Action Minutes from the October 9, 2012 regular meeting



OCTOBER 9, 2012


The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on Tuesday , October 9, 2012. The meeting was called to order by Chair Flores at 7:01p.m.

Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Vice-Chair Roy Soria and Commissioner Francisco Castellanos.

Commissioners Absent: Commissioner Harpreet Bains, Commissioner Mario Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains (Excused) .

Staff Present: Administrative Analyst Filomena Arredondo and Assistant City Attorney Michael Minkler.

Others Present: Clayton Ludington , Davidson Boats; Sargon Bahrami , LivingstonFitness Center; Mike North, Merced Sun Star; Council Liaison Theresa Land; Katherine Schell-Rodriguez; Mike Sperry; Mike Torres; David Blevins; and others in the audience.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Vice-Chair Soria, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos, to approve the minutes fromthe Regular Meeting of May 8, 2012. Motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Soria, and Commissioner Castellanos

NOES: None

ABSENT: Commissioners H. Bains and Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains


Davidson Boats submitted a business license application for a boat assembly business operation in the City of Livingston in an M-1, Limited Industrial zoning district (521 Industrial Drive, Suite H.)

Their business characteristics fall in the middle of the M-1 (Limited Industrial) and M-2 (General Industrial) zoning uses. An M-1 use is permitted at this location, but an M-2 use is prohibited. Staff requested that Davidson Boats provide a PowerPoint Presentation to the Planning Commission to fully explain their process of operation so the Planning Commission would help staff determine if this business is a good fit for this location.

Applicant Clayton Ludington, Davidson Boats, 1311 Calaveras Park Drive, Bakersfield, said he has been a fishing enthusiast since he was a young boy. He bought the business, formerly “Davis Boats” of Paso Robles, CA, and moved to the Central Valley because he wanted to expand his business and better the product. In order to do that, he would have to have skilled workers and the Central Valley is known to have the best skilled boat makers in California He moved into the Industrial Drive site in March 2012. He currently has ten employees and most of them live within 3-5 miles of the shop.

Assistant City Attorney Michael Minkler explained the issue in question is whether or not this use fits within the M-1 (Light Industrial) zone district in the City of Livingston or if it would be better in an M-2 (General Industrial) zone. Staff wanted to have the applicant give this presentation to the Planning Commission so they can make a determination and then give direction to staff based on their determination whether or not this use tits within the M-1 zone district.

Mr. Ludington explained they build custom boats. They start from the ground and assemble them all the way up. Davidson Boats started with two boat models, a 22-footer and a 25-footer, but they wanted to expand their business opportunities, so they built two new models, a 19-footer and a 33-footer. These new models and the two other models are available for their customers for the next fishing season in March.

He explained the process of building a boat. They build the hull and then they build the deck. All this is done by hand. It is a pretty clean process. They do a little bit of grinding and fiberglass cutting when they are assembling the boats, but they have state of the art filtration systems in place. They have fire sprinklers and all OSHA approved safety equipment and they also have all their MS Data sheets for all chemicals readily available.

Mr. Ludington stated he plans to build three to six boats per year, but that number could increase to 12 boats per year if business picks up. All his employees have a lot of experience. Most of them have worked for other boat manufacturers for many years.

Vice-Chair Soria asked for the price of the boats.

Mr. Ludington replied a small, 19-foot boat is approximately $60,000 and a 33-foot boat (their biggest model) is closer to $300,000. He added they have two boats already sold, a 31-footer and a 33-footer. Their customers are just waiting for Davidson Boats to build them. The only thing holding them up right now is their City business license. The Air District is ready to issue their permit upon approval of their business license.

Chair Flores opened the item for public comment at 7:14p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 8th Street, asked if they are also going to build trailers there.

Mr. Ludington replied, “No,” and said they currently purchase their trailers from a company in southern California. They are already made and assembled.

