posted 07-11-2005 10:10 AM
CITY OF GRASS VALLEY
REGULAR MEETING OF THE GRASS VALLEY CITY COUNCIL,
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AUTHORITY AND REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2005, 7:00 P. M.
1.0 CALL TO ORDER: 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Greg Francis
ROLL CALL: Council Members Ingram, Swarthout, Williams, Vice Mayor Johnson and Mayor Tassone were present. Also present were Gene Haroldson, City Administrator, Ruthann Ziegler, City Attorney, and Bobbi Poznik-Coover, City Clerk.
2.0 INTRODUCTIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
2.1 Citizens Police Academy Graduation Ceremony
John Foster, Police Chief, introduced Detective Doug Hren, who presented information on the program which teaches about law enforcement and the Grass Valley Police Department.
Scott Hutchins, an academy student, stated that the first Citizens Police Academy was overwhelmingly positive. The class was taught by professionals and was a well thought out program. He expressed hope that the Citizens Police Academy would continue.
Mayor Tassone presented certificates of completion to each of the thirteen graduates.
2.2 National Historic Preservation Month – May 2005
Howard Levine, Grass Valley Downtown Association, stated that May is National Preservation month for 2005. He noted that one of the Downtown Strategic Plan goals is to enlarge the historic downtown community. Also the Main Street Program was born in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Teresa Poston, Historical Commission Chair, stated this will be the 8th year for the Heritage Home Award program. The celebration will be May 20th at 3: 00 p.m.
3.0 ANNOUNCEMENTS, AGENDA REVIEW AND CHANGES - None
4.0 PUBLIC COMMENT
Jackie Plaque, neighbor of Condon Park, spoke about the brush clearing at Condon Park. She recognizes the need for fire safety and is in favor of selective brush thinning, but is concerned about over clearing and destruction of wildlife habitat. There is an agreement in place with the City which promises to restore wildlife habitat to Condon Park. This agreement states that plans for reducing fire danger in Condon Park will be reviewed with the neighbors prior to implementation and she hopes this agreement will be honored.
Carol Scisora, neighbor of Condon Park, stated she understands there is a plan to get a masticator to clear the brush in Condon Park which would be followed up by spraying with Round Up. She objects to mastication and added that Round Up will kill everything. She requested that fire safety precautions in Condon Park be limited to hand clearing.
Dody Johnston, 11099 Nugget Lane, Grass Valley, stated the neighbors are concerned because of the logging operation that occurred in 1998.
Cindy Cruse, neighbor of Condon Park, stated that a portion of Peabody Creek runs through her backyard. The signs on Peabody Creek warn of a sewage spill and possible pollution. The day the signs went up she discovered that most of the vegetation around the pond had been sprayed with some kind of herbicide. She wondered why the City posts signs about sewage spills but will not post signs about having sprayed a toxic chemical in areas where people walk.
Gene Haroldson, City Administrator, stated that Jeff Jewett, Director of Public Works, has been asked to meet with the neighbors of Condon Park and work through the issues.
5.0 BRIEF ANNOUNCEMENTS / REPORTS BY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Council Member Ingram said she and Council Member Williams attended a Colfax Avenue Infill Study meeting. Also, she and Vice Mayor Johnson attended a Street System Master Plan meeting. In addition she attended the Downtown Association's car show and the Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s 150th year celebration.
Council Member Swarthout stated she attended the NCTV board meeting and also attended the Downtown car show. She will be attending the LAFCo meeting in Truckee.
Mayor Tassone stated he spoke at the Business Association luncheon about the state of the City. On Saturday he will leave for Limana, Italy to finalize the Sister City relationship.
6.0 CONSENT ITEMS
Motion by Council Member Ingram, seconded by Council Member Swarthout and carried by a unanimous roll call vote to approve the consent items as follows:
6.1 Warrant Registers
Approved disbursements of $580,717.16.
6.2 Department Reports: a. Building b. Engineering c. Fire d. Police e. Public Works
Received and filed.
6.3 Memorial Park Pool Manager – Summer 2005
Approved the appointment of Wayne Frantzen.
6.4 Seasonal Employees – Public Works Department
Approved appointments of Richard Freitas and Rock Panero to the Streets Division and Michael McConnehey and Kurt Lyon to the Parks Division.
6.5 Facility Use Agreement – Penguin / Orcas Swim Teams
Authorized execution of agreements for a swimming lesson program and swim team practices and activities.
