SANTA ROSA CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 1998
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, 100 SANTA ROSA AVENUE
3:00 P.M. - STUDY SESSION - DEVELOPMENT REVIEW ACTION PLAN
The Study Session was called to order at 3:05 p.m. All Councilmembers were present.
Mayor Wright gave a brief history of the Council's discussions during the past five years related to the need to redefine the development review process in Santa Rosa. During the previous budget sessions, discussion was held regarding whether additional staff in the Community Development Department would assist in making the process more efficient. It was determined that additional staff would not necessarily be the answer since additional responsibilities have been added to that department over the years.
Mayor Wright discussed the process by which the Draft Action Plan was developed. The City Council/Planning Commission subcommittee on development review has requested that the Draft Action Plan be circulated to the City Council, Planning Commission, Design Review Board, representatives of the development community, interested citizens, and the staff of the Department of Community Development. The goal of circulating this document was to inform interested parties of the intended new direction and seek any suggestions they may have prior to the Council's adoption and initiation of this program.
Bob Blanchard, Chairperson of the Planning Commission, made the presentation. He reminded those present that the Action Plan is not the final one. It is a distillation of a number of ideas. The question is whether it can be adjusted to strengthen the development review process for all parties concerned in order to reach the objectives desired. He stressed that the Draft Action Plan represents an attempt to think "outside of the box."
Mr. Goldberg said that as part of the effort to have someone from outside look at the plan, a peer review of directors from four other cities has been scheduled for February 20. Directors from the cities of Dublin, Sunnyvale, Fremont, and Mountain View will participate. Mr. Goldberg noted that this type of review has not been done previously in the development community. If the peer review is successful for Santa Rosa, other communities may be interested in using the peer review process.
Mr. Goldberg said the cities that will be conducting the review were selected based on the procedural aspects of their operations and as a result of numerous comments the City has heard regarding those operations. He discussed the need to base this review on the standards and criteria the City of Santa Rosa wants to set and to establish policies that coincide with those standards. Mayor Wright pointed out that some cities have standards that are very different than Santa Rosa's. Therefore, those cities will not be used as models for Santa Rosa.
Councilmember Evans said she does not want to lose sight of the need to look at Santa Rosa's vision and where the City wants to go. While it is one thing to look at processes, it is still important to be concerned about outcomes.
Mr. Blanchard briefly reviewed the schedule as contained in the Draft Action Plan and clarified the different steps and stages. Ultimately the City Council will be requested to take action on the plan.
Councilmember Wiggins questioned the benefit of eliminating a design review of single-family residences. She asked for clarification regarding the engineering partnership (i.e., between the public/private sectors)and asked what that will mean in relationship to the City's goals. She discussed her concerns related to drive-through businesses and the importance of having protective mechanisms in place that will take into consideration the surrounding environment and compatibility with that environment. She noted that the process being considered includes a combination of procedural direction and policy changes.
Councilmember Evans stressed that it is important that the Neighborhood Design Committee have an opportunity to review the Draft Action Plan. They next meet is on February 3. She suggested that the Council not act on this document until after that time. Mr. Blanchard said it would be possible to reschedule the plan for action by Council on February 10 or February 17.
Mr. Blanchard reviewed each of the items contained in the Draft Action Plan. Following is a summary of the main concerns/responses.
Item 1. Mr. Goldberg indicated that the Community Development staff has developed its own mission statement, but none has been formally developed or sanctioned by the Council. Councilmember Evans said the draft appears to be process-oriented. She suggested that an outcome be added as part of a mission statement. It should include establishing a partnership between those people developing, those people reviewing, and those people living in the community.
Item 2. Councilmember Evans said that she believes the Planning Commission serves as a forum for the public. Regarding the Design Review Board, she believes single-family residential uses require more examination. She believes the focus needs to be changed and should include giving the Design Review Board more discretion in the application of policies to the projects which they consider; i.e., to be able to determine when something either "won't fit" or won't enhance the community.
Councilmember Martini concurred. He suggested that another direction that might be worth considering is that of a concept review earlier in the process. This concept would provide the public with an opportunity to comment and/or provide feedback regarding a project.
Councilmember Wiggins again questioned the advantages of eliminating the design review of single-family residences. While it may be possible to make some adjustments, the commissions' responsibilities related to development review should not be eliminated.
Item 3. It was noted that it will be important to have someone from the City Attorney's office involved in this step.
Item 4. Councilmember Evans spoke about the fact that it is not always possible to know in advance whether there will be public opposition to an issue. Therefore, it would be difficult to know in advance when it would be appropriate for staff to make an approval. She indicated that all of the items listed raise "red flags." She gave examples. Councilmembers Evans and Wiggins expressed their concern that this item may be problematic. Regarding subsection b., it was noted that this item specifically refers to extensions.
Item 6. Councilmember Martini pointed out that earlier review and input by the neighborhood could have the potential of being diametrically opposed to streamlining the process. He gave examples. Councilmember Evans said a peer review could call attention to the "pitfalls" of an application.
Item 7. Councilmember Wiggins referred to a discussion about streamlining for the County wherein the City of Sunnyvale was cited as an example of when the solution could create additional problems.
