JUNE 14, 2011 Draft Minutes

{Note from TheGardeningSnail – This page was created by bouncing the original Image Document through a program which converted image to text. Then this text was copy/pasted into Blogging Software.

So…if there are any Goofs, Gaffs, and other Textual Gremlins that snuck in. Sorry about that. Oh yeah…I did “Bold” a little here and there, just for emphasis you know 🙂 } 

MINUTES

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JUNE 14, 2011

7:00 P.M.

The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Hall Conference Room on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The meeting was called to order by Chair Flores at 7:00 p.m.

Commissioners Present:

Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Commissioners Roy Soria and Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains.

Commissioners Absent:

Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza (Excused); Commissioner Harpreet 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, Julio Valadez, Luis Naranjo, Alex Cisneros, Maria Valencia, Mike Sperry, David Blevins, and others in the audience.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
CONSENT AGENDA

ACTION MINUTES FROM THE REGULAR MEETING OF MAY 10, 2011

Motion by Commissioner Soria, seconded by Alternate Commissioner Bains, to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of May 10, 2011. Motion carried 3-0, with corrections on page 7.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Members of the Audience

Chair Flores opened and closed the public comment period at 7:04 p.m. as there was no public comment.

PUBLIC HEARING

TEMPORARY CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (TCUP) 2011-01,4th OF JULY CARNIVAL

The Planning Commission reviewed a Temporary Conditional Use Permit for the 4th of July Carnival to be held on Park Street between Main and 4th Streets, on Monday, July 4, 2011, from 12:00 Noon until 10:30 p.m. A site plan was provided to the Planning Commission displaying the set up

Director Kenney presented the staff report. She indicated that Main Street will be closed from approximately "I" Street to the parking lot next to the high school, that area will be used for the police department cars, the fire department with the water and the big slide. The street will be closed from Main Street to 7th Street on Park Street, which is where the jump houses and the carnival rides will be located.

The purpose of this Temporary CUP is to review the carnival rides, the location, the traffic, and the generators. In the past, City staff has received complaints from residents who found the generators were located too close to their homes and they had some concerns about their outdoor picket fences. This year the generator for the carnival rides is proposed to be located in front of the restrooms at Memorial Park on Park Street. Across the street from the generator is the Pentecost Hall and the Mexican Restaurant, so there will not be any homes adjacent to that site. There will be a small generator located near the Hammatt Hall which will support the beer garden area.

The 20-foot emergency access lane required to be kept open for the Fire Department, Police Department and Public Works is marked with arrows on the site plan that go from Hammatt Hall down to Park Street, past the amusement rides, then back up to Main Street.

There will be a mix of approximately ten (10) rides with bounce houses, and they will all be lined up in front of Memorial Park on Park Street for easy access to the kids.

A notice will be delivered to residents within 300 feet of Memorial Park and Alvernaz Field to inform them of the parking and traffic impacts by this event.

Commissioner Soria

  • Asked if the couple of arrows shown in the middle of the park are also for an emergency exit. He asked how that would work when there will be people all over the park.

Director Kenney replied there would probably be people standing in that part of the park, but there will be a boundary to keep it clear of obstacles for the booths. This way if they have to rush an emergency vehicle through there, that lane will be clear.

Chair Flores opened the public hearing at 7:09 p.m.

Julio Valadez, Chairman of the Livingston 4th of July Committee, asked the Planning Commission for their approval of the site plan. This is a great event for the community and the 4th of July Committee has spent a lot of time volunteering to get this done. He indicated the main things before the Planning Commission for approval are the amusement rides and street closures.

The same streets have been closed in other years for the 4th of July Festival, so this is not something real different from what has been done in the past years. The only thing different from past years is that the carnival will only be for one day.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, said she is excited to see this event going forward.

She thanked the July 4th Committee for the hard work they put into it and for putting together the site plan so that the public and the Commission can visualize what this is going to look like.

