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March 19, 2013

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, March 19, 2013 in the Council Chambers 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon.


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

Absent:      None             

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

Audience:    16

 1.  CALL TO ORDER                    


 3.  PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE                    

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 March 5, 2013 meeting. Approved.   


8.1 San Ramon Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (TA 13-410-001) Staff Report by; Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner and Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner       

Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto, gave a brief PowerPoint and stated that the intent of this public hearing is to allow for additional public input on the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance for the City of San Ramon, and to finalize the draft text amendment prior to recommending to the City Council for approval.

Audio at # 8-22 Beekeeping

Darryl Young San Ramon resident – Stated that he feels that raising bees is reasonable under certain conditions that all potential beekeepers ask permission from their neighbors. Also setting a minimum setback and separation between properties with hives.

Commissioner Kerger asked Mr. Young how far a beekeeper should go to ask for permission. Mr. Young replied one house distance. 

Peter Schumacher San Ramon resident – Stated he would like to be able to keep beehives on his property and currently has to drive out to the Tassajara Valley to take care of them. In the last few years, there has been an increase in popularity in beekeeping. 

Douglas Graves San Ramon resident – Stated that having a beehive in your backyard will help you learn about natural history. Bees also pollinate flowers and vegetable gardens.

Tom Locker San Ramon resident – Stated he is in favor of beekeeping and would like to practice beekeeping. Mr. Locker added that bees are not a nuisance and are not dangerous.

Commissioner Sachs stated that public safety is important and in the past we have had no complaints from citizens. Commissioner Sachs proposed that we look at 6,000.sq ft. for one year and if any revisions need to be made, the Planning Commission can recommend modifications accordingly.   

Commissioner Benedetti stated that she has concerns that the maintenance of beehives could become a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood and can provisions be added.

Chair Viers asked Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe for clarification.

City Attorney Saxe stated that not every violation of a Use Permit or a requirement of the Zoning Ordinance is a nuisance and that a nuisance is considered as a separate issue.

Commissioner Kerger commented that provisions can be added and  ordinances  changed at any time. Commissioner Kerger supported Commissioner Sachs for decreasing the minimum lot size to make the beekeeping accessible to more residents. 

Vice Chair Wallis asked Interim City Attorney Saxe if an ordinance is passed permitting beekeeping, and in two years, we decide that it is not working would the people who have established beehives when the ordinance was in effect be grandfathered in.

Interim City Attorney Saxe replied yes and to remove an established beehives any proposed revocation would have to be based on public health and safety reasons.

Vice Chair Wallis stated that bees are a commercial venture, which can be used for personal enjoyment however, bees will travel onto other people’s property. Vice Chair Wallis commented that he recognizes that beekeeping as a useful function, but beekeeping is an agriculture use and this area is not agriculture area.

Furthermore, Vice Chair Wallis added that he is against beekeeping and if the Planning Commission decides to include the recommend Zoning Ordinance to the City Council to allow beekeeping in San Ramon that the Zoning Ordinance that staff, has drafted is an appropriate one.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he does not believe that beekeeping will be a danger to the community and that the Planning Commission should discuss a minimum lot size of 6,000 sq. ft.

Commissioner Benedetti commented that additional safeguards be added to the Zoning Ordinance such as provisions that no disturbances to residents that are adjourning the parcel where the beehives are located and consider having the beehives registered within 30 days of establishment.

Chair Viers stated that he is opposed to any Ordinance that would require permission from neighbors and if your neighbor has a beehive it will have to be disclosed if you plan on selling your property and he does not support the 6,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.  

Vice Chair Wallis suggested, that one motion be taken on beekeeping and after discussion among the Planning Commission to adopt the Zoning Ordinance as proposed.

AYES: Commissioners Sachs, Kerger

NOES: Commissioner Benedetti, Vice Chair Wallis, Chair Viers



Audio at # 1:41 Vote on Raising of Chickens

Commissioner Benedetti asked if language can be added to section C-1 to specifically prohibits chicken coops be located in the side yard because at the last meeting chicken coops were only allowed in the rear yard and not side yard.

Commissioner Benedetti added her concerns about nuisance, sanitary conditions, free of offensive odors, and the slaughter of chickens and asked that a recommendation be made to the City Council that they develop provisions to expand on the animal nuisances in the Municipal Code.  

Vice Chair Wallis stated that chickens are agriculture animals and belong in a barn and supported Commissioner Benedetti proposal to amend the Municipal Code to address her concern.

Chair Viers stated that chickens are barn animals and should not be considered as pets and is not in favor.

   AYES:     Commissioners Sachs, Wallis, Benedetti

   NOES:     Commissioner Kerger, Chair Viers

   ABSENT:  None

   ABSTAIN:   None

Vote on Minor Revisions and Clarifications to the Zoning Ordinance

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

   NOES:   None

   ABSENT:  None

   ABSTAIN:  None

It was moved by Planning Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Planning Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission approve Resolution No. 03-13 a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon recommending the City Council approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (TA 13-410-001) addressing various activities within residentially zoned properties removing the proposed provisions for bee keeping  and other minor revisions and clarifications of the zoning ordinance.

