Meeting Date: DECEMBER 08, 2015
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LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING
JULY 14, 2015
A regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on July 14, 2015. The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza.
Commissioners Present: Vice-Chair Mario Mendoza, Commissioner Ranjeet Jhutti, Commissioner Warren Umberg, Commissioner Francisco Mendoza-Gonzalez and Alternate Commissioner Bob Wallis.
Commissioners Absent: Adanan Bath (unexcused).
Staff Present: Contract City Planner Randy Hatch and Sr. Administrative Analyst Filomena Arredondo.
Others Present: Francisco Castellanos; Luis Flores; and Tim Coppedge, Modem Steel Structures.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Motion by Vice-Chair Mendoza and seconded by Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez to appoint Commissioner Jhutti as Planning Commission Chair. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioners Jhutti, Mendoza-Gonzalez, Umberg and Wallis.
ABSENT: Commissioner Bath
Motion by Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez, seconded by Commissioner Urnberg to reappoint Vice-Chair Mendoza as Planning Commission Vice-Chair. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioners Jhutti, Mendoza-Gonzalez, Urnberg and Wallis.
ABSENT: Commissioner Bath
Newly appointed officers took their seats as Chair and Vice-Chair.
INTRODUCTION OF NEWLY APPOINTED ALTERNATE COMMISSIONER
City Planner Randy Hatch introduced newly appointed Alternate Commissioner, Robert (Bob) Wallis. City Council appointed Mr. Wallis to the Planning Commission at their Regular Meeting of July 7, 2015.
The Commission welcomed Mr. Wallis.
Chair Jhutti presented a service award to former Planning Commissioner Francisco Castellanos in recognition of his nearly four years of dedicated service to the Livingston Planning Commission.
Mr. Castellanos expressed his gratitude and added it was a pleasure serving on the Planning Commission.
ACTION MEETING MINUTES FROM THE APRIL 14, 2015, REGULAR MEETING
Motion by Alternate Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez, seconded by Chair Jhutti, to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of April 14, 2015. Motion carried 4-0-1, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Chair Jhutti, Vice-Chair Mendoza, and Commissioners Mendoza-Gonzalez and Urnberg.
ABSENT: Commissioner Bath
ABSTAIN: Alternate Commissioner Wallis (not yet on the Planning Commission in April)
Interim Chair Jhutti opened and closed the public comment period at 7:12 p.m. as there were no public comments.
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP) 2015-01 AND SITE PLAN/DESIGN REVIEW (SPDR) 2015-02 FOR 51FIFTY ENTERPRISES
Applicant, Tim Coppedge, from Modem Steel Structures, on behalf of Carlos Vieira, owner of 51 Fifty Enterprises, applied for a CUP and SPDR to construct and operate a private youth boxing training gym and sports facility at 436 Second Street. The property is currently vacant, 12,400 square feet in size, located at the northwest comer of B Street and Second Street, APN#024-113-006. The new construction will be single story, 10,780 square feet in size. There are residential uses to the north, west, and south of the site. The only existing nonresidential use is directly to the east of the site.
City Planner Randy Hatch presented the staff report.
He explained the facility would serve 30 youth at a time with one coach. The youth will be both male and female ages 8-18 years. This will be an after school program. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The site’s zoning and General Plan designation is Downtown Commercial (DTC), which allows a wide variety of activities; however, a recreational use such as this requires a CUP and new construction in the DTC requires a SPDR.
The facility is a large central space that will be used for a variety of boxing services. There’s a boxing ring, a heavy bag area, a speed and dee bag area, and a general workout area. There is also a retail area where 51 Fifty merchandise will be sold. There are male and female restrooms with showers, storage areas, and equipment areas. The drop off and pick up area will be on Second Street.
The Planning Commission looked at parking demands for this type of use at their current location, 444 Main Street, and determined that the participants will most likely be carpooled or dropped off, so there will not be much parking needed.
A standard was developed requiring one (1) parking space per ten (10) participants plus one (1) parking space per coach/trainer. This equates to four (4) parking spaces which will be provided at the rear of the building. Access to the parking spaces is provided by an existing paved alley in the rear of the building on the north side.