Item 8. Mr. Regalia pointed out that it will not be possible to accomplish each of the items listed in this section within the time frame shown. It will be necessary to determine which ones have the greatest impact and to prioritize the list.
Councilmember Evans discussed the importance of including the Neighborhood Design Committee when working on this list. Vice Mayor Runyan noted the importance of taking the County into consideration and, when necessary, receiving their input. Mayor Wright said that subsection b. is one of the first items that should be taken into consideration. Councilmembers Martini and Wiggins stressed the importance of looking at subsection l.
Item 9. It was noted that the time frame for this item will be adjusted since the peer review will not occur until February 20.
Item 10. Councilmember Evans stressed the need to obtain a great deal of community input related to this item. She asked for additional discussion related to rollovers.
Mayor Wright reminded those present that the Action Plan is a draft document and is meant to be as substantive and inclusive as possible. If other issues come to light which should be addressed, they should be called to the attention of either Mayor Wright, Mr. Goldberg, or Mr. Blanchard. She and Mr. Blanchard briefly discussed their hope that this process will provide staff with an increased ability to participate in the decision-making process and to more fully utilize their professional expertise.
There was some discussion regarding earlier studies and reports related to the development review process; regarding concerns on the part of the Homebuilders Association related to the increased length of time it takes to get projects through the system; regarding the number of planned development (350) and zoning (35) districts within the City; and regarding the need to establish an overall vision for the City and set related policies and requirements in place.
Councilmember Wiggins emphasized a goal for Santa Rosa of being: "A City Designed for Living," and discussed moving toward that goal.
Reference was made to a 1994 report, particularly to the mission statement and goals included therein. Mr. Regalia will provide Council with copies of that report.
The Study Session was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
4:00 P.M. - REGULAR SESSION
1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
Mayor Wright called the meeting to order at 4:09 p.m.
2. CITY COUNCIL ROLL CALL
Present: Mayor Wright, Vice Mayor Runyan, and Councilmembers Berto, Condron, Evans, Martini, and Wiggins.
3.1 PRESENTATION - TEEN RECOGNITION
Priscilla Quintanilla, a student at Maria Carillo High School, was presented with a Teen Recognition Award by Stephanie Eaton, Teen Council Member. Ms. Eaton discussed activities in which Ms. Quintanilla has been involved, including drama and choir. Ms. Quintanilla was honored as the first Student of the Month at her high school, as well as Student of the Year. Ms. Quintanilla expressed appreciation to her principal and thanked Council for the Teen Recognition Award. Mayor Wright discussed Ms. Quintanilla's participation in the Tomorrow's Leaders Today program.
3.2 PRESENTATION - PG&E REBATE
David Head, Major Account Representative for PG&E, presented Council with a check in the amount of $64,915.00 as part of the energy efficiency rebate program for the installation of red LED (light-emitting diode) traffic signal lights. As part of the program, the City retrofitted 325 twelve-inch red arrows, 906 twelve-inch red balls, and 631 eight-inch red balls. The program resulted in an annual energy savings of 1.1 million kilowatt hours (i.e., equivalent to an annual consumption of 100 residential homes). This savings results in a $100,000 reduction in energy costs, as well as a one-year payback of the project.
Mr. Head commended Mary Jo Yung, Associate Traffic Engineer, and Pete Leras, Electrical Maintenance Superintendent, for their efforts on behalf of the program, as well as Charlie Lachman, Deputy Director of Field Services, and Roz Daniels, Director of Public Works, for the support they have given staff. Mr. Head also commended the City for the speed in which staff accomplished the installation of the LED signal lights.
Rich McCamish, Governmental Relations Representative for Sonoma County for PG&E, introduced himself and said he is now the main contact for the City.
4. CITIZEN PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Ken Hart, representing Spirit of the Roses, referred to concerns he raised about a month ago related to Proposition 215 (medical marijuana) and said he hasn't received a response.
Scott Bartley provided Council with a status report on the RUDAT (Regional Urban Design Assistance Team) project. The application was submitted in November 1997. A response has been received indicating RUDAT's interest in the issues identified and containing a list of additional information still required. Once that information has been submitted, a project manager will be assigned. Mr. Bartley said the fund-raising process is almost ready to commence and they have already received about $4,000 either in cash or pledges. A general meeting has been scheduled on February 4, 1998, at 5:30 p.m. at the Empire Building, to provide the steering committee with an update. Mr. Bartley said that RUDAT is requesting that the City Council formally endorse the process.
Jack Osborne suggested that the City Attorney's requirement to maintain confidentiality related to the recently imposed FPPC fines be waived so that he can respond, if necessary, to questions. Mr. Osborne suggested, and discussed his reasons for believing, that study sessions regarding major issues should be held in the Council Chambers; i.e., to give the public an opportunity to speak on those issues.
Carol Dean, President of the West End Neighborhood Association, read a letter into the record regarding the DeMeo Teen Center. Her letter corrected comments made at the previous City Council meeting concerning representation by the West End Neighborhood Association in the planning of the Teen Center. As of that meeting, the Association had not participated in any of the center's planning or regulations. Ms. Dean further clarified that the member of the Cultural Heritage Board who was on the collaborative as part of the neighborhood was challenged on a conflict of interest and so was unable to vote on the Teen Center; neither did this member return to the collaborative. Ms. Dean spoke about a meeting to be held in February, at which she hopes the line of communication will be opened. She said the Association's major concerns are still related to security and parking. Ms. Dean's letter is on file in the office of the City Clerk.
