Note from TheGardeningSnail. This post was created by bouncing a PDF Image file through a program that converts Image to Text. Sorry about any textual goofs, gaffs, and gremlins that may have “snuck in” the mix.
CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING
LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
APRIL 3, 2012
A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held in the City Council Chambers on April 3, 2012, with Mayor Espinoza presiding.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar (Excused)
Council Member Frank Vierra
Council Member Theresa Land
Council Member Gurpal Samra
Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments. There were no comments from the public.
The Council subsequently adjourned to Closed Session at 5:36 p.m. to discuss the following matters:
1 . Conference with Legal Counsel-Potential Litigation
[(Government Code Section 54956.9(b)(1)]
Number of Cases: 2
2. Conference with Labor Negotiator
(Government Code Section 54957.6)
Agency Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez
Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees
The Council came out of Closed Session to begin the Regular Meeting
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar (Excused)
Council Member Frank Vierra
Council Member Theresa Land
Council Member Gurpal Samra
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS
No announcements were made.
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
Council Member Samra requested that Item 3 be moved in front of Awards and Presentations. Council Member Vierra pulled Item 7 for questions.
3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston to Allow Medical Offices/Clinics in a Low Density Residential (R-1) Zoning District with a Conditional Use Pen nit.
Community Development Donna Kenney presented the item.
Mayor Espinoza asked if the property- was vacant and for how long.
Director Kenney replied the house is vacant, but she did not know for how long.
Council member Samra asked if the applicant’s other clinics are currently located in any residential areas in other cities.
Director Kenney did not know and added the applicant is here and could provide that answer.
Council Member Vierra asked if this project were to be approved, could this happen in other residential areas?
Director Kenney stated that it is a possibility.
Dr. Timothy Johnston, applicant and the head of MFA group which has been in operation since 1988, stated his group is the faculty for the UC Davis residency program. All of the providers from the Livingston Medical Group have come from his group, like Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Carlson. They run the residency program, a small clinic in Hilmar, in Delhi since 1995, Atwater in Castle at the old base, and they help the hospital district in Los Banos. He also goes to Mariposa once a week to help.
They do have some of their offices in residential areas; there are quite a few small offices in the Turlock and Merced areas. They decided to come here when one of the doctors came to him and wanted to be back in his home town of Livingston. They started helping out Grace Nursing Home with medical care, and then they found the little house called The Cottages. It has been fixed up real nice and they want to bring Dr. Medefind in with one assistant and one receptionist.
They are just asking if some kind of small clinic can be placed in this residential area. It would be a neighborhood clinic. He has looked at the City’s Mission Statement and thought this clinic would be a good fit. The property has been vacant for about one year. It used to be a board and care facility which didn’t work out financially for Grace Nursing,Home.
Mayor Espinoza opened the hearing for public comments at 71 p.m.
Bill Key, 1601 Second Street said he represents people who have concerns about this project.
He moved to Livingston in 1965 and lived at the end oh Second Street and vas pleased with the neighborhood which was quiet and everyone looked after everyone. He was there for three years, moved on to another job and was back in two years. He bought the house where he is now and has been there for 42 years. If the clinic comes in, this neighborhood will not be the same. He read the document that was handed out. He stated he is not against a medical clinic coming to Livingston, he is against it coming to his neighborhood.
His concerns are parking and foot and car traffic. He went to the Planning Commission meeting and heard the presentation, so he knew what the numbers were before tonight. Three to four patients per hour is 32 people a day there, so they would need 9 places to park per hour and 45 per week.
Mr. Johnston said that they might work with Value Market for additional parking.
Mr. Mercad0 talked to the market owner and she said no way will they park in her lot. In term, of the number of people in the area, approximately 50 people per day will be at the clinic. There is no way year can convince him that this will work.
Council Member Samra said he.heard him loud and clear about foot traffic and what else he feels are noise issues.
Director Kenney stated a couple of days ago she was on Main Street taking pictures of another project. Mrs. Ow, owner of Value Market called her over to ask about the clinic project.
She had been told that that the city was changing the residential zoning to commercial and a large grocery store was going to, be built next to the proposed clinic. She explained to Mrs. Ow that this was not true. The City could be allowing a new conditional use in the residential zone and there would be no new grocery store. Mrs. Ow asked that her daughter’s name be removed from the petition.