Chair Flores closed the public hearing at 7:13 p.m. as there was no further public comment. Commissioners’ Comments:

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• Thanked the 4th of July Committee for all their hard work setting up this event. He is real excited that Livingston is actually having a 4th of July celebration this year.

Commissioner Soria

• Same as Alternate Commissioner Bains, he would like to thank the 4th of July Committee for all their hard work. He is sure the community will enjoy the festivities.

Chair Flores

• He supports this community event.

Motion by Alternate Commissioner Bains, seconded by Commissioner Soria, to approve Resolution 2011-03, A Resolution of the Planning Commissioner of the City of Livingston Finding Approval of Temporary Conditional Use Permit 2011-01 for the City’s 4th of July Carnival. Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Commissioner Soria, and Alternate Commissioner Bains

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner H. Bains

LMC 5-5, TABLE 12, WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES; LMC 5-6-9 (F) APPEAL HEARING; AND LMC 5-6-10 (D) APPEAL HEARING

On May 3, 2011, the City Council approved Resolution of Intent 2011-30 to amend LMC 5-5 to amend Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities; to amend LMC 5-6-9 (F) Appeal Hearing; to amend LMC 5-6-10 (D) Appeal Hearing, and other Title 5 sections dealing with the appeal process for Variance and CUP applications.

Director Kenney presented the staff report and explained this item is to look at the three proposed changes to the zoning ordinance. City Council approved a resolution of intent to bring these items before the Planning Commission. Originally, it was four (4) items – setbacks, towers, and then two items on appeals. City staff needs to do some additional work on the setbacks so that item was separated out. Since there are three items, there are three resolutions for Planning Commission’s consideration.

The first item is Table 12, which is the chart that deals with permit requirements for antennas. As shown on the last chart, a brand new tower to be placed in the City of Livingston requires a Conditional Use Permit from the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission would review the antenna project and make a decision and if the applicant does not agree with their decision, they can appeal it to the City Council.

The last entry on Table 12 is a tower co-location, which allows for the option to place additional antennas on existing towers. A project of this type currently requires a site and design review in front of both the Planning Commission and the City Council, however, for the placement of a new tower only the Planning Commission reviews and approves the project It seems a little backwards – a brand new tower should require more discussion and more research than adding antennas to an existing tower.

The first proposed change is that the placement of a new tower would be site and design review instead of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and then additional co-located antennas would only require a CUP and not a full site and design review.

Item 2 has to do with appeal hearings for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

As with the tower, currently a CUP only goes in front of the Planning Commission and if the applicant does not like the Commission’s approval or denial only the applicant and the property owner can appeal that decision to the City Council. The change being proposed tonight on this item is that if a CUP is approved or disapproved by the Planning Commission, this would allow any interested party to appeal it. This change allows the City Council more flexibility to solicit additional comments prior to approving the placement of such projects within a neighborhood.

Item 3 is similar to Item 2, but it involves a Variance instead of a CUP. As with a CUP, currently a Variance can only be appealed by the applicant and the property owner. The proposed change in language too would allow neighbors or any other interested parties to be a part of the appeal process.

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• Asked how long this tower/co-location section been in the City code this way.

Director Kenney responded at least before the last Zoning Code Update, which was in the 1979 version of the code and possibly in the version before that.

• Asked if the Code could be changed so that the Planning Commission would review both
the tower and co-location applications as a CUP only.

Director Kenney said they could recommend to the City Council keeping the tower as a CUP and then changing the co-location Site and Design Review to a CUP.

Commissioner Soria

• No comments.

Chair Flores

• Wanted to make sure he understands what the Planning Commission is looking at. There are three items, two which appear to be very similar. The first one has to do specifically
with wireless communication antennas and the other two with appeals.

Director Kenney said that was correct. She explained that the only difference between the two appeal items is that one addresses the appeals for a CUP and the other addresses the appeals for a Variance.

Chair Flores opened and closed the public hearing at 7:22 p.m. there being no public comment. Commissioners’ Comments:

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• He feels that the current Planning Commission members are very talented and capable of making the right decisions for these antenna towers and co-locations and since the
Council has too much to do already, he feels that the Planning Commission can help them
by taking on this task. Therefore, he would like both towers and co-locations to be
treated as Conditional Use Permits.

