December 8, 2009

MINUTES

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

DECEMBER 8, 2009    

7:00 P.M.

The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on Tuesday, December 8, 2009.  The meeting was called to order by Chair Blevins at 7:00 p.m.

Commissioners Present: Chair David Blevins, Commissioner Roy Soria, Commissioner Kaye Greeley, Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains.

Commissioners Absent: None

Staff Present:         Administrative Assistant Filomena Arredondo, Community Development Director Donna Kenney, and Assistant City Attorney Jeffrey Massey.

Others Present:      Mayor Varela (representing Council Liaison Martha Nateras); David Agee, Forecast Homes; Katherine Schell-Rodriguez; Pedro Valencia, Mike Sperry, Luis Flores.                                      

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.                     

CONSENT AGENDA

ACTION MINUTES FROM REGULAR MEETING OF NOVEMBER 10, 2009

The action minutes from the regular meeting of November 10, 2009, had not been finalized; therefore, they will be submitted for approval at the next regular meeting.

PUBLIC COMMENT

None

PUBLIC HEARINGS

SITE PLAN/DESIGN REVIEW 2009-05 – DAVID AGEE/K. HOVNANIAN HOMES, PARKSIDE SUBDIVISION 

David Agee/K. Hovnanian Homes, the developer for the Parkside subdivision proposes the Site Plan/Design Review of new roofing materials for their existing floor plans.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney presented the staff report and gave a little bit of background on the project.

Vesting Tentative Map 2004-03 was approved by the City Council for 182 single family homes on approximately 43 acres. As a condition of the map approval, the City Council approved Site Plan/Design Review 2005-02 for the Parkside subdivision housing products on May 3, 2005. Unfortunately, none of the approved floor plans would fit on Lot 169, so the City Council approved Site Plan/Design Review 2006-08, on October 3, 2006, for Plan 3587 on Lot #169. Tile was the only roofing material discussed during both Design Reviews.

City staff recently received a complaint that the developer of the Parkside subdivision which had tile roofs had started using some composition shingles on Tashima Drive. Staff checked the planning files for approvals and did not see a mention of any roofing material being reviewed or approved except tile. Therefore, Director Kenney contacted the developer who graciously said he would work with City staff to remedy the situation. He had several houses that were in process with roofs just to be placed on and due to the rains approaching, staff agreed to let him finish roofing these with asphalt shingles in order to protect the homes and he agreed that if the City Council decides that only tile is approved for those homes, he would replace those asphalt shingles with tile.

After the public hearing notices were mailed out, Gustavo Gomez, one of the new homeowners, came to City Hall with a copy of an addendum that was given to him when he purchased his home at . This is a document which informs the buyer about the roofs and how there is a possibility the City would require tile and the developer would have to come back and re-do the roofs. Mr. Gomez was a little bit upset and stated that he would really rather have tile on his house instead of the asphalt shingles. He said he would try to attend the meeting if he did not have to work late, but he did not attend.

The developer was present at the meeting. He brought in elevations of houses with asphalt shingles and samples of the materials.

Director Kenney stated that City staff had made three site visits. She went out there twice and the building inspector went out there once to check which homes had shingles and which homes had tile. She mentioned that when driving on Tashima Drive, the composition shingles look to be the same color as the tiles. You have to look closer to see the difference between the two.

Director Kenney explained that the Planning Commission’s action would be a recommendation to City Council either for or against adding this material to the approved materials list. Their decision will have a 10‑day appeal period. This item is tentatively scheduled to go to City Council on January 5, 2010.

Chair Blevins opened the public hearing at 7:06 p.m.

David Agee, K. Hovnanian Homes, stated they are the builders of the Parkside Subdivision in question. He wanted the opportunity to give the Chair and Planning Commission some background about where they have been and how they got to where they are.