Mayor Espinoza asked if there is parking behind the house.
Director Kenney replied no, but there is a long driveway with parking for four or more cars.
Manuel Mercado, 1449 Second Street stated he has lived there for over 40 years. It was founded in 1956 by Mr. Winton and it was founded so that our school teachers could live there. We are proud of our community and we would like to keep it that way. He read from and submitted a petition.
Maria Mendoza, 1611 Second Street said her point of view is from a parent. She does not agree with the project and has concerns about safety for her 15 month old child, as well as you know, children like to be outside playing and riding their- bicycles. We feel safe now and having a clinic will bring traffic, vandalism, and safety issues, plus not enough parking, therefore our parking places will be taken over.
Erlene Elam, 1459 Second Street said having a shopping area and clinic in a neighborhood where you can walk to should be fine, but that should be in future planning. But to bring it in an established neighborhood is not a good idea. She feels for the lady who just spoke so please give this a great deal of thought.
Bonnie Key, 1601 Second Street stated that as a neighborhood we are very concerned. It is across the street and one home down from where she lives. Our concerns are we feel that this will be very detrimental, the cars, the strangers walking in and out and the parking. Sometimes it is hard to find parking on any given day. We are not against the clinic; we-are against strangers being in our neighborhood. They could find a place in someone else’s neighborhood.
Daphne Ritchie, 1543 First Street noted she been there since 1962. She read something on her envelope. She was a bit disturbed that she received no notice except for two weeks ago.
Mayor Espinoza said we were told that everyone was sent a letter way back.
Director Kenney stated the public notices that staff-first sent out as a courtesy were within 300′ of the proposed clinic site. With this second courtesy notice, stiff sent it to homes within 300′ of the proposed clinic and then added the rest of the houses on the block which took the list to J Street.
Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street commented, that he is opposed to medical clinic in residential areas. We have a dentist office on Joseph and Peach and they have a parking problem. They have so many patients that they park at the VFW, Hall. If we have trouble over there, we’ll have trouble over here too. He thought that we were trying to build up our downtown. There is a place downtown by Mountain Mike’s that is vacant.
Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 said if we remember a month ago, we were complaining that we did not have enough medical climes he knows that we are not against bringing a clinic to town, but
the residents are against bringing it to their neighborhood.
Mayor Espinoza closed the hearing at 7:46 p.m. as there were no further public comments.
Council Member Samra stated that everyone made a good point. Everyone says we need more clinics and to put them where they belong in the commercial area. No one wants to look out their window and see people walking by that they don’t know. He understands the concept of a neighborhood clinic, but that is usually for a larger town. There are plenty of commercial buildings available. The clinic does have a place to go. He wouldn’t want the home across from him converted to a clinic. We shouldn’t be doing this. If the applicant said today one physician, who can say what would happen in a few weeks.
Council Member Vierra believes the street is in disrepair, it is one of the worst streets in town.
There are two mobile units that are used for snack trailers always parked over there. If we allow this clinic in this neighborhood, what is going to stop it from going into every neighborhood. He agrees with Mr. Torres. The dentist’s parking has expanded into the temple area as well.
Council Member Land asked if there were two notices sent out by staff, one for the Planning Commission meeting and one for the City Council meeting.
Director Kenney replied yes. Staff uses the data that we get from the Merced County Association of Governments, so the public notice may have gone to the property owner and not the renter.
Council Member Land stated that businesses have the right to ask for a zoning ordinance amendment, the City is not the one bringing this forward. If there are some problems going on in your neighborhood, fill out a citizen concern form so the police department can go out there. She was wondering if Dr. Johnston spoke with the owner of Value Market about parking at her place of business.
Dr. Johnston stated no, he spoke with someone who knows her.
Council Member Land asked if Grace Nursing Home residents would be a priority at the facility.
Dr. Johnston responds that there are about 29 patients at Grace Nursing Home and he has a doctor in Hilmar that cares for all of those patients,
Council Member Land questioned Dr. Johnston about his thoughts on having such opposition from the neighbors.
Dr. Johnston replied that he didn’t know as he had never had any problems like this. They take care of their staff, all 216 employees. They take care of their properties and in 22 years, he has never had one employee leave the group and go work for another medical group in Merced County. They build loyalty and he cannot imagine that they Should be a bother to the neighbors. They could look into renting the vacant video store, but the costs would be more and it would be a much larger establishment than they need. He did not intend to rile up the neighbors.
