MAY 3, 2011 Draft Minutes

MEETING MINUTES

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

MAY 3, 2011

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on January 4, 2011, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting at 6:05 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited

ROLL CALL

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.

The Council subsequently adjourned to the City Hall Conference Room for Closed Session to discuss the following matters.

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

OPEN SESSION

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

REGULAR MEETING

Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.

CALL TO ORDER

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

City Attorney Jose Sanchez reported that 37 applications for City Manager position have been received and the Council will be reviewing them and taking them into consideration.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

None

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

  1. Presentation on Supervisorial Redistricting by Jim Brown, Assistant Chief ExecutiveOfficer for Merced County.

Mark Hendrickson Director of Economic Development of Merced County provided an overview of the redistricting process and shared population information. Mr. Hendrickson distributed a handout to the Council. Mr. Hendrickson stated there was a sign up sheet for anyone who wished to receive further information. He noted a series of meetings will begin in June and the Merced County Board of Supervisors welcomes input from all the communities. There will be a special Board of Supervisor meeting May 10th and the Board will adopt and direct criteria for the plan. Everyone is welcome to attend and provide input.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

A representative from Supervisor Pedrozo’s office was present to report for him. She noted that Supervisor Pedrozo wanted to stress the importance of the input on redistricting process. She noted that she would be happy to take any questions back to Supervisor Pedrozo.

Council Member Frank Vierra asked if all the meeting are going to be held during the day or will there be meetings held after work.

It was unknown at the time of the meeting when subsequent meetings will be held. Mr. Hendricks stated he would email the City Manager with the information.

Interim City Manager Announcements and Reports.

Interim City Manager Lewis reported that staff have been working on the Senior Center building agreement and are currently working on an agreement with the family trust, as well as Supervisor Pedrozo. She noted that this is collaborative effort and the City is moving forward. The information will be brought back to the Council for decision once the information is available.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Land reported Livingston High School fundraiser Thursday May 5th at McDonalds. On Saturday, May 7th there will be a breakfast for Sober Graduation from 7:00-10:00 the cost is $10 and the event will be held at Livingston High School cafeteria. Ms. Land also reported that there is S.T.A.R. testing at middle school this week and next. Ms. Land reported she attended the Recreation Commission meeting on April 28. She stated she was really pleased with all the great ideas, and moving along with their goals. Ms. Land commended Jacquie Benoit for her work.

Council Member Gurpal Samra stated he would like the IT Department research costs to put in place a system that would allow citizens to pay bills or fees online and view bills on line.

Interim City Manager Lewis noted that an upgrade to the City’s accounting software is being proposed in the upcoming budget. She noted this should achieve the results needed for on line payments of all types.

Mayor Pro Tem Aguilar reported the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department will be holding a pancake breakfast Saturday, May 7 from 7:00–12:00. The tickets are $8. Ms. Aguilar stated it was a great event last year and they are expecting it to be just as successful this year. She reported the July 4th Committee will be meeting each Monday at Geno’s from now on with the exception of May 30th. Ms. Aguilar noted that there have been several donations recently including a $2500 donation from Joseph Gallo Farms and Open Range for $200. Mayor Pro Tem Aguilar extended her gratitude to all that donated.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza reported the Livingston Community Network will be holding a chicken dinner, May 13th. The cost is $8.00 and the proceeds will go to scholarships. Mayor Espinoza read a letter from the Livingston Middle School Parents Class 2011. The letter requested donations to help fund the graduation celebration for students. Graduation will be held on June 8th, and they are requesting donation be received by June 1st.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Interim Police Chief Chris Soria reported that the Police Department will start up the Neighborhood visits again as of May 25th. He stated they would like to invite everyone to come out. Chief Soria also noted there will be a bike rodeo on June 11th at 8:00 at Selma Herdon and invited everyone to come out. Chief Soria reported that the Police Department recently went through a POST evidence audit. The audit only lasted one day because of the way the process was being ran. They were given an A+ on the job and Chief Soria stated he wanted to commend John Mucci for the job that he is doing. Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis thanked Chief Soria and asked that he pass on to John Mucci her gratitude. Mayor Espinoza also stated he would like to pass on the same message.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney reported that the city wide yard sale is moving forward. The first yard sale will be held May 15 and 16. The sale is being advertised in the Merced paper and maps are being prepared. The maps will be available at Sam’s Food City, True Value and the City website a day or two prior to the sale. Ms. Kenney noted that applications are being taken for the next two yard sales.

Mayor Espinoza asked if the Recreation Department if they could extend the street fair to two months a year instead of the one. He suggested that it be held September and October. Additionally, Mayor Espinoza asked if Recreation could research what it takes to get a certified farmer’s market. He also asked Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis to add on the next agenda, a resolution of intent changing the code for additional car sales.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Modifying Title 5, Chapter 3, and Table 3, of the Livingston Municipal Code Concerning Alcohol by the Glass in the Downtown Commercial District (DTC) as Recommended by the Planning Commission.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney presented background on the item.

