LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
APRIL 12, 2011
The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Hall Conference Room on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. The meeting was called to order by Chair Flores at 7:03 p.m.
Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza, and
Commissioner Harpreet Bains.
Commissioner Roy Soria and Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains (excused).
Administrative Assistant Filomena Arredondo, Community Development Director Donna Kenney, and City Attorney Jose Sanchez.
Council Liaison Theresa Land, Rodrigo Espinoza, Michael Minlcler, Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, Mike McGuire, David Blevins, Mike Sperry (arrived late), Louis Newburn, and others in the audience.
Director Kenney announced that Commissioner Alex Gonzalez resigned from the Planning Commission due to a conflict with his school schedule. His resignation letter was e-mailed to Director Kenney on March 30, 2011.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
ACTION MINUTES FROM REGULAR MEETING OF FEBRUARY 8, 2011.
Motion by Commissioner Harpreet Bains, seconded by Vice-Chair Mendoza, to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of February 8, 2011. Motion carried 3-0 with corrections.
Members of the Audience
LIVINGSTON MUNICIPAL CODE TITLE 5, CHAPTER 3, TABLE 3, COMMERCIAL
The Planning Commission reviewed and discussed Footnote I of Title 5, Chapter 3, Table 3, requiring alcohol served by the glass uses to be a minimum of 1,000 feet apart in the Downtown Commercial District.
Director Kenney presented the staff report. She explained that she had received a couple of inquiries from people wishing to open the Tequila Club at 444 Main Street, in the Downtown Commercial District (DTC). They were interested in a club-type setting with dancing and alcohol use. The current zoning ordinance has a footnote on the use table that requires that any business that serves alcohol by the glass has to be 1,000 feet away from another such use. This footnote was added in several years ago when there were a lot of bars up and down Main Street and this is one way that the City was able to reduce the number of bars and the rowdiness associated with it.
The footnote reads, "All retail establishments serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises within the downtown commercial district (DTC) shall be no closer than two city blocks between similar establishments. Two City blocks from the 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."
Director Kenney explained that while there are other businesses around the City that sell alcohol by the glass, like across Highway 99, and at F Street and Hammatt Avenue, this is specifically for the Downtown Commercial District (DTC). There are four businesses that currently sell alcohol by the glass in the DTC. They are the Punjab Sweets Restaurant, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, La Esperanza, and El Taco Burger. The City Council requested a Resolution of Intent to send this item to the Planning Commission for discussion and public comment. A public notice was sent in the water bills at the end of March to over 3,100 homes. Following discussion, if the Planning Commission wants to remove the footnote from the use table, they have to determine General Plan Consistency and then make a recommendation to the City Council.
City Attorney Sanchez stated that the City Council did not vote on the issue on whether or not they wanted to remove the footnote, but there were comments about considering the removal. That is why the red-lined version in Exhibit A shows taking that footnote out if that is the Planning Commission’s recommendation. He added that the removal of the footnote was not the Planning Commission’s only option; there were other options previously discussed with City staff such as possibly adding a Conditional Use Permit requirement for the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption in restaurants and cafes.
City Attorney Sanchez defined the term of alcohol by the glass and explained that there are two types of licenses that the business can get from the State, one of them is for actual onsite consumption where people go and drink there at the business as opposed to going to a business, such as a super market, and purchasing alcohol which cannot be consumed there.
Chair Flores asked if staff had received any comments from the public.
Director Kenney replied that she only received a phone call from Mike Sperry who is in support of having the footnote removed and indicated that he would be present at the meeting, but he was not in the audience.
Administrative Assistant Arredondo stated that she spoke with the people who are opening a restaurant where the El Diamante Bar used to be. They expressed some interest in attending the meeting, but said they wanted more of a family-like atmosphere and so they did not intend to apply for alcohol use for the restaurant at this time.
Chair Flores opened the public hearing at 7:14 p.m.
Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, stated she grew up in this area and went to Livingston High and graduated with the Class of 1974. She remembers the days with all of the bars downtown Livingston. She also remembers that past Planning Commissions went through quite a battle in order to get this footnote into the record and the concern being was that never again did they want the downtown area to be packed with establishments that sell alcohol. She questioned what guarantees the Planning Commission can make to the people of Livingston that the removal of this footnote will not lead to an abuse of the process and once again start attracting the downtown area with establishments serving alcohol.