Mr. Ludington explained their facility is approximately 11,000 sq. ft., but it is not all one open building. They have individual units, so they have their lamination area set up in one section, grinding area in another section, assembling area in another section, and then a section where they do all their cooling and their boat making.

Mr. Torres asked if they will have their boat display in the parking lot and if there was any kind of fencing there.

Mr. Ludington responded these boats are very expensive, so they don’t want to leave them outside for too long. Typically they only build one boat at a time. When the boat is finished, the customer will pick it up. It may stay out overnight or for a couple of days, but that is it. He said they were in discussions with the neighbor next door about putting up some type of fencing and cleaning up the lot so they can use it for moving them around.

Mr. Torres expressed concern about the odor generated from the fiberglass.

Mr. Ludington said all of their tools and equipment are the latest technology available and added the Air District is very strict with their air quality regulations and they will make inspections. He stated almost all of their fiberglassing will be done in the early morning hours during the coolest temperature.

Mr. Torres asked if all their fiberglassing is handmade.

Mr. Ludington replied, “Yes,” and added that is one of the real specialties about these boats. They are extremely high quality.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler reiterated this item came to the Planning Commission because staff was unable to fit this business neatly within the descriptions of the M-1 and the M-2 zones. The building where this business is located is essentially surrounded by M-1. There is no M-2 anywhere near it; therefore, if this business doesn’t fit within a M-1 land use, then it is not permitted in that zone and they cannot get a business license.

Mr. Torres asked how they are going to supply the motors for the boats.

Mr. Ludington replied the majority of the engines they will be using are Volvo diesels and their smaller boats will have Suzuki outboards.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.0. Box 163, said she assumes they are going to be in compliance with OSHA and air district regulations, so her only concern is streamlining the process so that people who want to do business in Livingston don’t get docked around by the process. There have been no Planning Commission meetings for the last couple of months because there are no agenda items.

She asked Mr. Ludington how much money he has already invested in the business. Mr. Ludington replied he has invested about $450,000 to date.

She asked how they came to be at that specific location.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler explained that when Planning staff became aware of this use, it was already located at this site and that was before a business license application was submitted, so then it became a matter of processing the business license so they could keep conducting the business, but the question arose as to whether or not this is actually a permitted use in that zone. That is why staff wanted to consult this with the Planning Commission.

Mr. Ludington explained they looked at several sites up and down the Valley, before they found this location. They waited to apply for a business license because they were not really selling boats yet; they were only preparing and assembling the products.

Ms. Schell-Rodriguez asked if it would be possible for the Planning Commission to grant a conditional waiver since the majority of the business does conform to M-1.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler replied a conditional waiver is not an option. There is nothing within the land use designation table for conditionally permitted uses that will also apply to this use. Therefore, the determination here is whether it is a permitted use or not and the only other option would be a variance or a rezone.

Ms. Schell-Rodriguez said she hopes the Commission can find the quickest, most common sense way to resolve this issue.

Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street, congratulated Mr. Ludington for his business. He said he’s dealt with Cal-OSHA before, so he knows they will make sure they are in compliance. His biggest concern is not to push this business out of town. This business will generate taxes that this City needs; therefore, he suggests the City do whatever they possibly can to let this business stay in Livingston.

Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 7:34p.m. Commissioners’ Comments/Questions

Commissioner Castellanos

• He asked if all operations are going to be indoors.

Mr. Ludington replied everything will be done indoors; nothing will be done outside, except putting the boats out to dry.

Vice-Chair Soria

• He thinks M-1 and M-21and uses are pretty comparable; therefore, he is satisfied with permitting this business in the M-1 zoning district.

Chair Flores

• He agrees with Vice-Chair Soria.

Motion by Vice-Chair Soria, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos to direct City staff to approve a City business license allowing this project to operate in the M-1 zoning district. Motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Soria, and Commissioner Castellanos

NOES: None

ABSENT: Commissioners H. Bains and Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains


Chair Flores opened the public comment period at 7:39p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.0. Box 163, Livingston, advised the Planning Commission to start brushing up on their zoning codes because they will no longer have a planner they can call five days a week for in-depth analysis or questions that they may have. They are going to have a one day a week consultant and will have to catch that person on that day of the week or the City will be paying high rates if they have to call him after hours or call the City Attorney.

