MINUTES OF THE CITY OF SAN RAMON
SPECIAL JOINT CITY COUNCIL AND
REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY MEETING
March 9, 2010
A special joint meeting of the City Council and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Ramon was held March 9, 2010 at 6:02 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Wilson and Agency Chair Rowley presiding.
PRESENT: Councilmembers Hudson, Perkins, Vice Mayor Rowley and Mayor Wilson.
ABSENT: Councilmember Livingstone.
PRESENT: Agency Members Hudson and Wilson, Vice Chair Perkins and Chair Rowley.
ABSENT: Agency Member Livingstone.
STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Herb Moniz, Interim City Attorney Roger Peters, Police Chief Scott Holder, Deputy Executive Director Marc Fontes, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.
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JOINT PUBLIC HEARING
(#3.1) Joint Public Hearing of the City Council of the City of San Ramon and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Ramon to Consider the Adoption of Resolutions and Related Findings by the City Council and the Redevelopment Agency on the Expenditures of Monies by the Redevelopment Agency and Approval of the Purchase and Sale Agreement by the City of San Ramon for the Acquisition of Land and Improvements Located at 2401 Crow Canyon Road (APN: 209-240-019) to be Owned by the City of San Ramon and Used as a Police Station.
Mayor Wilson opened the joint public hearing of the City Council and the Redevelopment Agency Board. Mayor Wilson reviewed the procedure which included: staff presentation, receipt of written comments, receipt of oral testimony, and consideration and action on the proposed resolutions.
Deputy Executive Director Marc Fontes entered into the record of the public hearing two documents: Proof of Publication of the Notice of the Public Hearing and The Summary Report required by Health and Safety Code Section 33679. The City Clerk acknowledged receipt of both documents.
Mr. Fontes reported that the proposal is to purchase the building at 2401 Crow Canyon Road for use as a police station. Staff has completed due diligence and a final purchase and sale agreement has been negotiated with the seller, Legacy Partners. The total project will cost approximately $9,000,000 which includes the purchase price of $7,111,300 and a budget for improvements of $1,850,000.
Police Chief Scott Holder provided the staff presentation. He stated that Captain Joe Gorton met with representatives of the Canyon Park Home Owners Association (HOA) to discuss their concerns regarding the purchase and relocation of the Police Department. The Police Department has outgrown its present facility and currently leases additional office space. The new location will consolidate police operations to facilitate better service to the community. He assured the community that the police facility is safe. He stated that the current facility has a booking area and one is planned for the new site. Arrestees are fingerprinted, photographed and either transported to the County Jail or released on a citation. The Police Department currently averages less than two arrests per day. Violent or combative individuals are arrested and transported directly to the County Jail. He noted that the Dougherty Valley police facility shares a parking lot with a library, community college, and day care center and is adjacent to residential neighbor-hoods. He reported that residents have not filed any complaints or safety concerns. It is not unusual for a police facility to be located within or near a residential area and this is the case for many cities in Contra Costa County. He added that the majority of work at the new facility will be general office work. Patrol officers do not respond to calls for service from the station but from their respective beats or assigned areas in San Ramon. The Police Station would operate 24/7 but with a significantly lower number of employees than a typical office. Police vehicles would use the Bollinger Canyon Road or Crow Canyon Road exits with minimal interruption to the adjacent neighborhood. He stated that the Police Department would be a responsible neighbor at this location.
Vice Mayor Rowley asked for a description of the activity and if the station will be surrounded by a fence. Chief Holder responded that preliminary plans include a fence along Creekside Drive where patrol vehicles would be parked. Cm. Hudson asked for clarification regarding the two buildings on the site. Chief Holder responded that the police facility would occupy one building. Cm. Perkins asked if comments or reviews have been received on the current police facilities. Chief Holder stated that they are waiting for the Police Office Standards and Training (POST) report. Cm. Perkins asked the Chief to describe the process used for arrests and bookings at this site. Chief Holder explained that there is a ramp which leads to the building’s basement. The detainee is taken to the booking room, fingerprinted, photographed, and the booking completed. The detainee is then either site released or taken to the County Jail. Cm. Perkins asked if there is a remote control for the fence gate. Chief Holder responded that the gate is opened, the vehicle enters, the gate is closed and then the arrestee is removed from the vehicle. The lock mechanisms on the back doors of police vehicle are disabled and can only be opened from the outside. A basement interview room would be segregated from the rest of the station. Cm. Perkins asked if a parking issue would occur on weekends. Chief Holder responded no. Vice Mayor Rowley asked how police vehicles enter the site. Chief Holder noted that there are three entry options. Mayor Wilson asked if, despite multiple locations, the San Ramon Police Department has received superior POST ratings for providing a safe city. Chief Holder responded that they did.