Director Kenney explained that currently a bar/lounge use does require a Conditional Use Permit for alcohol. The Planning Commission could consider adding this Conditional Use Permit requirement to restaurants serving alcohol by the glass. The Planning Commission would analyze the project like any other Conditional Use Permit; however, to grant a Conditional Use Permit, they would have to make four findings in order to insure that the use (lounge, bar, or restaurant) with the alcohol would fit into the neighborhood, and that would also include parking.
Mike Sperry arrived at the meeting.
Mike Sperry, 1328 Main Street, stated he has been in Livingston since he was one year old. He is interested in bringing in his ideas to downtown Main Street, specifically at 444 Main Street. He wants to open a nice, clean establishment where everybody would be welcome. He grew up in law enforcement, his father being a police officer. He is no stranger to the good side and bad side. He knows he is going to have a good solid business. He was in business for seven years in Merced County out on Lincoln and Westside Boulevards. He understands that this discussion is not specific to him, but the Planning Commission’s decision on this does affect him if he wants to open a business.
Mr. Sperry said he was late to the meeting because he was taking care of his tattoo parlor in Turlock which he was unable to open in Livingston a year ago. He is located on Main Street, in the high end uppity area and he has a nice, clean, shop and has a lot of business. He added that he lost one business in Livingston and he asked that they don’t make him do it again. He said he can operate his liquor license quick by going somewhere else, but he thinks he can do it in Livingston. He asked for an opportunity to make it happen.
Vice-Chair Mendoza asked if he was going to have security at the front door.
Mr. Sperry replied he would if needed, but he is trying to go more with the high end classic rock music which does not really bring in a whole lot of problems. He added that many Livingston residents went to his bar out in Merced County, so zero taxes came to the City of Livingston, but that would change if he moves into the City limits.
Vice-Chair Mendoza expressed concern about gangs in Merced County and asked if he was going to post signs to enforce dress codes.
Mr. Sperry said he would if the City wants him to and added that he does not want any problems. He stated that the people that frequented his place were the people that primarily spend money in this county and will target other areas to come in. It is a bargain. What works here does not work there. You have to keep trying and he is willing to try if the City allows him to.
Chair Flores clarified this discussion does not deal specifically to him; it’s a discussion item that deals with alcohol in general.
Council Liaison Land asked Mr. Sperry if he has looked at other places in Livingston other than the downtown area.
Mr. Sperry said there are hardly any vacancies in this town and the Winton-Parkway area is not feasible for his type of business.
Mike McGuire, 1410 Second Street, Livingston, said he has the highest confidence in Mike
Sperry if he opens a tavern in Livingston. He added that although he does not drink, he would go there just to enjoy the music. His concern is what the process would be if the City does away with this requirement entirely. He expressed concern about bar violence. He thinks the Conditional Use Permit process would tend not to work because Alcohol and Beverage Control
(ABC) will also be involved and he feels they are a little bit too lenient. However, he thinks it would be great to provide for good establishments like Mr. Sperry’s.
Rodrigo Espinoza, 1401 Swan Street, Livingston, thinks that every business should have the right to come into the downtown. He has gone to conferences all over California and other cities, big and small, have beautiful downtowns and that is what his vision is, to go downtown and have nice businesses where there is liquor and appetizers and food. He thinks one of the focuses of the City Council and Planning Commission is to revitalize downtown and that is what hopefully the City is moving towards – improving downtown. He understands about the Design Guide, but he thinks they should encourage people to come to Livingston to beautify this community. He goes to Los Banos, to Gustine, to Newman and although they are smaller communities than Livingston, they have a nicer downtown. He feels that if a business wants to come in, they should be given the opportunity and hopefully they mean well.
The Planning Commission granted additional time for public comment at 7:37 p.m. at Mr.
