DECEMBER 10, 2013 Draft Minutes

Note from TheGardeningSnail: This page was prepared by running a PDF file through a program that converts Image to Text. Sorry if any Textual Gremlins crept in. I’ve also broken up some of the larger paragraphs into smaller ones for easier reading.




The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on December 10, 2013. The meeting was called to order by Chair Luis Enrique Flores at 7:07 p.m.


Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Commissioner Francisco Castellanos ,

Commissioner Warren Urnberg, and Alternate Commissioner Ranjeet Jhutti.

Commissioners Absent: Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza (Unexcused) and Commissioner

Michael Silva (Excused).

Staff Present: Contract Associate Planner Holly Owen and Administrative Analyst Filomena Arredondo.

Others Present: Michael Sperry, Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, and Kam Jhutti.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Chair Flores introduced new Alternate Commissioner Ranjeet Jhutti, who was sworn in at City Hall by Deputy City Clerk Betty Cota on December 10, 2013, as City Clerk Antonio Silva was unable to attend the Planning Commission meeting.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti said he grew up and went to school in Livingston . He is happy to have the opportunity to join the Planning Commission and learn more about the City and contribute with the various skills he possesses to help Livingston be a better place to live. He introduced his brother , Kam Jhutti, who was sitting in the audience.



Motion by Commissioner Castellanos, seconded by Chair Flores, to approve the minutes from the Regular Meeting of August 13, 2013. Motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Urnberg, and Jhutti

NOES: None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner Silva


Chair Flores opened the public comment period at 7: 11 p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston

On Dec. 2, 2013, the Utility Rate Stakeholders’ Committee had a meeting about how best to address Livingston’s Arsenic, TCP, Manganese, and water capacity problems. There were two different proposals discussed that evening. One option showed what it would cost to take care of these Arsenic, TCP, Manganese, and water capacity problems over a five-year period. The other option showed what it would cost to take care of these problems over a ten-year period. Within the next few days, draft water rates based on these two different options should be finished in time for the next Utility Rate Stakeholders’ Committee meeting.

She has a copy of the December 2, 2013, meeting handouts up on her blog for anyone that is interested. She encouraged members of the Planning Commission to attend these meetings and get copies of handouts because she feels this is going to be the most important decision that they, as a community, are going to have to make that will impact growth in the City of Livingston.

Stakeholders’ Committee meetings were originally scheduled for the first and third Monday of the month, but lately they have been scheduled as information becomes available. For agendas, contact Connie Payan in the Public Works Department.

Chair Flores closed the public comment period at 7:14 p.m.


The two Public Hearing items on the Agenda will be discussed separately and voted on together under the same resolution.


Duplexes are permitted by right in the R-2 zone district subject to Site Plan and Design Review.

Ordinance 607, adopted by the City Council August 20, 2013, changed the minimum lot area of 6,000 square feet (3,000 square feet per dwelling unit) development standard in the R-2 Zone District to a minimum lot area of 5,500 square feet.

However, Table 7 (Lot Configurations, LMC 5-3-16) was not changed from 3,000 square feet to 2,750 square feet per dwelling unit, which would equal the new minimum lot area of 5,500 square feet should two dwellings be constructed on one lot. This minimum lot area change is important because twenty-two of the thirty-five lots currently located in the R-2 area bounded by Fourth Street, "E" Street, Seventh Street and "F" Street are less than 6,000 square feet and cannot be developed with more than one dwelling unit unless the 3,000 square feet per dwelling unit requirement is changed.

Contract Associate Planner Holly Owen presented the staff report and recommended that this internal oversight be corrected to reflect 2,750 square feet per dwelling unit in the R-2 zone (Table 7, Lot Configurations, LMC 5-3-16).

Chair Flores opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:20 p.m. as there was no public comment. Commissioners’ Questions/Comments:

Commissioner Urnberg

• When this item was brought to the Planning Commission, he remembers the vote was to leave the minimum lot size at 6,000 square feet in the R-1 zone district and determining the minimum lot size in the R-2 zone district on a case by case basis.

Chair Flores

• Also remembers decision was to look at every project on a case by case basis.

Contract Planner Owen explained that duplexes and second dwelling units are required to go through Site Plan and Design Review and that will create a case by case consideration.

• This change affects existing lots that are less than 6,000 square feet.

Contract Planner Owen said most lots do not have this problem, only a small cluster of lots located in the older side of town. This will allow these smaller lots to be developed rather than just remain vacant.

Commissioner Castellanos

• He remembers what the Planning Commission approved was to reduce the minimum lot area to 5,500 square feet in the R-2 zone district and leaving the minimum lot area at 6,000 square feet in the R-1 zone district, and if there was a special need in the R-1 zone district, the Planning Commission would discuss it on a case by case basis.