• On the two items for CUP and Variance appeals, he thinks that everyone should be able
to appeal if they are not satisfied with a project, and have the ability to voice their opinion.

He agrees with amending the two appeals sections.

Chair Flores

• He also feels that the Planning Commission is very capable to approve the tower and
co-location facilities and he is concerned that if they amend this section to Site and
Design Review, it would take away some authority from the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Soria

• Stated that neighbors do have an opportunity to speak on the item before it gets approved.

Director Kenney replied that they can speak during the public hearing.

Chair Flores

• He likes the idea that this gives more power to the community to voice their concerns, but he worries that the term "interested party" will open the gate for people outside the City to have more input. He would rather see the term "neighbor" instead of "interested
parties."

Director Kenney stated that during public comment period, anybody both inside and

outside the City can speak. If you revert to neighbor instead of interested party, then how do you define neighbor? Using the word "neighbor" could be fairly limited.

Commissioner Bains noted that City staff notifies residents within 300 feet of the project, so it is usually those people that come to voice their opinion.

Director Kenney replied that City staff uses Merced County’s GIS database to do the public notices, so the notices go to the property owner and those owners don’t always live in the house. They may live outside City limits. Property owners don’t always notify their renters. She thinks using the word "neighbor" is really limited.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler pointed out that interested parties is a somewhat broad
definition, it doesn’t necessarily give them control over the action taken by the Planning
Commission or the City Council. It only gives them the opportunity to provide input so
the Commission or Council knows how they feel. The Commission or Council still opens
to discussion.

Commissioner Bains doesn’t think it would be too bad because interested parties are only voicing their opinion. They don’t come to the meetings unless it’s a real big problem.
They may have really good points, so the Planning Commission will just have to hear
what they have to say.

Motion by Alternate Commissioner Bains, seconded by Commissioner Soria to adopt Resolution 2011-04, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Recommending Modification of LMC 5-5-8 Table 12, to require a Conditional Use Permit for the co-location of antennas on an existing tower. Motion carried 3-0, by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Commissioner Soria, and Alternate Commissioner Bains

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner H. Bains

Motion by Alternate Commissioner Bains, seconded by Commissioner Soria, to adopt Resolution 2011-05, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Recommending Modification of LMC 5-6-9 (F) to the City Council so that any interested party may appeal a Conditional Use Permit decision and not just the project applicant and property owner. Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Commissioner Soria, and Alternate Commissioner Bains

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner H. Bains

Motion by Alternate Commissioner Bains, seconded by Commissioner Soria, to adopt Resolution 2011-06, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Recommending Modification of LMC 5-6-10 (D) to the City Council so that any interested party may appeal a Variance decision, not just the project applicant and property owner. Motion carried 3-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Commissioner Soria, and Alternate Commissioner Bains

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner H. Bains

DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION ITEMS

LMC 4-2 SIGN REGULATIONS

The Planning Commission continued their discussion of the City’s Sign Ordinance in order to provide a recommendation to City Council. This item was continued from the regular Planning Commission meetings of April 12, 2011 and May 10, 2011.

Director Kenney presented the staff report and explained that City staff has been approached by some businesses in town who desire to have more signage or different type of signage for their business. This item came before the Planning Commission the last two meetings and staff was directed to notify the used car lots in town and the industrial suite tenants to make sure everybody had an opportunity to attend this meeting and share with the Planning Commission what they would like to see as changes to the sign section of the City code.

The auto signs have not yet been discussed at the last two meetings because there were no auto businesses in attendance. City staff has met with some of the industrial business owners and suggests that possibly changing from a 2′ x 10′ sq. ft. sign to a 20 sq. ft. sign would work better.
It would still be the same amount of signage, but could be different configurations so the signage
fits the area designated on the building.

Some people are interested in putting up signs that are currently prohibited such as the A-frame signs.