Council Member Land said she hopes that if this amendment does not pass, they would move into another location in Livingston. The clinic would be an asset.
Mayor Espinoza asked staff if Grace Nursing Home has a use permit; it has been vacant for a year.
Director Kenney stated Grace Nursing Home does not have nor needs a use permit for the previous use. It was permitted as a small group home.
The item died for lack of a motion.
Council Member Samra explained to the audience that because there was no motion, there will be no clinic there.
The Council took recess at 8:01 p.m. and resumed the meeting at 8:08 p.m.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
1. Presentation by Jesse Brown, Executive Director, Merced County Association of Governments on the Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF) program.
Mr. Jesse Brown presented the item and explained the RTIF Program to Council.
Mayor Espinoza asked Mr. Brown if the County passed a/2 cent sales tax, could RTIF receive more money.
Mr. Brown replied yes, that was the case back in 2006 when a bond was passed and he explains further.
Council Member Samra asked which communities supported the 1/2 cent tax in 2006.
Mr. Brown replied that Livingston, Dos Palos, and Gustine did, and several unincorporated communities.
Council Member Samra wondered if there is a schedule of fees that needs to be followed or can it be modified.
Mr. Brown stated they are uniform on a County-wide basis, the fees and the improvements, because we were able to identify the problems all communities were facing. They are all paying the same schedule of fees. If you have a new use within an existing building and it has the same level of traffic as before, then no fee is collected. On the other hand, if the City had an arrangement with a developer which could be paid back over several years, this could be negotiated. This is a local ordinance. It is your ordinance.
Council Member Samra asked can the City adopt an ordinance to participate, but have a different fee schedule.
Mr. Brown replied that he didn’t think so because the fee schedule is based on a study.
Council Member Samra said he knows tees are hard to understand, but he has been advocating that Livingston join RTIF so when someone comes in, let’s have them pay for that extra traffic they are causing. We can collect fees on that project past the City limits… think more regional. We should consider this. We need to participate.
Mr. Brown thanked the council and said the projects and the contributions come from all the cities and the, County . Even a project in Livingston will receive contributions from the other cities and the Count,.
Council Member Samra asked how much has been collected locally.
City Attorney Adam Lindgren added that when communities try to get individual developers to do improvements on roadways, you run into a fundamental problem. If I am an owner and if the community says I want you to build all of the road improvements, I would be willing to pay my fair share and my portion of regional traffic. You end up with a couple of other jurisdictions not having though money to help. You can come up quite short.
Mayor Espinoza said that back in the 1980’s, MCAG had Highway 152 as a priority and Livingston was at the bottom. Then they moved our project to the top and they shifted those funds to help us and now Livingston is the only community that hasn’t initiated the RTIF.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
Page 6 of 15
City Staff Announcements and Reports.
Police Chief Chavez said it is his fourth week on the job and this is a great community. He wanted to provide an update on a business license at 737 Main Street.
He did a site visit yesterday and the applicant seems to be in compliance with state regulations for fire arms sales. A fire arms dealer must have a personal computer and printer for tracking sales and he has one. Laws regarding the selling of firearms can be found in the Penal Code at sections 12061, 12316, 12318, 12083, and 21628.
Police department requirements include having employees live scanned, a monitored alarm system, a Department of Justice approved gun safe, security bars, dead bolts, and live ammo secured at all times. If any condition is deemed unsafe, he will meet with the applicant to fix the problem.
Chief Chavez went on to say there was a drive-by shooting on March 26th at Walnut and East Avenues. He assigned a two officer team that went door to door looking for information. The County is helping too. He developed fliers summarizing crime prevention techniques. The response was tremendous and it was a good thing for the officers to be out there. He wanted to commend the officers that were involved that identified the suspects -within 72 hours. Public safety is number one.
Concerning the Police Explorer Program, today is a mini academy, according to Chief. This provides the students at the high school with information on law enforcement. Once they are trained, they will be a valuable part of the department.
