 2011.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if the Conditional Use Permit issued in 2009 restricted meeting hours. Mr. Tsukamoto replied no.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager stated that when a project is approved the first condition is “project as submitted.” The applicant’s project description included the hours of operation and the project was evaluated on the project description that was provided by applicant.

Commissioner Benedetti further asked if the applicant were to meet at 9:30 a.m.  would they be in violation. Ms. Chamberlain replied no because the meeting hours are at 9:00 a.m. If there was a condition that restricted the meetings to begin after 9:30 and they were meeting at 9:00 a.m., then there could be a potential issue.  

Commissioner Benedetti added if fees where to be refunded we would need to establish some kind of condition in their Conditional Use Permit  so they would only meet during certain hours. Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.

Commissioner Benedetti further added  if there was a similar condition which limits them or would we be establishing a Conditional Use Permit  that is more restrictive than what is there currently.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that if it is the desire of the Planning Commission to grant the 9:30 a.m. start time to look at the reduction of the traffic impact fees we would ask to add a condition stating  the hours of operation.

Commissioner Benedetti  asked if the Conditional Use Permit  contains any limitations on the number of people that can attend any specific meetings. Ms. Chamberlain replied that the occupancy is based on the occupancy established by San Ramon Fire and are limited to 172.

Commissioner Benedetti added if staff follows other schedules when trying to establish fees.  

Ms. Chamberlain replied that the original fee of $202,000 was calculated based on 36 p.m. peak hour trips, but it was reduced to 10 trips by the Transportation Division Manager Lisa Bobadilla, based upon the size of the facility that it would be reasonable to adjust the trip counts from 36 to 10 based on her discussion with the Tri-Valley Transportation Commission (TVTC) members who recommended 10 trips which are the lowest number of trips to be assessed.

Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that the TVTC Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JEPA) illustrates the fee schedule of different kind of land uses. If the applicant was dissatisfied with the way in which the peak trips were calculated then they could appeal to the City Council prior to paying the fee.

Vice Chair Wallis stated that applicant made a proposal in 2008 to build a facility. In April of 2009, a draft condition of approval was circulated to the applicant for their review of the traffic impact fees which was calculated to be $202,000 for the four jurisdictions.

The applicant went to City staff asking to reduce the trips to 10 peak hour trips that resulted in the traffic impact fees being reduced to $56,000  which was submitted to the Planning Commission and approved in May 2009. Vice Chair Wallis further  stated that the applicant was fully aware there were traffic impact fees that had been reduced to $56,000 and based on 10 peak hour trips.

Vice Chair Wallis asked staff to provide a time line showing the events that took place between the project approval of May 5, 2009 and the issuance of the building permits September 2011. 

Vice Chair Wallis stated that it seemed that there was no communication about the Traffic Impact Fee reimbursement in this period of time expect just after the project approval and just before the issuance of the building permits. Also what is the reimbursement procedure. It seemed the Tri-Valley has a process but what about  others.

Interim City Attorney Saxe stated that there is no procedure in the JEPA to reimburse the fees that were already paid. The Tri-Valley Traffic Mitigation Fees agreement includes a procedure for adjusting the trip generation calculation, but  needs to be done in a form of an appeal before paying the fees.

Commissioner Benedetti asked how the hours are enforced so there is no impact. Commissioner Benedetti further asked if we are going to ask the County for a refund based on conditions in a Conditional Use Permit how do we come up with conditions that can be enforced.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that the City’s Code Enforcement operates on a complaint bases only. We do not go out and actively monitor each application. 

Chair Viers asked staff if there is a comparable project in terms of reducing traffic impact fees. Ms. Chamberlain replied that there were  and, this is the first project to ask for a reimbursement once the fees were paid.  

Commissioner Benedetti asked if an application came before the Planning Commission for a new development how would the JEPA be implemented if such conditions were applied. Would the developer have no impact fees if they were proposing such restrictions.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that there is always a fee that needs to be paid. It is calculated by the number of units for residential and in such instances by trip generations if a traffic study has been completed.

Doug Thomsen – Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness stated that they purchased the property in 1991. Mr. Thomsen added that it was their understanding if the fee of $56,000  was paid to the City it would be negotiated after the fact. Mr. Thomsen further stated that they recognize it is out of the Planning Commission control what other agencies do and that they have no authority over them. Mr. Thomsen also added that they did not expect an impact fee of $56,000  and would like to come to a solution.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. Thomsen for clarification about the $56,000 Traffic Impact  Fee that was part of the Conditions of Approval. Mr. Thomsen stated that the dollar amount was in question and there was discussion with staff that at some point having the fee eliminated all together.  