Director Kenney invited everyone in the audience to speak during comment period to let the Planning Commission know what they would like to see changed.

Chair Flores asked Director Kenney to explain to the public how the required signage by the State of California for regulated businesses was going to be treated.

Director Kenney explained that one of the industrial tenants has a small shop and the State of California requires him to have certain signage in his building, so that signage can be placed in the window or near the door of the suite and such required signage is proposed to not count toward their total advertisement signage since it is required by the State. This change has occurred since the last meeting.

Chair Flores added that the Planning Department also did some research on murals and sign dancers.

Chair Flores opened for public comment at 7:38 p.m.

Luis Naranjo, Lupita’s Auto Sales, 2237 F Street, said he has been approached by City staff several times over the years about his sign because apparently it is not in compliance. He understands that the City code allows certain sizes, but there are certain needs for certain businesses. He feels there should be some deviations. His business is far away from the sidewalk, so he knows that he is going to need a bigger sign than a business that is near a sidewalk. He thinks the City should be more pro-business. They generate income for the City. Why do they want to apply certain rules and regulations and have their hands tied? He doesn’t want anybody telling him, "this is too big" or "this is too small." He feels that as long as his sign is not offensive or in the way of his neighbors or in the way of his community, it should be allowed. He said they should make some changes, make it pro-business, and make it according to the need of a specific business.

Mr. Naranjo stated that he owns several businesses, one in Atwater and one in Modesto and Livingston. His business in Livingston is where he gets more harassed. In Atwater and Modesto he has had City Council members approached him asking what they can do to help him. They want him to stay. They want to compensate him and help him. This is his home town and it’s here where he gets harassed. He wants to be here. He grew up here.

Chair Flores asked Director Kenney what sign Mr. Naranjo was contesting.

Director Kenney explained that used car lots are allowed to have a wall sign, a freestanding sign, and also since Mr. Naranjo’s business is within 100 feet of highway 99, he is entitled to a 60-foot tall sign. Right now he only has a large sign with his name on it and a smaller sign with his website address on his neighbor’s building which is the car wash. That building sits on the property line.

Mr. Naranjo said that when he purchased that property, there was a condition for him to build the wall. He is the one that incurred all expenses and he is paying taxes on it, so it is his wall.

Director Kenney explained what happened in that situation was that there was one piece of property that had both the car lot and the car wash on it and the owner of the property wanted to split the parcel in two, so the new property line goes right down the edge of the building. During this process the Building Department required Mr. Naranjo to build a firewall because the building sits on the property line and that is where the expenses were incurred.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked Mr. Naranjo if he has the permitted signs.

Mr. Naranjo replied that he only has one big sign and the website sign. He added, what he has is the perfect size sign for his business and that is all he wants. Whoever drives up or down Hammatt or F Street can see his sign and what the City is recommending is not big enough; it is not even worth it.

Commissioner Soria asked Director Kenney what was the problem with the sign being attached to the fire wall and if anybody was complaining?

Director Kenney replied that City code requires that all advertising for a business be located on the property of that business. It does not allow any off-site advertising, but Mr. Naranjo’s sign is technically on the neighbor’s property because the car wash building belongs to his neighbor and the sign is on the neighbor’s property.

Commissioner Soria said the way he sees it is if the wall is built on the property line, then Mr. Naranjo is not encroaching the nieghbor’s property, so one side of the wall belongs to the car wash and the other side of the wall belongs to Mr. Naranjo.

Director Kenney stated the property line goes right down the side of the car wash building and the wall itself belongs to the car wash.

Mr. Naranjo said he is paying taxes on that wall and he can bring records to prove it.

Director Kenney stated that regardless of the location, the sign is larger than permitted by City Code and there are two other areas where he can have signs (the freestanding and the 60-foot sign) that would actually combine to be more square footage than what he has right now.

Mr. Naranjo said he is tired of being told how to run his business. He is not harming anybody or committing any crime.

