September 13, 2011 Draft Minutes

Since this page was prepared by running a PDF Image file through a program that converts Image to Text, there may be a few “Textual Gremlins” here and there. Sorry bout that…..



SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

7:00 P.M.

The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The meeting was called to order by Chair Flores at 7:00 p.m.

Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Commissioner Harprect Banns, Commissioner Roy Soria, and Commissioner Francisco Castellanos.

Commissioners Absent: Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza 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 and Katherine Schell-Rodriguez.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Commissioner Soria, seconded by Chair Flores, to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of August 9, 2011. Motion carried 4-0, with corrections.


Director Kenney gave a brief update of items discussed by City Council at their regular meeting of September 6, 2011.

• Expansion area of Enterprise Zone Passed 5-0.

Even though none of the expansion was slated to take place within Livingston City limits, all the cities and the County within the Enterprise Zone are required to approve additions to the area.

Livingston-Cressey name change proposal – Passed 5-0.

Discussion centered on changing Livingston-Cressey Road to North Main Street (from SR 99 to Olive Avenue). The United States Post Office opposes this street name change because a couple of the address numbers on Main Street south of SR 99 and Livingston Cressey Road north of SR 99 are mirrors of each other. This will create a problem if the correspondence is not properly addressed.

Staff was directed to bring this item back to the September 20th Council meeting after proper public noticing to make sure everyone had the opportunity to voice their comments and concerns.

Commissioner Soria stated that during the time he was a Council Member, they had talked about changing Winton Parkway to Livingston Parkway to avoid confusion with the already existing Winton Way in Atwater and the town "Winton," but there was a lot of controversy due to the fact that Winton Parkway was named after former Mayor Russ Winton’s uncle who was an Assembly Member. He would like the current Council to consider this road name change again.


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

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, said she misses the stop signs at the corner of Park and Main Streets. They seemed to work so well when they were up and it made it so much easier to get from Park Street onto Main Street and from Main Street onto Park Street, especially during school hours. It made things a little safer. She does not understand why spend money to do a study when common sense says it, "If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!"

Chair Flores asked Director Kenney what is the next step after the study is completed.

Director Kenney said she believes the statistics are already being compiled for the City Engineer’s review and assessment.

Chair Flores closed the public comment section at 7:10 p.m.


The Planning Commission will continue public comment and make recommendation to the City Council on an amendment to the City’s Sign Ordinance. This item was continued from the regular Planning Commission meetings of April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12, and August 9, 2011.

Director Kenney explained that staff brought back a resolution for Planning Commission to consider. The resolution contains all the sign sections previously discussed with the exception of the language for murals which staff will bring back at a later date.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler stated the City Attorney was taking a careful look at various details of the mural section of the Sign Ordinance for constitutional compliance.

Director Kenney noted other small revisions made to the Sign Ordinance since the last Planning Commission meeting which were merely for clarification purposes:

• In the definition section, staff added "Sign Dancer" and defines in more detail other
names used for these types of signs.

• Under Section 4-2-7-A, Subdivision Directional Sign Permit, staff added, "Maximum

size allowed for subdivision directional signs is four (4) feet by eight (8) feet and may be double-sided."

These signs are put up by developers to give directions to their subdivision. Up until now, there had been no size description of what the developer could put up. Staff measured existing empty sign frames which are 4’x8′ (standard size of a piece of plywood) and added that information to that section so developers would have something to go by.

• Under Section 4-2-8-3 (D) 2 of the Industrial Zone Districts – Multi-Occupant Complex, staff had been referring to the smaller door as a "man door" (which is a technical building term), but it seemed to lead itself to some confusion, so staff changed the term to "main door" to indicate the main door to the business. That door would hold the 2′ x 2′ sign with identification information on it.


Chair Flores asked if the Planning Commission could be reassured that the comments made from business owners and the general public had been incorporated in the Sign Ordinance so there are no gray areas.

Director Kenney replied everything staff was directed to do was incorporated.

Commissioners’ Comments:

Commissioner Soria

• Stated he talked to the business owner from Prestige Auto Body and he is still under the notion that after tonight’s meeting he will be allowed to put up a sign facing Hammatt Avenue.

Director Kenney said that was not incorporated into the Code and added she will speak with the business owner.

Chair Flores opened the Public Hearing at 7:18 p.m. and closed it immediately thereafter as there was no public comment.

It was moved by Commissioner Soria, and seconded by Commissioner H. Bains, to approve Resolution 2011-10, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Determining General Plan Consistency and Recommending that the City Council Amend Title 4, Chapter 2, Sign Regulations, of the City of Livingston Municipal Code as it pertains to signage. Motion carried 4-0, by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners H. Bains, Castellanos, and Soria

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains


Chair Flores asked if the "Carniceria La Hacienda" on Main Street changed owners and if they did change owners, who owns the mural now? He drove by and noticed it is now called "Del Valle."

Director Kenney replied the business does have new owners and they have already been to City Hall to talk with staff about regulations for signs and murals and had, in fact, painted over two signs that were currently in code enforcement, so the only remaining non-conforming sign is the mural. Unfortunately, the new business owners will have to address various code violations found by the fire chief and the building inspector before their business license gets approved and that is going to be a major expense for them.  


The Planning Commission determined General Plan Consistency and made a recommendation to the City Council concerning modification of Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-3-16-1 (A) 1 Setback Exceptions for small doorway covers within required setbacks.