Alternate Commission Jhutti

• Asked if reducing the minimum lot area would spear more development and allow more people to have additions than if keeping it at 6,000 square feet.

Contract Planner Owen replied this would allow the ability to provide more affordable and mix of housing which is a mandate for the Housing Element and for the State of California.


In 2013, the City contracted with Sterling Codifiers to update the Livingston Municipal Code as amendments are approved and adopted by the City. Part of their service is to review the content of the Code for provisions that are conflicting, duplicated, inconsistent, and obsolete or contain vague language.

Sterling Codifiers compiled a list of questions and comments that they identified as in need of clarification. City staff has spent a lot of time reviewing these questions and clarifications with City departments and the City Attorney to best interpret some of these changes.

Six of these changes are included in the Zoning Ordinance and are being brought to the Planning Commission for their review and consideration.

1) Ordinance 545, Definition of Recycling

Currently there are two definitions of recycling in the Zoning Ordinance. Staff has reviewed the two definitions, and chose the more robust one and the one that refers to the California Public Resources Code Section 40180.

(RR) "Recycling" shall mean the process of collecting, sorting, treating, and reconstituting materials that would otherwise become solid waste, and returning them to the economic mainstream as defined in the California Public Resources Code Section 40180.

2) 1-18-11, Administrative Hearing Procedure

There is reference to Section 1.12.010 for the selection of an administrative hearing officer, but such section is not found. Staff and the City Attorney recommend eliminating this reference to Section 1.12.010 and adding that the hearing officer be appointed by the City Manager.

(A) A hearing officer, appointed by the City Manager, will conduct the administrative citation hearing.

3) Ordinance 578: Definition of Geotechnical/Soil Engineer

In the definition of "Geotechnical/Soil Engineer" it refers the reader to the definition of "Geotechnical/Soil Engineering" but there is no such definition.

Contract Planner Owen asked to pull this item for re-evaluation and future consideration.

4) Ordinance 591: Footnote for Roof/Wall Mounted Antennas

Sterling Codifiers notes that in the wall mounted antenna category, there is a footnote 1 reference in the P/OS zone and PD zone columns of the table. However, footnote 1 only refers to roof­ mounted antennas, so staff and the City Attorney recommend changing footnote 1 to roof- or wall-mounted antennas.

If roof- or wall-mounted antenna extends above the roofline, parapet wall, or similar roof screen, a Conditional Use Permit is required to authorize the antenna.

5) Incorrect reference to location of Site Plan and Design Review section within the Zoning Ordinance

Sterling Codifiers notes that in Subsection 4-2-8-2(A)3, there is a reference to "Title 5, Chapter 21, Site Plan and Design Review." This chapter no longer exists. City staff and the City Attorney recommend that the reference be changed to the following:

4-2-8-2(A)3: It shall be the responsibility of the Planning Director to conduct a sign design review of all new signs proposed within the DTC District. This design review will be based upon that criteria found within Title 5, Chapter 6 (5-6-7), Site Plan and Design Review, of the Zoning Ordinance.

6) Reference to Development Review Committee

In section 4-2-8-2(A)4, there is a reference to the Development Review Committee which no longer exists. Staff and the City Attorney recommend the elimination of this section as the term is no longer relevant.

Commissioners’ Questions/Comments:

Chair Flores

• In reference to selecting a hearing officer, he asked how common it is to say, "Appointed by the City Manager or his/her designee." He figures the City Manager might be too busy and having an alternate might be helpful.

Contract Planner Owen replied normally when you are talking about an administrative hearing procedure, you probably want to bump to the higher authority.

Commissioner Umberg said he would think that if the City Manager is too busy then it would go to the next person in line.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti

• Asked for clarification on the footnote for roof/wall mounted antennas and asked when this ordinance was adopted.

Contract Planner Owen explained the footnote neglected to include the wall-mounted antenna portion of that description and added this Ordinance was adopted August 2011.

Chair Flores opened the Public Hearing at 7:42 p.m. Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston

• She looked up the definition of Geotechnical/Soil Engineer. It says, "A civil servant with experience in the field of engineering." Her understanding of being a geotechnical/soil engineer is that this person has to have more specific knowledge and experience in things like soil compaction, and how that would relate to streets, buildings, and construction projects.

Chair Flores closed the Public Hearing at 7:44 p.m.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti read the definition of geotechnical/soil engineer based on the internet and his experience in engineering: "Geotechnical Engineering is a branch of civil engineering which deals with the behavior of earth materials using soil and rock mechanics to investigate subsurface materials."

Discussion followed.

Contract Planner Owen said there is a section 4-6-1 through 4-6-43 that would need to be evaluated to know exactly where this geotechnical/soil engineer reference ties back to, so she recommends pulling change #3 until the next Planning Commission meeting in January.

