Action Meeting Minutes from the July 9, 2013, Planning Commission Regular Meeting.

Note from TheGardeningSnail: This page was prepared by running a PDF file through a program that converts Image to Text. If any textual gremlins have suck in: sorry bout that.




JULY 9, 2013

The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on July 9, 2013. The meeting was called to order by Chair Luis Enrique Flores at 7:02 p.m.


Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Commissioner Mario Mendoza,

Commissioner Francisco Castellanos, Commissioner Michael Silva and Commissioner Warren Umberg.

Commissioners Absent : None

Staff Present: Contract Associate Planner Miguel Galvez and Administrative

Analyst Filomena Arredondo.

Others Present: Katherine Schell-Rodriguez , David Blevins, and Narinder Dola.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Commissioner Urnberg, seconded by Commissioner Mendoza , to approve the minutes from the Regular Meeting of June 11, 2013. Motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Mendoza, Silva and Umberg

NOES: None




Commissioner Mendoza nominated himself for Vice-Chair.

Motion by Commissioner Mendoza, seconded by Commissioner Umberg, to appoint Commissioner Mendoza Planning Commission Vice-Chair for 2013. Motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Mendoza, Silva and Umberg

NOES:  None



Chair Flores opened the public comment period at 7:05 p.m. and closed it immediately after as no public comments were made.



The City Manager initiated a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (ZOTA) in accordance with LMC 5-6-2:B-4, to amend the Zoning Code to reduce the minimum lot area space requirement needed to develop a second residential unit in the R-1 and R-2 zone districts and to take public comment, determine General Plan consistency, and make a recommendation to the City Council.

Contract Planner Galvez presented the staff report. He explained the proposed ZOTA would:

1. Reduce the minimum lot area space requirement needed to develop a second housing unit in the R-1 and R-2 zone districts from 6,000 to 5,500 square feet; and

2. Increase the maximum buildable floor area percentage of the second dwelling unit from 30% to 80% of the primary dwelling unit -up to a maximum of 1,200 square feet.

The current minimum lot size for R-1 and R-2 zoned parcels in Livingston is 6,000 square feet. The R-2 zoning code presently requires a dwelling unit for every 3,000 square feet of lot area. Currently, there are many R-2 zoned properties that have less than 6,000 square feet. As a result,

these R-2 zoned properties cannot be developed with two dwelling units as is typical for R-2 zoned properties. Properties bounded by Fourth Street, "E" Street, Seventh Street and "F" Street are zoned R-2, Medium Density Residential, and fall into this situation. Twenty-two of thirty­ five of these R-2 zoned lots have less than 6,000 square feet.

Presently, any proposed second residential unit (allowed by right under State Law) can only be built on parcels that have at least a 6,000 square feet lot.

The Housing Element contains goals for the production of a variety of housing types that is affordable to the various socio-economic segments of the community. It calls for an adequate supply of appropriately zoned parcels; encourages infill development where services and infrastructure are available; and removes governmental constraints for the development of affordable housing.

Staff recommends the Planning Commission open the Public Hearing, take public testimony, and recommend to the City Council the approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2013-05.

Commissioners Questions/Comments:

Commissioner Castellanos

• Asked for clarification of second units in R-1 lots.

Contract Planner Galvez explained that currently if R-1 or R-2 lots do not have a minimum of 6,000 square feet, they cannot build a second unit. Therefore, staff is recommending changing the 6,000 square foot requirement to 5,500 square feet.

• Thinks second units should be permitted in the R-2 zoning district, but not in the R-1 zoning district.

• Contract Planner Galvez said that many people do not want a second unit. It is an option for those who may want to provide long term care for an elderly person or for people that are on a fixed income and cannot afford the rent.

• Thinks that if the lot size requirement is reduced, then all the developers are going to develop smaller lots.

• Thinks each request to build a second unit should be looked at on a case by case basis.

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• So only the older lots in town that have more than 6,000 square feet can build a second unit?

Contract Planner Galvez said that is correct, although there are other challenges with existing lots. They still have to meet all the other requirements in the Development Standards, such as lot coverage and setbacks. Also, the second unit must be able to provide additional off-street parking.

Chair Flores

• Asked if this change is only proposed on existing development or also on new development.

Contract Planner Galvez replied only on existing development.

• Asked who prompted this Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment.

Contract Planner Galvez replied there is a property owner on Fifth Street that wants to develop a duplex, but the Zoning Code does not allow it because his lot is less than 6,000 square feet. The only way this could be allowed is if the City would amend its lot size requirement.

Discussion followed.

Chair Flores opened the Public Hearing at 7:24 p.m. Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston

• Asked if she heard correctly about being allowed by State law to build a second residential unit in the R-1 and R-2 zones.

Contract Planner Galvez referred her to California Government Code Section 65852.2.

• Asked if it would constitute a lawsuit if the City Council denies construction of a second unit.

Contract Planner Galvez said that is a question for the City Attorney. The California Government Code says second residential units are permitted by right; however, there is certain criteria that must be met.

Chair Flores closed the Public Hearing at 7:27 p.m.

Chair Flores

• Agrees with Commissioner Castellanos that second residential units are more appropriate in R-2 zoning districts.

• He also agrees that it should be on a case by case basis.

• Does not think the Zoning Code should be changed only because one person is upset.

Commissioner Urnberg

• Also thinks it must be on case by case basis.

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• Agrees that it should be on a case by case basis.

Commissioner Silva

• Wants to keep the minimum lot size at 6,000 square feet.

• Asked for clarification of "on a case by case basis."

Contract Planner Galvez explained they would have to propose another Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment that would require people who want to build a second unit to meet certain criteria. Currently only second residential units in excess of 600 sq. ft. are subject to Site Plan and Design Review.