Director Kenney explained this item affects people who have doorways that sit right on the setback line. Some of them would like to install small covers above their doors, but this would intrude into the setback.

Director Kenney suggested a language amendment to Section 5-3-16-1: SETBACK EXCEPTIONS to help with this issue:

A) ENCROACHMENT INTO SETBACKS: Certain architectural features may extend from a building structure into a required setback.

1 Canopies, doorway covers not exceeding twelve (12) square feet, eaves, bay windows, stairways/landings and chimneys may extend into required front, side, or rear yards a distance not exceeding three feet and shall have a minimum three foot setback to all property lines.

Director Kenney said that a lot of homes have a minimum five foot (5′) setback on the sides and if a property owner has moved their door around to the side (such as the residence at the corner of 8th Street and "D" Street where the doorway used to face "D" Street and the resident moved it around to the 8th Street side), they cannot add a cover above their door because it will intrude into the setback. In this particular house, the door sits right on the setback, and since it faces south, they get rain and wind in that door. Since that is an exterior setback that he would be reaching into and since he has 15 feet (15′) on that side, he doesn’t have to worry about the minimum three feet (3′), but if this door was on the other side in the five foot (5′) setback, if he were to extend three foot (3′) into the setback, that would only leave two feet (2′) to the property line for the fire department to use, so the three foot setback (3′) is for fire department safety. In that case, if a person wanted to put a doorway cover in that smaller setback, they would have to do a two foot by six foot (2’x6′) cover instead of a three foot by four foot (3’x4′) cover; they will still be able to do something, but maybe just a different design.

Chair Flores opened and closed the public hearing at 7:26 p.m. as there were no comments from the public.

Commissioners’ Comments:
Commissioner Soria

If they were going with a five-foot (5′) setback, that would only give them a two foot (2′) cover, it would at least give them a little bit of shelter.

Chair Flores

• He is not sure that twelve square feet (12 sq. ft.) is sufficient. If they could only do a two-foot by six-foot (2′ x 6′) cover, two feet (2′) is not that much when rain is a concern.

Director Kenney said there would be an option if somebody had to stick with the two feet (2′) because of the setback. They have the doorway cover and they could also have a piece to come down that would help with winds and diagonal rain. However, the piece hanging down would have to be a minimum of seven feet (7′) to the ground per City code.

Following discussion, it was moved by Commissioner Soria, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos, to approve Resolution 2011-11, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Recommending Modification of LMC 5-3-16-1 (A) (1) to the City Council and Recognizing Consistency of the Amendment with the Livingston General Plan. Motion carried 4-0, by the following vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners H. Bains, Castellanos, and Soria

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains




Assistant City Attorney Minkler conducted a land use training for the Planning Commission.

A PowerPoint presentation containing a brief overview of land use terms and CEQA regulations included the following:

• Duties of the Planning Commission

• Land Use Hierarchy

• Overview of Police Power

• The General Plan

• General Plan Contents

• Specific Plans

• Specific Plan Contents

• Specific Plan Implementation

• Zoning

• Traditional Forms of Relief from Zoning Requirements (Variances, Conditional Use
Permits, and Planned Unit Developments)

• CEQA Process

Copies of the CEQA Process Flow Chart were distributed to the Planning Commission.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler stated the overall broad intent of CEQA is to provide information to the public and decision makers about environmental impacts of the project they are considering. He explained how projects are looked at to determine if they are exempt from environmental impact and the process to follow with initial study, EIR, and negative declaration when there is potential impact.


Planning Commissioners
Commissioner H. Rains
Nothing to report.

Commissioner Castellanos
Nothing to report.

Commissioner Soria

• Asked Director Kenney who to contact to have someone take down shoes hanging from
electrical wires on "D" Street.

Director Kenney replied City staff would contact PG&E.

Chair Flores

• The Community Garden Committee is holding a meeting on Thursday, September 15th, at
6:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers. He wanted to personally invite Katherine Schell-Rodriguez to attend.

• Asked Director Kenney for an update on City projects.

City Staff

Community Development Director Kenney

• Stated that she met with some consultants looking at grant funding options for the completion of Winton Parkway between "B" and "F" Streets. Fortunately former City Manager Warne asked the property owner to dedicate the property to the City prior to building his project, so the City was given all the right-of-way for that piece of property at no cost to the City.Some grants require that specific criteria be met, so there is still a lot the City needs to work on.

City staff is also meeting with consultants focusing on helping the Livingston community with their non-profit organizations, such as health care and dental care. They would assist them in moving to other buildings and getting grants to expand their services.

Invited everybody to the Livingston Street Fair held every Thursday night during the months of September and October, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Commissioner Soria asked Director Kenney for the status of the Caltrans project to ingress and egress the highway from Winton Parkway.

Director Kenney explained the City contributed approximately $500,000 for the environmental document to do the study on the ramps and the widening of Winton Parkway overpass and the Hammatt overpass. Caltrans put that project on hold due to funding issues, but it seems to be awakening again, so there may be something about those ramps coming up in the next few months.

Administrative Assistant Arredondo
Nothing to report.

City Attorney Michael Minkler
Nothing to report.


The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:02 p.m. APPROVED: December 13, 2011


Secretary of the Planning Commission,


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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