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November 6, 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, November 6, 2012 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


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

Absent: Vice Chair Wallis               

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

Audience:    4

1. CALL TO ORDER                  



4.PUBLIC 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 October 2, 2012 meeting were continued to the November 20, 2012 meeting


8.CONTINUED ITEMS – OPEN PUBLIC HEARING |9.1 Kingdom Hall – Amendment to Condition of Approval (DPA 12-310-002) By: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager stated that at the October 6, 2012 meeting the applicant was proposing to revise the daily meeting schedule to eliminate peak period trips and the requirement to pay the related traffic impacts. Since that meeting, the applicant has withdrawn their request and request the Planning Commission accept the withdrawal of their application.  

It was moved by Commissioner Benedetti and Seconded by Commissioner Sachs that the Planning Commission accept the withdrawing of the application.

AYES: Commissioners; Benedetti, Sachs, Kerger, Chair Viers         

NOES: None            


ABSENT   Vice Chair Wallis  

9.1. Acre Townhomes Development (VTM 9272) GPA 12-400-001, RZ 12-600-001, DP 12-300-003, AR 12-200-038, MJ 12-900-001 and IS 12-250-003. Staff report by: Lauren Barr, Senior Planner

Lauren Barr, Senior Planner gave a PowerPoint Presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting a General Plan Amendment, Rezone, Development Plan, Architectural Review and a Vesting Tentative Map to construct 48 Multifamily-High Density Townhome units on the two existing commercial properties located at 125 and 130 Ryan Industrial Court. The site is approximately 3 acres and currently has two existing office buildings approximately 42,100 sq/ft in size with parking that will be demolished to construct the new residential Townhome project. Mr. Barr provided an overview of the project design and stated that the design theme for the project is modified cottage-style with 2 building configurations slope pads and flat pads and 4 alternative floor plans with 3 bedrooms that range in size from 1,680 to 1,941 square feet. Mr. Barr further explained that on September 13, 2012, the Architectural Review Board (ARB) reviewed the proposed Project. The ARB comments related to the project architecture and building entries, however overall were complementary of the proposed architectural style and details proposed. 

Mr. Barr added that regarding the site plan and landscaping the ARB recommended the use of accent paving, enhanced landscape and seating area associated with the tot lot, and recommended substantial landscape in addition to finished wall details to provide emphasis to the Project entry. The ARB supported the narrowing of the entry driveway to create a sense of entry as well as serve as a traffic-calming feature between the project and Ryan Industrial Court.

Mr. Barr explained that the residential townhomes are proposed as “for-sale” units, which can make providing long-term affordable units difficult.  The sale price of the units is estimated at $450,000-$515,000 depending on the location and bedroom count. These units could satisfy the need of entry level moderate income housing under current conditions, it is difficult to preserve the affordability over the long-term given the potential impacts of deed restriction on qualifying for loans and the changing dynamics of the housing market. 

Mr. Barr added that on October 25, 2012, the Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) met to discuss the Acre Project.  The Committee shared staff’s concerns over the long-term deed restriction and the potential impact it might have on qualifying homebuyers.

Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Barr if the San Ramon Valley Fire had reviewed the proposed project and were there any comments.  Mr. Barr replied yes and the project complies with fire requirements.

Commissioner Kerger stated that notices were sent to the surrounding community and asked Mr. Barr if any written correspondences were received.  Mr. Barr replied that he did receive telephone calls regarding the public hearing schedule and when a decision would be made.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if the General Plan Amendment was only for the 2.9 acres. Mr. Barr replied yes. Commissioner Benedetti also asked what the current occupancy of the two existing buildings was. Mr. Barr replied that he was unsure and the applicant could answer the question.

Tom Schultz with Acre Investments stated that they consider this project an infill development site proposing 48 Townhomes.  Mr. Schultz added that they have strived to meet all the requirements within the Housing Element.

Commissioner Kerger stated her concerns about common walls and noise from surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Schultz replied that over the years, design standards have improved to minimize noise related issues.

Commissioner Benedetti asked Mr. Schultz what was the occupancy of the two buildings. Mr. Schultz replied 95% and Acre Investment has hired Colliers International who is working to relocate all the tenants in the building. Commissioner Benedetti further asked as the leases become due would the tenants be relocated. Mr. Schultz replied yes or their existing leases would be bought out.

Chair Viers opened the Public Hearing.

Ed Broome Director of Facilities of the San Ramon Valley Bible Church – stated that they have concerns, but support the project and is an asset to the community. Mr. Broome stated that the on street parking and limited on site parking could potentially cause problems. Mr. Broome further stated that they have concerns over drainage and have hired a Hydrologist to develop a strategy to reduce the water intrusion. Mr. Broome further stated that there are several retaining walls which would be demolished except for the 2 ½ ft retaining wall which marks the property line and is in need of replacement. Their desire would be to have the retaining wall removed and replaced. 

Jim Gibbon San Ramon Open Government – stated that he is not in favor of the project. Mr. Gibbon added that the project has no open space, parking will be a potential problem. Mr. Gibbon further added that the proposed project does not contribute to the affordable housing requirements. Mr. Gibbon stated the project has no amenities or privacy and units need to be removed to accommodate additional parking and open space.

Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Gibbon if he was referring to eliminating the front six units or twelve units.  Mr. Gibbon replied by removing the six units it would provide more open space and parking.

Commissioner Kerger stated that she would like the applicant to address the comments Mr. Gibbon brought to the Planning Commission’s attention about the design of the turnaround. Commissioner Kerger added that the project is a benefit to the community.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he had attended the October 25, 2012 Housing Advisory Meeting (HAC) and was impressed with the quality of the dialog.  Commissioner Sachs stated that the Committee was against long-term deed restriction and potential impact on qualifying homebuyers. Commissioner Sachs added that an assistance program could be offered to the homebuyers.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that she commends the applicant for applying the multi-family development-parking requirement for guests. Commissioner Benedetti further stated she would like to see how this project compares to the Foli project

Chair Viers stated that he had attended the ARB meeting and the board had positive input about the open space and landscaping. Commissioner Viers asked for clarification on the retaining walls.  Mr. Barr replied that the Zoning Ordinance limits the maximum height of retaining walls to 4’ above grade and requires a minimum of a 2’ offset between retaining walls lifts.

Chair Viers asked if the Fiscal Analysis would be available at the November 20, 2012 meeting.  Mr. Barr replied that we are in the process of working through it and should be available at the December 4, 2012 meeting. 

It moved by Commissioner Benedetti and Seconded by Commissioner Kerger that the Planning Commission continue the item as an open public hearing until November 20, 2012 for additional public comment on the project.

AYES:    Commissioners; Benedetti, Kerger, Sachs.  Chair Viers        

NOES:    None


ABSENT: Vice Chair Wallis  

10.1 Informational Report: 2010 Census Overview. Staff report by Ryan Driscoll; Assistant Planner
                                                                                                                                              Assistant Planner Ryan Driscoll provided the Planning Commission with an overview of the 2010 Census.


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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