Action Meeting Minutes from the February 25, 2014, Planning Commission Special Meeting.



The special meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on February 25, 2014. The meeting was called to order by Chair Luis Enrique Flores at 7:02 p.m.


Commissioners Present: Chair Luis Enrique Flores, Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza,

Commissioner Francisco Castellanos, Commissioner Warren Urnberg, Commissioner Michael Silva and Alternate Commissioner Ranjeet Jhutti.

Commissioners Absent: None

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

Others Present: Augie Garcia, Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, and others in the audience.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Commissioner Urnberg, seconded by Vice-Chair Mendoza, to approve the minutes from the Regular Meeting of January 14, 2014 . Motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: None



Chair Flores opened the public comment period at 7:04 p.m. and closed it immediately thereafter as there were no public comments.



Augie Garcia has applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a fitness/gymnasium use consisting oflifting, gymnastics and cardiovascular exercises at 521 Industrial Drive, Suite M, Livingston, on property zoned Limited Industrial (M-1).

Contract Associate Planner Holly Owen presented the staff report. She explained this suite is located as an end unit in a subdivided industrial building, with vacant units to the back and side of the proposed project. The applicant proposes the gym will be in operation six days per week, from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and then again from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays. The applicant will be the sole employee working at this site (as a trainer), and the anticipated number of clientele will be 6-7 per hour during

business hours on average. Nine parking spaces are required for this particular use. A bus stop on Walnut Avenue and Dwight Way is within walking distance, and there are existing bike racks onsite.

Planning Staff looked at the CUP findings and determined this is an adequate use for this particular space. The proposed use is adequate in size and shape for physical space; served adequately by streets/highways; served adequately by utilities; and consistent with the 1999 General Plan. The Conditions of approval are attached to the resolution.

Contract Associate Planner Owen recommended approval of this project. Applicant, Augie Garcia, was present to answer questions.

Augie Garcia, 9147 Memory Court, Delhi, CA 95315, said he has been involved in weight lifting and fitness for several years. He explained the CrossFit workout. It is a highly intense :functional movement workout which consists of putting Olympic lifts and cardio together with gymnastics.

They don’t use any machines like those found at a typical fitness gym. Everything is programmed one way and everyone does the same workout for the same results.

Commissioners Questions/Comments

Commissioner Urnberg

• Asked Mr. Garcia if he already has potential customers.

Mr. Garcia said he has a group of individuals that currently workout with him at his residence in Delhi and they are excited about the new location. He is hopeful that his business is going to do well in Livingston.

• Wished applicant well in his new business.

Commissioner Castellanos

• Asked applicant what was the cost of the membership.

Mr. Garcia replied he is thinking about an average of $95 a month. The average going rate in the surrounding area for this type of gym currently ranges from $125 to $145.

Chair Flores opened the Public Hearing at 7: 11 p.m. and closed it immediately thereafter as there were no public comments.

Commissioners Questions/Comments

Chair Flores

• Asked if an ADA compliant restroom is being constructed.

Contract Associate Planner Owen replied this building already has an ADA compliant restroom in place.

• Asked if there is sufficient parking available.

Contract Associate Planner Owen replied there are various parking spaces available there. She believes parking will not be an issue since the time of day most people would go to the gym would not conflict with the average users of that parking area.

Commissioner Urnberg mentioned that he heard the boat manufacturers currently located in that industrial area are moving out of Livingston in a couple of months, so more parking spots will be open.

• Asked if there was proper lighting there, especially if they were operating in the early morning hours.

Mr. Garcia replied there are a couple lights there.

Commissioner Castellanos said he drove by the site at night and the area was lighted.

Motion by Vice-Chair Mendoza, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos, to adopt Resolution 2014-03, A Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Approving Conditional Use Permit 2014-01 for Inline CrossFit Gym. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: None



Amendment to Livingston Municipal Code Section Title 4, Chapter 2, Sign Regulations: Addition to Section 4-2-3, Definitions; Addition of and Renumbering of Section 4-2-8, Murals; Renumbering of Subsequent Sections to Sign Regulations.

Contract Associate Planner Holly Owen presented the staff report and provided to the Planning Commission copies of reports produced by the American Institute of Architects’ Communities by Design Group (AIA) and Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) as a result of their visit to Livingston to provide the City advice and ideas for revitalization of the community. These two groups supported the creation of murals as a type of public art that reflects the local community character, beautifies the often bland wall faces in commercial areas, and is lower in cost than other types of public art.

As a result of this, a Cultural Arts District was formed. This ordinance is being brought forward to the Planning Commission at the request of the City Manager and City Council as a priority.

Contract Associate Planner Owen explained the proposed Livingston Municipal Code text amendments would add a section and outline a procedure to allow murals in identified areas of the City of Livingston.