Mike Sperry thanked the Planning Commission for making a good, honest, decision on his bar project even though it ended up being shut down by the City Council, which is one of the reasons he decided to run for Mayor. He promised that if he wins, the Planning Commission will have more support than ever. He was disappointed that none of the Planning Commissioners ran for City Council.

He added he is actually a little afraid because he is not the most knowledgeable person or the most knowledgeable Mayor candidate of all times, but he does have the heart and passion and willingness to learn. He asked that the Planning Commissioners step up and run for City Council the next time around because some of the people that are currently running for Council have never even attended a full Council meeting.

Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 7:43 p.m.



Sargon Bahrami has applied for a Conditional Use Permit for a fitness/gym (health club) use in the Downtown Commercial Zoning District (DTC) at 1471 B Street, Suite D, in the Liberty Market shopping center.

Sargon Bahrami, 4531 Colorado Avenue, Turlock, said he and his wife want to open a fitness center at 1471 B Street, Suite D. He has been a fitness broker and furnished many gyms, and now he has the opportunity to open his own. They picked Livingston because he heard that many people expressed interest in a fitness club in Livingston. Right now people have to commute to Atwater or Turlock to use a gym. He thinks the location they selected is pretty good. It is next door to Liberty Market and parking is sufficient. They are going to have 6-8 employees.

Their business hours will be 6:00a.m.- 10:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:00a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Sundays. These hours may vary depending on the feedback they get from their clients.

Commissioners’ Comments/Questions Commissioner Castellanos

• Asked why they waited so long to come to Livingston.

Mr. Bahrarni said he hears that a lot. He gets nothing but positive feedback from people. He said he didn’t really know much about Livingston. He lived in Atwater for a few years and commuted back and forth to Turlock, but it wasn’t until someone told them there is no gym in Livingston that they thought about placing one here. This will be new to them, but they are very excited about it and they do have some past experience. They will bring nothing but the best equipment and everything will be up to date.

Vice- Chair Soria

® He asked how many members they need to maintain that location.

Mr. Bahrami said he doesn’t really know. They signed a one year lease with the property owner, but he thinks that being the only gym in town, they should be okay. They have been getting a lot of positive feedback from people walking by even though they haven’t yet posted a “coming soon” sign.

• He asked what their membership fee is going to be.

Mr. Bahrami said he is not sure yet. He is meeting with an experienced financial consultant in the next couple of days to discuss that. His guess right now is somewhere around $30.00 per month, but that has not been finalized yet.

Chair Flores opened the public hearing at 7:49p.m.

Mike Sperry, 737 Main Street, congratulated Mr. Bahrami for selecting Livingston. He said a few years back he and his partner wanted to open a gym in Livingston, but then decided to go with a bar instead. He strongly encouraged the Planning Commission to not lock them in to certain hours or days because Livingston is a 24/7 town given that many people work for Foster Farms and Gallo, and some people, like himself, don’t sleep well at night, so going to the gym at any hour can be a good option.

He added this is a good time of the year to open a gym because everyone is getting ready for the New Year’s resolution. It’s a good selling point. He thinks Mr. Bahrami has the ability to be successful.

Mr. Sperry asked what it will take to get this project approved.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler replied the Conditional Use Permit only goes to the Plarming Commission unless it gets appealed.

Mr. Sperry asked the Planning Commission to help Mr. Bahrami open his business. There are more businesses needed in Livingston. He wished Mr. Bahrami good luck

Chair Flores closed the Public Hearing at 7:53 p.m.

Commissioners Comments/Questions

Vice-Chair Soria

• He thinks 6:00 a.m. is a little late. He would prefer to workout at 4:00 a.m.