Mayor Wright responded to some of the comments made by the previous speakers. She met several months ago with supporters of Proposition 215, along with the Chief of Police. At that time, a letter was sent to the State requesting their ruling and interpretation related to the implementation and enforcement of the proposition. The City is still awaiting the State's direction. She confirmed that the issue related to Council's endorsement of the RUDAT process will be placed on the February 3 City Council agenda. She spoke briefly regarding the purpose of the Council's study sessions. She indicated that public input is invited when time permits. When the study sessions are attended by an audience that is too large to be accommodated in the Mayor's Conference Room, the sessions are relocated to the Council Chambers.
Councilmember Evans asked if there will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the recommendations related to the Draft Action Plan. Mayor Wright responded that this item will be placed on the agenda as a report item, at which time members of the public may make comments. Mayor Wright indicated that copies of the Draft Action Plan are available in the City Manager's office.
Vice Mayor Runyan referred to the comments he made at the previous Council meeting regarding the West End Neighborhood Association's participation in the Teen Center planning. He had mistakenly understood that a representative had already been selected at that time; however, that selection was not made until last Thursday (January 15).
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Meetings of December 18 (Joint Study Session with the BPU) and January 13, 1998.
Moved by Councilmember Condron, seconded by Vice Mayor Runyan, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE DECEMBER 18, 1997, MINUTES AS PRESENTED.
Councilmember Wiggins requested that page 7 of the January 13 minutes, the second paragraph from the bottom of the first column, be corrected to reflect that she was referring to a study of the value of the agricultural "economy in Sonoma County," not regarding the "value of agricultural reuse."
Mayor Wright requested that page 8, the second paragraph from the bottom of the first column, be clarified to reflect the arguments and rebuttals for the measure related to the utility users tax.
Staff requested a correction on page 6, under Item 9.1. The Chairperson of the Personnel Board is Ellie Lowry, the Chairperson of the Planning Commission is Bob Blanchard, and no Chairperson was appointed to the Mobilehome Park Policy Board.
MOVED by Councilmember Condron, seconded by Councilmember Wiggins, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO APPROVE THE JANUARY 13, 1998, MINUTES AS AMENDED.
6. STATEMENTS OF ABSTENTION BY COUNCILMEMBERS
There were no statements of abstention.
7. CONSENT ITEMS
7.1 ORDINANCE ADOPTION - RECLASSIFICATION - 970 SLATE DRIVE (CASTLEROCK II)
7.2 ORDINANCE ADOPTION - RECLASSIFICATION - NORTHPOINT APARTMENTS
7.3 ORDINANCE ADOPTION - RECLASSIFICATION - 2130 ARMORY DRIVE
7.4 RESOLUTION - BID AWARD - COMBINATION HYDROFLUSHER STORM DRAIN CLEANING UNIT
7.5 RESOLUTION - AMENDMENT TO CITY CLASSIFICATION/SALARY PLAN (HOUSING, POLICE, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT)
MOVED by Vice Mayor Runyan, seconded by Councilmember Wiggins, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT AND WAIVE THE READING OF THE TEXTS OF:
ORDINANCE NO. 3352 ENTITLED: ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA AMENDING CHAPTER 20 OF THE SANTA ROSA CITY CODE - RECLASSIFICATION OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT 970 SLATE DRIVE - FILE NUMBER REZ97-037.
ORDINANCE NO. 3353 ENTITLED: ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA AMENDING CHAPTER 20 OF THE SANTA ROSA CITY CODE - RECLASSIFICATION OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1451, 1551, AND 1651 NORTHPOINT PARKWAY - FILE NUMBER REZ97-035.
ORDINANCE NO. 3354 ENTITLED: ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA AMENDING CHAPTER 20 OF THE SANTA ROSA CITY CODE - RECLASSIFICATION OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT 2130 ARMORY DRIVE - FILE NUMBER MJP97-017.
MOVED by Vice Mayor Runyan, seconded by Councilmember Wiggins, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT AND WAIVE THE READING OF THE TEXTS OF:
RESOLUTION NO. 23415 ENTITLED: RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA ACCEPTING THE BID OF EDWARD R. BACON CO. FOR THE PURCHASE OF A COMBINATION HYDROFLUSHER STORM DRAIN CLEANING BODY ($139,682.29).
RESOLUTION NO. 23416 ENTITLED: RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA AMENDING THE CITY CLASSIFICATION AND SALARY PLAN AND AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO IMPLEMENT THESE CHANGES (Housing Services Technician - modify salary range; Police Technician - one position deleted; and Community Development Senior Clerk Typist - reduction in time allocation).
