July 12, 2011 Draft Minutes

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JULY 12,2011


The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Hall Conference Room on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. The meeting was called to order by Chair Flores at 7:02p.m.

Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza and Commissioner Harpreet Bains.

Commissioners Absent: Commissioners Roy Soria (Excused) and Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains (Excused).

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

Others Present: Council Liaison Theresa Land, Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, Alex and Priscilla Cisneros, and others in the audience.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Commissioner Bains, seconded by Vice-Chair Mendoza, to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of June 14, 2011. Motion carried 3-0, with corrections.

PUBLIC COMMENT No public comment.



The City Council asked the Planning Commission through a Resolution of intention to amend, repeal, or replace sections to clarify Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-6-2 concerning Amendments and Rezonings.

Director Kenney presented the staff report and explained that City Code Section 5-6-2 B (l) authorized the Planning Commission to initiate amendments to the Zoning Code by adopting a Planning Commission Resolution of intention. This amendment would make clear that Planning Commission’s recommendation to initiate this amendment still requires the City Council’s approval. This is the current interpretation and is consistent with the practice the City has been using; however, there is some language proposed that would clarify it for the Council, Planning Commission and public.

The language will be added to LMC 5-6-2(B) l. Originally this section states, "Resolution of intention of the Planning Commission." The language that would be added is "The Resolution of intention by the Planning Commission must be approved by the City Council prior to initiation of the requested amendment or rezone." The proposed ordinance language is consistent with the

1999 General Plan and 2025 General Plan Updates Land Use Policy 3.1 A 5 which states, "The City will update the Zoning Ordinance as appropriate to implement the General Plan." It is appropriate for the City to amend or modify the Zoning Code for clarification and efficiency. The proposed language modifies and clarifies the existing Code.

Commissioner H. Bains stated he met with Director Kenney prior to the Planning Commission meeting and she explained this is basically saying that if Council presents the Planning Commission with an item and the Planning Commission sends it back to the City Council, it cannot be the same item.

Director Kenney said that under current language, if the Planning Commission initiates a resolution of intention, staff could begin working on the item before the City Council could tell staff it is okay to do so. This amendment would require the Planning Commission to ask the City Council for permission to direct City staff to move forward. Otherwise, Commission and Council could be proposing different language on a topic and causing additional work for staff, which is not very cost efficient.

Chair Flores opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:10p.m. there being no public comment. This resolution requires a 3-0 vote for approval.

Commissioners’ Comments

Chair Flores

• He was a little bit confused with the wording. He thinks there should be something like a flow chart to show what the process would be if the Planning Commission wanted to initiate something before Council approval. He asked Director Kenney if there is a simple way to explain the process.

Director Kenney presented a couple scenarios to help the Planning Commission understand the process if the language is amended.

As a point of clarification, Assistant City Attorney Minkler noted per current policy, if the Planning Commission initiates a resolution of intention, it has to go to City Council for approval before staff acts on it. That same process would be followed with the proposed language added to the Code. A question had come up in the context of the potential changes to the alcohol by the glass Conditional Use Permit (CUP) item. The Planning Commission has been considering initiating its own resolution of intention- this language makes the Code consistent with past practice.

• He asked if this proposed wording takes away power from the Planning Commission to make decisions or if it makes it more bureaucratic in a sense that there are more steps to take.

Director Kenney replied that it memorializes the process that is currently being followed per City policy. If in the future staff is replaced and a question comes up about using this section of the Code, the interpretation might be different. This clarifies the intent to keep the Planning Commission and the planners going down the same path.

• Looking at the proposed language in the staff report, it says, "…must be approved by the City Council prior to initiation." He asked if this is referring to Resolution 2011-40 that the Council passed on June 7th. The first "Whereas" clause in this Council Resolution says, "The proposed amendment would make clear that the Planning Commission’s recommendation to initiate an amendment to the Zoning Code still requires City Council approval." He asked for clarification on the meaning of "still requires." The proposed language is, "must be approved by the City Council prior to initiation." He wonders why the words "still requires" are not in the proposed language.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler said the reason why those words were kept out was because they are still referring to the past practices and that is not necessary to refer to in the language of the Code. They just wanted to simplify the language in the Code to make it as clear as possible, so it’s going forward without referring to past practices. The language in the Code is that a Planning Commission initiated resolution of intention would still have to get approval from the City Council before staff could take action.