Mr. Sperry stated that Michael McGuire’s comments were 99% accurate except for the part about ABC being lenient. He said ABC does regulate. Every month they shut down businesses for sales to minors and other code violations. Mr. Sperry added that be has seven years of a clean record with ABC. He knows their ordinances well. He added than he also has the advantage of knowing a lot of people in this community. He is already in Livingston and he would like to stay here. His child is in school here. He feels he can make this work.
Katherine Schell-Rodriguez stated that this discussion seems to be about an applicant who is before the Planning Commission asking about the particulars of their own CUP, rather than sticking to the point which is this particular footnote in the code, which is two separate things. She added that there are other members within the community who have concerns about what is going to happen if that footnote is totally removed. Step one is for the Planning Commission to figure out how they are going to handle this footnote keeping in mind that in the future there may be other businesses wanting to come in and step two is making this CUP application fit the code.
Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 7:40 p.m.
Attorney Sanchez said Ms. Schell-Rodriguez’ comment was absolutely correct. In question right now is not the actual business or a conditional use permit; it is the amendment to the code. He stated that some of the Commissioners have questions about this business because this is an example of a business that may come in if this restriction is lifted. However, it will still go through the CUP process which would be handled at that time and not now. He thinks the Commission did ask the right questions to contemplate what a business like this will bring to the City.
Attorney Sanchez added, for the record, that Mayor Espinoza commented as a Livingston citizen and not as the Mayor. When this item goes before the City Council, Mayor Espinoza will, of course, take into consideration any recommendation made by the Planning Commission.
• No comment.
• He believes any business coming to Livingston right now is good. It will bring some jobsand tax money to the City.
He thinks Mr. Sperry will do well in this City and added that we need something differentin downtown Livingston.
He would like to reemphasize that what the Planning Commission has before them is talking about the specific code and not about the specific business or a specific person.
• He asked why Mt. Mike’s Pizza did not have the Planning Department review and whythey do not have a conditional use permit.
Director Kenney explained that what happened with Mt. Mike’s Pizza is that their parent
company actually purchased the alcohol permit in 1999 and held it for a while and when
Mt. Mike’s Pizza came in, in 2004, they already had the alcohol permit with them. Since
the City did not have a permanent planner on staff at that time, the business license
application from 2004 was inadvertently approved without Planning Department review.
He asked for an explanation of the sentence on page 2 of the staff report, on the first paragraph, the last sentence which states that the City has a "food with proposed alcohol use" replacing an "alcohol with food use" in the DTC.
Director Kenney explained that at the time that the staff report was ready to be printed
out, she spoke on the phone with one of the family members of the people who are
moving a restaurant into the hl Diamante location (right next to Punjab Sweets) who had
told her that they were going to pursue an alcohol permit, but then when the family
members came to the City Hall counter, they said that they wanted a more family-like
atmosphere and that in all likelihood would not be applying for alcohol use for the
restaurant; therefore, this statement can be ignored because it has changed since this
report was printed.
Attorney Sanchez stated that currently the code reflects the requirement of all establishments serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises within the
downtown commercial district be located no closer than two City blocks between similar
establishments and since the issue of restaurants serving alcohol does come up quite a bit
a good point for the Planning Commission to take into consideration is to make that section clear. He believes that footnote was intended to apply to all of sales serving alcohol, but the way the table reads, that footnote could be interpreted to only apply to a bar or cocktail lounge use. They can actually put in a section to cover all uses and it may be a line item under commercial uses which would be "sale of alcohol for onsite
consumption" or it could be a different section which would just read, "All retail
establishments serving alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises within the downtown commercial district shall require a Conditional Use Permit." This is how staff has been treating it because it seemed to apply to everything.
Director Kenney added that the line item that says, "Bar, Cocktail Lounge" could actually
just be amended to say, "bar, cocktail lounge, restaurants, or other uses serving alcohol."
Chair Flores agrees that the Commission should consider amending Table 2, of Exhibit
A, Land Use – Commercial Zoning, on the 4th line item under "Bar, Cocktail Lounge" to
consider including "and other uses serving alcohol," so it is not just plain "Bar, Cocktail
Asked about the issue with parking and traffic as outlined on page 2 of the staff report, under General Plan Consistency, Item 1 and 2. If we bring businesses downtown, where will people park?