Mr. Agee explained that they are a public company and they are doing everything they can to maintain cash flow and stay in business. In doing that, they are building homes wherever their variable cost is less than their sales cost. He added that they are the only builder still building in Livingston and they are one of the only builders still building in several other towns. They had to shut down for a while to try to figure out what they were going to do. They closed their models and sold them off. When they made the decision to start back up, they had to look at how they could build homes in today’s market and cut down the cost of their homes wherever they could while still building one of the highest quality homes out there.

Mr. Agee stated that his company prides itself on customer satisfaction and added that when they came back to building homes in Livingston, they were thinking about how to have a positive cash flow and no one thought about the need for a design approval for the change of roofing material. He asked that the Planning Commission consider allowing this additional material to be used so that they can continue building.

Director Kenney commented that in the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year, the City had a total of three building permits pulled and as of July 2009, K. Hovnanian Homes has been pulling three building permits per month.

Chair Blevins closed the public hearing at 7:09 p.m.

Commissioners’ Comments

Bains

·        He questioned if the homes with shingles were less expensive than the homes with tile.

       Mr. Agee replied that the homes with tile do cost more. He added that if they are forced to go back and replace the asphalt roofs with tile roofs, they will loose money because they have already negotiated the price of the home with composition roofs, so that would be their responsibility and not the buyer’s.

·        He asked what type of feedback they are getting from the consumers with the shingle roofs.

Mr. Agee responded that they have not received any complaints about the composition roofs and added that he does not know who made the complaint to the City.

Greeley

·        She asked for clarification that the original paperwork stated that they would be using tile and there was no mention of asphalt roofing at that time.

Mr. Agee replied that was correct.

·        She questioned if there is less protection with asphalt shingles versus tile.

Mr. Agee responded that the composition shingles that they make today have a 30-, 40-, or 50-year life whereas the tile roof is essentially a lifetime warranty.

Soria

·        He questioned how many homes have been approved with shingles.

Staff responded 13 homes.

·        He asked if the builder planned to build the rest of the subdivision with composition roofs had nobody complained.  

Director Kenney responded, “That is correct.” She added that the complaint she received came from a Council Member and not from one of the potential homeowners or somebody who lives on that street.

·        He questioned if these roofs have been inspected by the building inspector and if the building inspector is aware that those particular homes would have to be built with tile roofs.

Director Kenney replied that the homes were inspected by the building inspector, but he was not aware that those homes had to be built with tile roofs because the requirement for tile roofs was not listed as a condition of approval. She explained that when a building permit is pulled, she normally staples a copy of the conditions of approval to the plans so that the building inspector has it when he is out onsite inspecting.

·        He was sitting in the Council when this subdivision came about and at that time, it was stated that the roofs would all be tile roofs.

Director Kenney responded this occurred two weeks after she started working with the City, so she was not in attendance at the first couple of Council meetings. She added that she had checked the minutes and that was not included in the written minutes.

·        He understands the economy is bad right now, but he feels that the developer should have asked for a change order from tile to composition roofs prior to pulling permits.

·        He personally would like to see the whole subdivision with tile roofs.

Blevins

·        He believes that when this subdivision was first approved, it was for all tile roofs, but he also understands how bad the economy is.

·        He asked how much more per house will it cost to put tile roofs.

Mr. Agee responded about $6,000 per house.

·        He asked if they will still make money that way.

Mr. Agee responded probably not and added that the recoveries on homes they are building are slimmer, but they are just trying to generate cash.

·        He asked staff if the Planning Commission is able to approve keeping the composition roofs on the homes that are already roofed with composition shingles and request that they do the rest in tile.

Staff responded there was a verbal agreement with Mr. Agee to allow them to finish the houses they had started roofing with the composition shingles and wait for the City Council’s decision for the rest of the subdivision and she would hate to go back on that and have him remove those roofs and put on tile roofs.

·        He asked how many houses are left in the subdivision.

Staff responded there are still a few houses left and added that she intends to take this to the City Council on January 5, 2010, and that she doubts they will get to the roofing point on any other houses by January 5, 2010.

Soria

·        He remembers when he was on the City Council and the issue with the plastic fence at the mobile home park came up, it haunted the Commission and the City Council for a long time. He thinks the same will happen if they do not require K. Hovnanian Homes to roof all the homes with tile.