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. Thomsen if there is an individual that prepares their financial paperwork. Mr. Thomsen replied yes. Commissioner Sachs further asked that when the $56,000 check was written to the City of San Ramon was this individual aware of your conversations with the group within this e-mail group  and  was there a lapse in communication on your end  where you thought that this would be dealt at a later time or a refund would be issued.

Mr. Thomsen replied yes and at a discussion with the City of San Ramon the agreement was to pay the fees up front in September 2011 in order to obtain the building permits, but thought the fees would be held in escrow.

Commissioner Sachs further asked Mr. Thomsen how he arrived at this conclusion that this would be discussed at a later date.

Mr. Thomsen replied on September 2, 2011 they met with the Transportation Division Manager Lisa Bobadilla, Assistant Planner Shinei Tsukamoto, Planning Director, Phil Wong, and Chris Johnson and myself.. The risk was if we appealed the Conditional Use Permit it would prolong the process to build and this was an alternative we could consider.

Vice Chair Wallis stated that the Planning Commission voted on the Conditions of Approval on May 5, 2009. One of the conditions was the payment of $56,000  traffic impact fees.

Vice Chair Wallis further stated was it Mr. Thomsen understanding that the fees had to be paid or a maybe not to be paid.  Mr. Thomsen replied it was a maybe based on the fact that we would adjust the time of use which we thought the fees were  based on.

Vice Chair Wallis asked that when the Conditions of Approval were approved in May of 2009 why didn't’t you return to the City and submit a revised schedule to reduce the fee. Mr. Thomsen replied that he believed it was done by Chris Johnson. 

Vice Chair Wallis added was it Mr. Thomsen understanding that Mr. Johnson’s attempt to have the fees adjusted by changing the hours of operation was a written submission to the City or conversation with City staff.

Mr. Thomsen replied he was only aware of e-mails documentation. Vice Chair Wallis asked if the organization has a physical record between the City of San Ramon and Kingdom Hall. Mr. Thomsen replied that would have been Mr. Johnson.

Chair Viers opened the public hearing.

Ann Haley – San Ramon stated that she is against the project. Ms. Haley stated that she is concerned about parking over flow which happened during construction, but also occurs now. She is also concerned about the speeding of vehicles in her neighborhood.

Ms. Haley also expressed a concern about the congregation increasing in size.

Chair Viers asked if there is street parking available on Ms. Haley street. Ms. Haley replied yes and they would walk to the Hall along San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

Chair Viers closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Sachs asked if the Planning Commission is the appropriate body for this application to go forward or the final decision is the City Council.

Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe replied that the Planning Commission can condition the hours of operation, but the City Council is the appropriate body to address any impact fees.

Ms. Chamberlain replied that staff would do some research however at some point there would have to be a decision  from the Planning Commission because it is tied to the Conditions of Approval and hours of operation.

Commissioner Benedetti added that if this application goes before the City Council it would include a condition of approval liming the hours of operation.

Chair Viers stated we cannot refund fees but we can change the Conditions. If the Planning Commission returns in November then would we make a recommendation to the City Council.

Interim City Attorney Saxe stated that the Planning Commission can deny the application, and the applicant can appeal to the City Council. The Planning Commission can also send a recommendation to the City Council with a Condition of Approval to enforce the meeting hours and have the City Council decide what to do with the Traffic Impact Fees. 

It was moved by Commissioner Sachs and Seconded by Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission continue the item as an open public hearing until November 6, 2012 that staff moves forward and provide the Planning Commission with answers to the question that have been forwarded by the Planning Commission.

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

NOES:   None            


ABSENT   Commissioner Kerger

10.1 ABC Pet Clinic Public Art Feature 2259 San Ramon Valley Boulevard (AR 11-200-050) By: Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner gave a brief presentation and stated that the applicant is proposing two options for the public art feature.  Option 1 would include a black and white mosaic silhouette of a dog and cat on either side of the doorway facing San Ramon Valley Boulevard, and option 2 would include color mosaic paw prints.

The Planning Commission deliberated and adopted Planning Commission Resolution No. 11-12 for Option 1 to install the black and white mosaic silhouette public art feature proposal.


12. ADJOURNMENT  There being no further discussion, Chair Viers adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.   

Submitted by, Luisa Amerigo  


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