Director Kenney replied she put "parking" and "traffic" in bold because staff wanted the Planning Commission to be aware that if the code is amended to require all the alcohol
uses to have a Conditional Use Permit, they will still have to meet four findings which
include parking, traffic, walls, fences, landscaping, etc., and that by removing that
footnote, it is not automatically granting anybody a Conditional Use Permit. The Planning Commission will have to meet these four findings and specific conditions to determine
compatibility with the neighborhood.
• Asked if Commercial Land Use Policy 3.I A 6 listed on the staff report is not in litigation.
Director Kenney replied that it is not and added that this same item is in both the 1999 and the 2025 update.
The Planning Commission agreed to take additional public comment at 7:50 p.m.
Mr. Sperry said cities and counties across the state are doing everything possible to keep jobs and money in California. If they put in too many regulations, then businesses will go somewhere else. He feels that City officials need to step down and have a little faith in what good, honest, people can do rather than keep cutting their throats. He asked that the Planning Commission not get specific and give him a chance. He is part of this City. This is not just about him, this is also about the town surviving. The City has to back off a little bit. Other towns are letting things slide or amending them and Livingston needs to do the same.
Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 7:53 p.m.
Director Kenney noted Section 2-2-4 of MEETINGS, (A) Regular Meetings, which states that at least three members must approve any action for recommendation to the City Council regarding rezonings, amendments to the general plan or zoning title, conditional use permits, parcel and subdivision maps, and variances, as may be acted upon the Planning Commission. Basically, in order to make a recommendation to the Council, whether it is to remove the footnote, change it, or leave it like it is, a 3-0 vote is needed. Otherwise it could be denied or it could also be continued to the next meeting if that is Planning Commission’s desire.
Chair Flores noted that he admires Mr. Sperry as a business person and he thinks he would serve as a great business mentor for the Downtown Merchants Committee if it ever gets established in Livingston.
Motion by Commissioner Bains, seconded by Vice-Chair Mendoza to adopt resolution 2011-01,
recommending to the City Council the removal of footnote 1 located in Section Title 5,
Chapter 3, Footnote 1, and modifying Table 2 to include bar, cocktail lounge, and other uses serving alcohol for onsite consumption. Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:
AYES: Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Mendoza, and Commissioner H. Bains
ABSENT: Commissioner Soria and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains
LIVINGSTON MUNICIPAL CODE TITLE 4 CHAPTER 2 SIGN REGULATIONS
The Planning Commission reviewed and discussed the City’s Sign Ordinance to provide a recommendation to City Council.
Director Kenney presented the staff report. She explained that there currently exist many issues with signage. Some business owners have approached City staff over the last couple of years wanting to increase the amount of signage that they have, change their signage, or keep the signage that they put up illegally. This item was brought before the City Council and they asked that it be brought to the Planning Commission for public comment. A public notice was included in all the water bills at the end of March.
Sections of the Sign Regulations that have been brought to staff’s attention include the following:
1. There is no definition or permit process for a mural.
2. The right of way for political signs must be defined.
3. There are some prohibited signs that people would like to have, such as portable A-framesigns or animated sign dancers.
4. Grand opening or special event signs: There are problems with people failing to take their temporary signs down after the 45 days they are permitted. A $100 deposit is required for
these temporary signs and once the signs are removed, the deposit is refunded; however some deposits are held for 2-3 years because people do not take their signs down.
5. There are sections of the code that need to be updated.
6. There is no Downtown Merchants Committee to refer signage to for a second evaluation.
7. In the Industrial zone district which was updated within the last couple of years, there was no provision in the code for individual suites. Industrial buildings were allowed one wall sign per building, so that section of the code was amended, but it turned out to be not quite accurate. One of the building owners had indicated he wanted a 2′ x 10′ sign above
the roll-up doors and then a 2′ x 2′ information sign on the man door of each suite.
However, some of the suites have larger roll-up doors than others and they do not have
the room above to install a 2’x 10′ sign. Additionally, businesses at the back of a building
want signs on the front of the building in addition to those on their suites.