Mayor Wilson requested that the City Clerk read any written comments received regarding this item into the record of the public hearing. The City Clerk provided a summary of the eight written comments which were received.
Susan Pryfogle, resident, wrote that she is against the development of 2401 Crow Canyon Road for any public services but especially the development of a police station.
Matt McGinnis, resident, stated that he just became aware of the City’s intent to purchase this facility and convert it into a police station. He requested a postponement of the public hearing so that the neighbors have a reasonable amount of time to respond for public comments as they are the residents most affected by this proposal.
Dennis Rohne, president of the Canyon Park Homeowners Association, provided a list of questions in response to his meeting on March 8, 2010 with Mr. Fontes. He requested a continuance of the public hearing so that the proposal may be evaluated.
Mike Conklin, resident, stated his full endorsement of the project.
Mrs. B. Lucia, resident, stated that she is definitely opposed to having a Police Station located at 2401 Crow Canyon Road.
Richard Lalli, resident, stated his objection to locating the police station in a very residential neighborhood. He can’t imagine having both a police station and a fire station in that location.
Angie and Charlton Kangas, residents, stated that 2401 Crow Canyon Road is the wrong location for the police station because of the safety concerns for the three housing developments and the potential danger.
Mayor Wilson opened the public hearing for oral testimony.
Matt McGinnis, resident, stated that the former business provided tolerable traffic, no consequences or threats to the neighborhood’s safety, and was quiet on the evenings and weekends. He expressed several safety and health concerns due to criminals in the area, risk of pedestrian injuries as a result of speeding police vehicles, and an increase in traffic. He is concerned about the noise disruption caused by the 24/7 police operations. Property values will be harmed by the site’s chain link fence and barbed wire. The release of detainees into the neighborhood will decrease the feeling of safety for the residents. He urged the Council to vote against the resolutions and look for a commercially viable option that did not harm the neighborhood’s quality of life and community asset value. He objected to the lack of notice provided to the affected neighborhoods. He requested that a second public hearing be scheduled so that affected residents can be notified, have time to prepare, and address the Council.
Andrew Pryfogle, resident, concurred with Mr. McGinnis. He expressed concerns regarding traffic. He suggested that the police station be located in a commercial area because it makes no sense to locate a police station in the middle of a residential area.
Roz Rogoff, resident, asked why the City would buy this building for a police station when the City plans to put a police station in the City Center. She suggested that the police station remain in its current location and rent additional space as needed. She requested consideration of an animal control section at a new police station.
Dennis Rohne, president of the Canyon Park Homeowners Association, requested a continuance for the hearing so that the residents could get more information to better understand the issue and how it will affect their community.
Michael Smart, resident, expressed concern regarding the cost benefit of spending $9 million now as a stop gap measure when long term plans exist to locate the police station in the City Center. He stated that the issue is the residential community and their need for additional time to study the issue. He noted that there is an existing preschool, no sidewalks, and blind curves in the roadway. He asked how traffic will move in and out of the facility. He is also concerned about the perimeter fence, use of security cameras, fence and barbed wire, and the erosion that will occur to home values.
Sandy Wechsler, resident, thanked Chief Holder for the service provided by the Police Department. She stated that the relocation issue caught the residents by surprise. The residents want police protection but do not want to look at barbed wire. She noted that none of the Councilmembers live in the area. Police stations are necessary but should be located in the City Center and not in a residential area.
Keenan Wong, resident, thanked the Police Department for their job. He opposes locating the police station in the neighborhood. He asked why the project was exempt from CEQA. He stated that land values will suffer. He is concerned about noise, the booking procedure, safety of children playing, the possibility of a neighborhood lockdown, and the presence of sex offenders. He asked for a continuance. He also asked that the Council consider the residents’ comments in their deliberations.
Mike Conklin, resident, stated his support for the police station relocation. He said that the proposal makes economical sense and that the need for a new facility is obvious.
Marshall Torre, resident, thanked the Police Department for their work. He stated that the location’s zoning was changed from “office” to ‘”residential” 15 years ago. He asked if there was a noticed public hearing to property owners regarding the land use. He noted that most of the roadways are private. He requested a continuance and suggested that the City find a better location for the police.
Jimmy Wong, resident, stated that he initially supported the police station but he now has additional concerns. He requested an extension so that he can review the project.
Mayor Wilson closed the public hearing. Mayor Wilson asked if there were any other questions from the Council or Agency Board.