Chair Flores stated that the Planning Commission is pro-business and would take Mr. Naranjo’s comments into consideration.

Alex Cisneros, Prestige Auto Body and Auto Repair, 433 Industrial Drive, said that he feels the same as Mr. Naranjo. His business is located near Hammatt and Campbell. He has been in business for about three years and he has not been permitted to put up a sign the size he wants.
The 2′ x 10′ sign permitted by City code is too small; his business name doesn’t even fit on there. Additionally, his business is only about 400 feet from the freeway and a big sign would attract people. He is the only body shop in Livingston yet many people don’t even know he is there because they cannot see his sign. He wanted to put up a sign facing Hammatt Avenue, but Director Kenney told him that he cannot. He thinks that in addition to a sign in the front of his business a sign facing Campbell and one in the back of the building facing Hammatt would be
ideal.

Commissioner Soria stated that he was in the City Council when Mr. Cisneros’ buildings were approved and a sign facing Hammatt is not what the City Council wanted at the time.
Commissioner Soria felt they should have divided that property with a firewall so that businesses on the other side would be facing Hammatt.

Mr. Cisneros said he was not aware there were going to be more businesses there, but he thinks for the meantime, they should be able to advertise as much as they can to bring business in.

Director Kenney explained that when the sign discussion was brought up two years ago, it came about specifically because of Mr. Cisneros’ industrial buildings. At the time, the City code only allowed one wall sign for a business in the industrial area, but now a days they don’t just have one business in one building, but several suites (one building up to sixteen (16) suites) so staff took this to the Planning Commission and the City Council to talk about getting some additional signage for these suites. The 2’x10′ sign above the roll up door and 2’x2′ sign on the mandoor were new signage proposed to help people identify their suites. Additionally, to attract businesses to the industrial area, City code allows for a multi-tenant 30-foot pole sign that allows all the tenants to be listed 30 feet in the air so that people driving by can see it. Unfortunately some of the landlords haven’t had the extra money to put up these signs, which has also been a part of the problem. City code does allow banners. They are temporary banners which can be put up for 45 days and if they are in good shape, staff has been extending the permit for another 45 days. City
staff has allowed these temporary banners on the side of the buildings that don’t face the street.
The only place that the City code currently allows permanent signage is facing the street. Mr. Cisneros wants to put a sign on the side of the building facing Hammatt, but City code does not permit that.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked what businesses were coming in on Hammatt Avenue.

Commissioner Soria explained that more businesses will eventually come in on the corner of Walnut and Hammatt all the way to the corner of Campbell and Hammatt, but things slowed down and nothing is happening right now.

Chair Flores thinks it’s great to plan for the future, but businesses are struggling now, so they need to be pro-business so they can keep the current businesses.

Mr. Cisneros said it could be ten years before more businesses come in, so if he can put up a sign there in the meantime, when new businesses come in, he will take it out. The businesses that are there now are struggling and they need the City’s help.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked Director Kenney why a sign facing Hammatt is not allowed.

Director Kenney explained that the code requires the signage to face the main street of the building. If you have a building that is on a corner that has a street on the side, you are allowed temporary additional signage on that street only. She added that most cities do not allow permanent signage on rear or sides of buildings that do not face the street.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked if it was possible to allow signs on the back of the building until new businesses come in through a Conditional Use Permit.

Director Kenney replied that if what Alternate Commissioner Bains was thinking of was to allow permanent signage that would be temporary with the condition that it would have to be removed in the future, then they would have to determine if they would allow all sixteen suites to put up a sign on that side of the building or if only the people on the ends could have that additional signage. With so many suites, they would have to shrink their signs to allow space for all.

Maria Valencia, Maria’s Beauty Shop and Flower Shop, 706 Main Street, spoke in Spanish. She said she would like that advertising flags be allowed permanently so businesses don’t have to keep renewing their temporary sign permits because sometimes they forget She would also like to be able to put up sandwich signs or A-Frame signs to help them advertise specials or promotions. She commented that it is a disadvantage to her to be right across the street from City Hall because her signs are spotted right away by City staff and if she puts up a prohibited sign, they only bring it to her attention but they don’t say anything to other businesses that also put up the same signs. She feels that the rules should be the same for all.