8. Currently in the code, if someone has a vacant piece of property and a business within 500′ of the freeway, they can put up an additional freeway oriented sign on the vacant property, but not if the business is over 500′ away. There is a property owner in town,
who owns property next to the freeway, but his business is on another piece of property
which is over 500′ away and he would like to put a sign on his vacant piece of property.
9. Only gas prices, state and federal information, and credit card information is permitted on gas price signs, but many of the gas stations in the City have added milk, cigarette or
other advertising to the gas signs and light poles. Those business owners feel that they
should have the right to keep those signs.
10. New and used dealership signs require a Conditional Use Permit to have flags and
feather-type signs, but they are moving forward without any permits.
Attorney Sanchez pointed out for the Planning Commission that this item is not before them for a recommendation like the zoning code (Title 5); Sign Regulations are in Title 4, so they only need to go to City Council, but since the City Council is looking at the whole chapter, they wanted to make sure that the Planning Commission had input, so this is more of a workshop to take public testimony and for the Commission to give Council their input. From this discussion, the City Attorney and City staff will be able to actually start drafting an ordinance to amend the existing sign ordinance. He cautioned that being the first amendment, it will take some time and effort because there are certain restrictions in the constitution regarding the first amendment that have to be followed.
Chair Flores asked if City staff had received any written comments.
Director Kenney replied that only one verbal comment was received from Maria Valencia from Valencia’s Beauty Salon favoring the A-frame signs and flag signs; Ms. Valencia said she was going to attend the meeting, but did not.
Chair Flores opened the public comment period at 8:07 p.m.
Louis Newburn, 462 Industrial Drive, Suite B, said he just opened a smog shop on Industrial Drive. He appreciates that City staff allowed him to put up a temporary banner because it was very hard for people to find him. His roll-up doors are considered their main entrance, but they have a walk-in area on Industrial Drive. They have the window sign on the door, but the space above the roll-up door is very narrow and he cannot accommodate a 2′ x 10′ sign. They don’t have a freestanding sign for all the tenants because it is very expensive and with the economy the way it is, it makes it unfeasible for them.
Director Kenney explained that the three industrial buildings that were currently constructed on Walnut Avenue and Industrial Way have the short side of the building facing the street; therefore only the two of about 16 tenants in the end of the buildings actually face the street. The way the code is written, it allows just for the 2′ x 10′ sign above the roll-up door and the 2′ x 2′ identification sign on the man door; therefore, they are not really able to use the end of the building like they would like to.
Vice-Chair Mendoza asked Mr. Newburn if he was putting up banners.
Mr. Newburn replied that he has a 2′ x 10′ temporary banner in the front of the building right now, which is only good for 45 days. He added that he is trying to get his state smog certificate. His smog sign is 2′ x 3’and that must be posted up where people can see it. He will probably put it on the window, but if he could have something a little bit more permanent, it will really help.
Rodrigo Espinoza, 1401 Swan Street, said he is also a business owner. He talks to many of business owners and their major complaint is that the 2′ x 10′ sign is too small. Most people have a 4′ x 8′ sign or bigger. The front of their business is facing Industrial Way, but the main traffic is on Hammatt or Walnut, so they want to be able to have a second sign in the back of the building. He has received complaints about code enforcement taking their signs down. He knows City staff is just doing their job, but business is just trying to stay alive with this bad economy.
He thinks this ordinance may take more than one meeting to be worked out. It has not just been the last couple of years; it has been four or five years of complaints. Maybe that is the way previous Councils wanted it in the past, but the Council has changed and life is changing and economy is changing too.
Chair Flores wanted to clarify that these issues they are talking about are in the industrial zone district of Title 4, Chapter 2.
Mike Sperry stated that one thing he has learned over the years is that people do have to put money out on signage. Typically, poor-looking signage is neck in neck with good signage. Signage is critical. He added that he doesn’t particularly like all the colors that are floating around in town. He would suggest that if they do get a sign amendment going that they be selective with the colors that they allow for signage.
Director Kenney explained that she has been flexible with the temporary sign/banner permits which are currently permitted only for 45 days per calendar year in the City code. A $100 deposit is required. When they take the sign/banner down, they get their deposit back, and if they want to keep it up longer than the 45 days, she goes out and inspects it and if it is still in good condition, she extends the permit for another 45 days.