Greeley

·        She thinks it would be a shame to make them re-roof those homes with tile roofs, especially in this economy. As for the fence around the Mobile Home Park, it ended up being vinyl.

Bains

·        He thinks they should leave this decision up to the City Council.

Greeley

·        She thinks these roofing material samples look quite nice. From an aesthetic standpoint, she cannot really see a difference between composition shingles and tile.

Soria

·        He thinks the Planning Commission has to be consistent. If they are permitted to leave these homes with composition shingles and the rest have to be tile, he thinks there is going to be a problem.

Staff said that is a matter of personal taste; however, this could be seen as a positive feature. The subdivision to the north is all composition shingles and both of the subdivisions to the south are tile, so Tashima Drive could be considered a transition street between the two subdivisions if a mix of tile and shingles were allowed on that street.

Bains

·        He asked if this would open doors for new developments to choose what they want to do.

Director Kenney replied that anybody coming in right now for Site and Design Review would have to bring in their materials and if they choose to, they could bring the asphalt shingles and the tile and it would be up to the Planning Commission to recommend to City Council to approve one or the other or both.

Blevins 

·        He thinks the developer worked in good faith with the City and they are trying to give their customers a good deal. However, they should let Council decide.

Motion by Commissioner Greeley, seconded by Chair Blevins to let the City Council decide whether or not to allow composition shingle roofs. Motion failed to carry by the following split vote:

AYES:                  Chair Blevins and Commissioner Greeley

NOES:                  Commissioner Soria and Alternate Commissioner Bains

ABSENT:               None

The split decision will be forwarded to City Council on January 5, 2010.

TEMPORARY CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT 2009-01 – NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH, 1329 MAIN STREET

This item is a review of the Temporary Conditional Use Permit approved on July 22, 2009, for the Neighborhood Church’s tarp located at 1329 F Street.   

Staff presented the staff report and explained that this item was heard by the Planning Commission in July 2009. Applicant, Mr. Pedro Valencia, had asked for a Temporary Use Permit to install a tarp which he had already installed, and also to put up a vegetable stand for the youth of the church to sell vegetables and it was approved with conditions. However, to this day he still had not met some of the conditions placed on the project.

Director Kenney was directed to bring this item back for review in December to determine whether or not the Temporary Use Permit should be extended or revoked. To this day, Mr. Valencia still does not have a building permit. In fact, it was only recently that he brought in information for Building staff to work on and he has not received any sort of inspection from the Fire Department.

During discussions with the building inspector over the building permit for the existing green tarp, it was discovered that this tarp was not flame resistant; therefore, Mr. Valencia was submitting new information to the Building Department to replace the green tarp with a white flame retardant tarp.

Director Kenney said she received numerous complaints from people in the community about the tarp. They feel that it is inappropriate to have it Main Street. The tarp also had some problems about two months ago when part of it came down during a wind storm, but they were able to put it back up.

Staff recommended that the Planning Commission deny an extension for Temporary Conditional Use Permit 2009-01.

Applicant Mr. Valencia was present to answer questions.

Chair Blevins opened the Public Hearing at 7:27 p.m.

Pedro Valencia, Neighborhood Church, 1329 Main Street, stated the reason he did not submit an application for a building permit is because he assumed that once he was granted approval from the Planning Commission, the permit process was completed. Then when he was informed that he needed to apply for a building permit, he was trying to find somebody to draw the plans for him, but the cost was too elevated, so he decided to draw the plans himself. When he took them to the inspector, he asked him what kind of material the tarp was made of and if it was flame resistant and since Mr. Valencia did not know, he had to call the company where he purchased the tarp and they informed him that all the tarps they sell are flammable, so he went back to City Hall to talk to the inspector and the inspector said the tarp had to be flame resistant. On December 7, 2009, he called the company again and the manager gave him a webpage where he could find a flame resistant tarp and when he found one, he went back to City Hall and showed it to the inspector and the inspector told him the Fire Department had to approve it first.