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

NOES:  None   



9.1 The Growing Room Day Care Facility at Golden View Elementary School (IS 13-250-001 and MUP 11-501-041) By: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner.

Shinei Tsukamoto Associate Planner gave a Power Point Presentation and stated that the applicant is requesting approval of a Minor Use Permit to increase the capacity of the existing school-age day care facility from 50 children to 160 children and to expand the facility to include classrooms 17 and 21 on the Golden View Elementary School campus, in addition to the originally approved modular building.

Audio at # 0.03

Commissioner Sachs commented that there is going to be more traffic above that identified in the traffic study.

Commissioner Benedetti asked how many parking spaces are required for the existing day care facility with 50 students.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied 68 are required based on the Zoning Ordinance standard.

Chair Viers asked if the current structures for the day care facility and the school would remain. Mr. Tsukamoto replied yes that there would be no physical change to the existing school facility. Chair Viers asked for clarification in the 10%  reduction in traffic.  Mr. Tsukamoto replied that approximately 50 children would be dropped off at the day care center before the start of the school, which would be about 10 % of the total number of children enrolled at the Elementary School. 

Commissioner Kerger commented that the Fire Department revised the occupancy rate for day care facilities from 35 sq. ft. per child to 20 sq. ft. and that according to the Department of Social Services, they require 35 sq. ft. per child, and she asked why the number was reduced.

Jim Larson President of the Growing Room Day Care Facility – stated that the occupancy rate of 35 sq. ft. per child is still intact for child day care facilities in general expect when you are an onsite childcare at elementary schools, the occupancy rate is reduced to 20 sq. ft. per child.  The Fire District determines the occupancy rate.

Commissioner Kerger asked how many children are currently enrolled. Mr. Larson replied 50.

Commissioner Sachs asked what are the procedures for drop-off and pick-up are.  Mr. Larson replied that each parent has to sign in and out when dropping off or picking up.

Commissioner Benedetti asked with the 79 parking spaces currently at the elementary school how many open parking spaces are there for the parents to park. Mr. Tsukamoto replied that parking lot D is the closet location which has about 6-8 parking spaces.

Vice Chair Wallis asked about the traffic pattern if there is a difference with children in day care as opposed to children going to school. 

Mr. Larson replied that by parents dropping off their children early helps relieve the traffic backing up on Canyon Crest Drive.

Ms. Chamberlain, Planning Services Manager added that children that are being dropped off at the school bell times normally will go directly to class and not the onsite daycare.

Chair Viers asked if the two separate facilities, the original building and the additional classrooms, would change the traffic pattern.  Mr. Larson replied no. The children are walked from the main building to the classrooms.

Commissioner Sachs asked about the Parking and Circulation Analysis and feels that increasing the capacity to 160 children will cause traffic impacts and was not clear on how it would reduce the flow of traffic.  

Deborah Fehr, Associate Traffic Engineer referred the Planning Commission to page 14 of the Traffic Analysis which showed the parking lot usage throughout the day conducted by the consultant. 

Chair Viers opened the public comment period.

Eddie Arano San Ramon – Stated that he is concerned about the traffic impacts with the increase to 160 children. Mr. Arano indicated that the traffic increased noticeably when the School District discontinued the bus service and added that the traffic on Canyon Crest Drive is already impacted and increasing the amount of children will only add to the traffic.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he is supportive of day cares but he is in favor of reducing the number of children to a more agreeable number where the applicant can build up to 160. 

Commissioner Kerger agreed with Commissioner Sachs on the reduction of children and the applicant can return to the Planning Commission for an increase.

Vice Chair Wallis asked if the permit is granted for 120 children and the applicant returns to ask for an increase to 160 children is this process done through the Zoning Administrator.

Ms. Chamberlain replied yes, and that the applicant will need to file a new application. Once deemed complete, a 10-day notice is sent to the surrounding neighbors to inform them that the City intends to approve the application unless someone requests, in writing, a public hearing within 10-days. If a public hearing is requested a new notice will be sent to the neighbors to give them an opportunity to provide their testimony at a public hearing held by the Zoning Administrator, and that decision is appealable to the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission’s decision is appealable to the City Council.

Vice Chair Wallis stated that he also agrees with Commissioner Sachs to reduce the number of children.

Commissioner Benedetti stated that the Planning Commission should ask the applicant what number would be agreeable for him.

Chair Viers stated that he agrees with the Commissioners on reducing the number of children.

Mr. Larson stated that he has parents on a waiting list and he would request 120 children.