Contract Associate Planner Owen presented mural examples from other cities known for their murals, such as Exeter and Lemoore. A group from Livingston took a tour to Lindsay and Exeter on February 17, 2014. They spoke with many of the locals about the creation and financing process.

Planning Staff and the City Attorney spent considerable time doing some research and gathering information to bring to the Planning Commission. The proposed mural language is being presented to the Planning Commission. If approved by the Planning Commission, it will move forward to the City Council as an Ordinance for a first and second reading.

Chair Flores opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:32 p.m. as there was no public comment.

Contract Associate Planner Owen noted who determines an approval and a process varies depending on the City. She thought it was important that the Planning Commission keep involved in this process. Although there are some mural permits that are approved administratively by staff, she thought it was more appropriate in the case of Livingston that the Planning Commission be the final deciding body on the approval process.

Commissioners Questions/Comments

Chair Flores

• The City Manager mentioned another body approving the drawings also, such as an Arts Council. He asked if approving murals would be an added responsibility of the Planning Commission.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said it was a potential.

Commissioner Castellanos

• Asked if size and dimensions will be determined on a case by case basis.

Contract Planner Owen replied it would depend on the location. For Commercial usage, for example, we want to keep it based on history or that sort of thing – what makes Livingston unique.

There are some cities that perceive more of a path of wild art or graffiti with the understanding that it would be refreshed every couple of years. Fresno, for example, has some interesting murals to look at that some people would consider edgy. They are mainly in the urban areas and are done collectively by local artists. It really depends on what is the purpose of the mural or what you would call art.

Commissioner Urnberg

• Said he is a member of the newly formed Livingston Arts Council. They formed several groups of interested individuals involving all the schools and young adults that take art and gave them a tour of Main Street in Livingston and showed them the buildings that are available for the art work. Then they took the information back to their schools and talked about it. Each group is going to come up with a drawing they would like for a mural and will bring it back to the Committee. The Committee will vote on the murals and then that will be brought before the Council.

• He thinks there should be some language added associated with fines on people that want to graffiti the murals.

Contract Associate Planner Owen agrees there should be some kind of set fines associated with that and she thinks it will be appropriate to use with any type of graffiti.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti

• Asked if there is a distinction between public and private property where these murals will be displayed. Obviously if it is going to be on private property, the owner needs to grant permission.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said property owner’s permission is covered under Section 4-2-8(A)2. "Written consent of the property owner or authorized representative."

She added there are a number of areas where murals can be located. They are mostly commercial, but there are some industrial allowances as well as public facilities. Ideally they would built in the flexibility for private and public property and the process for selection would be the same.

• Asked about other structures like lamp posts in a park. They could paint something artistic on the lamp post. Would that fall under mural?

Contract Associate Planner Owen said they would have to create a definition of mural and that is what would reside with the ordinance. There is some interest of expanding the definition of public art, so that is something they can determine at a later date.

Chair Flores

• Suggested removing the word "new" from Section 4-2-8: Murals, first sentence, "The purpose of this Section is to provide B8W opportunities ….." since at some point this won’t be considered new anymore.

• He also has some concern with the statement, "a mural shall not contain elements that advertise an existing or proposed business or product" found under Section 4-2-8(D), Criteria for Design of Murals. In speaking with the City Manager, he mentioned that he was going to look at private donations from local companies to start these murals, and these companies may want to have something like a Foster Farms logo or a Yagi Brothers sweet potato yam on a mural. He just doesn’t want to impede a business or business owner his First Amendment rights.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said the challenge comes when determining what becomes more of an advertising sign. This direction came from the City Attorney and perhaps his concern was not so much aesthetic, but the fine line between legal commercial advertising and what should reside as an artistic thing.

Discussion followed.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said that is why the City Attorney had a First Amendment expert look at the ordinance and make sure it is sound because this could become a challenge for towns to evaluate and either approve or deny. This is another area of freedom of speech that can be troublesome if you are not careful with what you create.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti said in general allowing marketing and advertising in art murals might go against our goal of adding an arts and cultural district to the town. It’s a balancing act.

Discussion followed.

• We need to take a look at our municipal code and how it relates to business advertising.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said there was some desire to create a whole new section of the municipal code called "Art Section". The difficulty with that is where do you draw the line on the map with that? What gets included and what doesn’t? It is more comfortable to have things in neater categories than stand alone.

• There is a reference to a mural permit and a mural permit application in the staff report. He asked if a draft permit application is available for their review.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said there is not one at this point, but staff will create one in the near future.

Chair Flores asked what the next steps are.

Contract Associate Planner Owen explained the Planning Commission can approve with the changes requested. She would like to continue this item onto the City Council as this is something City Manager Ramirez would like to see emerge as soon as possible.