8. SCHEDULED ITEMS
8.1 REPORT - TRANSFER OF SEWER CREDITS FOR SINGLE OWNERSHIP PREMISES
Larry Brown, Deputy Director of Utilities Engineering, made the staff presentation. He said that this item has been reviewed several times by the Board of Public Utilities. The concept of the proposed ordinance is that sewer credits would be determined for single-owner, multi-use facilities such as shopping centers. The sewer credits could then be moved from one location to another within single ownership premises. The need for this action was brought to the attention of staff by Bert Bangsberg, a representative of the owner of the Farmers Lane Plaza. Mr. Bangsberg worked closely with staff to determine what the Plaza's sewer capacity is, as well the current use of the capacity. Mr. Brown referred to the background information contained within the staff report, which indicates there are 152.6 ESUs (equivalent single-family units) of sewer credit for the Plaza Center. The Plaza Center is currently using less than the maximum credit. Mr. Brown said that the action being requested would enable the Plaza to utilize the sewer capacity not currently being used by the tenants by permitting the credits to be moved.
Mr. Brown discussed the proposed change to the ordinance and explained the use-based demand fee program which currently exists, as well as what occurred prior to the implementation of that program in1996.
It is recommended by the Board of Public Utilities that the City Council introduce an ordinance that would allow for the transfer of sewer credits for single ownership premises.
In response to Council questions, Mr. Brown discussed the approach taken to determine capacity rights. He clarified that the table used for determining the actual requirements doesn't change from a new to an existing use. He expanded on the difference between the sewer capacity purchased by the property owner and the formula for costs. He noted that once the rights have been established for the overall property, a limit is set. He discussed how each prospective use is then taken into consideration when assessing the fees.
Councilmember Evans expressed concern regarding potential unintended consequences which may occur as a result of Council's action; i.e., the disincentive for opening new restaurants because of high sewer demand fees. While staff's proposal makes sense, she questioned if one of the effects of that action would be to make it easier to open a restaurant in a mall or a shopping center than on stand-alone property.
Mr. Brown concurred that this could occur. He explained, however, that one restaurant would ordinarily eliminate the excess capacity in a shopping center. Therefore, the same demand fees that would be paid for a stand-alone restaurant would have to be paid for an additional restaurant. He also explained that staff is evaluating the current surcharges for restaurants which don't quite relate to the amount of demand fees being paid. Staff is testing the uses identified in sewer billings as well as in the capacities to ensure that costs are being applied in an equitable way.
Jack Osborne discussed his concerns related to what would occur if a restaurant paid its fees and then closed due to financial problems. He asked if the property owner would be unjustly enriched by the credit which would result from transferring the credit to another property.
Mr. Brown explained that transferring the credit to another property is not permitted. However, a transfer could occur within the same location of a single-ownership, multi-use property. The transfer would, of course, benefit the property owner. However, it would also ultimately benefit everyone by enabling the utilization of the sewer rights in another location on the same property.
MOVED by Councilmember Martini, seconded by Councilmember Condron, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO INTRODUCE AND WAIVE THE READING OF THE TEXT OF:
AN ORDINANCE ENTITLED: ORDINANCE OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA AMENDING SECTION 15-16.030 OF THE SANTA ROSA CITY CODE TO ALLOW MOVEMENT OF SEWER CREDITS FOR SINGLE OWNERSHIP PREMISES.
8.2 REPORT - SIDEWALK-STREET TREE INSTALLATION PROGRAM COUNCIL POLICY (NO. 100-04) AMENDMENT
Colleen Ferguson, Supervising Engineer, made the staff presentation. The City's Sidewalk-Street Tree Maintenance Program follows administrative procedures set forth in Council Policy Number 100-04. Among other things, the policy establishes the division of responsibility between the City and the property owner for the annual sidewalk-street tree project.
Most of the Sidewalk-Street Tree Maintenance Program work is to alleviate an existing condition needing repair demonstrated by a buckling curb, gutter, and sidewalk. Under the existing policy, the cost of such work was shared between the City and the property owner, with each bearing 50% of the cost. Work on City-maintained street trees was borne 100% by the City. The Streets and Highways Code does not require that the City pay any portion of the cost of the sidewalk repair work.
During establishment of the budget for fiscal year 1997-98, the City Council directed that Council Policy Number 100-04 be brought to Council for amendment to change the division of responsibility between the City and the property owner for the cost of the sidewalk-street tree project. The proposed policy would set a division of responsibility as follows:
Fiscal year 1997-98: 25% City 75% property owner
Future fiscal years: 100% property owner
The sidewalk repair program budget was reduced from $365,000 in fiscal year 1996-97 to $190,000 in fiscal year 1997-98 in anticipation of higher property owner payments after amendment of the Council Policy. However, the property owner payments were not budgeted as revenue to the sidewalk repair program. The amount of property owner responsibility for sidewalk repairs under the 1997-98 sidewalk repair contract is estimated as $140,000 based on amendment of the Council policy.
In accordance with previous Council direction, it is recommended by the Public Works Department that the City Council, by resolution, amend Council Policy No. 100-04 to read as outlined above and appropriate $140,000 for the sidewalk repair program for fiscal year 1997-98 with the source of funds to be property owner payments.
Responding to Councilmember Evans, Ms. Ferguson clarified the difference between the cost-sharing portion of the current system and the proposed system. At this time, the City repairs curbs, gutters, sidewalks, sidewalk drains, and takes care of tree removal/pruning, etc. Under the existing policy, the City is sharing the costs of all of the concrete work equally with property owners. The City has paid the entire cost for street tree work (i.e., those trees planted between the street and the sidewalk). Under the proposed policy, all of the tree and concrete work would be considered together. In 1997-98, the City would pay 25% of the costs and the property owner would be required to pay 75%. In 1998-99, the property owner would cover 100% of the costs. Ms. Ferguson indicated that when trees have buckled the street surface, the City pays 100% of the costs for those repairs.
