Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 5, 2016. (Amended)

Meeting Date: March 15, 2016

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MEETING MINUTES

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

JANUARY 5, 2016

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on January 5, 2016, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:06 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member Alex McCabe

Mayor Espinoza opened and subsequently closed Citizen Comments at 6:08 p.m. as there were no comments from the public.

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments at 6:10 p.m. There were no comments and the Council went into Closed Session immediately thereafter to discuss the following matters:

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Agency Negotiator: City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Unrepresented Employee: Interim City Manager

3. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager Recruitment

4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

((Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2))

Number of Cases: 1

REGULAR MEETING

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member Alex McCabe

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

City Attorney Sanchez announced that during Closed Session, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Odi Ortiz to the position of Interim City Manager.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

None.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

None.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Recreation Superintendent Benoit announced that basketball season begins next Saturday and that registration for baseball begins in a few weeks. This information and other Parks and Recreation news can be found on the Department’s new Facebook page.

Contract City Planner Hatch provided an update on the Housing Element. On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, Planning staff will host a workshop at the Council Chambers to discuss the Housing Element. A meeting will be held that morning for public officials, agencies involved in housing provisions, developers, real estate professionals, and other stakeholders. Everyone is invited to attend, but that meeting will consist of a lot of technical topics. A second meeting will be held during the evening at the Council Chambers (at 7:00 p.m.). That meeting will have less technical jargon and will be more community friendly. Moreover, the Planning Commission and City Council will have joint study session regarding the Housing Element on February 23, 2016, at the Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.

City Engineer Gouveia provided an update on engineering related activities. Well #17 is under construction and should be online during the summer. Well #13 is not online, but it is operating. Moreover, the City is working with Foster Farms to create a small discharge station.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

Interim City Manager Ortiz announced that there may be some storms in the Central Valley during the next few weeks. Sandbags will be available for the community at the Public Works Department. Moreover, a mid-year budget review will be presented within the next few weeks during a City Council Meeting. An RFP will be advertised to address IT needs. The City is considering installing an electronic bulletin board to display community events. In closing, CDBG funds will be discussed this year during both the Spring and Summer times.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Soria wished everyone a happy New Year.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza announced that the Merced Sun-Star inaccurately reported the City’s financial status.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Resolution No. 2016-01 Approving Site Plan / Design Review 2015-3 to Construct a Building Containing an Office, Dressing Room, and an Apartment at the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission, 884 “B” Street, Livingston, CA.

Contract City Planner Hatch introduced this item and presented a site plan and elevations.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:23 p.m., as there were no comments from the public.

Motion: M/S Samra/Soria to adopt Resolution No. 2016-01 Approving Site Plan / Design Review 2015-3 to Construct a Building Containing an Office, Dressing Room, and an Apartment at the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission, 884 “B” Street, Livingston, CA. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: McCabe, Sicairos, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

2.  Ordinance No. 626 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana ( Cannabis) Activities, Regulating Delivery of Medical Marijuana, and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing Exemptions for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers.

City Attorney Sanchez introduced this item. He announced that current State legislation has a deadline of March 1, 2016, for cities to establish a land use policy for cannabis activities. If cities do not meet this deadline, they will defer to the State’s regulations and policies.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the Public Hearing at 8:19 p.m., as there were no comments from the public.

Merced County Fire Marshall Morgan noted that there are some safety concerns with the code (particularly with section 5-5-14.C). Indoor residential grows cause many electrical fires and are safety hazards. The Fire Department recommends that indoor grows in detached structures require an electrical permit and maintain minimum set-backs of either 10 or 15-feet (to prevent fires from spreading from one structure to the other).

City Council took a break at 8:54 p.m.

City Council resumed discussions at 9:02 p.m.

Merced County Sheriff’s Department representative Ray Framstad gave a PowerPoint presentation on cannabis activities and discussed some of the challenges that it posses on law enforcement (such as electrical fires, vandalisms, burglaries, shootings, etc).

Council Member McCabe suggested approving the recommendations made by the Planning Commission.

Council Member Soria recommended banning cultivation, deliveries and all commercial activities.

Council Member Sicairos concurred with Council Member Soria and noted that being the only city in Merced County to approve residential cultivation may draw negative attention to the community.

Council Member Sicairos asked Lt. Soria if this ordinance would have a major impact on police resources.

Lt. Soria said yes and recommended banning cannabis activities and amending the ordinance as needed over the next few years.

Council Member McCabe mentioned that the City should be compassionate and consider the needs of those who use medical marijuana to alleviate the pain of life threatening illnesses. Allowing residents to grow a reasonable number of cannabis plants would be sympathetic to those needs.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra was concerned that indoor grows may lead to electrical fires.

As shown below, Council Member McCabe made a motion banning all commercial cannabis activities, but giving residents (with proper medical approval) the right to grow six cannabis plants outdoors (no indoor grows allowed). That motion failed due to lack of support.

Motion: M/S McCabe/Espinoza to introduce and waive the first reading of Ordinance No. 626 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana ( Cannabis) Activities, Regulating Delivery of Medical Marijuana, and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing Exemptions for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers, with modifications to prohibit all commercial sales and deliveries and allowing residents with medical approval to grow a maximum of six plants. The motion failed 2-3 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: McCabe, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: Sicairos, Soria, Samra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

As shown below, Mayor Pro-Tem Samra made a similar motion, but with a reduction in residential grows from six plants to two plants.

Motion: M/S Samra/Sicairos to introduce and waive the first reading of Ordinance No. 626 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana ( Cannabis) Activities, Regulating Delivery of Medical Marijuana, and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing Exemptions for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers, with modifications to prohibit all commercial sales and deliveries and allow residents with medical approval to grow a maximum of two plants. The motion passed 3-2 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Samra Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: McCabe, Soria

ABSENT: Council Members: None

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Mayor Espinoza opened Citizen Comments at 10:14 p.m.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 8th Street, asked if the speed bumps at Rancho San Miguel meet City standards. He also asked if settlement money was given to the previous City Manager.

Interim City Manager Ortiz replied that the speed bumps are located on private property and the City is in the process of contacting the property owner. Moreover, the previous City Manager did receive settlement money.

Warren Urnberg asked if there will be recruitment for the position of City Manager.

Interim City Manager Ortiz replied that there will be recruitment.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, asked if the dilapidated “Welcome to Livingston” sign by Winton Parkway will be replaced. In addition, he suggested that a sign be posted by the railroad tracks warning pedestrians of trains passing by.

Interim City Manager Ortiz replied that the City will look at repairing or replacing the damaged sign and will contact the railroad company about installing a warning sign.

Mayor Espinoza closed Citizen Comments at 10:24 p.m., as there were no further comments from the public.

CONSENT CALENDAR

3. Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 10, 2015.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 23, 2015.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/McCabe to approve the Consent Calendar. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: McCabe, Sicairos, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

5. City Council to Provide Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

Mayor Espinoza introduced this item and noted that the term of Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza expired on December 31, 2015.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed Public Comments at 10:25 p.m., as there were no comments from the public.

Mayor Espinoza recommended advertising for the position of Planning Commissioner.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/McCabe that the City Council direct staff to advertise for the position of Planning Commissioner for a period of 45-days. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: McCabe, Sicairos, Soria, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at approximately 10:42 p.m.

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City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: March 15, 2016

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Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the City Council. They do not necessarily reflect all of the comments or dialogue leading up to the action. All meetings are digitally recorded and are an official record of the meeting’s proceedings. Digitally recorded verbatim minutes are available, upon request, and may be obtained at Livingston City Hall.