Katherine Schell-Rodriguez would like the Planning Commission to:
1. Use a little common sense.
2. Look at some of the ways other cities and municipalities are handling people’s needs. The City of Livingston does not have to re-invent the wheel. She is sure other municipalities have been dealing with issues like these, including murals.
3. When it comes to colors, use a little bit of common sense so that they can have things
such as murals on the sides of buildings like the one at the Carniceria La Hacienda on Main Street. She would like to see more themed murals. They bring flavor to the downtown.
4. Above all, use common sense.
Vice-Chair Mendoza said he does not think Mr. Sperry was referring to colors as in murals. He also likes the mural at the Carniceria, but sometimes colors must be taken into consideration. It’s good to regulate colors. He knows Livingston has different cultures, but you have to take the type of business into consideration.
Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 8:23 p.m. Commissioners’ Comments:
• He sympathizes with this tenant from the smog shop. He opened his business and he cannot get a sign up that is accessible to the people getting off the freeway. He feels they do need something on that side to get their business up and running.
Director Kenney said each individual parcel in the industrial zone district is allowed a multi-tenant sign approximately 30′ in height with the name of each tenant, but since one of the buildings does have 16 tenants in it, depending on the amount of square footage,
the signs could be pretty small, and if you have an industrial building with just one tenant, you can have a pretty substantial 30′ foot tall sign that could be seen from Campbell until the area builds up, so there is that option of the multi-tenant sign, but it is quite expensive and so that could be a deterrent.
Chair Flores wanted to clarify that what he was hearing is that Commissioner Bains would like to revisit Title 4, Chapter 2, dealing with the industrial zone districts so that they can accommodate business owners.
• He agrees with Commissioner Bains’ comments.
He agrees with Commissioner Bains and Vice-Chair Mendoza to explore this area so they can have more options for business owners in the industrial area. He would also like to explore Title 4, Chapter 2, Section 3, regarding murals.
They should revisit and remove section 4-5-2-7 D 2 about SR 99 and ramp work since it has been completed for a few years.
Director Kenney said she could pick out the house keeping items and make suggestions and bring that list back to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission agreed with Director Kenney’s suggestion.
Chair Flores asked what role the county assessor would have in this if people were to add
an additional sign, specifically an A-frame sign.
Director Kenney replied that she believes the county assessor only values the building and the property itself.
Chair Flores asked for direction from staff on how to proceed from their comments.
Director Kenney said she will take the house keeping items, plus #7 and #1 as suggested by the Commission and draft some language based on what other cities are doing and bring that back to the Planning Commission at their next meeting. She added that the Planning Commission could handle this item as a workshop if they prefer and take more public comment and refine the items that staff brings back, plus that would protect business owners who were not able to attend this meeting.
All Commissioners agreed.
Chair Flores asked Director Kenney to include the sign dancers on her list.
Attorney Sanchez noted these signs are called human signs or sign twirlers.
Director Kenney said the way the code addresses it right now is that any sort of animated sign that twirls or squashes is all prohibited, so they can pull things out of that prohibition.
City Attorney stated that a lot of cities don’t like sign twirlers on the corners for safety reasons and for traffic reasons where they’re up against the street twirling signs and people are watching them. They don’t let animated signs and things like that just because of concerns with traffic, but this could be a good discussion item.
Chair Flores said they can include in the discussion designated areas where they would be
Chair Flores asked what signs such as hot air balloons were categorized as.
Director Kenney said balloons and flags could be permitted under temporary banners, and added that the code currently allows for that.
Chair Flores asked what the "Welcome to Livingston" signs on Hammatt Avenue and Winton-Parkway were categorized as.
Director Kenney replied those are City signs and the City does not need a permit for their own signs.
Chair Flores stated this is going to be an ongoing discussion and; therefore, it would be continued to their next meeting.
Nothing to report.
Both he and Chair Flores attended a workshop in Stanislaus County. They got some ideas on how to restructure the City; how instead of developing the area right now, they start
from the inside out. They can start doing something different like bringing in new
businesses. Whatever business comes into the City is revenue to the City and he thinks
even something small will benefit the City and the community.