6.6 Facility Use Agreement – Salsa Sierra & Razzmatazz Swing
Authorized execution of an agreement, subject to legal review, for dance instruction at the LOVE Building in Condon Park.
6.7 Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) – Odor Scrubber Carbon Media Replacement
Authorized execution of an agreement, subject to legal review, with US Filter / Weststates Carbon in the amount of $3,948, for replacing the carbon media in the WWTF air scrubber.
6.8 Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) – Biosolids Disposal
Authorized execution of an amendment to the agreement with Synagro West Inc. and approve associated budget transfer in the amount of $25,000.
6.9 Stream Gauging Services
Authorized execution of an agreement, subject to legal review, with Western Hydrologic, in an amount not to exceed $10,650.
6.10 Irrevocable Offers of Dedication – Peter’s Well Drilling – 1005 Idaho Maryland Road
Authorized acceptance for a roadway / public utility easement and an open space / trail easement.
6.11 Proposed Upper Slate Creek Rd. / Douglas Ave. Community Facilities District (CFD)
Approved a supplemental authorization for Special Legal Counsel Samuel Sperry of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to assist in the formation of the CFD and a budget amendment in the amount of $2,500.
6.12 Red Curb at 797 South Auburn Street
Adopted Resolution #05-21 modifying an existing on-street parking space to a no parking designation.
6.13 Northern Sierra AQMD’s Annual Air Monitoring Report for 2004
Received and filed.
7.1 Flags Over the Foothills
Howard Levine, Grass Valley Downtown Association (GVDA), introduced Melissa Bryant from the Grass Valley Schools Foundation Association (GVSFA), and stated this proposal is a joint program of GVDA and GVSFA to place 200 flags in the downtown area on the four national holidays. It is hoped to have this ready for Memorial Day. He believes the visual impact will be magnificent and he asked for Council's endorsement.
Melissa Bryant, GVSFA, stated this flag fund raiser will bring more attention to Grass Valley and showcase what a beautiful town it is.
Vice Mayor Johnson clarified that it will involve both homes and businesses.
Melissa Bryant added that the brochure is being finalized and will explain more about the display in front of houses.
Council Member Williams wondered about displaying other types of flags.
Howard Levine reminded everyone that this is a fund raiser for the Grass Valley Schools Foundation.
Motion by Council Member Swarthout, seconded by Vice Mayor Johnson, and unanimously carried to Adopt Resolution #05-22 supporting this program.
7.2 Council Teambuilding Session
Charlie Wilson, Human Resources Manager, stated that in early February the Council and management staff met to develop goals and objectives for the City for the next two years. One of the items identified at that time was the possibility of a team building session for Council and other members of staff. He stated that to have a meaningful team building activity would require an investment of up to six hours of time and there would be costs associated with that. Staff suggests that if Council wants to proceed with such an activity they should appoint two members to an ad hoc committee to review submitted proposals and select a facilitator. Once that is accomplished Council would be polled as to availability to have a session.
Vice Mayor Johnson commented that he feels very comfortable with the way Council is working together. His major concern is that we are in the budget season and he would like to delay this until the budget process is complete.
In reply to questioning from Council Member Ingram, Charlie stated that the code of conduct, ethics, and the Brown Act would be specific education sessions dedicated to those subjects.
Council Member Ingram stated she would be willing to defer this until after the budget cycle. She believes there is a benefit to Council getting together and discussing things if funds are available.
Council Member Williams thinks the phrase team building is not the phrase he would have chosen for this session. He feels this is important so that the community will feel that Council has worked together and done the best job possible to come up with a shared vision for the City when important decisions need to be made.
Council Member Ingram stated the democratic process is to allow people to be involved in the decision making process. Also, there will also be somebody unhappy and somebody very happy no matter what is done.
Council Member Swarthout stated she would be interested to know what kind of benefits have been realized in the past from previous team building sessions.
Mayor Tassone commented that there have been lots of changes with staff and with three new Council Members a team building session could be very worthwhile. The money spent on this can save thousands of dollars if the session is done correctly. He does not mind putting it off until after the budget session and when all new Department Heads are in place.
Charlie Wilson stated it is expected that all four of the newest Department Heads will be on board by July. He suggested Council appoint an ad hoc committee to work with staff in anticipation of scheduling this session sometime after July.
Council Member Williams and Mayor Tassone volunteered to be on the ad hoc committee.