Mayor Wright reminded those present that Council discussed this matter several months ago when considering the significant budget deficits. At that time, Council gave staff policy direction to move in the direction proposed.
Mr. Blackman confirmed that Council dealt with actual dollar amounts at that time.
Responding to Vice Mayor Runyan, Ms. Ferguson said that 140 locations are currently being repaired. These locations are contained in the current repair contract, which was budgeted for 1996-97. This is a typical number of repairs.
Jack Osborne stated his strong objections to the proposed action. He believes the sidewalks are City property and, therefore, since the City requires the trees, the City should bear the full costs. He expressed concern regarding additional costs property owners may have to bear since the City will no longer have an incentive to ensure lower costs.
Ellen Bailey, Sonoma County Releaf, asked the Council to delay action on this matter until after the Board of Community Services study session which is scheduled for January 28. She said this issue is an important one to Releaf because of the potential Council's action may have to increase the number of trees that will be removed. She referenced what occurred in San Jose when the property owners were required to bear the full costs of repairs. The number of trees removed and not replaced skyrocketed. The public outcry was so great that San Jose reimplemented cost-sharing. She discussed some of the alternatives that may be implemented to save trees and reduce the expense of repairs. She asked the Council to provide time for this matter to be investigated and for other solutions to be presented.
Lynne Carlile, member of the Board of Community Services, said the Board met last week at a goal-setting session. One of the Board's goals is to research the entire street tree issue and all of its ramifications. In pursuit of this goal, a study session has been scheduled that will include the Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and Board of Community Services. The study session will be held on January 28. The Board of Community Services, therefore, is asking that this item be continued until after that meeting in order to give them an opportunity to develop suggestions/recommendations that may assist in resolving this issue or, at least, in providing some alternatives.
Ms. Ferguson responded to earlier questions. The State Streets and Highways Code is not concerned with who owns the property under the sidewalk. However, the owner of the property adjacent to the sidewalk is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. Mr. Blackman added that were there sidewalks in Mr. Osborne's area, they would be on his property, not on the City's property.
Wayne Goldberg, Director of Community Services, confirmed that the majority of the sidewalks in typical subdivisions/situations are on easements. The underlying fee is owned by the residential property owner.
Ms. Ferguson continued responding to previous questions. The City proposes to continue handling repairs under the revised policy as they are currently handling them. Only the portion of the sidewalk in need of repair would be repaired; i.e., the entire property frontage would not necessarily be replaced. These repairs are made on a low-bid basis, which keeps the costs down. She reiterated that the responsibility for maintaining sidewalks is stipulated in the State Streets and Highways Code. It is irrelevant as to who owns the property on which the sidewalk exists. It is the property owner of the adjacent property who has the responsibility.
Ms. Ferguson responded to Council questions. There is a large backlog of locations requiring repairs. When a report is received of a sidewalk in need of repair, a City crew applies an asphalt leveling patch to the site, which remains until the concrete repairs can be made. The repairs being made out of the 1996-97 budget were first reported to staff in 1987 or 1988. The City is typically able to make repairs on 125 to 140 locations per year. However, reports of locations in need of repair total between 300 and 400 per year. She confirmed that the policy would take affect immediately, so that repairs being made under the 1997-98 budget would fall under the new policy of a 25%-75% cost breakdown. The repairs made under the 1998-99 budget would fall under the 100% policy. The repairs currently being made under the 1996-97 budget fall under the 50%-50% policy.
Councilmember Martini referenced the discussions held during the budget process. It was his understanding that Council was reducing the amount budgeted for the program, but not necessarily shifting the percent of the payment. While he would like to hear the recommendations resulting from the upcoming study session, he expressed concern regarding removing the City's share in the costs. Councilmember Condron concurred. She said she would not support the policy amendment as proposed. She referenced a telephone call she had received from an individual who would incur a sizeable cost for the removal of Monterey Pines which were planted by the City. She discussed the in equitability of this situation. She asked about the liability for the sidewalks in disrepair.
City Attorney Rene Chouteau responded that the City is liable for any injuries which occur on the sidewalks. However, the City does have an asphalt leveling program, which provides safe sidewalks.
Heath Curdts said the sidewalk is buckling in front of his house. He discussed his concerns that property owners do not have any rights related to the problems which arise from the trees. He discussed his feelings about the value of the trees and the benefits they provide to everyone, not just to the residents. He discussed his opposition to the proposed policy. He also discussed the procedure which was in place at the time the trees were first installed on his property under the direction of the City (prior to his purchase of the property) and how those trees were inappropriate for the neighborhood. He believes it is inequitable for the owner to bear 100% of the costs resulting from those trees.
Ms. Ferguson discussed the options available to property owners for having the work completed.
Vice Mayor Runyan discussed the average costs to the property owners and said he would like to delay action on this item until the recommendations from the Board of Community Services are available.
