APRIL 05, 2011 Draft Minutes




APRIL 5, 2011

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on April 5, 2011, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.


Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting at 6:39 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments. There were no public comments and the Council then adjourned to the City Hall Conference Room for Closed Session to discuss the following matter:

1. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

Government Code Section 54956.9(a)

a. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752.


The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session and returned to the City Council Chambers for the Regular Meeting.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra


It was reported that the City had reached agreement with Foster Farms. Foster Farms decided to drop their law suit against the City. They have dismissed the complaint without prejudice. Additionally it was reported there is no financial settlement in the agreement.




1. Presentation of Proclamation – National Library Week, April 10-16, 2011.

Mayor Espinoza read the proclamation into the record.

2. Presentation of Proclamation – Week of the Young Child April 8-16, 2011.

Mayor Espinoza read the proclamation into the record and presented it to Mr. Andres Zamora, Superintendent of the Livingston Union School District.

Mr. Zamora thanked the Council for recognizing the youth.

3. Presentation of Five-Year Service Pin to Police Corporal Daihn Villarreal.

Mayor Espinoza presented the five-year service pin to Officer Daihn Villarreal.

4. Presentation of Plaque to Former Police Lieutenant Sharon Silva.

Mayor Espinoza presented a plaque to Sharon Silva in appreciation for her service to the Livingston City Police Department.

5. Presentation – “GIS and the City of Livingston” – Rich Green, GIS Program

Manager, Merced County Association of Governments.

Mayor Espinoza introduced Rich Green from MCAG. Mr. Green provided an overview of the Geographic Information Systems. Mr. Green provided information on what type of data is available, and who the organization works with. In addition, he described the potential use for the various data.

Council Member Samra asked for clarification on the term “run book.”

Mr. Green explained that run book refers to a book where the City is broken down into grids and the grids are placed on pages to make it easy to see each address, and details such as fire hydrants, etc. to assist with emergency services.

6. Departmental Presentation: Community Development Director Donna Kenney.

Donna Kenney gave an overview of her department including the organizational structure, as well as major functions and special projects.

Mayor Espinoza asked Ms. Kenney to speak to the audience about upcoming projects in the community.

Ms. Kenney reported that the Somerset I development is for sale and that there are a couple of developers looking at it. K. Hovnanian Homes built 47 new houses last year. Ms. Kenney noted that the City is currently negotiating with Rancho San Miguel and are hoping to break ground by the end of summer. In addition Ms. Kenney reported that a local realtor inquires regularly on the La Tierra development. It is speculated that developers have purchased some lots and are just waiting for the economy to turn around.


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

Neither Supervisor Pedrozo nor his representative was in attendance.

Interim City Manager Announcements and Reports.


City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Samra stated that he wanted to thank Public Works and the Police Department for their role in the Sikh parade on March 27th. He noted it was a good turn out. Council Member Samra commended everyone for doing a great job. He also noted that there were a lot of pictures on Facebook of the sign at Singh Park.

Council Member Vierra thanked Mr. Zamora, for hosting the young Women’s Conference in March. Council Member Vierra noted the conference was held at the middle school and the district also provided staff. He stated that the attendance was triple what it was last year. There were many speakers from all around the area. The survey revealed that the participants thought it was of great value.

Council Member Land reported there will be a “Fill the Cap” fundraiser at B Street and Main Street on April 8 for Sober Grad. She asked that everyone come out and support the event. Also Ms. Land expressed a “Happy Birthday” wish to her daughter Stephanie.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar reported she attended the March 24th Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. She noted it was positive and motivating. There were a lot of great ideas moving forward. Ms. Aguilar also reported that the 4th of July Committee recently held the “Fill the Hat” fundraiser. She thanked residents who helped. She reported they collected $1200 on that day. Ms. Aguilar reported the committee received a large donation and the extra money will be covering insurance costs.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar repeated the following in Spanish. Ms. Aguilar thanked everyone that helped them with the 4th of July Fundraiser on B and Main Street. They collected $1200. We are very happy thanks to all of you because if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have collected that money. One dollar, extra change, or whatever you were able to donate, it doesn’t matter. That helped us come up with $1200 and that money will cover expenses for making copies, stamps, and other things that will be needed. All the money left over will be carried forward to the next year.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar added that any extra money that 4th of July Committee has will go right over to the next year, so if there is extra, it’s going to be better because there will be less work next year.

She, along with Mayor Espinoza and the City Attorney, attended a three-day workshop in San Jose. It was for the RDA. There was discussion on housing funding and accountability for funds that come to cities. The workshop also addressed how to “go green” and requiring developers going to solar and natural energy heating. Overall Ms. Aguilar noted it was a great workshop, very positive and very informative.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza also reported on the workshop. He felt it was informative. Mr. Espinoza explained there was discussion about a growing concern of the mismanagement of “go green” funds. There was discussion that the federal government may be taking away some of this funding due to the audits of some cities and the mismanagement of the monies.