Motion by Council Member Williams, seconded by Council Member Ingram, and unanimously carried to appoint Council Member Williams and Mayor Tassone to an ad hoc committee to select a facilitator and to provide direction on the logistics of such a session with new staff and to defer the scheduling until after the budget cycle.
8.0 PUBLIC HEARINGS
8.1 Litton Retail Center – Appeal of Planning Commission decision to deny a 19,870 sq. ft. retail center on the northwest corner of Sierra College Drive and Litton Drive - General Plan Amendment from Business Park to Commercial, Rezoning from CPB (Corporate Business Park ) to C-1 (Community Business) and Development Review applications
Joe Heckel, Community Development Director, stated this is an appeal by Calloway Development to a decision made by the Planning Commission to deny the Litton Retail Center. He stated the proposal relates to the construction of a 19,870 square foot building on a 2.7 acre parcel at the corner of Sierra College and Litton Drives. At the February 22nd Council meeting a public hearing was held and staff was directed to prepare findings and conditions of approval that would move the project forward, revise the negative declaration to include some additional traffic information and bring the item back to Council. The scope of applications being considered tonight is a General Plan amendment and rezoning from business park to commercial, and a development review application that deals with the architectural elements of the building. He displayed the site plan, landscape plan and some additional photos of the site. At the February 22nd meeting concern there was concern about the methodology used for the traffic study and the City obtained a traffic engineer to do a peer review of that study. A revised traffic study was completed and it was determined that the project would not exceed the City's traffic threshold policy for nearby critical intersections. He clarified that the significant issue faced by the Planning Commission in denying the project was the General Plan Amendment.
Jeff Gold, Project Architect and representing Calloway Development, stated that this project is in substantial compliance with the goals, objectives and vision of the 2020 General Plan, and specifically regarding infill development and the mixed land use characteristics of the project. He stated the project has been designed sensitive to its setting and will be a positive contribution to the streetscape of Sierra College Drive. They are comfortable with the conditions and the mitigation measures that have been proposed by the City. When the project is completed it will be an outstanding model of how environmental design and thoughtful planning can be applied to the environment in the core of Grass Valley.
Mayor Tassone opened the public hearing.
Terry Lamphier, 132 Doris Drive, Grass Valley, stated he does not understand how the Litton Project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). He believes when you have a large development that has a significant impact on the community it comes under CEQA guidelines.
Greg Francis, representing the Litton Family, stated he believes the CEQA issue has been addressed.
Joe Heckel stated there was an environmental assessment document prepared called a negative declaration.
Paul Hardin, 11036 Sweeping Willow Way, Nevada City, General Manager of the Briar Patch, stated that they have been looking for a site for the past several years and this site is perfect. He urged Council to approve the project.
There being no additional comments, Mayor Tassone closed the public hearing.
Ruthann Ziegler, City Attorney, stated there was a mitigated negative declaration completed on this project. There were changes made to the project to mitigate impacts to a level of less than significant. In this type of situation it is appropriate to use a mitigated negative declaration as opposed to an environmental impact report (EIR). Based on this and the number of findings in the document an EIR is not necessary and CEQA has been complied with.
Joe Heckel, responding to a question from Council Member Johnson, stated that if you have a General Plan amendment and are requesting a land use that is different from what is in the current General Plan, and if the two land uses are very similar in traffic characteristics, that by itself does not prompt the next level of a comprehensive traffic study.
Council Member Johnson stated the benefits of this project are great, but he is concerned about the status of the roundabout and wonders if it could work better.
Scott Ritchey, traffic engineer, stated he would have to review the existing plans for the roundabout. The problems could be mitigated by loosening up the exits with minor curb return concrete work and expanding some of the entry widths and the circulating roadway width.
Council Member Johnson stated he hopes the applicant will see this as a need and take the first step. There will continue to be growth not only at Litton but in the surrounding area that will use that roundabout.
Greg Francis stated the roundabout was designed at a time when roundabouts were seen infrequently. Right of way from Sierra College was unavailable so a shift was made to an off center position. Discussion has taken place about participating in a fair share process for the redesign and reconstruction of the roundabout.
Council Member Johnson stated it is important that there be adequate parking.
Greg Francis stated there is some available land just south of the parking lot which won’t have any other use and can be used for additional parking. He suggested waiting to see how the center functions with the parking as it is. If there is a significant amount of on-street parking additional spaces could be provided. Another solution is to red stripe where you see a potential problem.