Chair Flores said it’s in the passive voice so that confused him.

Assistant Minkler replied if the Planning Commission wanted to change the sentence around so that it would be in the active voice, they could propose that amended language and send that recommendation to the City Council.

Chair Flores stated if the Planning Commission were to approve this resolution, he would recommend making it active instead of passive.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler suggested the language could read, "The City Council must approve a resolution of intention initiated by the Planning Commission prior to initiation of the requested amendment or rezone.

Commissioner H. Bains asked for clarification.

Director Kenney explained #I says, "Resolution of intention of the Planning Commission." The language after it would then read, "The City Council must approve the resolution of intention by the Planning Commission prior to initiation of a requested amendment or rezone." They would just flip the sentence around.

• Asked if in order for the Planning Commission to move forward on the alcohol ordinance, they would have to initiate the ordinance amendment and then send it to the City Council in order for staff to work on it.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler replied, "Yes, which is consistent with the way it was for consideration at the last meeting." That was the same interpretation; this is just clarifying that process.

• He feels this is more of a formality just to get the process written down, so he would like staff to put it into active voice so that it reads better.

Following discussion, it was moved by Vice-Chair Mendoza, seconded by Commissioner H. Bains, to approve Resolution 2011-07, A resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston recommending to the City Council modification of LMC 5-6-2 (B), amending the sentence to be in the active voice, and recognizing consistency of the amendment with the Livingston General Plan. The amended sentence would read, "The City Council must approve the resolution of intention by the Planning Commission prior to initiation of the requested amendment or rezone." Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:

AYES:  Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Mendoza, and Commissioner H. Bains

NOES:  None

ABSENT: Commissioner Soria and Alternate Commissioner Bains


The City Council asked the Planning Commission through a Resolution of intention to amend, repeal or replace sections of the Zoning Ordinance that are necessary to implement Programs of the 2009-2014 Housing Element.

Staff presented the report. In August of2010, the City Council approved the 2009-2014 Housing Element which state law requires to be updated every five years. It was then sent to the State Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) for its review. This is the only element of the General Plan that HCD reviews. HCD reviewed the thirty-seven (37) programs in this document to determine how the City is going to better its housing conditions. Three (3) of those thirty-seven (37) programs require zoning text amendments to make the zoning code consistent with the Housing Element. They are programs 12, 27, and 28.

Program 12 is for farm worker housing which is not currently allowed in the R-3, Multi-family zoning district. HCD would like to see farm worker housing as a permitted use in that zoning district.

Program 27 involves emergency shelters. HCD also requested the City amend the zoning ordinance to identify in which districts emergency shelters may be permitted by right.

Program 28 is transitional and supportive housing. HCD asked the City to permit transitional and supportive housing as a residential use.

Staff reviewed the section on housing in the zoning code and determined that Section 5-3-4, which is R-3, High Density Residential District, should be amended to include the following sentence:

"Farm labor housing that serves six or fewer persons shall be treated as a single-family unit and is permitted by right in all R-E, R-1, and R-3 districts. Transitional housing is permitted by right in the R-3 district."

Chair Flores asked for the meaning of "by right."

Director Kenney explained "by right" means it’s a permitted use. Right now, the City requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the Planning Commission, which the State sees as an obstacle to this type of housing. They have asked the City to remove that obstacle and find places where these types of housing are permitted.

Director Kenney explained the next section staff reviewed was Section 5-3-6 for the Downtown Commercial District (DTC). The language added is, "Emergency shelters are permitted by right in the DTC and PF."

The reason why those two districts were selected for this language is because in the downtown commercial you are more likely to find senior housing, food pantries, and other resources at walking distance from emergency shelters.

Chair Flores asked Director Kenney to generalize "Emergency." Director Kenney gave two examples of emergency:

1) If the Merced River were to flood, the houses on the west side of the City could have to be evacuated.

2) If there is an accident on the railroad tracks where some train cars leaked a hazardous substance, people would have to be moved to another part of the City.

Director Kenney explained the reason the PF, Public Facility District, was chosen as well is that cities tend to have vacant lots or other types of buildings in this district that could be used in emergency situations.