Other items to note include the SJVAPC District, Vehicle Grant Program which has provided Honda Civic hybrids to the City and they should be delivered in the next couple of weeks. The Safe School Routes Traffic Enforcement Campaign is coming up. A Safety Fair is planned for May 12r" at the sports complex. There will be an AAA-sponsored child restraint certified inspection station. A Bicycle Rodeo will be held May 19th at Selma Herndon School from 8 a.m. – I p.m. Brenda Geary has been doing a lot of work on the Gustine CAD/RMS/AVL project. There is training planned for May 30"’ and on June 78th, we go live.
Mayor Espinoza thanked him on the police-contacting the people about last week’s shooting. Chief has been out there a few nights himself.
Council Member Samra was pleased to hear an update about the incident and the response from the police department. He’s happy to hear that those folks were found by taking the initiative and going door to door: To Chief Chavez and his department, thank you.
Chief Chavez commented that it was a group effort.
Recreation Superintendent Benoit thanked the Council Members for coming out to opening ceremonies for baseball. This Thursday begins the open market downtown and we are having a dance presentation at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, there is an Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. for children 2-10 years old. The Key Club members are helping. The City’s first Kite Festival is April 15th at Livingston Middle School from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. They are giving out free kites to the first 400 children that show up.
Council Member Land asked if the Easter Egg Hunt would be held at Walnut and Dwight and Superintendent Benoit replied yes.
Mayor Espinoza said we want to emphasize safety; we want the coaches and parents to know that everyone will be okay.
City Manager Ramirez added that the City is working with our commissioners and staff to better our recreation activities by incorporating evaluation sheets to make the programs better and address the problems we can prevent. When anyone does get hurt, we recognize that they are hurt and everything else can wait.
Director Kenney shared that there will be no Planning Commission meeting in April due to a lack of agenda items. Staff has the Livingston Commons landscape and irrigation plan under review. Taco Bell’s landscape and irrigation plan is also under review.
Staff just submitted a $100,000 grant application to Caltrans to look at the B and Main Street corridors, the downtown parking situation and connecting downtown with the north side of Highway 99.
The May Planning Commission meeting will have the site and design review of additional antennas on the Walnut Avenue tower.
City Engineer Gottiparthy discussed that the picnic shelter and restroom project at the sports complex will be completed by the end of April. The Grand Opening is proposed for Friday, May 11th at 4 p.m.
City Manager Announcements and Reports.
The City Manager provided the Council with a priority list of street-repairs for their review and consideration.
Schneider Electric, who came to Livingston to propose ,a solar project, provided the information he gave the Council. Schneider will be coming back to make a presentation at the next Council meeting. Today he had a great meeting with Merced Irrigation District and they talked about the provision of surface water.
Mike Wegley, Director of Water Resources with the City,of Merced MAGPIE, received a planning grant for an integrated regional ground water study which includes the topics of flooding, water supply, waste water, and basically anything to do with water. MID is spearheading this project which includes everything from the Merced River to irrigation supplies to forming a regional advisory committee. The City Manager his an application if anyone is interested in being on this committee.
He had an update on the animal control department. The City held two trainings for Public Works employees to help capture animals. We are educating the public on spay and neutering programs, we are sending out fliers, we are researching a holding facility, we are looking at enforcing the leash law, and we are looking at an adoption program as well. There are grants out there and staff is looking for more. The Fire Grant will he addressing some code enforcement components. Mr. Qualls with the League of California Cities is:asking for Council Members to go to Washington DC on April 25-26. In June. Livingston is hosting the Central Valley Division League dinner, a get together we will be hosting at. Foster Farms’ banquet room.
City Council Member Announcements and Reports.
Council Member Vierra thanked Chief Chavez for the quick action on the arrests and to him and the City Manager who kept the Council informed. This last weekend, he got to work in the kitchen for the 3d Annual Young Women’s Conference. 297 young women, a majority of which were from families here in Livingston, attended to hear speakers who were in their 20s and 30s. The girls really took advantage of this great opportunity.
Council Member Land thanked Chief Chavez for the work that he did and for keeping Council informed. For the short time he has been here, we continue to have a great police department. School comes back in session on April 10th, Tuesday so please drive safely. Happy Birthday to her daughter Stephanie who turns 16 on Thursday.
Council Member Samra said that the Sikh parade was a success – thanks to the Police Department and Public Works. At the parade, a lot of people told him that they like to walk around Gallo Park, but that they have to dodge a lot of dog droppings there. People need to be responsible for their pets.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
Mayor Espinoza stated that he spoke with Jesse Brown, who was here earlier. He asked Mr. Brown if it was possible to put street lights on the 99 overpasses and if there is money for this. Mr. Brown is going to look into it.