City Planner Hatch displayed color samples of the structure and explained the building elevations.
The building’s metal exterior is listed as an acceptable material in the Design Guide.
The Design Guide talks about warm colors and they are using cool colors. This is a judgment call on the Planning Commission as to whether they think these colors are appropriate. However, they are colors frequently found on residential homes. While the Design Guide speaks to warm tones, these are only suggestions, not a mandate, and that is where the Planning Commission has an area for evaluation.
The project meets the City’s setback standards and parking requirements. A place for landscaping is provided adjacent to the parking area on Second Street. It has been included in the Conditions of Approval that the applicant provide landscaping plans to Planning staff for their review and approval.
The applicant has an idea of locations for signage, but they have not provided the actual design; therefore, staff added a condition of approval that the applicant present the design to Planning staff for their review and approval.
Staff suggested a variety of other conditions which are attached to the resolution. One of those conditions requires that Planning staff review the lighting fixtures to insure the lights are not high in residential areas and instead focus in the parking areas, specifically on the doorways for safety and security.
There is no trash enclosure, so they will take out the trash from the storage area when trash pick up happens and then put away the receptacle, so it will be consistent with residential uses around it and consistent with the neighborhood.
Applicant, Tim Coppedge, from Modem Steel Structures, was present on behalf of the owner, Carlos Vieira, 51 Fifty Enterprises, to answer any questions.
• Asked what timeline they were considering to build this structure.
Mr. Coppedge replied they want to start as soon as possible and are expecting to complete it within 2-3 months.
• Asked if the participants can use the street parking on B and Second Streets.
City Planner Hatch replied there is standard parallel parking on B and Second Streets that can be used by the participants.
• Asked if neighbors were notified and if any comments were received.
City Planner Hatch said all the neighbors within 300 feet of the site were notified and a notice was also published in the Livingston Chronicle and posted on the City Hall bulletin board. No comments or complaints were received.
• Asked if the alley will be paved.
Mr. Coppedge said the alley is already paved.
• Asked for clarification on the number of doors. Two doorways are shown on the site plan, yet three are shown on the elevations.
City Planner Hatch explained the elevations show different views of the building.
• Asked what is the width of the front door.
Mr. Coppedge said it is a 3-foot single door and it is handicap compliant.
• Likes the project and what it contributes to the City, but is concerned about the very limited parking. If the current tenant leaves and the use changes, it will be very difficult for another tenant to occupy the site due to insufficient parking. Right now it is a good practice facility, but if they were ever to hold major boxing matches, the four parking spaces will not be sufficient. He asked if that had been discussed with the applicant.
City Planner Hatch said the operator of this gym is the owner of this building. It is a custom building designed specifically for this use. There is no plan B if the owner wants to lease or sell the building. However, since this building is located in the downtown area and the downtown allows for in-lieu parking, the parking requirement can be fulfilled by paying in-lieu fees to the City.
In terms of this specific use, if exhibitions or tournaments are held there, the owner has a parking lot on Main Street that can be used as auxiliary parking. However, that will change the nature of this use, so they would have to go back to the Planning Commission and request an amendment to their CUP to allow that.
Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez asked if there is a way Planning staff can amend the CUP if they were to have a special event without having to go back to the Planning Commission in order to make that transition as smooth as possible.
City Planner Hatch replied that City Code allows the City Planner to issue Temporary Use Permits for special events and he can make sure that parking lot issues are considered at that time. However, if they want to do this on a regular basis, they would have to go back to the Planning Commission to amend their CUP.
• Expressed concern that the residential neighborhood would be burdened with too much traffic and vehicles parked on Second Street.
• Asked if hours of operation will include weekends and if the applicant has any future plans to keep the facility open longer hours.
Mr. Coppedge responded the facility will only be open from Monday through Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
• Asked what motivated them to build a steel structure as opposed to using any other material.
Mr. Coppedge responded it saves time and it is much more cost effective than using wood or any other type of construction material.
• Asked about the lighting around the building because he didn’t see any lighting on the plans.