Chair Flores asked what areas in town emergency shelters are currently permitted.

Director Kenney replied right now they would need a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in the DTC and in the R-3 zoning district.

Director Kenney added that if a City’s Housing Element is not up to date and if it is not consistent with its General Plan, it could work against the City if it applies for CDBG grants or other housing­ related programs.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler stated that if the "by right" terminology seems confusing to the Planning Commission, it is not necessary. Just by saying a use is permitted in a zoning district, it would still be permitted by right; it does not have to state that. That is the language HCD uses and that is why it was included here, but it doesn’t have to say that.

Chair Flores wants to be consistent with the language used by HCD. Chair Flores opened the public hearing at 7:33p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, wanted to hear more discussion on the different kinds of supportive and transitional housing and a reason for choosing the particular zoning designations.

Director Kenney stated with the farm labor housing it was already permitted in the R-E and R-1 zoning districts and HCD requested the City allowed them in the R-3 zoning districts. In the Transitional Housing, the City currently requires a CUP to allow them in the R-3 and in the DTC districts. Since HCD asked that the City provide permitted uses, the two conditional uses where changed to permitted uses.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez said she was thinking of a half way house. One of the things that a community is concerned about is what impact it is going to have on the community. The

Conditional Use process would at least allow people to come in and hear more about the project and express their concerns and have the City place specific conditions on the project. She is not against such uses, but she is a little bit leery of permitting them without sending them through the Conditional Use Permit process.

Director Kenney explained this is how the City treats these projects now, as conditional uses, but the State feels that it is too restrictive and they had to make a move to change that to permit them somewhere and not just keep blocking them out of every community.

Chair Flores asked if Livingston had any transitional housing. Director Kenney replied she does not believe so.

Chair Flores thinks transitional housing should definitely not be permitted in the downtown.

Vice-Chair Mendoza remembers a while back there was a group home on Main Street by the high school. He asked if neighbors would be notified before home shelters or group homes come into a specific neighborhood.

Director Kenney replied if it is a permitted use in that neighborhood, neighbors would not be contacted.

There was some confusion about the definition of transitional housing. Director Kenney explained transitional housing would be for people who have been homeless, for example, and they move into a home temporarily to help them start saving and get back on their feet and then move on to their own home.

Vice-Chair Mendoza asked if residents would be notified if there are any half-way homes for ex­ convicts in certain neighborhoods.

Director Kenney replied the City does not have any control over places like that. They can live in a regular home and the City cannot regulate it.

Chair Flores closed the Public Hearing at 7:39p.m. there being no fu1ther comment.

Commissioners’ Comments:

Commissioner H. Bains

• Asked who chooses emergency shelters or group homes.

Director Kenney replied it is mostly the City and non-profit organizations, such as churches.

Chair Flores

• He asked why they would not also include R-2, Medium Density, as a permitted use for farm labor housing.

Director Kenney explained that R-2 is usually reserved for duplexes, but it could be added if the Planning Commission would like to expand it unless there are concerns about how much is being allowed.

Chair Flores thinks that if they are already allowing Low Density Residential and they are proposing High Density Residential, they should also allow Medium Density Residential.

Director Kenney stated in the farm labor housing specifically, it is already permitted in two districts and HCD requested the City put it in the R-3 Zoning District. If the City chooses to put it in the R-2 district, it would be going beyond what HCD requested. However, it is up to the Planning Commission and the City Council to determine how much they would like to allow in the City.

• Chair Flores asked how was the maximum number of persons allowed for farm labor housing decided on.

Director Kenney referred to the top of page 4 of staff the report listing some of the existing footnotes for Table 2 of the residential use zoning matrix. Letter "B" states, "Farm labor housing that serves six or fewer persons shall be treated as a single-family unit and is permitted by right in all R-E and R-1 districts." Staff only added the R-3 and DTC districts as permitted uses and did not change the rest of the sentence.

Discussion followed.

Chair Flores thinks it is a good thing to follow the recommendation of the Housing and Community

Development Department so that it is easier for the City to go after grants which are greatly needed.