Commented on the Yagi property located on Hamrnatt Avenue. It is his personal opinion that row crops should be able to be planted there. It is agriculture; it will provide more jobs to farm workers; and it will bring more tax dollars to the City. Director Kenney
explained that what Vice-Chair Mendoza was referring to was the discussion about
farming within City limits that was held at the last City Council meeting. She added that
this item will be coming to the Planning Commission at their next regular meeting.
• Restated that he and Vice-Chair Mendoza attended the Stanislaus County Planning
Commissioners’ Workshop and that it was very interesting. They talked about infill
development and about the housing population.
• He also attended the Sustainable Communities Initiative forum from the Great Valley
Center on March 17h1 It was also very interesting because as they look at developments, they also have to keep a sustainability point of view. He was able to get some good ideas
and hopefully as a commission, they are able to discuss the sustainability initiative in the
• Someone came up to him with concerns about her neighbor’s lawn not being maintained. This address is on First Street.
Director Kenney explained that code enforcement had partnered up with the fire department and they have gone out and located all the properties that need weed abatement, have brown grass or need water and they have been coordinating with the Public Works Department and sending abatement letters out to these people.
Community Development Director Kenney
• Explained that a handout was given to the Planning Commission that basically welcomes
new members to the Planning Commission and talks about the purpose of the Planning
Commission like how to make a motion, why you make a motion, and other really basic
items. She added that staff is going to be doing presentations to start training the Planning Commission on some other topics and the City Attorney will also be doing some training as well on several topics.
• Stated there are some events coming up that are a good way to get out and meet your neighbors and to really help the community. There is a lot of fundraising going on for the 4th of July celebration and on Saturday they will have the Relay-for-Life at the high school. The Rotary Club, which she belongs to, will be handing out free breakfast to the walkers. There will be a lot of people, music, and a lot of fun.
Chair Flores asked if there were any potential incoming projects.
Director Kenney replied things are happening, but she is unable to talk about anything until signatures are on the dotted lines.
Director Kenney said she is working with Interim City Manager Vickie Lewis right now to make sure that the RDA funds are protected.
City staff is looking at a couple of different grants. Director Kenney is currently drafting some environmental documents for the grant applications.
The Livingston Family Apartments project out on Lincoln Boulevard south of Peach Avenue went away, but there is currently a lot of interest in this piece of property. City staff is meeting with some people in a couple of weeks to talk about tax increment financing, and to try to get an affordable housing project of 48 units going.
Chair Flores asked about the status of the approved mixed use project for a dental office on B Street.
Director Kenney replied that her understanding from talking to the architect is that it is very difficult to get construction loans right now, so he is not moving forward. She did hear that Dr. Carter is looking for a new location, so she connected the two, hoping that they could come up with an agreement.
Chair Flores asked if there were any hopes for the hotel project.
Director Kenney said the last time she spoke to them they were still finishing a hotel in Hawaii. However, they have not sold the property and still intend to come to Livingston.
He would like to train the Planning Commission a little more about basics on how a meeting runs. He also wants to do some training regarding land use because the Planning
Commission works very closely with Planning staff and it is critical that they understand
what the general plan does, what the zoning code does, and what the municipal code does and how they all fit together. They also need to understand the environmental process and what is required by CEQA. He would like to break all these topics to short training
sessions so that the Planning Commission has a chance to ask questions and hopefully
learn new, great things.
He introduced Michael Minkler from his law firm. Mr. Minkler is going to be the point of
contact attorney for Planning office staff.
Chair Flores stated that he knows there is a sort of speculation about another telecommunications tower being agendized for the Planning Commission’s next meeting and asked staff if that was moving along.
Director Kenney said they have not approached her yet. They came to her about three months ago and asked about different locations in the City and she actually talked to two different groups. One was looking at the football field and the other one at the baseball field. She heard they have now combined, but she has not received any information from them yet. She added that to get the application, review it and public notice it by the next Planning Commission meeting will not be possible; it would have to be the month after that.
The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:46 p.m. APPROVED: May 10, 2011
Chair, LUIS ENRIQUE FLORES Secretary of the Planning Commission,
DONNA M. KENNEY