Mr. Coppedge said there will be lighting directed to the entrances and the parking lot. They will be careful not to disturb the neighbors.
City Planner Hatch noted that condition number 11 was included in the Conditions of Approval specifically because the plans were not detailed enough to show all exterior lighting. This condition requires that an exterior lighting plan be submitted to City staff for review and approval.
• Asked if they could add a condition for signage so that signs facing residential lots on the north and the west elevations do not spill over into the neighboring properties.
City Planner Hatch said the only places that signage will be allowed is along the B and Second Street frontages and on the tower, so that will not be a concern. An identification sign is shown on the elevation plans for the tower and there are shadow out areas marked potential signage areas on B and Second Streets. Staff added a condition that sign plans must be submitted for staff review and approval.
• Asked if there is language in the Livingston Municipal Code that would require signs in the downtown area to be of high quality material, such as independent channel letters as opposed to glide box letters. He thinks that high quality signs would make the project stand out.
City Planner Hatch said the sign regulations are not specific on the signage materials and the Design Guide does not address that; however, the Planning Commission can add language to condition number 9 (which talks about exterior signage) to specify that signs be of a high quality design or be individual channel letters.
Mr. Coppedge said it is the property owner’s desire to put up motivational comments of famous boxers painted on the wall and channel lettering would not allow flexibility for that. He assured the Planning Commission that the sign on the tower will be of high quality.
• He likes the project, but thinks the design can be improved with things such as an awning on the storefront and planters and landscaping along B Street.
City Planner Hatch said they do not have the space along B Street for any kind of planters to soften the fa9ade. He added that typically that is not found in a downtown setting because the storefront is right adjacent to the sidewalk.
Vice Chair Mendoza
• Considers the design of the building perfect for its intended use.
• Thinks signs should not have too much lighting that can potentially disturb residential neighbors.
• Thinks an awning over the doorway would look good.
Chair Jhutti opened the public hearing at 8:00 p.m.
Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, Livingston
• Pointed out a couple of typographical errors found in the SPDR resolution, "52 Fifty" should say "51 Fifty" and in the Conditions of Approval number 7, the word "it’s" should not have an apostrophe.
• Asked why there was no mention in the SPDR resolution that this is an infill project and is, therefore, exempt from CEQA.
City Planner Hatch said it was included in the CUP resolution.
• He likes the project and thinks it complements the City; however, he recalls that when the architects from Chicago (American Institute of Architects) came to Livingston a couple years ago, they felt a sports facility in the downtown did not appear congruent with the existing uses in the downtown.
Chair Jhutti stated that given Livingston’s situation at the present time, he believes this facility is congruent in the downtown. It will be a good anchor for foot traffic, especially for school students who will be participating there.
Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez thinks it was not necessarily that the architects felt the use was not compatible, but more that the design and aesthetics of the building they were occupying for the sports facility was not compatible. That building is very old and has no windows and the use is not well represented. He thinks this new building design will clear up many of those concerns.
Chair Jhutti closed the public comment period at 8:09 p.m.
Vice-Chair Mendoza said he believes this facility is good for the youth; perhaps someday one of those kids advances to State level.
Commissioner Mendoza-Gonzalez would like to add language to the conditions of approval that signage on the tower be channelized letters.
Mr. Coppedge thinks using channelized letters may be too tight.
City Planner Hatch suggested adding language to condition #9, requiring that signage on the tower be of high quality and three dimensional.
Chair Jhutti suggested adding a condition that provisions shall be made for bicycle parking.
Motion by Chair Jhutti, seconded by Commissioner Umberg to adopt Resolution 2015-02, approving Conditional Use Permit 2015-01 for 51 Fifty Enterprises, as modified; and to adopt Resolution 2015-03, recommending to the City Council approval of Site Plan and Design Review 2015-02 for 51 Fifty Enterprises, as corrected and modified. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Chair Jhutti, Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioners Mendoza-Gonzalez, Umberg and Wallis.