Commissioner Flores translated for Ms. Valencia.

Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street, said he is a potential business owner in Livingston and he thinks the City failed those sixteen businesses at the industrial building by not mandating that the property owner put up the multi-tenant sign. He should be made accountable for that. Why not protect the little people – the business owners? Another idea Mr. Sperry had was to add a fee to their yearly license to allow them more signage. He thinks the City can make a happy medium with businesses in town that don’t want to leave town.

Alternate Commissioner Bains thanked Mr. Sperry for his input. Chair Flores closed the comment period at 8:10 p.m.

Director Kenney identified six (6) topics that came up during public comment. She asked that the Planning Commission tell her if these are items they want to move forward on.

• Larger wall signs for auto dealers.

• Change of location allowing signage on the sides and rear of buildings.

• A-frame signs for the downtown (sandwich signs).

• Longer time limit for temporary flags or banners.

• The notion that the City should require landlords to follow through and put up signage.

• Proposed fee for extra square footage on a yearly basis.

Director Kenney explained that at the past meeting, there was a discussion about temporary banners. City policy has been, after 45 days of a temporary permit when a banner is still in good shape, staff has been extending it an additional 45 days. Director Kenney explained this was just policy and it was not in the City code, so it could be added to the code and could be changed to a longer time period if the Planning Commission desired.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked what happens after the 45 days.

Director Kenney explained after the 45 days the applicant is supposed to come in to City Hall and inform staff their sign is down and request a refund of their $100 deposit. Many people ask for extensions and City staff extends their permit for an additional 45 days, but most of the banners don’t get removed and people don’t follow up. We have several businesses that have not renewed their permits and there are banners up without permits. There is not enough staff to follow up so City staff acts only on complaints.

Alternate Commissioner Bains asked if the applicant could renew their permit over the phone or through e-mail.

Director Kenney said they could.

Commissioners’ Comments:

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• He thanked everyone for attending the meeting and expressing their concerns. He said the Planning Commission will take everything into consideration and see how they can help the business owners.

Commissioner Soria

• Asked why doesn’t staff look at signs after the 45 days and if the sign is okay, then automatically extend the permit to maybe six months to one year depending on the quality of the sign.

Director Kenney indicated that in general, if a sign has been up for only 45 days, it is normally in good shape and even after an additional 45 days it is still in good shape, but
after a while it starts deteriorating so she thinks one year would be too long. She added
that staff does not drive around looking for signs, they only address citizen complaints.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez called point of order, noting back and forth conversations from the dais to the audience does not record on the audio tape.

Lengthy discussion followed.

Following discussion, the Planning Commission agreed to continue discussion on this item to the next Planning Commission meeting in July and possibly in August, and directed City staff to bring back language on each of the six topics discussed.

Chair Flores mentioned that they still have to discuss the murals and the sign dancers.

Director Kenney indicated she did a lot of research looking at how each city addresses murals and she found that there is a wide range of ways murals are handled, from staff reviewing a simple mural for a property owner, to having some sort of committee that actually reviews the murals and potentially provides grant funding.

As for the sign dancers, staff has not been able to find any City code that allows them. Most cities do not allow animated signage, especially at intersections, so businesses are just doing it without a permit.

Chair Flores stated he appreciates staff’s time doing research.

The Planning Commission agreed to table the discussion about murals and sign dancers to their next regular meeting. They directed staff to hand deliver public notices to businesses that have a mural and to those who have been putting up sign dancers to encourage them to come to the next meeting.

LMC 5-3 TABLE 3, COMMERCIAL USES

Planning Commission had a discussion regarding a Resolution of Intent to consider potential alternative approaches to alcohol regulation in the Downtown Commercial District (DTC) that were not been previously considered.