Councilmember Wiggins referred to the discussion during the budget process and said it was not her understanding that 100% of the costs would be transferred to the property owners. Neither was the significance of this action considered at that time. She expressed her concern about the potential elimination of trees which may occur if the revised policy is adopted. She referenced approaches raised by former Mayor Bill Knight related to mending concrete and keeping the trees. She indicated that she is not willing to move in the proposed direction until after the January 28 Board of Community Services study session.
Councilmember Evans indicated that neither did she understand, during the budget process, that this was the direction Council gave. She said she would not have supported this direction. She spoke about the importance of the trees and the public benefit which they provide. She indicated that she is willing to oppose the proposed policy, even without additional information from the Board of Community Services, and explained why. Councilmember Wiggins concurred.
Councilmember Berto discussed his reasons for believing Council action should be delayed until a report has been received from the Board of Community Services. He spoke about the need to look at where the funds for repairs will come from if they must be taken from the budget.
Mr. Blackman briefly explained that a large number of cities have properties wherein the property owners maintain the street trees. This has been the case particularly in California over the past ten years. If the Council does not want to implement the revised policy, there will be a budget shortfall of approximately $360,000. A study session could be held during which Council could give policy direction on which services could be reduced in other areas if the funds are to be reallocated to this program.
Councilmember Condron discussed her concerns related to giving consideration to cutting other services in order to meet the needs of this program. She suggested that if a cut needs to be made, it may need to be made in this program instead. Mr. Blackman said an assumption had been made that Council wanted the program to continue in its current form. However, if the Council wants the current amount of money to be spent on the program, then less sidewalk repairs can be made. A brief discussion followed. It was noted that a great deal of work must still be done on this matter, particularly to avoid falling farther behind in the repairs.
It was the consensus of the majority of the Council to continue action on this item until the meeting of February 3.
Council recessed from 5:28 to 5:40 p.m.
At this time, Councilmember Martini noted that he may be on the list for street tree repair and/or replacement. He will confirm this information. Unless he is removed from the list, he will abstain from discussion on February 3.
8.3 PUBLIC APPEAL HEARING - MASSAGE THERAPY HOME OCCUPATION
Blake Hillegas, City Planner, made the staff presentation. He reminded Council that in August 1997, the City's Home Occupation Ordinance was amended to include a section that would permit clients or employees to work out of homes through a Home Occupation permitting process. On December 11,1997, the Planning Commission denied, by a 3-3 vote, a Conditional Use Permit for a massage therapy home occupation at 1236 Stewart Street. The message therapy office would be conducted by the resident occupant and would serve no more than an average of ten clients a week on a monthly basis. Planning Commissioners supporting the home occupation found the use in compliance with the residential neighborhood. Planning Commissioners not in favor of the conditional use permit determined that the use was not incidental to the existing residential use or appropriate for the neighborhood. On December 12,1997, the applicant, Jerry Miller, filed an appeal of the Planning Commission's denial, contending that the proposal complies with the requirements of the Zoning Code.
The Planning Commission recommended that the City Council, by resolution, deny the appeal and uphold the Planning Commission's decision. Mr. Hillegas discussed staff's evaluation and review of the permit. The Community Development Department recommended that the City Council adopt a resolution upholding the appeal and approving the Conditional Use Permit. He said that staff had made the same recommendation to the Planning Commission.
Mayor Wright opened the public hearing.
Dian Shulkin said she owns a well-established retail business in the Town & Country Shopping Center, which is approximately three blocks from the proposed use. She also has a Home Occupation Permit at her residence. She spoke on behalf of the applicant and discussed the reasons why she does not believe the use will generate noise, traffic, or parking impacts in the neighborhood. She discussed her belief that there exists feelings of elitism and discrimination in the neighborhood. She also discussed her belief that the opposition to a massage parlor is a "knee-jerk reaction." She referenced the applicant's outstanding and well-established character and spoke, at length, about the reasons why the Council should approve his application.
Bernice Bohn said she has lived directly across the street from the subject site for 51 years. She expressed her pride in the neighborhood, said that Council was elected to protect its streets, and asked Council to take the residents of Stewart Street into consideration when they make their decision.
Lincoln Miller said he purchased his house in April because of the uniqueness of its neighborhood. He said it is not an elite neighborhood. He referred to the CCRs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) which, although they expired in 1970, prohibited home businesses in that subdivision. He reiterated comments made at the Planning Commission meeting and said that although he does not have a problem with the business itself, he does have a problem in that the business is not incidental to the existing residential use. This type of business is different than a telecommuting business. He discussed his concerns related to it being the responsibility of the neighbors to count the number of customers that the business generates and then having to report any violations.
Karen Ingram said that she considers telecommuting a home business; i.e., one that does not disrupt the neighborhood and does not bring clients to the house. She also said that she believes that if this business is permitted, it will devalue her property. Permitting the business would also set a precedent. She spoke about how she believes the business will change the character of her neighborhood. She also expressed concern regarding additional traffic that will be generated, even if no more than ten clients visit the house. She expressed concern that if the applicant has a change in his financial situation, he may want to increase the number of clients. She did not believe there are any restrictions in the ordinance that would prohibit him from doing so or from hiring additional employees, or that would protect the neighbors and provide them with a mechanism that would enable them to stop the expansion of Mr. Miller's business. She asked Council to consider the people of the neighborhood when they make their decision.