It was moved Planning Commissioner Benedetti and seconded by Planning Commission Kerger  that the Planning Commission approve Resolution Number 01-13 a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon approving a project Initial Study Negative Declaration (IS 13-250-001), and Minor Use Permit (MUP 1-501-04) filed by The Growing Room and San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

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

NOES:  None  



9.2 Panache Enfants Day Care Center at the Courtyard Center (IS 13-250-001 and MUP 11-501-041) By: Shinei Tsukamoto, Associate Planner

Associate Planner Shinei Tsukamoto gave a PowerPoint Presentation and stated that the applicant is proposing to establish a new 8,146 sq. ft. childcare center within an existing commercial building.  The proposed day care center would occupy three suites. The day care is proposed to have a capacity for 72 children between the ages of six weeks to six years.

Commissioner Benedetti asked Ms. Panech, the applicant, if the infant play area was located indoors. Ms. Panech replied that State Law requires that when infants become mobile they are to have a physical separation. The structure must be age appropriate under 24 months and another structure from 2 years old to 5 years of age. 

Commissioner Benedetti asked how the infant play area is separated from the public. Ms. Panech replied that State Law requires the area be fenced.

Commissioner Kerger stated that she supports day cares but has concerns because it is located in a commercial shopping center and its close proximately to a gas station. Commissioner Kerger asked what the hours of operation were. Ms. Panech replied from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Commissioner Sachs asked if the 4 ft.  fence is required by State Law.  Ms. Panech replied yes. 

Chair Viers asked about the type of outdoor fence. Ms. Panech replied it would be a wrought iron fence. Chair Viers asked if a condition could be placed that the fence be higher than 4 ft.

 Ms. Chamberlain replied yes.

Chair Viers asked if there would be outdoor play structures. Ms. Panech replied yes.

Commissioner Sachs asked would there be any security cameras located throughout the daycare. Ms. Panech replied that they do have a security system in place with cameras located throughout the daycare.

Frank Flores Manger of Courtyard Center – stated he has been managing the commercial site for 4 years and that the center is patrolled by security and does not feel the day care will be a problem.

Chair Viers asked Mr. Flores how he felt about the 6 ft. security fence.  Mr. Flores replied that it seemed taller than they would like to see.

Commissioner Kerger commented she has concerns about the day care in particular the gas station emissions and air quality.

Mr. Flores stated that the building plans would need to be reviewed by the Fire Department and they look at the life safety issues.

Commissioner Benedetti asked if a condition could be added  requiring the applicant to have the Police Department conduct a Crime Prevention analysis on the day care for security measures.

Vice Chair Wallis asked for clarification what is the purpose of going to the Police Department.

Lieutenant Liz Gresham replied that the Police Department would do an assignment what would be adequate security for the day care.

Commissioner Kerger commented that she would like to have more information on the height of the fence and the propane gas tanks located at the gas station.

Commissioner Sachs added that he would like to see what the procedures are for escape routes in case of an emergency.

It was moved Planning Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Planning Commission Kerger that the Planning Commission continue the Panache Enfants Day Care Center at the Courtyard Center (IS 13-250-002 and LUP 12-500-002) to April 16, 2013.

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

NOES:  None  



10.   NON-PUBLIC HEARING ACTION ITEMS 10.1 2013 General Plan 2030 Implementation Annual Report and Work Plan  schedule. 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 for the City Council’s review and acceptance to ensure timely implementation of the General Plan.

In 2012, no General Plan Amendment (GPA) applications were approved. Year to date, the City has not approved by GPAs, but is currently processing one application filed by the Acre Investment Company for a land use change from Mixed Use to Multiple Family-High Density at 125 and 130 Ryan Industrial Court.

Since the adoption of the General Plan in April 2011, the City has started identifying the efforts needed to implement and complete tasks identified in the General Plan.  High priority goals in the Planning Department for the upcoming fiscal year includes implementation of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan, the Northwest Specific Plan, and the San Ramon City Center project, preparations for the adoption of a new Housing Element for the 2014-2022 Regional Housing Needs cycle, and implementation of the Measure J project and program.

Chair Viers asked Ms. Yee about the RHNA numbers and our Housing Element. Ms. Yee replied that the RHNA numbers should be official by end of this summer and the Housing Element would be from 2014-2022. 

It was moved by Commissioner Kerger and seconded by Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission accept the staff report and forward to the City Council for their consideration.                                                                                                                                                      10.2 Climate Acton Plan Annual Report 2009-12. By: Lauren Barr, Senior  Planner and Viona Hioe, Planning Intern.

Lauren Barr, Senior Planner gave a brief summary and stated that the City Council adopted the San Ramon Climate Action Plan (CAP) on August 23, 2011. The CAP development was in direct response to Assembly Bill (AB) 32 the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The CAP is intended as an iterative tool to monitor and assess the effectives of local Greenhouse Gas reduction efforts and to provide opportunity for the City to revise CAP polices and strategies, as necessary, to be consistent with current practice, new regulations and ultimately GHG reduction targets.     

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


There being no further discussion Chair Viers adjourned the meeting at 11:30 p.m.   

Submitted by: Luisa Amerigo Recording Secretary   











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