Director Kenney presented the staff report. She explained that this item was placed on the agenda for discussion at the request of Planning Commission Chair Flores and Vice-Chair Mendoza.

Chair Flores explained that the Planning Commission talked about this item and approved it two meetings ago, and although the City Council denied it, both he and Vice-Chair Mendoza felt they could come up with some sort of agreement to approach it in a less radical manner, and this is why he and Vice-Chair Mendoza asked to place it on the agenda.

This is more of an informational and discussion item. He hopes the Planning Commission can initiate an amendment to present to the City Council.

13

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• He thinks this was a good project even though it was denied by the City Council. It would be good to have another Bar/Lounge downtown like most downtowns have, where people can just walk around and go in. Obviously nobody is looking for an environment where there is violence, and the owner would not want that either because it would not be good for his business.

Commissioner Soria

• He was not present at this Planning Commission meeting, but he would have voted "No" on this particular item. The reason being he has been around for quite some time and he
remembers when downtown Livingston was not the way it is now. He personally likes to
walk downtown with his grandchildren without a problem. He likes a family-oriented
peaceful downtown.

Chair Flores

• The biggest reason this was brought up is because he is pro-business and thinks maybe
they can come up with something less aggressive to help promote business.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler wanted to explain where they are in the process and what is in front of the Commission at this point. He indicated this is a discussion item and it is not reconsideration of the amendment that was proposed before. It is just to flush out
some ideas and see if the Planning Commission wanted to develop a different proposal from which a resolution of intent could be prepared and brought back to the next
Planning Commission meeting for consideration to be recommended for approval by City Council before that amendment would be initiated.

Chair Flores opened for public comment at 8:32 p.m.

Katherine-Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, stated, if we step back and look at what happened the last time this discussion came up, you can see the number one objection to changes in the alcohol sales in the downtown area, seemed to have been a significant group of people do not want a blanket change in the code which will unperceivably lead to multiple bars opening up in the downtown. Saying times have changed will not erase that perception. Saying you are closed minded, anti business or ignorant won’t help either. If you ignore the perception, you can expect to receive resistance from people who otherwise might be willing to consider changes in the code.

Let’s take a look at what went wrong the last time around. Like it or not, the discussion became officially in the public’s mind as, "We want to revoke the 1,000-foot space footnote so the tequila club can re-open." Whether you meant it to be understood that way or not, that’s where it seemed to go in the public mind. Some people may have been okay with the idea of the Tequila Club reopening or even a new restaurant reopening, or possibly a club, but not if there was also the possibility of other bars and clubs opening in the downtown sometime in the future. They were not buying the, "We’ll take care of it all on the Conditional Use Permit" argument either. That 1,000-foot note was put there for a reason and ignoring it, making fun of it, or disrespecting that reason is not the way to win friends and include the people whose minds you might want to change.

She indicated that in order for this to be a successful and rational discussion worth the time and attorney’s fees, it has to be first about the big picture issues before they even think of turning the discussion to one particular potential project in any great detail. She doesn’t think folks would have a problem over another restaurant opening in the downtown or a nice club that serves alcohol when all of the big picture issues are settled first.

Ms. Rodriguez concluded by saying if you really want to make changes that will be accepted by the largest amount of folks possible, you need to be able to assure them that the result would be a family friendly downtown with the emphasis on family, and don’t make fun of any of their concerns.

Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street, stated that even if they say this is not about him, it is about him. He understands the concerns of people like Commissioner Soria because there are currently three other businesses out there serving alcohol.

He further indicated he has the support of Acting Chief Soria who has known him since he was very young. A couple of former Council Members who have been long standing members of Livingston also support him, and this Planning Commission gave him thumbs up 3-0. The Council did what they saw fit.

He has not requested any of his supporters to come here because he never thought he needed them to attend the meetings.

He does promote a clean, safe environment at his establishment, and if they see a minor walking in, they stop him. He knows where the Commission stands and it’s a touchy subject. He thanked the Planning Commission for bringing this item back and invited everyone to go look at his business in Turlock. There are five of these facilities where he is located on Main Street, so if other cities do it, why can’t Livingston do it?