Mayor Espinoza reported that they also did some driving around to see what is going on in other cities. Mr. Espinoza feels that it is a shame to see nothing going on in our City. He stated that there were flowers planted at Lil’ Guys and City Hall. Mayor Espinoza asked that public works make sure that the flowers and trees are getting enough water. Mr. Espinoza stated that Lil’ Guys Field has an empty lot that has been filled with dirt. He stated that there needs to be discussion on how that area will be used.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar noted that the Parks and Recreation Commission held a discussion about options for the area at Lil’ Guys Field. Mayor Espinoza stated he knew there was not a lot of money, but perhaps sod could be placed in that area. Mr. Espinoza asked that a discussion on regional impact fees be placed on the agenda for the first meeting in May. Council Member Samra suggested that the Council take a look at the budget to see where we are at right now.




Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street – thanked the Police Department for apprehending the vandals that sprayed graffiti. He noticed a man taking pictures in his neighborhood. He stated that he communicated with the gentleman and discovered that he is taking pictures of intersections throughout California for insurance companies to use. If there was an accident they would have files in a computer program. Mr. Urnberg noted that the new street sweeper is doing a fine job and the spray truck is hitting alleys for weeds. He also suggested the alleys were a little bumpy after the installation of new water lines and perhaps the holes could be filled in as time permits.

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston – addressed the comments of the last Council meeting regarding Council attendance, stipends and donating the money. She stated that she was not opposed to anyone donating to the July 4th event, but she had additional suggestions for where money could be donated as well. She suggested donating it to the Red Cross, local VFW and Ladies Auxiliary, anysoldier.com, or Operation International Children. Ms. Schell Rodriquez noted that fireworks are nice, but freedom does not come free and those mentioned are also good ways to donate.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive – noted the success of the 4th of July Committee’s last fundraiser. The committee was able to raise a little over $1200 in about four hours. The committee has changed the meeting dates from the first and third Monday to the second and fourth Monday. The next committee meeting will be Monday, April 11 in the Police Department conference room at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Flores noted that there was recently a great article in the Merced Sun-Star on the community garden efforts at Yamato Colony. Mr. Flores thanked everyone who contributed to that success. Additionally, Mr. Flores noted how nice it is to have the website feature that allows viewing of the Council meetings. He encouraged everyone to attend the next Planning Commission meeting, Tuesday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Flores asked for an update on the status of the City’s contract with Gilton? Mayor Espinoza noted the contract is in effect through 2012.

Bonnie Key, 1601 Second Street – noted that she is the President of the Friends of the Library. She thanked the City for the proclamation, noting that it meant a lot and was an honor for the library. Additionally, she thanked the City for putting the announcement on the website. She invited the City Council and the public to attend the open house next week, April 13, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. There will be someone there giving tours and answering questions. There will be refreshments from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. There will be a guest book to sign as well as a memory book and people will be encouraged to add memories.

Kathryn Reyes, Public Works Superintendent – reported there will be Opening Ceremonies for baseball Friday, April 8, at Memorial Park and games start Saturday, April 9 and to watch for children. Also, Ms. Reyes noted there are water educational videos being aired on Channel 2 as well as the City Website.

Council Member Samra asked that a section be added to the agenda for Staff Reports in the event there is anything to report.


Mayor Espinoza presented the consent calendar items for the Council’s consideration and approval:

7. Resolution No. 2011-21, Approving the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2011/2012.

8. Resolution No. 2011-22, for the Acceptance of the “B” Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project, Authorizing the City Clerk to Record a Notice of Completion with Merced County and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Release Performance and Material Bonds and to Make Final Payment of Retention Monies to Teichert Construction Company.

9. Denial of Claim for Damages from Bonnie Farley.

10. Resolution No. 2011-23, Approving Livingston Municipal Code Title 5, Chapter 3, Table 3, Footnote 1, Resolution of Intent Concerning Alcohol by the Glass in the Downtown Commercial District (DTC).

11. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 1, 2011.

12. Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 30, 2011.

Council Member Vierra asked that item #10 be pulled for discussion

Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis noted the following corrections to the Minutes of March 1, 2011:

On Pg. 4, last paragraph should read “Youth to Youth Conference at Buhach Colony School,” Page 7, item #6, “recused” himself not rescued, page 8, item #9, “recused”instead of rescued, page 12, second paragraph “$70,000” worth of donations, and page 12, third paragraph, Country Lane Park “named” Don Meyer Park.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to approve items 7,8,9,11,and 12. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Council Member Vierra pulled item #10 for discussion. Clarification was provided.