Motion by Vice-Chair Mendoza, seconded by Commissioner Bains, to adopt Resolution 2011-08, A resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston recommending modification of LMC 5-3 to the City Council including R-2, Medium Density Residential, to the permitted uses for farm labor housing and recognizing consistency of the amendment with the Livingston General Plan. Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Mendoza, and Commissioner H. Bains

NOES: None

ABSENT: Commissioner Soria and Alternate Commissioner Bains



The Planning Commission continued their review and discussion of the City’s Sign Ordinance. This item was continued from the regular Planning Commission meetings of April 12, 20ll, May 10,2011, and June 14,2011.

Director Kenney presented the staff report and gave a brief overview of areas being discussed.

•!• There are several housekeeping items from the last Zoning Code Update where areas of the Code should be tied together but the section numbers don’t match.

•!• Temporary Banner Permits- changing the maximum period allowed from 45 days to 90 days and adding to the Code what City staff is already doing by policy, extending the time period if the banners remain in good shape.

•!• Continue review of multi-tenant signs in the industrial area. Originally tenants were allowed a 2′ x I 0′ sign above the roll-up door but some of the tenants found that this sign did not work for their taller door. Staff suggested that, instead of a standard 2′ x I 0′ sign, the tenants could have 20 square feet maximum with any dimension. They get the same amount of sign coverage, but the dimensions are flexible for their specific site.

Per Planning Commission direction, City staff hand delivered public notices to commercial uses that use or may use sign dancers, such as businesses located on Winton Parkway and Joseph Gallo Drive. City Code does not currently permit animated signs. Staff also delivered public notices to businesses that had an interest in murals and to the beauty salons that want to use A-frame signs which are also not permitted by City Code. There was a lot of outreach done to notify business owners and give them the opportunity to voice their concerns. Unfortunately, few people from either outreach group attended the Planning Commission meeting.

City staff researched A-frame signs. The research indicates most cities prohibit them. One exception is the City of San Jose in which adjacent property owners may allow their neighbors temporary portable A-Frame signs in public rights-of-way in certain districts, subject to the conditions and all other applicable provisions of the code.

Research was also done on sign dancers, which are seen in many cities though most prohibit them. City staff will continue to research specific language that promotes and/or regulates this type of signage.

Vice-Chair Mendoza asked if besides the 2′ x 10′ sign permitted at the industrial park, businesses in the middle could put up harmers so they can be seen. He thinks 20 sq. ft. is kind of small. Tenants should be entitled to have harmers or flags to help them out.

Director Kenney replied that they can put up banners. There is no size limit and there is no specific location for them. They just cannot have them in a place that would be dangerous to drivers or pedestrians. All they need is to apply for a temporary permit. As for the 2′ x 10′ and the 2′ x 2′ signs, those were specifically chosen to provide direction once you get into the industrial park. To bring people to the industrial park, these buildings are allowed 30′ tall signs with all the tenants’ names on them, but the landlords have not installed them even though they are allowed. The thought was to have the big sign to bring people in and once they pulled in the parking lot, there would be a 2′ x 10′ sign with the company’s name and a 2′ x 2′ sign on the door with a suite number, phone number and hours of operation. The wall signs were never meant to attract people from the highway or nearby streets.

Chair Flores opened for public discussion at 7:58p.m.

Alex Cisneros, Prestige Auto Body and Auto Repair, 433 Industrial Drive, said he is part owner of the industrial building and he also owns one of the businesses there. He said it would be nice to have that 30′ sign out there, but economy is pretty hard right now and it’s difficult for them to spend so much money on signs for businesses that are going in and out of business.

He feels that a 2′ x 10′ sign is not big enough. The name of his business is long and does not fit on that sign. He wants a visible sign that can be seen from Hammatt or Campbell and this size sign will not work. He is proposing a 4′ x 8′ sign or a 4′ x 10′ sign so that he can put up the full name of his business, or maybe two signs so he can have one that says "auto body" and another one that says "auto repair." He has been in business for three years and he wants to put up permanent signs. He still has temporary harmers out there.

Mr. Cisneros added that he has seen several businesses around town that have front and back signage and at the last Planning Commission meeting, Director Kenney said they could not have signage in the back of the building.

Director Kenney stated the signs he has seen on the backs of buildings are not permitted, but staff works on a complaint basis only.

Priscilla Cisneros, 433 Industrial Drive, (in Spanish) said times are very tough right now and she thinks it’s unfair that other businesses have front and back signage yet her husband Alex is not allowed to put up two signs or at least a bigger sign.