City Attorney Jose Sanchez noted that he wanted the footnote read into the record. It is as follows: “All retail establishments serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises within the Downtown Commercial District (DTC) shall be located no closer than two City blocks between similar establishments. Two City blocks for purposes of this Title shall consist of 1,000 feet measured in all directions from an existing retail establishment serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises.” Mr. Sanchez reiterated that this decision by the council does not have to do with any specific business, it is an amendment to the zoning code.

Ms. Kenney added that this section of the zoning code only applies to downtown commercial area.

Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 7:37 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street – requested the Council speak to the item first so that the audience knows where they stand and what their thinking on the issue is. He requested that Citizen’s Comments be held after the Council.

City Attorney Jose Sanchez noted that the Brown Act only requires there be a Citizen Comment section and it was at the discretion of the Council when that would be.

Kathryn Schell PO Box 163 – reminded Council that this item was supposed to be about changing the code and not a specific business. She noted that she was not opposed to any specific business, but wanted the Council to keep focused on the item.

Mario Mendoza, 1421 Brady Court – spoke in favor of giving new businesses an opportunity in the City. Mr. Mendoza noted that the Police Department is available if things get out of control. He also noted it would benefit the City to add more businesses.

Estella Martinez, P0 281 – stated that she was in favor of giving new businesses an opportunity in the community but she believes that changing the code to allow more establishments serving alcohol would be a mistake. She noted that the Mayor had mentioned wanting to increase the length of the street fair and possibly getting a certified farmers market and felt this would be inc conflict with changing the code. Ms. Martinez noted that there are places for bars but she just didn’t feel like it should be downtown.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood – stated that he felt the past is being confused for the future. Mr. Flores noted that he’d like to see a more vibrant downtown and was in support of changing the code to allow for more restaurants and entertainment.

Mike Sperry – spoke to the issue and stated that he would like to see the City approve the changes. Mr. Sperry noted that he feels he has a good rapport with the City Police Department and that he is a responsible business owner. He asked if there were any questions from the Council.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 8th St. – spoke in support of changing the code. Mr. Urnberg noted that no matter what business comes in, they would be responsible for the activity in their establishment.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing for public comments at 7:53p.m.

Mayor Espinoza pointed out the item on the agenda is changing the code and removing the footnote. He noted that the code. Mayor Espinoza stated that he works all over California and has observed various cities that have establishments that serve alcohol by the glass and they have vibrant nice downtown areas.

Mayor Pro Tem Aguilar stated that she agreed with several of the comments that opposed changing the code. Ms. Aguilar stated that the 1000 foot restriction was put in place for a reason. She suggested that the Council take that into consideration. In addition, Ms. Aguilar stated that the Council should also consider the additional workload on the Police Department with alcohol related issues.

Council Member Vierra asked several questions regarding how changing the code would impact new businesses coming in. Community Development Director Donna Kenney stated that each business would be required to submit a conditional use permit and it would be handled on case by case basis. Mr. Vierra stated that he has concern that there is already six establishments in the downtown area that serve alcohol by the glass. He asked Interim Chief Soria to speak to the issue the City has experienced in the past.

Interim Chief Soria spoke to this. He noted that there have been issues in the past with trash, parking etc. Chief Soria also stated he knew that there are responsible business owners but any time there are bars, there will be more issues. He stated he would like to see some sort of limits on the number of establishments that serve alcohol by the glass in the downtown area. Additionally, he noted that security should be a requirement.

Council Member Samra stated that he was in favor of changing the code to allow more businesses in the downtown area. He suggested that one alternative would be to change the code based on population much like the regulations for taco trucks.

City Attorney Jose Sanchez suggested that condition could be added to the use permits and if those were conditions were not adhered to, there would be a revocation of the use permit and the business stopped from selling alcohol.

Council Member Theresa Land stated that she agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Aguilar and that the issue is the footnote in the code. She also suggested that removing the footnote may create problems in that there are several vacant buildings in the downtown area.

Mayor Espinoza re-opened the hearing for public comments at 8:15 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 8th – stated that the discussion is related to remove the footnote from the code not an individual business. This is just regarding location. Mr. Torres cautioned the Council that changing the code could cause side by side bars in the downtown area.

Mike Sperry – stated that he was well aware of the ABC stipulations. He stated that he currently has customers who come into his establishment that do not drink and simply like to listen to music. Also Mr. Sperry suggested that his type of business pulls customers from out of town to the area. He also stated that he has a lot of knowledge about ABC regulations and if anyone has questions, he would likely be able to answer.

Luis Flores – stated that at the last Planning Commission meeting there was discussion on developing a Downtown Association where business owners can form and create standards. Mr. Flores noted that his would be a good opportunity for the downtown area to flourish. He also suggested that there will still be guidelines and the conditional use permit process so this would address the concerns previously mentioned.

Kathryn Schell – pointed out that this is not about people who drink. This is about removal of the footnote from the code. Ms. Schell-Rodriguez suggested moderation in the number of establishments so that the downtown does not become saturated. Ms. Schell-Rodriguez recommended the Council stick with the agenda item discuss why it was there and if it is removed what would be put in its’ place.