Paul Ingram said he purchased his house in 1985 because of the nature of the neighborhood. He provided the Clerk with a list containing 24 signatures of residents who oppose the application. He said his concern is not related to the type of business, but rather to its inconsistency with the character of the neighborhood. He discussed the impacts of the business on the neighborhood, particularly related to parking, expressed concern related to the ordinance. He said he didn't think it would prevent the business from expanding. He spoke about past problems on the street (drug houses) and the difficulty the Police Department had in assisting the neighborhood resolve those problems. Therefore, he didn't think the Police Department would be of assistance in monitoring the number of clients that will be generated by this business. He did not think the City would be able to be of assistance to the neighborhood if this use is approved.
Mike Kelly, realtor and Past President of the Sonoma County Realtors Association, read a letter from a certified appraiser which discussed in detail the impact on the values of residential neighborhoods as a result of home-based business, and in particular, as a result of a home-based massage businesses. The letter pointed out that a more invasive and disruptive home-based business is a residential day care. The letter concluded by stating that the proposed home-based business will have no adverse impact on the marketability or value of the neighboring homes.
Mr. Kelly discussed the number of home-based businesses which currently exist in the City without permits, in neighborhoods where market values are considerably higher than the one on Stewart Street. He discussed the vicinity of the house to Pacific Avenue and other uses in the area which generate traffic. He said that any traffic generated by this business would come through the Pacific Avenue corridor. He read an excerpt which he wrote to the applicant, wherein his analysis indicated that no negative impact would result due to the proposed home-based business. He said that the trend that would be harmful to the neighborhood would be that of the influx of absentee owners, as would properties that are not being maintained.
Mike Libby spoke on behalf of the applicant's skills as a professional massage therapist. He discussed his own experience and the assistance he has obtained through massage therapy. He said that while he understood the concerns of the neighbors, he believed them to be unfounded. He discussed a number of reasons for feeling this way and concluded by stating that the impacts on the neighborhood will be negligible. He asked the Council to apply the Home Occupation Ordinance equitably.
Andee Kobus-Sheard spoke about her own experience as a Certified Practitioner of Massage and as a California State-Licensed Child Care Professional. She provides after-school childcare in her home and works three mornings a week in a physical therapist's office. She spoke on behalf of Mr. Miller's appeal and discussed the importance of being able to work at home. She discussed the impacts of her home care on the neighborhood, which are greater than those of a massage therapy business. She discussed the trend of and need for home-based businesses. She discussed an October 1996 issue of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) which contains statistics regarding the number of people working at home (40 million or 1/3 of the labor force), a large percentage of whom are older citizens. She addressed the stigma associated with therapeutic massage and spoke on behalf of home-based massage businesses which can assist in making the therapy more available to everyone. She said the community is protected from illegal massage businesses through the permit required by the Police Department. She discussed the benefits of home-based businesses to families. In conclusion, she said she participated in the meetings held by the Department of Community Development for the purpose of drafting the Home Occupations Ordinance. She said it was apparent that there was sensitivity to the needs of the neighborhoods and that the ordinance reflects that sensitivity and is flexible and supportive of the neighborhoods.
Jerry Miller spoke about the Home Occupations Ordinance, which contains regulations and safeguards. He addressed objections made by his neighbors. He said he is proposing an extremely low-key business, with no more than ten clients per week. Those clients will be on a referral and appointment basis only. There will be no signs posted. He spoke about his financial and emotional interest in his home. He addressed concerns related to parking and traffic, and said that no more than two cars per day would be visiting his house. He said if he wants to expand his business beyond ten clients per week, he will expand it to a commercial site. He indicated that he has clients outside of his home and is also a sports official, which generates a considerable portion of his income. He said the Police Department background check has been completed. He discussed other existing businesses which impact the area and compared those impacts with what might occur at his home on a typical day. He asked the Council to give him the opportunity to demonstrate that the Home Occupations Ordinance will work.
Hearing no further comments, Mayor Wright closed the public hearing.
Councilmember Wiggins referred to the conditions of approval contained in the Council resolution and said that it appeared that many of the concerns raised are dealt with in these conditions.
A brief discussion followed, wherein Councilmembers indicated their support of the appeal and Conditional Use Permit. Councilmember Martini stressed that the Conditional Use Permit will serve as a tool which will stipulate what can and cannot take place on the property and will serve as a tool to deal with potential negative impacts, should they occur.
Councilmember Evans asked for clarification regarding Condition 7. Mr. Chouteau indicated that if the use is initiated within the one-year period, the Conditional Use Permit will become permanent for the duration of the use. He referred to Condition 8, which clarifies this matter.
Councilmember Evans requested that Condition 10 not only require that a Massage Business and therapist Permit be obtained, but that it also be maintained. She indicated that she has had one telephone conversation with Mr. Miller and has received three or four letters at her office in support of his appeal. She noted that Ordinance 3332 incorrectly reflects her vote; she did not abstain from voting on the ordinance, but was absent at the time it was adopted. The Clerk will correct the ordinance accordingly.