Director Kenney noted that at the comer of Industrial Drive and Walnut Avenue there is another industrial building and that property owner recently put up his 30′ sign. She clarified that the landlord should put up the 30′ sign, but he is not responsible for the actual faces of the signage. As different tenants move in and out, they would be responsible for their sign face. It’s not an expense that the property owner should incur.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, stated she likes the mural that they have at the Carneceria La Hacienda. There are things other cities are doing that maybe Livingston should do to allow murals like the one at the "Carneceria" that would bring in more light to the downtown. She added that it’s unfortunate that everyone else is breaking the rules and some people like Mr. Cisneros are the ones getting picked on.

Council Member Theresa Land, 995 Hilltop Avenue, stated she and Director Kenney met with Mr. Luis Naranjo and Mr. Alex Cisneros at their business location after the last Planning Commission meeting to talk about their signage, so she understands their situation. She thinks that initially, when they put this together, it was supposed to be a uniform thing for all the businesses so that it would make the City look nice, which makes sense, but also in these hard times, it’s not easy for them to erect a 30′ tall sign. She had suggested that possibly there could be a CUP put in place for now. One of the businesses, Lupita’s Auto Sales, was totally fine with paying a fee for a CUP and have a sign up there. Another one was hesitant about it because it was putting in some money and not a guarantee that he would be approved. That is something to consider on whether they want a CUP with this and then address it later when the times get better.

Council Member Land also shared that she was on vacation for two weeks and she visited New York, Maryland and Boston. She stayed with her brother in Silver Springs, Maryland which has a wonderful downtown area. They have an area there that reminded her of the industrial area in Livingston, but it’s all completed and the signs are all in conformity and it looks very nice. In New York, they took the subway and she saw where they have a whole section of just mural taggings and that also looks real nice, so that is something the Planning Commission may want to consider.

Director Kenney explained City staff did consider the possibility of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for signage. Right now the auto sales uses are required to have a CUP for flags and banners, but staff cannot get those business owners to come in to apply for those CUP’s because they think they cost too much. Staff is concerned that there are smaller businesses that just wouldn’t do it; they would just put up their signs anyway like they do now.

Chair Flores closed the public hearing at 8:10p.m. Commissioners’ Comments:

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• He believes bigger signage should be allowed for right now while the economy is bad.

Commissioner H. Bains

• He recommends increasing the size of the identification signs in the industrial area to 4′ x 6′ or keep it at 20 sq. ft. maximum, but to allow two signs instead of only one.

Director Kenney asked the Commission if they wanted her to go through each section of the Code in order to bring forth the resolution.

She noted one change on page 4 of the staff report, under 4-2-10-2: New and Used Vehicle Dealership Signs. The existing code is 20% of the building facade in terms of the size of your signage. Mr. Naranjo at Lupita’s Used Cars had complained that was not enough, so staff did bump that up to 30% of the building facade. That may not make a difference to him because his sign right now is on the neighbor’s building and not on his own building. His building is pretty small and will equate to a smaller sign. For others who have a huge building, however, their sign would be quite large at 30%, so you have to weigh what these individual businesses have to work with especially if signage is based on a percentage.

Discussion followed.

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• He asked if the industrial buildings facing towards Hammatt would be allowed to put up more or bigger signs.

Director Kenney replied right now the Code does not allow it to be on anything but the front of the building where their doorway is. She added that City staff has not been able to find other cities that allow signage on the rear of buildings. One of the problems is that some buildings have more tenants than others. They would have to determine who gets to put their sign back there, just the tenant on the end unit or does everyone get to put one on the back?

Chair Flores opened the public hearing again at 8:15 p.m.

Alex Cisneros said that at the industrial buildings, there are people that only have one roll-up door, but he has three, so his space is bigger. He asked if he is allowed to have a bigger sign since his shop is pretty big.

Director Kenney replied, not the way the Code it is currently written because his building is not based on percentages. Everyone was given the same amount of signage per unit.

Mr. Cisneros asked if instead of the 30′ sign, they could do wall signs since it is more affordable that way.

Director Kenney replied the signs he is wanting bigger are supposed to be part of the coordinated sign package so that everybody has the same size. It’s the banners and the 30′ sign that bring people in from other streets.