2. Resolution Approving a 2012/2013 Application for Funding and the Execution of a Grant Agreement and any Amendments Thereto from the General Allocation of the State CDBG Program.
Consultant Paul Ashby presented the item.
City Engineer Gottiparthy stated that a problem lift station is 1ttcated in a residential backyard in a small fenced off area approximately 6′ x 12′. In the past when the pumps are not able to keep up, Public Works would go and pump some of the water out of the manholes onto the Yagi property.
The City has been doing this about two times a year. The project is abandoning the pipes in the backyard and relocating all pipes into the public right of way and storm drain pond which the City owns.
Consultant Ashby provided a more detailed description of the project and gave information on the grant’s scoring criteria.
Mayor Espinoza opened and subsequently closed the Public Hearing as there were no comments from the public.
Council Member Samra stated this is an urgent need for the City and staff should apply.
Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2012-25 approving a 2012/2013
Application for Funding and the Execution of a Grant Agreement and any Amendments Theretofrom the General Allocation of the State CDBG Program. The motion carried 4-0 by thefollowing roll call vote:
AYES: Mayor Espinoza and Council Members Land, Samra and Vierra
NOES: : None
ABSENT: Mayo Pro-Tem Aguilar
3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston to Allow Medical Offices/Clinics in a Low Density Residential (R-1) Zoning District with a Conditional Use Permit.
Moved up from agenda line-up.
Katherine Schell Rodriguez commented on the history of parking in the downtown, including the City lot that was sold off to make room for Rite-Aid.
4. Resolution No. 2012-26 Approving the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2012/2013.
5. Resolution No. 2012-27 Approving a Two (2) Year Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Management and Confidential Employees Association.
6. Resolution No. 2012-28 Approving a Three (3) Year Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Clerical Employees Association.
7. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 598 of the Cd’ Council of the City of Livingston Approving Development Agreement 2009-03.
8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 28, 2012.
Motion: M/S Land/Vierra to approve Items 4 and 8. The motion carried 4-0 by, the following rollcall vote:
AYES: Mayor Espinoza and Council Members Land, Samra, Vierra
ABSENT: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
Mayor Espinoza pulled Items 5 and 6 to comment that the City of Merced is making their employees pay more and Livingston is adding a Step F for some of its employees.
Motion: M/S Land/Vierra to approve Items 5 and 6. The motion carried 3-1 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members Land, Samra and Vierra
NOES: Mayor Espinoza
ABSENT: Mayor Pr0-Tem Aguilar
Council Member Vierra pulled item for questions. He feels the City is giving the developer toomany concessions in the Development Agreement.
Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to approve Item 7. The motion carried 3-1 by the following roll callvote:
AYES: Mayor Espinoza and Council Members Land and Samra
NOES: Council Member Vierra
ABSENT: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
9. Provide Direction to Staff on Modifying LM.C 7-4 Concerning the Fireworks Rotation List.
Council Member Vierra stepped out of the Council Chambers at 9:21 p.m. because he is a Livingston High School employee and this item concerns clubs at the high school.
Recreation Superintendent Benoit presented the item.
Daniel Wright, no address given, stated this was brought to his attention not to long ago. The clubs at the high school look forward to running the booths every year and they anticipate this money. They will have to scramble if they do not get to run a booth this year. A change should not be made until next year in fairness to the clubs.
Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 asked if someone could clarify exactly what is happening with the booths.
Superintendent Benoit stated that staff is asking for direction from Council as to how to fairly rotate the booths.
Mr. Valadez thinks that the high school has 15 groups, too many to share only one booth, so he said we should let them continue things the way they are. The Knights of Columbus help and has the 4th of July festival going on through the 8th of July. Fireworks arc on the 4th, but we can continue to sell them through the 7th. Let the kids have the booths.
Ralph Mull, 1345 First Street noted that he likes letting the different clubs sell fireworks. He
bought some from three different groups last year. We should let them sell like it is currently,continue the way it is so they all can raise money and we can donate to who we want.
City Attorney Lindgren pointed out a couple of issues. The Council could just decide if they like the rotation list, and if they do, is there a need to amend the ordinance or not?