ABSENT: Commissioner Bath
CONSIDER AND APPROVE PLANNING COMMISSION ADOPTED POLICIES, AS AMENDED
At the meeting of April 14, 2015, the Planning Commission held its annual review of the Planning Commission policies. During this review, there was discussion regarding several policies and the need to update and revise selected policies. Staff was given direction to update and revise those policies selected and bring them back to the Commission for consideration and possible adoption.
City Planner Hatch presented the staff report, explained the changes made and recommended the Planning Commission consider the amended policies and, if satisfied, adopt the policies by a voice vote. A resolution is not necessary as these are the Planning Commission’s own policies and operating procedures.
He added that Alternate Commissioner Wallis had asked for clarification on what was considered excused and unexcused absences. He explained that Title 2, Chapter 2, of the Livingston Municipal Code talks about the Planning Commission. Section 2-2-3 (C) specifically makes reference to absences with or without cause. It says, "Any commissioner’s seat shall automatically be deemed vacant for failing to attend any three (3) meetings in any twelve (12) month period, unless the absence is essentially excused."
The Code defines excused as being due to illness or a family emergency. The absences don’t have to be consecutive. Operationally, the City has allowed other excused absences, such as when a commissioner is on vacation and calls staff to notify them he is not going to attend the meeting; or when the commissioner has to work and cannot be at the meeting. City staff has accepted any type of notification as an excused absence. The only unexcused absence is when someone does not notify staff they will not be attending the meeting. Staff is not proposing any changes in this area as current practice seems to be working.
• He disagrees with some of the language staff added to Policy A-1: Chairmanship Rotation, number 1, on special relevant experience. He thinks "such as serving as a Chair, experience in real estate or land development, experience in building and construction" should be removed.
City Planner Hatch explained the language intent was to add more flexibility than what is currently there. The experience in real estate or land development is only if they don’t have the experience to serve as a Chair. It is only in relation to the Chair.
Chair Jhutti feels the language about relative experience is highly considered for being Chair. He suggested modifying Policy A-1, number 1, to end the sentence at "Special relevant experience."
Motion by Chair Jhutti, seconded by Vice-Chair Mendoza, to adopt the Planning Commission policies, as amended. Motion carried 5-0, by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Chair Jhutti, Vice-Chair Mendoza and Commissioners Mendoza-Gonzalez, Umberg and Wallis.
ABSENT: Commissioner Bath
DISCUSSION OF COMBINING THE PLANNING COMMISSION AND THE PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
City Planner Hatch explained this item initiated at the request of the City Council due to the fact that the City is having trouble finding enough members to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Often times the Commission cannot conduct business because they do not have a quorum. A suggestion was made at a former Council meeting to consider combining the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission. Council directed staff to discuss this possibility with the Planning Commission and ask for their feedback.
City Planner Hatch stated that, in his opinion, the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission are two different groups. The Parks and Recreation Commission is typically composed of parents of youth who are active in sports. It is a body that encourages and facilitates things in sports and recreation activities; whereas, the Planning Commission makes judgment calls and evaluates projects. The Planning Commission has a definite role in California State law and is required by State law, but the Recreation Commission is not required
Recommends that City Council allow more members that reside outside the City limits to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Currently, only one member can be from outside the City limits.
• Agrees with City Planner Hatch that these two Commissions are completely different. He recommends the City Council consider reducing the number of members required on the Parks and Recreation Commission because the bigger the Commission, the more members needed to have a quorum. Also, he thinks it would be beneficial to reach out to a broader audience, including those residing outside the City limits. If that doesn’t help, then they can return to the Planning Commission to ask its members if they would be interested in serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission; however, it should not be mandatory.
Alternate Commissioner Wallis
• Asked how many members compose the Parks and Recreation Commission.
City Planner Hatch responded seven (7) members and three (3) alternates.
• Suggested that a Parks and Recreation Commission member attend a Planning Commission meeting to speak about their responsibilities and amount of time committed to serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
• He thinks they should reach out to the high school seniors to get the youth involved.
Following the discussion, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission to recommend to the City Council
1) That they reduce the number of members required to form the Parks and Recreation Commission;
2) That they reach out to a broader audience, including high school seniors and those residing outside the City limits; and
3) That it be completely voluntary for Planning Commissioners to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission.