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 October 1, 2013

A regular meeting of the Planning Commission for the City of San Ramon was called to order by Chair Wallis at 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday October 1, 2013 in the Council Chambers, 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon CA.


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

Absent:    None                 

Staff: Phil Wong, Planning Director; Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Manager; Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner; Bob Saxe, Deputy City Attorney; Luisa Amerigo Recording Secretary

Audience:    13

 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 17, 2013 Regular Meeting.

Planning Commissioner Kerger made the motion to approve, motion seconded by Planning Commissioner Viers. Vice Chair Benedetti abstained          

6.2 Minutes from the September 17, 2013 Workshop Meeting.

Planning Commissioner Kerger made the motion to approve, motion seconded by Planning
Commissioner Viers. Vice Chair Benedetti abstained

7.1 9885 Alcosta Boulevard (LUP 13-500-005) AT&T Wireless Telecommunications Facility Expansion. Staff Report by: Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.      

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner, stated that on June 25, 2013 AT&T submitted a Land Use Permit application (LUP) to modify the existing AT&T wireless telecommunications facility which is co-located on the PG&E transmission line tower.  At the September 3, 2013 meeting, the Planning Commission held a public hearing for the application and continued the open public hearing to September 17, 2013 to allow the applicant to provide additional information.

On September 17, 2013, the Planning Commission resumed the public discussion on the application, after which the public hearing period was closed.  The Planning Commission went on to express their concerns over the number of antennas within the PG&E transmission line corridor and the adequacy of the alternative site analysis.  After further discussion, the Planning Commission made a motion to approve the application.  However, the Planning Commission ultimately took “no action”: to approve or deny the proposed project due to a lack of a majority to support or deny the application.  The Planning Commission directed staff to prepare an alternative resolution to deny the project application for consideration at the October 1, 2013 Planning Commission meeting.  

Commissioner Kerger stated that she had met with the representatives of AT&T Cindel Pena, Zachary Carter, and Ken Mintz and that her questions and concerns had been addressed.

Chair Wallis asked if the public hearing could be re-opened. Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Manager, stated that the Planning Commission would have to vote on re-opening the public hearing unless there were specific questions for the applicant.

Vice Chair Benedetti motioned to open the public hearing.  The motion was seconded by Planning Commissioner Sachs.

Zachary Carter, representing AT&T, stated that LTE (Long Term Evolution) antennas are being installed. The antennas use fiber cables and are for voice as well as for pictures.  The antennas use a different frequency than a regular cell phone and they need to be in the same location. Mr. Carter added that this location is AT&T’s number one choice because it is the farthest away from any residential dwelling and is near the PG&E substation.

Commissioner Viers commented that he does not want an antenna farm in this area. Commissioner Viers added he is aware that technologies change but would like AT&T to look at other locations in the future.

Vice Chair Benedetti commented that she had visited the location where the proposed units are being installed and could not see multiple antennas through the entire electrical infrastructure, the colors of the antennas and, landscaping.  Vice Chair Benedetti added that she feels the area is not becoming an antenna farm.  Vice Chair Benedetti added this is consistent with our Zoning Ordinance and is an allowable use.  

Commissioner Sachs stated that the neighborhood has received landscape improvements to the PG&E corridor. Commissioner Sachs added that if the Planning Commission stops approving the applications we would not be receiving updated service.        

Commissioner Kerger added that she does not want to stop AT&T from upgrading their equipment but to stop what is perceived in the community as blight.

Chair Wallis stated that he understands that carriers need to upgrade their equipment but they also need to take into consideration the visual aspects of doing so.

It was moved by Planning Commissioner Kerger and seconded by Planning Commissioner Benedetti that the Planning Commission, in the exercise of its independent judgment, and based upon all the evidence in the record (including, but not limited to, all application materials, the written and oral staff reports, and oral and written comments received by the City), does hereby approve the proposed Land Use Permit application (LUP 13-500-005) for the proposed AT&T wireless telecommunications facility expansion based on the required findings and subject to the Conditions of Approval attached as Exhibit “A” and in conformance with the General Plan.

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

NOES:            Planning Commissioner Viers 

ABSENT:         None  

ABSTAIN:       None    


9.1 The Growing Room at 2340 San Ramon Valley Boulevard. (LUP 13-500-003, DPA 13-310-003, and IS 13-250-004). Staff Report by Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner.

Ryan Driscoll, Assistant Planner, gave a PowerPoint presentation and stated that the applicant wishes to establish a new child day care center within an existing 3,600 sq. ft. office building. The proposed day care center would provide care for up to 90 children, between the ages of 4 to 12 years of age. The center would have 6 full-time and 4 part- time staff and operate between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mr. Driscoll added that the project would also include a new 800 sq. ft. State required outdoor play area accommodated by the restriping of a portion of the existing parking lot behind the building, and installation of approximately 125 sq. ft. of new landscape area.

Commissioner Kerger asked if there are any other daycare centers within the City that are two stories. Debbie Chamberlain, Planning Services Manager replied no. Commissioner Kerger further asked if this was the same applicant who came before the Planning Commission in March requesting an expansion at Golden View Elementary School.  Mr. Driscoll replied yes.

Vice Chair Benedetti had concerns on the technical reporting standards questioning the application of air quality data given the numbers beyond the decimal point and absent the rounding up of those standards.

Mr. Driscoll stated that we could confirm with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on future projects. BAAQMD has reviewed this project multiple times and they are confident with the methodology and risk assessment.  

Commissioner Viers asked for clarification on the play area, how it would be constructed and if new barriers would be going in and would the trees remain.  Mr. Driscoll stated that the trees would be remaining, and that the applicant plans for a new 6’ high wrought iron fence adjacent to the parking spaces and either a 6’ high or 8’ high solid wood fence along the perimeter of the outdoor play area.

Commissioner Kerger stated she was concerned about the traffic circulation in the area and asked if a traffic study was completed. Mr. Driscoll replied no, because the project  does not require one and the project does not create 50 peak trips.

Ms. Chamberlain added that all applications which are processed involve all City departments in the review process.  If there were turning or queuing issues we would have been notified by the Engineering Services Department that a traffic study would need to be completed.

Chair Wallis asked if the play area will be located to the right of the No Parking area. Ms. Chamberlain replied that the play area takes up the existing parking space.

Chair Wallis asked if a solid fence would be installed on top of the existing retaining wall facing the service station.  Mr. Driscoll replied that the  project includes plans for a new 6’ high wrought iron fence adjacent to the parking spaces and either a 6’ high or 8’ high solid wood fence along the perimeter of the play area.

Commissioner Sachs asked what kind of ground cover would  be installed  in the play area.  Jim Larson  the applicant from the Growing Room, stated that the ground cover for the play area would have a rubberized mat.

Mr. Larson added that the Growing Room has been providing childcare in San Ramon since 1999. This is their first opportunity to set up an educational program off the school district property.

Commissioner Kerger asked about the two-story building and how it would be utilized. Mr. Larson replied that they plan to provide the same program upstairs as well as downstairs. As the children decrease in numbers during the day, classes will be held downstairs.

Commissioner Kerger asked how many staff members would be available during the day. Mr. Larson stated that Ms. Kim Lewis would be able to answer that question.

Kim Lewis, Executive Director of the Growing Room, stated that a small number of children attend in the morning. Children who need care before school would be transported to school by vans. During the part of the day some schools have different programs and schedules so some children will be at our location when they are not in school. The upstairs area would not be used until later in the afternoon when the older children arrive.                   

Commissioner Kerger asked Ms. Lewis what is the maximum number of children they plan on accommodating.  Ms. Lewis replied 90 and does not anticipate the number being higher. 

Ms. Chamberlain commented if the applicant proposes to increase above the capacity above 90 additional parking would be required and they would have to return to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Sachs stated that he likes the use of the area and asked for clarification on the air quality analysis that was done. Ms. Chamberlain replied that all impacts are analyzed to ensure the operation meets the proper guidelines.

Commissioner Sachs asked what is being used to obtain the data. Mr. Driscoll replied  the data is received from the BAAQMD and a template is used which is provided by BAAQMD.

Commissioner Kerger commented that she would like staff to provide a list of day cares in the city and their size. Ms. Chamberlain commented that staff does keep a list of day care centers and that list is updated twice a year.

Chair Wallis stated that he is uncomfortable with the play area being in the parking lot with high walls and next to a gas station. 

Vice Chair Benedetti agreed with Chair Wallis but felt that staff has done a thorough job covering all the concerns.

It was moved by Planning Commissioner Sachs and seconded by Planning Commissioner Viers that a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of San Ramon Adopting an Initial Study/Negative Declaration (IS 13-250-004) and approving Land Use Permit 13-500-003 and Development Plan Amendment 13-310-003, for the property located at 2340 San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

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

NOES:       None  

ABSENT:    None   

ABSTAIN:  None                      



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

Submitted by: 

Luisa Amerigo
Recording Secretary   


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