Motion: M/S Samra/Land to approve item #10. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None


13. City Council to Provide Staff Direction Concerning Livingston’s Proposed Participation in Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Service Studies.

Donna Kenney provided an overview of the proposal. She noted the information being requested and what the information will be used for and the basic goals. She noted there was no cost to the City to participate in the study, it would require “in-kind” work. Additionally she reported there was no commitment to the final outcome. Once the report was completed it would come back before the Council.

Mayor Espinoza reported that he attended a workshop on February 25 on this item. He noted this is an effort for the county and cities to join together to provide services to save money. Interim City Manager Lewis, reiterated this philosophy, given the tough economical times.

Council Member Vierra clarified the fiscal impact. The staff report states “unknown at this time.” The City will not spend any money at this time. Once the report is done it will come back to the Council.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated that she is supportive of anything that will help save money and suggested that the Council approve this and move forward.

Motion: M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2011-24, approving participation in Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Service Studies. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

14. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointments to the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee.

Interim City Manager Lewis noted this item is being brought back to Council for further direction. Ms. Lewis reported that all of the advertising requested by Council has been done. There were a total of eight individuals that submitted letters of interest. There is representation from Foster Farms, Livingston Union School District, Merced Union High School District and five members from the community. Ms. Lewis noted the options the Council had in developing the committee. The options include: 1) Re-advertise for more applicants and schedule interviews, 2) Appoint all the applicants.

Mayor Espinoza opened the item for public comment at 8:23 p.m.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive – asked for clarification on the applicants who weren’t named individually from the schools and from Foster Farms, and wanted to know if they were Livingston residents.

Interim City Manager Lewis noted that the representatives from those named industries would be representing their respective employer.

Mayor Espinoza closed the item for public comment at 8:24 p.m.

Council Member Samra noted that he would have hoped to see more interest from the commercial sector. Mr. Samra suggested that the Council seat the industrial side and name one or two of the residents, and continue to seek interests from the commercial side.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar stated that she agreed with Council Member Samra.

Council Member Vierra suggested that all of the residents who expressed interest be appointed.

Discussion ensued on the committee’s duties and the work related to such.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Samra to adopt Resolution No. 2011-25, appointing the representatives from the three sectors and Claire Gerhman and Warren Urnberg to the committee and continue to recruit for representation from the commercial side. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Ms. Lewis asked for clarification on how long before this item is to be brought back to the Council. Council Member Samra stated it should return to the Council the first meeting of May.

15. Review Administrative Appeal 2011-01 and Provide Staff Direction Concerning Farming within City Limits.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney provided an overview of the item on the agenda. Ms. Kenney noted that the property had been granted a legal nonconforming use at one time and has since changed uses. She explained why this item was determined that the right to use the property ceased upon removal of the orchard based on the City’s nonconforming use provisions.

The determination has been appealed and that is why it was brought to the Council. Ms. Kenney provided the options that Council could consider.

City Attorney Jose Sanchez recapped the scenario and explained that the Council is tasked now with the decision of whether or not the determination made by staff was correct.

Council held a lengthy discussion on the issue. Issues of concern included, use of chemicals within City limits, changing the code and setting precedence, dust, and the ambiguity of the code as it is currently written.

Mayor Espinoza opened this item for public comment at 8:56 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street – stated that there had been an ordinance passed in years past that addressed this issue because several farming properties had been annexed in. Mr. Torres recalled that the ordinance specified row crops only and that a conditional use permit was required.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive – inquired about the number of complaints that have been submitted about the dust. In addition, Mr. Flores asked how recent the communication with various property owners has been. Mr. Flores offered several options for consideration

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston noted that much of the complaints over the General Plan update were related to this very issue. She suggested that a common ground be found to keep from re-zoning people out of their way of life.

Mario Mendoza, 1421 Brandy Court – stated that he was in agreement with both Mr. Flores and Ms. Rodriquez and that there should be a to compromise with Mr. Yagi. Mr. Mendoza stated that this would help the economy of the City. In addition, Mr. Mendoza suggested that the Council modify the code and allow row crops.

Mayor Espinoza closed the item to public comment at 9:08 p.m.

City Attorney Sanchez directed Council to the document that Community Development Director Kenney distributed.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Vierra to deny the appeal and find that removing the prior peach orchard terminated the legal nonconforming agricultural use. And consider initiating a zoning ordinance amendment to expand allowed agricultural uses in the City.  The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Samra, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: Land

ABSENT: Council Members: None

The Mayor directed staff to take this item back to the Planning Commission


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:16 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: May 3, 2011


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.


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