Cm. Perkins asked for an explanation of the use of Redevelopment funds. Agency Deputy Executive Director Marc Fontes said that the bulk of the funding is from tax-exempt Redevelopment bond funds. These funds can only be used for capital improvement projects such as purchasing or building a public facility. The funding cannot be used for operational expenses. Cm. Perkins asked if the project is in conformance with the Zoning and General Plan for the property. Planning/Community Development Director Phil Wong reported that the Planning Commission made a finding that the acquisition and use of the property is in conformance with the General Plan. The property is zoned “administrative/office”. Cm. Perkins asked if there is a more appropriate designation for police department use. Mr. Wong replied “public facilities”, “semi public” or “office” are appropriate designations. Cm. Perkins asked who was responsible for noticing the public hearing. Mr. Fontes said that the public hearing noticing requirements are dictated by California Redevelopment Law and that the City complied with those requirements. He added that an email notice was sent to the HOA on February 25, 2010 regarding the project. Cm. Perkins questioned the number of police vehicles. Chief Holder responded 52. Cm. Perkins asked how many facilities the San Ramon Police Department currently occupies. Chief Holder replied five. Four facilities would consolidate at this site and the Dougherty Valley Substation would remain. The Substation would provide the Youth Services Division, Crime Free Multi Housing Program, and emergency preparedness. Cm. Perkins asked if it is a necessity to have barbed wire on the fence. Chief Holder stated that it was not. Cm. Perkins asked if it would be possible to cut an access through the perimeter of the parking lot for vehicles. Mr. Wong replied that the circulation access could be modified. Cm. Perkins stated that he would live in the neighborhood near the proposed police station. He believes that the Police Department has procedures in place to ensure residential safety and does not anticipate that there will be any problems with bookings, noise, or escapees. Chief Holder stated that the Police Department has been in its current location since 1984. The booking procedures will remain the same. Chief Holder reported that no one has ever escaped from the Department. The Police Department wants to be a good neighbor.
Cm. Hudson said that the issue is one of “use”. The City Center is the best location for the police but, until it is developed, the City needs to find a solution. He noted that the Police Department in the City Center will be located near residential units. He is concerned that 2401 Crow Canyon Road will remain vacant. He supports the proposal and recommends working with the neighborhood to make the police a better neighbor.
Vice Mayor Rowley agreed that the City should work with the neighbors regarding their concerns. It is an excellent opportunity to consolidate police operations. After the City Center is built and the police relocate, this building may have other City uses.
Mayor Wilson stated his support for the police force but he does not support the project. He prefers the police location where it is. He is concerned about the cost and the use of Redevelopment funds. It may be detrimental to the neighborhood. He noted that San Ramon is fortunate to have the funding to consider this issue.
Agency Chair Rowley convened the Agency Board to consider Resolution RDA 2010-001 – Authorizing the Expenditure of Funds to Acquire Land and Improvements Located at 2401 Crow Canyon Road (APN: 209-240-019) to be Owned by the City of San Ramon and Used as a Police Station. Mbr. Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution RDA 2010-001 was seconded by Mbr. Hudson. Chair Rowley requested a roll call vote. Mbrs. Hudson, Perkins and Chair Rowley voted in favor of the Resolution. Mbr. Wilson voted against the Resolution. Mbr. Livingstone was absent.
Mayor Wilson convened the City Council to consider Resolution No. 2010-026 – Authorizing the Expenditure of Funds by the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Ramon to Acquire Land and Improvements Located at 2401 Crow Canyon Road (APN: 209-240-019) to be Owned by the City of San Ramon and Used as a Police Station and Resolution No. 2010-027 – Authorizing the Purchase of Property at 2401 Crow Canyon Road (APN: 209-240-019).
Mayor Wilson asked what procedures would be used to work with the residents and address their concerns. City Manager Herb Moniz stated that the City will announce another public meeting with residents, Police Department, and City staff. Mr. Moniz will report to the Council at the March 23, 2010 meeting.
Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-026 was seconded by Cm. Hudson. Mayor Wilson requested a roll call vote. Cms. Hudson, Perkins, and Rowley voted in favor of Resolution No. 2010-026. Mayor Wilson voted against Resolution No. 2010-026. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
Cm. Perkins’ motion to adopt Resolution No. 2010-027 was seconded by Cm. Hudson. Mayor Wilson requested a roll call vote. Cms. Hudson, Perkins, and Rowley voted in favor of Resolution No. 2010-027. Mayor Wilson voted against Resolution No. 2010-027. Cm. Livingstone was absent.
Vice Mayor Rowley asked when the meeting with the residents will be scheduled. Mr. Moniz stated the staff will notify the residents through the HOA. Mayor Wilson requested that, in the future, notices be placed both in the newspaper and mailed to residents. Cm. Hudson requested that the residents’ concerns be addressed. He also requested that every resident in Canyon Park and the HOA be noticed concerning any future developments on this project.
At 7:19 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Wilson adjourned the Council meeting and Agency Chair Rowley adjourned the Redevelopment Agency meeting.
Carol J. Rowley, Agency Chair
Patricia Edwards, Agency Secretary
Approved at the March 23, 2010 Agency meeting, 4-0; Livingstone abstain.