Council Member Land said she brought this item forward when someone mentioned to her that the high school gets many of the firework booths every year. LHS has 80% or 4 out of 5 booths every year. Now, the ordinance does not does not match the way we do things. She agrees with the attorney. If Council likes the list, and she not in favor of the list, our ordinance needs to match
using the list. For some groups, one booth every four to fire years is a little unbalanced.
Mayor Espinoza thinks the rotation needs to be looked at. If there are new organizations, we need to revise it.
Council Member Samra understands what Council Member Land is saying. 80% is being held by one group. if you take LHS out of it, it leaves two nonprofit organizations. And then they would get one every other year.
Council Member Land stated that hen she looked at the ordinance, it doesn’t say that one is just for the City. She is saying it doesn’t match, the rotation list does not match that. She agrees with Daniel Wright that this is short notice, so maybe we should implement this next year and maybe we could extend the sales for a few more days.
Council Member Semra pointed out that the ordinance states the dates. We need to ask our attorney. Right now there are set dates, so we need to look at that. Maybe come back at the next meeting.
City Manager Ramirez said that the City is looking at having a sweet potato festival on July 7th and 8th and then on the 7th, partnering up with 4th of July events.
City Attorney Lindgren said Council has two potential ordinance amendments on the table.
Council has enough time to direct staff to bring back ordinance amendments. It takes about a month and a half for the first and second readings. One amendment would be to change when fireworks are to be set off, regarding the sections on limitation of sales and discharge. The second change would be the way you are approving booths.
Council Member Land asked if the list contains all current clubs.
Superintendent Benoit said that in order to be a current club, you need to have 15 members. Staff should review and update the list. The City needs to check with the Fire Department because there could be a State mandate that firework sales stop on July 4th at midnight.
Council Member Land thinks Council should direct staff to research it.
Council Member Samra agrees if time allows it to be brought back for modifications. Discussion ensued.
City Attorney Lindgren summarized that there is no direction to staff and no changing of the current booth situation this year.
Mayor Espinoza asked for more time. It is pretty late and the kids are counting on it. It will stay the same, no motion.
Council Member Vierra returned to the Chambers at 9:44 p.m.
10. Approve Resolution Approving Administrative Appeal 2012-01 and Revoking Conditional Use Permit 2001-05 for 444 Main Street:
Community Development Director Kenney presented the item. Mayor Espinoza opened the here for public comment.
Katherine Schell Rodriguez. P.O. Box 163 thinks maybe she missed something over the years, but this is the first time in Livingston’s history a CUP is being revoked. (Note from TheGardeningSnail. That’s not entirely correct. What was said was this was the first time in Livingston’s history that a CUP was being revoked: not because of what a CURRENT business was doing, but because of what a PRIOR business did…big difference in intent IMHO) It’s not about how someone runs their business, additional conditions or directing staff to further amend the conditional use permit. You are revoking it. A diligent search by her shows the majority of this council has already, made up their minds as to what should happen.
Mike Warda, attorney for Mike Sperry, stated that Mr. Larks’ family used to live on this Chamber site and the City took his family’s property. Mr. Sperry feels his business license process was delayed.
Staff initially expressed support for the project so he spent a lot of time and energy trying to move this project along. The business license application was not processed and now he finds out that someone wants to pull the CUP, but the Planning Commission approved it.
He wants to address the notice. Did the Mayor file the appeal with the City Clerk?
Daniel Larks of Gustine said he was not given any notice that a CUP was being pulled off his property. His family sold the business and sold it numerous times. He put in sprinklers for a business, a group from San Jose. He was raised here. Mike Sperry approached him and asked to lease the building and he said sure.
The parking lot was sold to Rite-Aid, they expanded the building to a zero lot line and they remodeled it. He is wondering why this Council is so against the bar business. The prior tenant was a bad business man and why isn’t Mr. Sperry given the chance to lease the building as it has been done in the past.
Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701 questioned if the public was going to get to know what the concerns are for revoking the permit. Are we being fair to everyone? If it was someone else, would we have done it this way?
Mayor Espinoza felt there have been a lot of issues that have been discussed already.
Mr. Valadez thought you always give the business person the benefit of the doubt. Why are we doing it before we give him a chance? He is about being fair. Are we treating this person fairly?