MOVED by Councilmember Evans, seconded by Councilmember Berto, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADOPT AND WAIVE THE READING OF THE FOLLOWING TEXT CONTINGENT UPON ITEM 7 OF THE CONDITIONS (PAGE 2 OF THE RESOLUTION) BEING REVISED TO READ: "THIS CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT SHALL BE VALID ONLY IF THE USE IS COMMENCED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF APPROVAL. IF THE USE IS NOT COMMENCED WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM DATE OF APPROVAL, THIS APPROVAL SHALL AUTOMATICALLY EXPIRE AND SHALL BE INVALID UNLESS AN APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION IS FILED PRIOR TO EXPIRATION AND IS GRANTED" AND WITH A REVISION TO ITEM 10, ADDING THE WORDS "AND MAINTAIN" FOLLOWING "OBTAIN."
RESOLUTION NO. 23417 ENTITLED: RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA ROSA UPHOLDING AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION DECISION AND APPROVING A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FOR MILLER MASSAGE THERAPY - LOCATED AT 1236 STEWART STREET - FILE NUMBER CUP 97-041.
9. MAYOR'S/COUNCILMEMBERS' REPORTS
MOVED by Councilmember Condron, seconded by Vice Mayor Runyan, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY TO ADD ITEM 9.1 TO THE AGENDA.
*9.1 REPORT - BALLOT ARGUMENTS
Mr. Blackman indicated that the deadline for submission of ballot arguments for the expansion of the utility user tax measure is January 26. While Council endorsement is not being sought related to the argument in support of the measure, if individual members have comments, clarifications, or think something should be added or deleted, that input can be taken into consideration by the committee that is preparing the argument.
9.2 ANNOUNCEMENT OF CLOSED SESSION TOPICS
Mr. Chouteau announced that there would not be a Closed Session.
Vice Mayor Runyan spoke about the Martin Luther King Celebration which was held at the Luther Burbank Center on Sunday. Councilmember Wiggins was also in attendance. She commented on a workshop held today at the Community Baptist Church. The workshop was an extension of the Celebration.
Councilmember Evans noted that she was unable to attend the Alexander Valley tour because she attended the Downtown Partnership Committee (DPC) meeting. The DPC held its annual review of its accomplishments at that meeting. A written report will be sent to the Council.
Mayor Wright announced that there will be a workshop in the Council Chambers from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. tomorrow (January 21) on small-lot subdivision designs. The workshop is being presented by the Homebuilders Association. Interested persons are invited to attend.
Councilmember Martini referred to a letter addressed to Mike Miller, which Council received for informational purposes. The letter speaks to some of the issues discussed earlier in this meeting relative to Conditional Use Permits and the ability of the City to enforce what it is it permits. The letter relates to the second-unit ordinance. One of the issues which arose at the time the ordinance was adopted was the impacts of second units on neighborhoods. When the ordinance was adopted, it contained a requirement that one of the units must be occupied by the owner. Councilmember Martini said if the content of the letter is correct, and neither unit referenced in the letter is occupied by the owner of the property, he would like a progress report on this matter.
Mayor Wright briefly discussed the Alexander Valley tour and encouraged those who could not attend to contact staff for materials that were handed out on the tour. She discussed the meeting she and Supervisor Kelley had this morning with the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Marin County Board of Supervisors regarding their intent to move forward and actively participate financially and otherwise with the rail plan.
10. WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS (AND POSSIBLE COUNCIL ACTION)
10.1 COMMUNICATION - League of California Cities Legislative Bulletin.
This item was provided for informational purposes only. Although a letter had been previously sent, additional letters of opposition to HR 1534 (Regulatory Takings) will be sent to Senators Boxer and Feinstein.
10.2 COMMUNICATIONS - In Support of Agricultural Use of Wastewater.
Provided for informational purposes only.
10.3 COMMUNICATION - Public Works Department re: Pedestrian Crossing Assistance at Crosswalks.
Provided for informational purposes only. Mr. Blackman will provide Council with a copy of the schedule of when future pedestrian-activated flashers will become operative.
10.4 COMMUNICATION - Sonoma County Independence Day Celebration Committee Appreciation Letter.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.5 COMMUNICATION - Public Works Department re: West Steele Lane/Hardies Lane.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.6 COMMUNICATION - S. Taylor re: Development Review Action Plan.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.7 COMMUNICATION - North Bay League of California Cities Quarterly Meeting.
Provided for informational purposes only. Councilmembers interested in attending were asked to so notify the City Manager's office.
10.8 COMMUNICATION - Petition in Opposition to West County Wastewater Project.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.9 COMMUNICATION - L. Barron-Thomas re: DeMeo Teen Center.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.10 COMMUNICATION - A. Thomas re: Conditional Use Permit - St. Vincent DePaul Facility.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
10.11 COMMUNICATION - S. Jackson re: Support for Municipal Golf Course on Kelly Farm.
This item was provided for informational purposes only.
In response to Council, the Mr. Blackman confirmed that all Written Communications items receive a response.
There being no further business, the Mayor adjourned the meeting at 7:04 p.m. to a Council goal-setting session on Saturday (January 24) at 8:30 a.m. at the Finley Community Center, to a joint meeting with the School Board on Monday (January 26) from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the School District Board Room, 211 Ridgway, and to the regularly scheduled meeting to take place on January 27, 1998, at a time to be set by the Mayor.