Discussion followed.

Motion by Chair Flores, and seconded by Commissioner Urnberg, to adopt Resolution 2014-04, with the amendment to remove reference to "new" opportunities and reference to "A mural shall not contain elements that advertise an existing or proposed business or product" with the idea of bringing back better wording. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: None



A workshop was held to discuss changes/corrections/clarifications to the current Outdoor Dining and Temporary Use Permits section of the Livingston Municipal Code.

Outdoor Dining

Contract Associate Planner Owen gave a PowerPoint presentation and showed examples of areas with outdoor dining both in the City and in other cities.

She explained outdoor dining areas are often used as a destination for families, teens, and retirees to hang out and socialize. It is a natural place for people to display news and information. More people observe each other and their environment and, ideally, will positively influence the community.

Outdoor dining can just be a couple of chairs and a table. It doesn’t have to be a big set up with a lot of money. They can delineate where tables and chairs go with a chain.

She explained the past history of outdoor dining permits in Livingston.

Contract Associate Planner said this item came about when Sterling Codifiers, the codification company the City contracted with to update the Livingston Municipal Code, identified some issues and requested they be clarified. She explained these inconsistencies.

Staff s interest at this time is to try to streamline the process and still address the concerns. She explained the involvement of the Planning Commission in the issuance of an outdoor dining permit will automatically occur if somebody wanted to open a restaurant and serve beer and wine, but if someone wants to open a coffee shop and they want to put a couple of tables or stools near the sidewalk, she thinks it could be made an administrative approval process.

Contract Associate Planner Owen presented her suggestions and said she is seeking direction from the Planning Commission. She asked for their opinion on the following:

• Administrative approval v. CUP

• Number of tables and chairs

• Distinction between live music amplified v. not amplified

• Sidewalk encroachments

Discussion followed regarding food trucks. Livingston has a limitation on the number of food trucks permitted in the City limits by population numbers. One food truck is allowed at a fixed location for every five thousand (5,000) population upon obtaining a Conditional Use Permit.

Commissioner Urnberg said the taco truck limitation of one per 5,000 population has been in the Code for several years. He gave the history of the existing food trucks in the City.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said her recommendation is to do away with the number of tables and chairs and decide this administratively for the smaller projects. The bigger projects or those serving alcohol would have to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the Planning Commission.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti asked what is the burden to the business for the Conditional Use Permit requirement as far as cost and time involved.

Contract Associate Planner Owen replied the CUP would be much more expensive.

Chair Flores said amplified music also includes DJ’s. He remembers a few years ago, some Council Members were opposed to the idea of DJ’s and dancing and serving alcohol.

Commissioner Castellanos doesn’t recommend selling alcohol outdoors.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said just the idea of serving alcohol will put it into the CUP requirement.

Discussion followed.

Following discussion, the Planning Commission directed Planning staff to come back with a streamline of the outdoor dining area language in the Municipal Code.

Temporary Conditional Use Permits

Contract Associate Planner Owen presented the issues of concern driven by an observation by Sterling Codifiers. There is reference to a temporary use permit section, but we don’t have one. There is a fee in the fee schedule, but there is no language indicating how to issue it.

Many cities have temporary use permits. They have them for uses of short duration such as:

• Arts and crafts shows

• Outdoor seasonal sales such as pumpkin patches or Christmas tree sales

• Carnivals

• Use of shipping containers as accessory structures

• Construction office or sales trailers

• Construction yards-off site

• Mobile home for construction crew

• Temporary real estate offices (sales trailers)

• Temporary holiday storage containers/trailers and outdoor storage containers/trailers ancillary to an existing permitted use

• Medical Clinics (MRI trailers, etc.)

• Farmer’s Markets

• Tents

Right now people don’t apply for temporary use permits because the process is very lengthy and confusing.

Chair Flores asked what about for a race or marathon or something such as an artistic happening of short duration or temporary public art.

Contract Associate Planner Owen said she doesn’t know the answer to that, but she will find out.

Staff asked permission from the Planning Commission to move forward with some language that would flush this out and make it possible for people to apply for a temporary use permit. There is already a Temporary Use Permit fee listed in the Planning fee schedule.

Alternate Commissioner Jhutti thinks there should be a structure written down that separates profit from non profit to allow the non-profits to not be as costly.

Chair Flores said the City usually waives the fee for non-profits.

The Planning Commission directed City staff to draft the language for temporary uses based on the discussion.


Planning Commission

Planning Commissioners had nothing to report.

City Staff

Administrative Analyst Arredondo

Nothing to report.

Contract Associate Planner Owen

Nothing to report.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:43 p.m.

APPROVED: May 13, 2014



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

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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