Mr. Cisneros would like the Planning Commission to change the Code to allow more signage. Chair Flores thinks they have the option of doing it strictly by 2′ x 10′, 4′ x 5′, or they can do it by percentage.

Director Kenney explained that if they go by percentages in the industrial buildings, one building may have more tenants than others, so the building that has more tenants will have smaller signage than the building that has fewer tenants. You don’t have conformity and tenants feel that is not even or fair.

Chair Flores closed the Public Hearing at 8:20p.m.

Director Kenney thinks that what Mr. Cisneros is asking for is 40 sq. ft. maximum rather than 20 sq. ft. maximum no matter what the configuration, so they would loose the conformity, but they would all still have the same amount of square footage.

Chair Flores said we can change:"…shall be allowed one identification sign" to maybe: "shall be allowed two identification signs of20 sq. ft. maximum."

Commissioner H. Bains asked if they could also have one 40 sq. ft. sign instead of two 20 sq. ft. signs.

Director Kenney said they could have whatever combination the Planning Commission thinks would work. The building suites are not identical in size which makes this problem unique.

Chair Flores asked if there is any way that for future development, they can put something in the

Code that says the property owner has to put in the 30′ sign by the time the building is finaled.

Staff will check on some language that would require the builder to install the 30′ sign before the building is occupied.

Commissioner H. Bains said this doesn’t help them right now.

Chair Flores stated this is something to plan for future business owners.

Chair Flores thinks they should go over item by item to make it easier to come up with a consensus on what they like and don’t like.

Chair Flores said he thinks the Multi-Occupant Complex is the one that is giving them the most problems to solve. He asked for Commissioners’ recommendations.

Commissioner H. Bains recommended keeping it at 20 sq. ft. and allowing two signs or allowing one sign at a maximum of 40 sq. ft.

Director Kenney said one way to think of it is, if you have it broken down into two signs and a tenant feels that they really need one bigger or longer sign, they could put the two signs together and use the combined square footage.

Chair Flores likes the option of having two signs or one big sign, but only a maximum of 40 sq. ft.

All Commissioners agreed to this option by consensus. Next discussion was about the vehicle dealership signs.

Director Kenney asked if the Commission wishes to change that percentage from 20% to 30% or to another number or go to a maximum number instead of a percentage.

Discussion followed.

Chair Flores mentioned that Mr. Naranjo expressed some concerns at the last Planning Commission meeting.

Director Kenney explained that Mr. Naranjo at Lupita’s Auto Sales has approximately 260 sq. ft. right now of illegal signage on a neighboring building. He is allowed approximately 800 sq. ft. of permitted signage, but that would cause him to spend money to install more signs. His whole attitude was, "I want more," but he is not using all that he can have right now.

Chair Flores said he doesn’t think their decisions should be based on a certain individual just to make him happy. They should consider the whole business community; therefore, he thinks 25% is a fair percentage.

Discussion followed.

The Planning Commission agreed with the 25% by consensus. Next discussion was about murals.

Chair Flores said the City of Exeter has murals in their downtown, so he asked City staff to look at mural language for the City of Exeter and the City of Kerman. The City of Exeter has a population of 10,300 people and the City of Kerman has a population of 13,500, so they are about Livingston’s size.

Chair Flores would like to table murals for next month until staff can get some information from the two cities he mentioned.

Next discussion was about sign dancers.

Director Kenney stated she was not able to find any City Code that actually permits or regulates sign dancers.

Vice-Chair Mendoza feels sign dancers are sometimes a distraction to drivers. He asked if the City would be liable for allowing sign dancers if there was an accident.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler replied he doesn’t think the City would be liable if the sign dancer causes a distraction. He added that the City Attorney’s office is going to review all of the sign regulations and recommendations for constitutionality issues.

Director Kenney said one consideration is that City Code currently prohibits signage off property, so if, for example, the Planning Commission was considering regulating sign dancers like a banner or something that could be temporary signage, they would have to keep the sign dancer on their property rather than going out to the street comer. So if they were considering allowing something like that, it may be worth putting it under temporary signage rather than considering it permanent signage.

Commissioner H. Bains thinks sign dancers should be prohibited for safety reasons. Vice-Chair Mendoza agrees.

