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December 4, 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, December 4, 2012 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


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

Absent: Commissioner Benedetti           

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

Audience:    7

 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 November 20, 2012 meeting approved with modifications. 


8.1 Acre Townhomes Development (VTM 9272) GPA 12-400-001, RZ 12-600-001, DP 12-300-003, AR 12-200-038, MJK 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 approval of 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.  Mr. Barr stated that at the December 4, 2012 Public Hearing staff provided a summary of topics discussed at the November 20, 2012 Public Hearing and outlined the remaining items for discussions; Clarification of proposed rezoning request, Fire Safety concerns, Seismic Considerations, On-Site Parking/Turning Movements, and Affordable Housing. 

Commissioner Kerger thanked Mr. Barr clarifying the fire department safety issues.  Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Barr if any comments were received from the Parks and Community Service Commission.

Mr. Barr replied that as part of the Development Review process we referred the project to the various departments including Parks and Community Services and Public Services for comments and conditions of approval. Parks and Community Services may request the Parks Commission review the project in the same way we took this item to the Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) and that request had not been made of us.

Commissioner Kerger asked for clarification on Homeowners Association (HOA) enforcement, in particular, with garages. Mr. Barr replied that the City of San Ramon does not enforce CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) so it is incumbent on the HOA to enforce them. If a problem develops, the City can work with the HOA to resolve the issue.

Commissioner Sachs commented instead of in-lieu fees could the fee be used for down payment assistance. Commissioner Sachs asked why these options were better for the City and for future residence in terms of meeting that need. Mr. Barr replied that traditionally long-term deed restrictions have been the standard for affordable housing, but it is difficult to qualify lower income people for those loans because of the restriction.

Mr. Barr added that part of the concern Commissioner Sachs had was as a new homebuyer or first time buyer is getting the down payment. While one may still may qualify for the loan payments from month to month based on ones income, getting that initial down payment is equally important aspect of the loan process. A down payment assistance program could assist in future residents purchasing homes in this project.

The other thing we need to be concerned about is that there will likely be of some type of assessment associated with this project. The expense of an additional assessment impacts the ability of people to get loans. The details of an assessment have not been finalized and fiscal analysis is still in the process. However, a potential assessment is a concern when you have affordable units that are required and you add on expenses, there is a risk that people will not qualify to purchase the units and they end up unoccupied. There are benefits in providing entry level housing opportunities in the City and for someone working in the area this could be an option for them.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he would like to get the Planning Commission’s input   and that it provides opportunities for work force housing and possibly set aside units.

Mr. Barr replied that if the Planning Commission decides on setting aside a certain amount of units we would need to develop a program on affordable housing and an agreement to implement the program.

Tom Schultz with Acre Investments stated that the rezoning on the existing property did not meet Planned Unit Development standards and the alternative was to apply for a variance on the property to go under the ten-acre minimum according to the General Plan. Mr. Schultz added that they have had multiple meetings with the fire department. 

Mr. Schultz further added that as far as affordable housing, it would be his choice to pay the fees and are still looking into other alternatives. The builder cannot supply the down payment assistance and they would have to go through a third party to fund the down payment. Mr. Schultz further added that he had visited the Home Depot site and that they do have loading docks which are adjacent to the property. The heavy equipment with back up warming alarms are not a potential issue.

Commissioner Kerger expressed her concerns about the potential noise mitigation from the Home Depot. Mr. Schultz replied that they did contact Home Depot and sent out letters to the adjoining property owners.

Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Schultz if it is cost effective to add solar to a project of this size.  Mr. Schultz replied it is not cost effective and some solar companies lease the rooftops but there is also maintenance of the equipment involved.

Commissioner Sachs asked Mr. Schultz what Acre Investment practices in green building were.  Mr. Schultz replied that they are meeting the green building standards and Energy Star.

Commissioner Sachs added that as the project moves forward, consider enhancing the northwest property line landscaping as a noise buffer. Mr. Schultz replied that there is existing landscaping located in that area, but they intend to add additional landscaping as a noise buffer.

Mr. Barr stated there is a condition in the Mitigation Monitoring Program to exceed Title 24 energy by 15% as well as water reduction standard by 20% which is associated with our Climate Action Plan.

Ed Broome - Director of Facilities of the San Ramon Valley Bible Church- stated that he appreciates that Acre Investments has addressed their concern.  Mr. Broome also stated that he fully supports the project. Mr. Broome also addressed the Home Depot potential noise concern and feels that it will not be an issue.

Lee Rosenblatt - Carlson Barbee & Gibson - Mr. Rosenblatt addressed Mr. Jim Gibbon’s late communication on Stormceptor structure water treatment. Mr. Rosenblatt stated that the Regional Water Control Board (RWQCB) has a new regional municipal permit that went into effect last year that guides the entire Bay Area and the different users within that area are cities and counties.  The City of San Ramon is required to comply with the requirements of the Contra Costa County Clean Water Program. Mr. Rosenblatt stated that a Stormceptor could be done only if it is a special project that is one acre or less.

Commissioner Sachs commented that the Planning Commission needs to come to a conclusion where to go on affordable housing and feels that option two would be his choice. Commissioner Sachs stated that if we set aside five units for moderate income what has to be done to accommodate that.

Commissioner Kerger commented that she agrees with Commissioner Sachs and feels we should have more affordable housing units. Commissioner Kerger added that a third party should be considered to facilitate the situation. 

Vice Chair Wallis commented that it is unlikely that with current uses on Ryan Industrial Court that it will be a candidate for a mixed-use development of any large scale and if we allow a residential development what does it do for the planning for the rest of the areas designated as mixed-use. Vice Chair Wallis added that it appeared, as a residential development, there is some possibility it can be catalyst site for the rest of the area.

Vice Chair Wallis also added if we require a deed restriction for the moderate income units what would be the price point and what impact does that have for people to purchase these units.

Chair Viers stated he is in favor of the in-lieu fees over designating a number of units as affordable.  Chair Viers added that the resale could be a potential problem on these units because of deed restrictions.

Commissioner Kerger added her concerns about meeting the Housing Element numbers. By just collecting in-lieu fees we may not be able to keep up with the affordable housing numbers.

Commissioner Sachs stated that we need low and very low-income income units. Commissioner Sachs added that he prefers option two, however, he feels that option one would is the logic choice. Commissioner Sachs further asked based on the Church on the Hill project are we are asking too little for in-lieu fees for a project of this size.

Debbie Chamberlain, Division Manager replied that the in-lieu Affordable Housing Fee for Church on the Hill was $85,000.00 which was negotiated as part of a Development Agreement and gave the church an additional ten years plus a five year extension to construct there project.

This situation tonight before the Planning Commission is different from the Church on the Hill project. The $110,750 in lieu fee is consistent with other residential projects approved by the city.

Chair Viers stated that the Planning Commission would like to request information about what home prices would be affordable to moderate income households.    

It was moved by Commissioner Kerger and Seconded by Commissioner Sachs that the Planning Commission continue the Public Hearing to December 18, 2012.

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

NOES:    None

ABSENT: Commissioner Benedetti






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

Submitted by:

Luisa Amerigo Recording Secretary    









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