Chair Flores

*He asked if there is a bike rack out there. If not, it may be a good idea to put one there.

*He expressed concern with the size of the building. He thinks they may not have enough or adequate space for all the exercise machines.

Mr. Bahrami said they are going to have 20-25 cardio machines lined up against the wall facing the street and then the rest will all be strength equipment. They are going to be spaced out so there is enough room for people to get around. He added they will comply with ADA requirements.

*He suggested they also consider offering some physical activity classes such as yoga and aerobics.

Mr. Bahrami said that for now they are just doing strength and cardio because of the limited space, but they are looking at the possibility of leasing the former “Movie Gallery” building in the same shopping center so they can offer aerobics and other exercise classes and possibly move their cardio equipment there, as well, and keep all their strength equipment at the current location.

Commissioner Castellanos

• Asked Mr. Bahrami if he is going to offer free weights.

Mr. Bahrami replied, “Yes,” and added half the size will be free weights and the other half will be selectorized (exercise?)machines and cardio.

Chair Flores asked if they have a potential name for the business.

Mr. Bahrami replied it is going to be called, “Livingston Fitness,” or “Liv Fit” and they plan to have “Liv Fit” shirts for sale.

Motion by Chair Flores, seconded by Vice-Chair Soria, to approve Resolution 2012-12, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Approving Conditional Use Permit 2012-05 for Livingston Fitness. Motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores, Vice-Chair Soria and Commissioner Castellanos

NOES: None

ABSENT: Commissioners H. Bains and Mendoza and Alternate Commissioner M. Bains


Planning Commission Commissioner Castellanos

* He was asked if the zoning is appropriate for an ice cream shop on Crowell Street behind Sam’s Food City. This property is currently a residential use.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler said they can look up the Livingston zoning map on the City website to check the zoning that they are in and all the allowed uses that are in that zoning district are specified in Title 5, Zoning Regulations. They can also contact the Planning Department at City Hall if they need assistance.

Vice-Chair Soria

• The City should start cleaning up the streets and storm drains to prepare for the rainy season.

• The landscaping at the Alicante Garden Apartments across the street from St. Jude’s Church looks very bad. They have no lawn; it is all dirt.

• There are several tall, dry, pine trees in the alley behind Mountain Mike’s Pizza. It doesn’t look like anyone is watering them.

• The reason why he didn’t run for City Council is because he has been involved in City government for many years already. He has been a Council Member, a Mayor Pro-Tern., and a Planning Commissioner, so he decided to let someone else take the lead. He thinks that whoever runs for City Council has to get involved. During the time he was on the City Council, he participated in the decision making for the construction of City Hall, the highway reconstruction project, the child development center, and many other projects.

• It’s very unfortunate that the City let their planner go. He remembers the City having a planning consultant in years past. He understands that there are budget constraints, but he thinks the City needs a full-time planner. A part-time consultant planner will not work; it didn’t work before and it won’t work now.

Chair Flores

• It is a shame Community Development Director Kenney was laid off. It is going to be very difficult for the City without a full-time planner. The mural on the wall next to Livingston True Value Hardware says, “Watch Us Grow,” but how can the City grow intelligently without a planner?

City Staff

Administrative Analyst Arredondo

” The terms of three Planning Commission Members will expire December 2012, Vice-Chair Roy Soria, Commissioner Harpreet Bains, and Altemate Commissioner Manoj Bains. The City Council directed staff to advertise these vacancies in the newspaper, on the City Website and on Channel2. A Notice of Vacancy will also be mailed out with the water bills in November. If any of the current members whose terms expire wish to serve on the Planning Commission for another term, they must submit a letter of interest to the City Manager by the application deadline of 5:00p.m., on Friday, December 7, 2012.

Assistant City Attorney Minkler

• It is nice to be back. He is excited to see new projects coming up.


The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:07p.m.

APPROVED: December 11,2012



Planning Consultant, PAT KELLY

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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