Estella Martinez – also recommended the Council stay focused on the item, which is the removal of the footnote from the code. She expressed of changing the code and what would become of downtown area. She also noted that she was not opposed to these types of establishments but just didn’t think it was appropriate for the downtown area. And think about the Farmers market that will be running late and families would be present.

Mario Mendoza – spoke in favor of changing the code. He suggested that new business in downtown would not damage the city. He stated that the city needs something for the next generation.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing for public comments at 8:30p.m.

Council Member Samra asked Interim Chief Soria for his opinion on requirements if the code was to be amended.

Chief Soria stated that security was the primary issue and he noted that all establishments would be also under the ABC guidelines.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Samra to bring this item back after Planning Commission makes recommendation. The motion failed 2-3 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Samra

NOES: Council Members: Aguilar, Land, Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to deny the recommendation by the Planning Commission. The motion carried 3-2 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Land, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: Espinoza, Samra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Luis Flores – asked if a recommendation comes from the Planning Commission doesn’t it need to be passed/denied by a super majority. City Attorney Jose Sanchez responded that the state law does not require super majority only a majority.

David Blevins, PO 76 – spoke about the 4th of July. Mr. Blevins stated the committee is still looking for vendors, and volunteers. He noted that his phone number is posted on the Court Theater marquee if anyone needs to reach him.

Nick Jones, Director of Maintenance and Facilities for Livingston Union School District. Mr. Jones introduced himself as the new Director and wanted Council to put a name with a face. He also stated that he hoped to attend Council meetings frequently.

CONSENT CALENDAR

3. Denial of Claim for Damages from Bonnie Farley.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meetings Held on April 5, 2011 (2).

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on April 19, 2011.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 27, 2011.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to approve items on the Consent Calendar. 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

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

7. Resolution of Intent to Amend Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Chapter 3, Building Structure Setback Requirements; to Amend LMC Title 5, Chapter 3, Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities; LMC Title 5, Section 5-6-9, Subsection F, and LMC Title 5, Section 5-6-10, Subsection D, and other Title 5 Sections Dealing with Appeal Hearings.

Community Development Director Donna Kenney presented the item to Council and explained the background.

There was brief discussion on the item. Council Member Vierra expressed concern that the Fire Department has not reviewed the item. The Mayor noted the item will be sent to the Planning Commission and the Fire Department will have a chance to review prior to changing the code.

Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 8:53 p.m.

There was no public comment.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing for public comments at 8:53p.m.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to approve Resolution of Intent 2011-30 Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Chapter 3, Building Structure Setback Requirements; to Amend LMC Title 5, Chapter 3, Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities; LMC Title 5, Section 5-6-9, Subsection F, and LMC Title 5, Section 5-6-10, Subsection D, and other Title 5 Sections Dealing with Appeal Hearings. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: Vierra

ABSENT: Council Members: None

8. Resolution Approving Amendment No. 1 Extending the Consultant Agreement Between the City of Livingston and SNG & Associates, Inc. to Continue to Provide Contract Engineering Staff Support Services, and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis presented the item. Ms. Lewis noted that the contract is due to expire on June 4th. Ms. Lewis stated that Nanda Gottiparthy has been performing the duties of City Engineer for the past 7 years. Ms. Lewis reported that staff recommendation is to consider extending the agreement. She noted the reasons are that he has been working on grants and currently has projects in process. She stated that it would be more costly to go out to bid.

Mayor Espinoza noted that he is in support of extending the agreement and that Nanda is doing a great job.

Council Member Samra stated that he is also in favor of amending the contract to extend it for a year. He spoke in favorably of Nanda’s work and the projects he has been involved in.

Council Member Vierra stated that he is also in favor of amending the contact.

Mayor Pro Tem Aguilar stated that agreed that Nanda is committed to the community and is in favor of amending the contract.

Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 9:00 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 8th – spoke in support of extending the contract with SNG.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing for public comments at 9:01p.m.

Motion: M/S Samra/Vierra Approving Resolution 2011-31 Amendment No. 1 Extending the Consultant Agreement Between the City of Livingston and SNG & Associates, Inc. to Continue to Provide Contract Engineering Staff Support Services, and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute the Agreement. 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

Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis stated that she has worked with Nanda over the past several years and he is doing a great job. Not only has he brought several grants to the community and made big improvements to the City, he is a great person to work with. Ms. Lewis stated that she looks forward to working with Nanda for the rest of her tenure.

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

Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis reported that one application for Stakeholders Committee has been received representing business. The applicant is Mr. Albert Arias with Napa Auto. Ms. Lewis explained that Council can appoint Mr. Arias or direct staff to continue recruitment.

There was discussion on the representation. Concerns were raised about the fact that some of the business representatives do not actually live within the City. It was noted that they will be representing the business’ interest and not their own. Additionally it was noted that the committee will simply be making a recommendation to Council and ultimately the Council will be making the decisions.

Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 9:09 p.m

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth St. – noted that the stakeholders committee is in place to provide recommendations. He also stated that Mr. Arias is very interested in being involved.

Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing for public comments at 9:10p.m.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Samra Appointing Albert Arias to the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. 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

10. Continuation of Closed Session if Necessary.
It was determined that continuation of closed session was not necessary.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:10 p.m.

______________________________

City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: May 17, 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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