Mayor Espinoza didn’t like the way he was accusing the whole Council. He was trying to tell Mr. Mull to rent out parking and then he doesn’t want to spend any money on the lot.
Mr. Valadez stated that he was not accusing the Council of anything. He was just asking if we are being fair.
Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street commented that the is for the bar. It has been a bar for as long as he can remember. He doesn’t see any reason why Mike Sperry can’t open up. If he doesn’t follow the rules, then shut him down.
Mayor Espinoza told him there is a lot of money that the City has spent on legal fees. If you want to come to town and then pay your share, okay, but Mr. Sperry doesn’t want to pay his fair share.
Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street said that bar has always been a bar and smells like a bar. We are basing this on "people came up and told me" and then why aren’t these people at the meeting?
Come up and talk about it then. Can you document letters? Where are these people that are telling you this bar is a bad idea? We are taking advice from four people tonight. It is all legal, due process. He would like to see some of these people that told you this. People have told him that it is a good idea.
Alex McCabe_ Livingston Chamber of Commerce, had no opinion on the bar use. He is here to talk about the vacant building, and maybe in the future, talk about creative strategies on how to get a business in there.
Mike Sperry, 1328 First Street, felt that no person who was dissatisfied filed this appeal. The Mayor did. The City Council never notified him of the appeal, all in violation of LMC 5-6-1-D. Thank you everyone for speaking . I noticed that Council followed the direction of the Second Street neighbors earlier tonight and now all these other people are asking for your support. No one has contacted him or his lawyer’s office about resolving this issue.
Council Member Samra told Mr. Sperry he needs to address the City Council with his comments and not the cameras, Mr. Sperry claims he will be creating jobs and this will be the first step of the revitalization of downtown.
Mayor Espinoza stated he was always trying to be helpful and in support of Mr. Sperry’s project, wasn’t he?
Mr. Sperry noted we are here today because you didn’t like it. He would just like a chance.
Ralph Mull, 1345 First Street agreed that the building has been a bar all his life. He realizes they are looking at what might happen at that bar, and yes, alcohol is a troublesome product. Mr. Sperry is asking for parking concessions. He would like to see the bar open. We need to meet in the middle somewhere so we can make this project happen. He understands that the Mayor appealed because people asked him to. So maybe we can take this time and put it over to the next meeting and talk with Mr. Sperry. Come together and maybe we can have a business open.
A Second Street resident said you will always find a bar downtown. He understands the reasoning for keeping the downtown bar less. Mr. Sperry is not trying to move in for free, but it seems that every time he checked, the parking fee kept rising and rising and he got frustrated. But what a better person to open a bar downtown.
Leo Castillo, a local businessman was in support of the bar. He asked the Council to consider bringing a business there as it has been vacant for 7 years and it is going to be hard to bring something else in.
Mayor Espinoza stated that a couple of businesses that have been approved on B Street were required to pay a $1,000 per parking space and they still have not started building. He asked Mr. Sperry to talk to Mr. Mull for parking spaces and now he doesn’t want to pay one penny. He tried to help Mr. Sperry from the beginning and now, "I am being looked at as l don’t want business."
Council Member Samra said this is not against any particular person. He likes Mr., Sperry.
Council is not anti-business. Mr. Sperry is opening another business in town, moving along slowly, so this is not personal. He has had people ask Council why we changed our mind, but some of the folks who came out in support do not support it now. So the Council can change their minds and the people can as w0. He doesn’t buy the argument that the City took something from the Larks. Meet the criteria for parking or pay some park in lieu fees. He would ask the applicant to come to staff and work out a solution. He would rather have the business open.
Council Member Land appreciated all the citizens coming to the meeting. We are accountable to all the citizens, to everyone.
Council Member Samra thinks some of the people that came forward to the Mayor are friends of the applicant and didn’t want to come forward and risk losing that friendship.
Council Member Vierra stated he voiced his opinion before and still stands with his vote.
Motion: M/S Land/Vierra to adopt Resolution No. 2012-29 Approving Administrative Appeal 2012-01 and Revoking Conditional Use Permit 2001-05 for 444 Main Street. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Mayor Espinoza and Council Members Land, Samra and Vierra
ABSENT: Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:18 p.m.
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APPROVED: June 7, 2012
Mayor or Mayor ProTempore
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