Joe Heckel stated the site plan provides for ninety-four parking spaces. It is a 2.7 acre parcel with 20,000 feet of retail space. In evaluating the project, staff concluded that eighty-seven spaces would be required.
Council Member Johnson expressed concern about access off of Sierra College Drive. He believes where the loading dock is located is going to cause some heartache. Also, he feels it is not appropriate to allow left hand turns out of the driveway onto Sierra College Drive. It would be more appropriate to require a right hand turn.
Greg Francis stated the loading dock was placed in the optimum position from the standpoint of maneuverability and site grading, as well as minimizing the visual impact of the loading dock area. There was no other place to put it without a total reconfiguration of the center itself. The major resolution of this conflict is scheduling deliveries so they do not occur during peak hours.
Paul Hardin stated that the vast majority of deliveries come in early in the morning, but could come in the evening as well.
Council Member Swarthout feels it should be "right" in and "right" out as it is a safety issue.
Scott Ritchey stated he believes parking should be restricted along Sierra College Drive especially along the curves in order to have adequate sight distance. Having a left turn out is a common problem, especially at fast food places or post offices. Putting in a sign that says "no left turn" between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. will most likely be ignored. If this were to operate on a more restricted basis with "right” in and “right” out it would work better in this location with respect to the roundabout. The roundabout body language as it is currently designed is uncomfortable and should be redesigned to current standards. He added that he does not see access as a major issue with the exception of sight distances issue with parking along Sierra College Drive. He feels red curbs would be very useful in this situation and until Sierra College's traffic volume gets substantially higher limited access won’t be needed.
Council Member Swarthout suggested eliminating the access on to Sierra College Drive altogether.
Scott Ritchey stated the grade coming into the parking area from Sierra College Drive is a shallower grade than the one coming down from Litton Drive and it was suggested that they both be maintained as viable in and out access points.
Council Member Swarthout pointed out that the Litton CC&R's state that you are not allowed to park on the street.
Scott Ritchey stated having a "right” in and "right” out would have significant impact on delivery patterns. He was agreeable to a waiting period of six months after completion to see if additional parking will be necessary. This would allow time to obtain actual data and do a careful study.
Mayor Tassone asked what triggers a center turn lane.
Joe Heckel replied that it would be volume.
Scott Ritchey added that there are no existing bench marks.
Council Member Ingram stated she would like to see quantitative numbers with regard to parking and wait until six months after occupancy to see what happens, and suggested painting the curb red to begin with.
Mayor Tassone suggested that additional parking be added now.
Council Member Ingram stated she would rather wait and see the numbers to justify it.
Scott Ritchey stated a lot line adjustment could be done now to prepare for that. However, he would like to see how the site functions as designed.
Joe Heckel stated that Condition 4 on the list of conditions relates to a need for a lot line adjustment to be filed and recorded prior to issuance of the grading/building permit. That can be expanded to include the area for accommodating the additional parking. Also, Condition 15 could be modified to reference that the applicant would install no parking signage along the project's frontage of Sierra College Drive. Another condition could be added that would require that within one year of occupancy the applicant shall submit a report to the Planning Department verifying whether there is a need for additional parking.
In response to comments from several Council Members regarding the left turn issue, Joe Heckel stated the difficulty is requiring the applicant to perform a condition at some later time and not being sure what test you will use it for. He suggested requiring the applicant to have right turn only signage. Staff is limited in what it can ask the applicant to do at a later time. A condition could be included that the area set aside with the lot line adjustment would be evaluated in one year and if parking is not triggered and the area not improved, it would continue to be evaluated on an annual basis. He reminded Council there is not a condition requiring a future user to be Briar Patch or similar type of tenant.
Mayor Tassone stated it was already decided that if the use changed it would have to come back to the City for approval.
Joe Heckel stated that agreement will be worded and reviewed by both parties. The intent is to make sure any future users of the large space are either a Briar Patch type of tenant and, if not, it comes back to the City for review. He summarized the modifications being suggested this evening.