Mr. Valencia added that was under the understanding that if he removed the tarp from the fence, it would be okay, and then later he was told that he had to remove the part in the front and the part in the back, as well.

Chair Blevins closed the Public Hearing at 7:30 p.m.

Commissioner Comments

Greeley

·        She remembers that when this tarp was approved, the building permit was a condition of approval and that was discussed at the meeting. It is unfortunate that this tarp is not fire resistant.

·        She is a little disappointed to hear that there are people that are complaining about it. She asked staff if a big number of people have complained.

Director Kenney responded she received about 10-12 complaints.

·        Asked the applicant if this tarp was as effective for him as he expected it would be.

          Mr. Valencia responded that it was.

·        It is going to be costly for the applicant to take that tarp down and replace it with the fire retardant tarp. She wondered if this money would be better spent some other way.

Mr. Valencia said there is no way they can hold an activity for 200-300 people in the church because they only have room for about 150 people maximum.

Soria

·        The Planning Commission also approved a table for vegetable sales for the younger generation at the church. He asked Mr. Valencia if that was effective.

Mr. Valencia said most of the time the sale was good. Towards the end of the summer when the kids went back to school, they would only work in the afternoon.

Bains

·        He remembers that when Mr. Valencia went to the Planning Commission the first time, there were a lot of people in the audience supporting the tarp, so it was approved, but they did require that a building permit be pulled. He added that people have also approached him to question why the tarp was approved. He thinks it may be because of the green color and maybe the white tarp would look a little better, but it should have some structure to it and it should be brought back to the Planning Commission so they can review it and make a decision before a new tarp is installed.

Director Kenney stated that when she checked with the Fire Department to see if Mr. Valencia had contacted them for an inspection, they informed her that according to Fire Code, a tension structure such as that tarp would only be permitted to be installed for a maximum of 180 days per calendar year. They also mentioned that those type of tarps need to be 20 feet from all property lines for fire reasons and also 20 feet away from vehicles; therefore, it could be considered a problem for the tarp to be above the vehicles because it is not only used for church gatherings, but also as a parking structure.

Blevins

·        He asked Mr. Valencia what other events were conducted under the tarp aside from the vegetable stand.

Mr. Valencia replied that they give away clothes and serve meals to the needy. They also bring singers and hold concerts there.

·        He personally does not like this tarp. They are using it as a permanent structure, and aesthetically it is not pleasant looking.

Greeley

·        It seems to her that this is going to be a real problem with the Fire Department and if there are all these restrictions with the tarp, maybe this is something that they cannot even consider.

Following discussion, it was moved by Commissioner Soria, seconded by Alternate Commissioner Bains to adopt Resolution 2009-12, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Denying an Extension of Temporary Conditional Use Permit 2009-01 for the Neighborhood Church. Motion carried 4-0 by the following vote:

AYES:                  Chair Blevins and Commissioners Bains, Greeley, and Soria

NOES:                  None

ABSENT:              None

Mr. Valencia stated that a lot of people in town use tarps as carports. They are all over town and they are only five feet away from the street.

Staff replied that those tarp carports are prohibited by City Code.

Director Kenney explained to Mr. Valencia that he has 10 days to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision.

REPORTS

Planning Commission

Bains

Nothing to report.

Greeley

Nothing to report.

Soria

·        Thanked planning staff for handling his complaint on the mobile home located by the truck wash and the Lupita’s car lot on Hammatt Avenue.

Blevins

·        Welcomed back Administrative Assistant Filomena who was on medical leave.

City Staff

Donna Kenney

·        Wished everyone happy holidays.

Filomena Arredondo

Nothing to report.

Assistant City Attorney

Nothing to report.

ADJOURNMENT

The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 7:42 p.m.

APPROVED:  March 9, 2010

______________________________                 _______________________________

Chair, DAVID BLEVINS                                     Secretary of the Planning Commission,

                                                                   DONNA M. KENNEY

One thought on “December 8, 2009

  1. Pingback: MARCH 9, 2010 LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION Agenda Alert « Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock…)

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