Chair Flores wanted to reemphasize this is a discussion item and it affects the whole community. Chair Flores closed the comment period at 8:41 p.m.

Commissioners’ Comments:

Chair Flores

In the staff report, the first paragraph of the second page says, "If the Planning Commission seeks to initiate an amendment to the DTC alcohol regulations, staff will prepare the resolution and place it on the agenda for the next Planning Commission meeting," so he would like to initiate an amendment to seek some sort of a compromise for alcohol regulations.

Commissioner Soria

• He would rather just leave the code as is.

Alternate Commissioner Bains

• Asked for clarification of the process of bringing this back to the Planning Commission as an amendment.

Director Kenney explained if the Planning Commission votes to move on with this item, next month staff will bring back a Resolution of Intent that will go to the City Council
and Council will rule on whether or not they want to move forward with it. If they agree, City staff will start working on a Resolution of Intent for the Planning Commission to
send to the City Council.

Chair Flores said it is a long process and a lot of steps to it, but it is the only way they can make changes.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler explained in order to create a Resolution of Intent for the next Planning Commission meeting, City staff would need a specific proposal that the Planning Commission wants to see on the agenda for the next Planning Commission
meeting, such as changing the footnote to something specific or changing the downtown commercial regulations in some specific way. This is the type of direction staff would need. It cannot just be to reconsider the previous amendment.

• Requested this item be continued to the next Planning Commission meeting when they have a full Commission.

Chair Flores

• Asked if it would be possible to call a Special Planning Commission meeting to talk specifically about this item.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler responded he would have to look into that to see if it was possible.

Alternate Commissioner Bains thinks they need to limit the cost of the attorney. They need to really think about what they want to change. He doesn’t want to rush into it and if they are going to send it to the City Council, they should make it look real good to and not waste their time.

Motion by Chair Flores, seconded by Alternate Commissioner Bains to continue this item to the next Planning Commission meeting for further discussion. Motion carried 2-1, by the following vote.

AYES: Chair Flores and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains

NOES: Commissioner Soria

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner H. Bains

REPORTS

Planning Commission

Alternate Commissioner Bains
Nothing to report.

Commissioner Soria

• PG&E was doing some extensive work in the area and they failed to notify all the residents affected, so they will issue a credit to PG&E account holders that were not notified if they call PG&E and request it.

Director Kenney explained that City staff was notified that if a citizen lost their power and they were not notified ahead of time, they can call the PG&E 800 number and request a $30 credit on their next electric bill.

Chair Flores

• Reminded everyone about the 4th of July event in Livingston scheduled for Monday, July 4, 2011 at Memorial Park. He added that the jazz band will be performing and he will be there.

• Asked if the new Planning Commissioner will join them next month.

Director Kenney explained the City Council, at their last meeting, appointed Francisco Castellanos as the replacement of Planning Commissioner Alex Gonzalez. Staff was short of time to get all the necessary documents together for him so he will take his seat at the next Planning Commission meeting.

• Asked Director Kenney if she can discuss any project coming to Livingston.

Director Kenney said there is a big project in the plans, but she is not allowed to talk about it yet.

• Asked when the Planning Commission will be getting some training. 

Assistant City Attorney Minkler replied they decided to wait because not all members were going to be present at this meeting. He will discuss with City staff what type of training is needed and then put it on the agenda for the July or August meeting.

City Staff

Community Development Director Kenney

• Reported that on June 1, 2011, she received a Presidential appointment to the Selective Service Draft Board. This is a federal volunteer position. Board members basically review applications from war objectors and decide if exemptions from military services should be granted. There are other volunteer positions open, so if anyone is interested, she can provide them with the contact information.

• Congratulated all the Livingston graduates. Administrative Assistant Arredondo

• Wished all the fathers a happy Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19th’ City Attorney Michael Minkler

Nothing to report.

ADJOURNMENT

The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:55 p.m. APPROVED: July 12, 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s