Motion by Council Member Ingram, seconded by Council Member Swarthout and carried by a unanimous roll call vote to adopt Resolution #05-23 upholding the appeal by Greg Francis and approving Development Review, Tentative Map and Use Permit applications (04DRC-32, 04PLN-19 and 04PLN-20) and a Negative Declaration with modifications; motion by Council Member Ingram, seconded by Council Member Swarthout and unanimously carried to waive the reading of the rezoning ordinance in its entirety and read by title only; title read by Bobbi Poznik-Coover, City Clerk; motion by Council Member Williams, seconded by Vice Mayor Johnson and carried by a unanimous roll call vote to introduce an ordinance to rezone the property to Planned Development / Central Business (PD/C-2).
9.0 STAFF REPORTS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
9.1 Special Development Areas (SDA) Study – Analysis of Vacant Commercial Land
Joe Heckel, Community Development Director, stated that Phase I, the market and Phase 2, the physical impact studies have been completed. Phase 3 is close to completion. Concern has been expressed by the SDA representatives that the vacant land inventory the City has for commercial and business park land may be weak in regard to the information on how much of it is actually buildable. Staff has used a 70% buildable factor in the study and there are concerns this may be too high. Presented for consideration this evening is an amendment to the agreement with the firm of Applied Development Economics (ADE) that would allow for the analysis of these vacant lands and vacant business park and commercial lands to commence and be folded as information into the study. The cost is approximately $25,000 which would be shared equally among all of the SDA applicants.
Motion by Council Member Swarthout, seconded by Council Member Ingram, and unanimously carried to authorize execution of an amendment to the agreement with Applied Development Economics (ADE) to conduct an analysis of the vacant commercial parcels within the City Limits.
9.2 Supervising Building Official
Charlie Wilson, Human Resources Manager, stated staff believes that a building inspection and plan check service in house might be more cost effective. An analysis was prepared that identified if the City were to change from the current contractual relationship and bring in house staff to provide building and plan check services, a potential cost savings in the 2005/06 fiscal year of about $64,000 would be realized. A draft job description was prepared and forwarded to the Personnel Commission for their consideration and with revisions it was approved. He added that should Council approve this recommendation it would require execution of a side letter of agreement with Bargaining Unit 1 as this position would be in that Unit.
Motion by Council Member Ingram, seconded by Council Member Williams and unanimously carried to authorize reorganization of the Building Division and retention of a City Employee as Supervising Building Inspector; approve Personnel Commission action to establish this new classification; and authorize execution of a side letter to the MOU with Unit #1 relating to this position and its compensation.
9.3 Mautino and Minnie Parks – Playground Equipment
Jeff Jewett, Director of Public Works, stated the City recently hired a design consultant to begin the design process for improvements at Minnie and Mautino Parks. In the past there have delays between the order of equipment and its delivery. In an attempt to mitigate those delays staff is proposing to order the playground equipment as soon as possible while the design phase is being handled. He noted that the Minnie Park equipment will be purchased using Quimby Funds in the amount of $75,000.
Motion by Council Member Ingram, seconded by Council Member Swarthout and unanimously carried to authorize Public Works to advertise for bids for the purchase of new playground equipment for Minnie and Mautino Parks.
9.4 Participation in the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN) Program
Carol Fish, Director of Finance, stated this item has to do with participation in the 2005-06 Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note Program (TRAN). TRAN's are issued by local governments to finance short term cash flow deficits which occur due to the irregular receipt of certain taxes and/or revenues. There are two primary benefits of issuing TRANS. They are an inexpensive method of financing the short term cash flows and they also produce additional income through arbitrage earnings. Participating in the TRAN pool is recommended based on providing a cash flow safety net to the City. Should this be approved the estimated cost and investment earnings will be included in the City's 2005-06 budget.
Motion by Council Member Williams, seconded by Vice Mayor Johnson, and unanimously carried to adopt Resolution #05-24 authorizing the issuance of Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes for the 2005-2006 fiscal year.
10.0 ITEMS REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR FOR DISCUSSION OR SEPARATE
ACTION AND / OR ANY ADDED AGENDA ITEMS – No Items
11.0 GRASS VALLEY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY – No Items
12.0 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AUTHORITY - No Items
13.0 CLOSED DOOR SESSION
13.1 CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – Existing Litigation
Pursuant to Government Code 54956.9 a)
City of Grass Valley v. Newmont Mining Corp., et al
USDC Eastern District Case No. CIV.S – 04 - 0149 GEB DAD
There was no action to report from closed session.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. by Mayor Tassone.
GERARD TASSONE, MAYOR Bobbi Poznik-Coover, City Clerk
[This message has been edited by Bobbi (edited 07-11-2005).]