Chair Flores asked if the people with signs for car washes would be considered sign dancers. Director Kenney said it should include those signs.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler said if there is consensus of the Planning Commission to prohibit sign dancers, they don’t have to borrow language from other cities. They could just prohibit them.

Chair Flores agrees sign dancers should be safe, but he doesn’t want to totally prohibit them. The Planning Commission agreed by consensus to table sign dancers to the next Planning

Commission Meeting.

Director Kenney said staff could look at some sort of language that would conditionally permit sign dancers as a temporary signage. Some of the conditions would relate to the location of where they have to stay on their own property.

Commissioner H. Bains asked how they determine what is considered their property.

Director Kenney explained Little Caesar’s sign dancer, for example, could go up to the sidewalk, but should stay near the south corner of B Street and Winton.

Director Kenney thinks they would have to stick to the parcel where their building is located. Language could be added that maybe they stay out of the 20′ distance triangle the City has for signs and trees and shrubs so they don’t block any view.

Director Kenney noted that the bill boards to advertise subdivisions are the only temporary signs that don’t need to be on the property itself; they are the only offsite advertising permitted.

Discussion followed.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler asked if that is the level of detail in order for staff to come back with specific language to be voted on, if that is also the same type of consensus for murals, to look at the two other cities and come back with some language that staff thinks would promote murals.

The Planning Commission agreed by consensus.

Director Kenney asked how the Planning Commission feels about A-Frame signs.

Ms. Kenney said it could be considered a temporary sign that is regulated like feather signs or banners. They would submit a deposit with staff and the location would be looked at to make sure there are no safety hazards and then every 90 days they could ask for an extension. She mentioned the problem with A-Frame signs is when they obstruct sidewalk traffic.

Discussion followed.

Vice Chair Mendoza thinks there should not be a problem as long as they find a place on their property where it is safe and not in the way of traffic.

Director Kenney said that possibly then it could be regulated like a temporary sign and staff would then have the ability to review the location to ensure that it is not on a public sidewalk and it is in a safe location.

The Planning Commission agreed by consensus.


Planning Commission

Commissioner H. Bains

• Thanked the 4th of July Committee for putting on a great festival. He is looking forward to next year’s event.

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• Thanked everybody that gave donations to make the 8th grade graduation party possible.

Chair Flores

• Asked Director Kenney if she had any projects to reveal.

• He would like City staff to agendize a follow up of the action City Council takes on items the Planning Commission sends to the City Council so they can be aware of the outcome.

Director Kenney said she will incorporate that in her staff report at the next Planning

Commission meeting.

• He asked for a report on the skate park project.

Director Kenney reported she had recent contact with the skate park consultant. They have most of the engineering done for the skate park. They requested copies of the materials that the City submitted with a grant application to build the skate park. Should the City get the grant; the park consultant will be able to help the City with going out to bid and supervising the construction of that specific piece of the park.

• He asked if the City-wide yard sale went well.

Director Kenney replied there were three sales this year in May, June, and July and it seems that there was a lot less participation in the second and third sale, so staff thinks that maybe next year rather than having three sales in three consecutive months, they will only have one big sale or two smaller sales throughout the year.

• He asked how they would need to proceed on the resolution of intention for the alcohol item after the 2-1 vote at the last Planning Commission meeting on June 141

Director Kenney replied that it was her understanding that staff was going to have some clear direction as to what the Planning Commission wanted to see instead of the 1,000 feet between businesses. She added that she could come back next month with that item if the Planning Commission had some direction.

Commissioner Flores hopes to have a full Commission at their August meeting to have a discussion with all the Commissioners to specify language to present to the City Council. He asked that staff bring this item to the next Planning Commission meeting for discussion.

City Staff

Community Development Director Kenney

• Reminded everyone that there will be a new Planning Commissioner at the August meeting.

Administrative Assistant Arredondo

Nothing to report.

City Attorney Michael Minkler

• Training was kept off the agenda again this month until the new Planning Commissioner comes onboard. Hopefully next month they have a full Commission so they can all take part in the training.


The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:01 p.m. APPROVED: August 9, 2011

Chair, LUIS ENRIQUE FLORES Secretary of the Planning Commission, DONNA M. KENNEY

The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the Planning Commission. 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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