Following discussion of the two public hearings, it was moved by Chair Flores, seconded by Alternate Commissioner Jhutti, to approve Resolution 2013-15, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Determining General Plan Consistency and Recommending to the City Council Approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2013-06, Amending Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-3-16, Table 7, from 3,000 to 2,750 square feet per dwelling unit in the R-2 zone district, and Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2013-07, approving Various Changes to the Zoning Ordinance with the exception of change #3, Ordinance 578, Definition of Geotechnical/Soil Engineer, which will be brought back to the Planning Commission at a later date. Motion carried 4-0, by the following roll call vote

AYES:  Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Urnberg, and Jhutti

NOES:  None

ABSENT: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioner Silva


Planning Commission Commissioner Urnberg

• There are various trailers and boats parked in the street and in front yards throughout the City. It’s an eyesore.

Contract Planner Owen said just like the Zoning Ordinance update, code enforcement is an ongoing battle. She will report this to the Code Enforcement Officer.

• The City has budget problems. Some City employees have been laid off and many have been furloughed. He has decided to donate his Planning Commission stipend back to the City and he encouraged the rest of the Commissioners to do the same.

Chair Flores asked what was the process to follow if they opted to give up their stipend.

Administrative Analyst Arredondo said it would just have to be in the form of a written request to the Human Resources Department.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti said that gesture, more than the monetary value, is the encouragement and understanding that it transmits to the employees.

• Wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

City Staff

Administrative Analyst Arredondo

• Wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Contract Associate Planner Owen

• Expressed her appreciation for the Planning Commission.

• Two projects coming before the Planning Commission on January 14, 2014, are the Motel 6 and the Lincoln Courtyard Apartments. The internal routing for these projects is scheduled for this week.

Motel 6 -This project is coming to the Planning Commission for Site Plan and Design Review a second time with new project plans. The project is moving north of the original location to a bigger parcel, and an additional 6,000 square foot sit-down restaurant is being proposed. The restaurant’s name has not yet been disclosed.

Lincoln Courtyard Apartments – This applicant represents the same group of investors from the just completed Livingston Family Apartments. The plan is to build similar affordable housing on the parcel across from the current project.

Espinoza Site Plan and Design Review Pre-application -Rigoberto Espinoza wants to put some buildings on land he owns on Industrial Drive and Campbell Boulevard for his tow truck business. Staff has done some pre-application review and provided comments to assist the applicant with his official submission.

Moreno Duplex – Staff has been approached by a landowner who wants to build a duplex in the R-2 zone area. He was hindered a bit by the inconsistency in the Code that was inadvertently overlooked. He will be coming forward with an application once the Code is corrected.

Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments – The Zoning Ordinance has areas that need corrections and clarification. These items will be gradually coming to the Planning Commission for their consideration.

Temporary Use Permit – There is currently a reference in the Zoning Ordinance to a temporary use permit, but there is no definition.

Outdoor dining -Parts of the Zoning Ordinance that refer to outdoor dining are a little confusing and need refining.

Smoke Shops -This was originated by two business license applications to open a smoke shop in the downtown area. The Police Department and City Council became a little concerned and wanted to think a bit about where this use should be permitted. The City’s Zoning Ordinance is silent on this particular use. The City Council enacted an emergency ordinance on November 22, 2013, to give the City time to compare ordinances in other cities and put together a City ordinance for smoke shops. The City is in a moratorium stage at this time.

Elimination of Floor Area Ratio (FAR) -This is just another Zoning Ordinance clean up item. There is a table that talks about Floor Area Ratio in the Zoning Ordinance as part of the City’s development standards. FAR consideration is usually reserved for larger cities with multi-story buildings. It is not really needed in cities this size.

Status of General Plan Update and Master Plans – On December 18, 2013, Planning Staff has a phone call scheduled with the City Attorneys to discuss the General Plan Update and Master Plans. Staff is looking for direction and clarification on how to move forward on the General Plan Update which is currently in litigation. The current General Plan that the City is working from was adopted in 1999 and is good until 2020. The City Master plans were completed in 2007 and 2008. Many contain scenarios that were based on population projections that were inaccurate and this poses a problem. Master Plans tier off of the General Plan, so if the General Plan is not completed, staff cannot really use the master plans.

• Planning Fee Study – The current Planning fees are out of date. City Staff is doing an analysis of fee structures in the surrounding area with cities that are similar in size and demographics to bring a recommendation to the Planning Commission.

• Annexations – Staff has had a number of requests for information about possible annexations to the City. Staff is researching the possibility of this action in light of the City’s General Plan litigation.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:18 p.m.




Secretary of the Planning Commission, HOLLY R. OWEN (Contract Planner)

The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the Planning Con1mission. 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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