Discussion followed regarding reducing the lot area minimum requirement to 5,500 square feet only in the R-2 zone district, but leaving the lot area minimum requirement at 6,000 square feet in the R-1 zone district.

Motion by Commissioner Castellanos, seconded by Commissioner Umberg, to adopt Resolution 2013-12, determining General Plan consistency and recommending to the City Council approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2013-05 amending Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-5-6.C Second Dwelling Development Standards, leaving the minimum lot area of 6,000 square feet in the R-1 Zone District and dropping to a minimum of 5,500 square feet in the R-2 Zone District. In addition, in the R-2 Zone District, the second dwelling unit shall have a floor area not to exceed 80% of the living area of the primary unit, up to a maximum of 1,200 square feet.

Units in excess of 600 square feet shall be subject to Site Plan and Design Review. Motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Mendoza, Silva and Urnberg

NOES:  None




The Planning Department received a request to locate shopping carts in front of a grocery store on the City sidewalk. Livingston Municipal Code Section 9-1-1: Sidewalk and Street Obstruction includes provisions for addressing obstructions of streets, alleys, parkways, and sidewalks. The provisions do not apply to potted shrubs or plants, clocks, drinking fountains, public telephones, and newspaper racks, provided that they are in daily use, placed as to not interfere with or obstruct pedestrian traffic in their immediate vicinity, and have obtained an encroachment permit from the Director of Public Works. The placement of grocery store shopping carts in the public right-of-way is not addressed in these provisions. Therefore, the Planning Commission is asked to make a determination as to whether shopping carts can be treated similar to the listed exceptions.

Contract Planner Galvez presented the staff report.

He stated there are also other provisions in the Municipal Code that address encroaching into public sidewalks. Livingston Municipal Code 5-4-9-2 addresses outdoor dining areas on public property, permanent and accessory facilities. Outdoor dining on public sidewalks requires a Site Plan and Design Review and an encroachment permit. It also includes the following minimum standards:

1. Umbrellas are allowed subject to height and clearance requirements.

2. Indemnification -The applicant would have to execute an agreement which defends, indemnifies, and holds the City and its employees harmless from any loss for any encroachment authorized by the City.

3. Insurance -The permittee shall obtain and maintain comprehensive general liability insurance of at least one million dollars.

4. A sidewalk width of five feet shall be maintained clear.

5. Four findings are to be made prior to approval of an encroachment permit (5-4-9-1 :E):

a. Public use of sidewalk is not restricted by the facility;

b. Pedestrian traffic volumes and accessibility are not inhibited by the facility;

c. Street trees, utilities, and fire equipment are not adversely impacted by the facility;

d. Public parking is not adversely impacted.

Contract Planner Galvez presented some examples of existing obstructions.

Staff recommended the Planning Commission discuss and form a recommendation as to whether shopping carts can be allowed to be placed or prohibited on public sidewalks and under what conditions, if any. A Commission determination to allow, conditionally allow, or prohibit shopping carts can be brought back to the Planning Commission in the form of a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment.

Narinder Dola, owner of Fiesta Market, 344 Main Street, stated he needs to place his shopping carts in front of his grocery store because he does not have space for them inside the store. He wants to put a metal rail against the wall to safeguard the shopping carts so they will not roll into the street. This will also prevent the carts from hitting the building wall and chipping the paint. The carts will not obstruct the sidewalk.

Commissioners’ Questions/Comments:

Vice-Chair Mendoza

• Sees no problem with placing the shopping carts in front of the store.

Commissioner Urnberg

• Prefers the shopping carts be placed inside the store or in the Livingston True Value parking lot. They are an eyesore on Main Street and a liability to the City if placed on the sidewalk.

Discussion followed.

Commissioner Castellanos

• Thinks there is plenty of clearance for the shopping carts in front of the grocery store.

Chair Flores

• Expressed concern about safety. Right now, the shopping carts are not stable. He would like to see some sort of encompassing home for them.

• He doesn’t think the shopping carts are an eye sore.

Mr. Dola said the shopping carts are only outside during the day. He pushes them inside the store when the business closes.

Discussion followed.

Motion by Vice-Chair Mendoza, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos to bring this item back formally as a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to include shopping carts and shopping cart corrals/rails on the public right-of-way. In the meantime, Mr. Dola can maintain his shopping carts in front of his grocery store. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:

AYES:  Chair Flores and Commissioners Castellanos, Mendoza, Silva, and Urnberg

NOES:  None



Planning Commission Chair Flores

• Enjoyed the Livingston Downtown Revitalization Charrette hosted by the City.

City Staff

Contract Associate Planner Galvez

• Thanked the Planning Commission for their participation in the downtown revitalization charrette and added that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will be holding another charrette in the near future to help decision makers and stake holders develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future.

• Planning staff received a Site Plan/Design Review application to expand the Livingston Farm Supply. This item will go before the Planning Commission on August 13th.

• McDonald’s proposed making some minor changes to their building and staff approved those changes administratively.

• The deadline for the Alternate Planning Commissioner vacancy is August 9th.

• Announced he accepted a permanent full-time position with the County of Stanislaus. He enjoyed working in the City of Livingston and serving this great community. His last day of employment in Livingston will be July 26th.

Chair Flores asked for an update on the Livingston Commons project. Contract Planner Galvez said there is still some discussion going on.

Commissioner Castellanos asked if there are any plans for building new homes.

Contract Planner Galvez said the City first needs to address some current water quality and quantity issues.

The Planning Commission thanked Contract Planner Galvez for his help during his time in Livingston and wished him good luck in his new venture.


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

APPROVED: August 13, 2013


Secretary of the Planning Commission, HOLLY R. OWEN

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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