City Council Recap: November 8, 2011
This is a recap from the Regular Joint Meeting of the Oakley City Council/Redevelopment Agency.
Item 3.6: Adopt a Resolution Approving a Policy for Online Comments for the Oakley City Council Meetings (Libby Vreonis, City Clerk/Paralegal)
The city recently implemented an online comment form for individuals who wish to have their comments heard by the Oakley City Council, but whom are unable to attend. The staff provided background information as to what other cities do along with three options.
Policy Option # 1
Staff may provide options online in which the person submitting the comment may choose to:
1) Not speak, but have the comment entered into the record; or
2) Not speak, but have the comment read into the record.
If the person wishes to speak at the meeting, they may complete a blue speaker card at the meeting. This method would provide the person submitting the comment online to have the comment read only by the City Council or to have the comment read into the record publicly. This option would provide a method for persons who wish to be heard by the City Council, but perhaps do not want their comments publicly shared during the meeting. The comments would be included in the minutes only if the person wants the comment read into the record. Comments to be entered into the record (not read) would become part of the official records of the meeting.
Policy Option # 2
Staff may provide options online in which the person submitting the comment may choose to be:
1) In favor
This option would provide the City Council with a number count per agenda item with regard to how many persons are in favor, against or neutral on the item. The online comments would not need to be read into the record, but would become part of the official records of the meeting. The meeting minutes would reflect how many persons were in favor, against or neutral on the item, but would not mention individual names or comments. As with Policy Option # 1 , this option would provide a method for persons who wish to be heard by the City Council, but perhaps do not want their comments publicly shared during the meeting.
Policy Option # 3
This option would provide that all online comments are directed to the City Council via email. The online comments would not be read at the meeting. The online comments would not be included in the minutes; the online comments would become part of the official records of the meeting.
Carol Rios wanted to know “was the email coming from a real person”. Essentially wanting to know if there was a way to verify the comment was real or not. Possible solution would be to provide personal information upon submission. She did not want one person submitting many comments under different names.
Kevin Romick explained with technology, there is ways to ensure emails are legitimate. His concern was if they received 35 comments, would they really read them all and lose an audience. He was of the opinion to just enter them into the record or have them as emails.
Paul Seger was given the floor where he referred the council to an Aug. 8 meeting where Randy Pope said it wanted it so Oakley can participate and read it into the record. Mr. Seger requested “I want it read out loud… it’s sad a lot of good comments got tossed aside”.
Randy Pope went directly onto the system and shared his concerns with how the wording of the check boxes was laid out—enter vs. read. Essentially, he wanted to clear it up so one is “public” and one is only for council. He did not like Option 2, preferred Option 1 and Option 3.
Rios explained she likes to “sort comments, digest and think about them ahead of time” with the concept of simply communicating with the council. She repeated this about three times in different ways. The point was, she wants the comments ahead of time to know what people are thinking and be able to respond accordingly. She was in favor of Option 1 and combining parts of Option 3.
Mayor Jim Frazier explained the intent is to get the comments from those who cannot attend. He understands different cities do it differently, but they want to do what is best for Oakley. He wanted to have caution taken for those who want their identity protected. He said he would do Option 1 and include Option 3.
Pope stated after listening to the council concerns, he is okay with them not being read into the record as long as the comments are included in their entirety.
Rios suggested postponing a vote to allow Pat Anderson (absent) an opportunity to weigh in.
Frazier says they can move forward since people have the ability to get us their comments now. Requested staff to move forward with information about cities with a similar size—motion to extend to December failed.
This is where got tricky; they took a vote and before Mr. Montgomery could get a word in the vote was deemed final. Montgomery chimed in to let it be known that right now, people who verbally speak, only a summery is entered into the record—those in written would get more preference than those who are verbal. He advertised Council to remove the comments in their entirety to a summery.
The council then took back that vote, and then voted (a second time) to allow comments to have just a “summery” when entered into the record.
4.1 Brownstone Gardens (CUP 02-11) – Request For a Conditional Use Permit to Operate an Assembly Use for Weddings and Events Located at 91 Brownstone Road. APN 034-200-021 (Josh McMurray, Senior Planner)
This item was pretty much a slam dunk from the start. There was nothing negative from anyone in the room. Essentially, they requested for a permit that will allow them to have a tent up 180 days (max) throughout the year to ensure all-around events. This will bring additional revenue to Oakley and its many businesses (hotel, food, gas).
There was also a proposed “Living Wall” that Brownstone requested to be built in stages since they are paying cash for it. The total length will be about 430ft. Permit awarded!
4.2 Biggs (Bethel Island, LLC) Subdivision 9156 (TM 02-11) – Request for Approval of a Vesting Tentative Map Subdividing Approximately 351 Acres Into 935 Single Family Residential Lots, One Multi-Family Lot Consisting of 195 Apartment Units, Man Made Lakes, Parks, Open Space, Trails, a Water Tank, Lift Stations, a 10 Acre Elementary School Site, and Over 29 Acres of New 300-Year Storm Event Levee. The Vesting Tentative Map is Designed in Substantial Conformance with Planning Area 4 of the East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan. The Project Area is Located South of the Existing Summer Lake South Subdivision Located in the East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan Area. APNs 020-140-007 and 020-150-003 (Kenneth Strelo, Senior Planner)
Item was for redesign, but as is. Approved in March of 2009, no changes made. East Bay Regional Park District sent an email with a question about a trail. Want assurance that future owners install the trail—would like the condition added.
Many questions came up regarding the school being in Knightsen School District even though the school is located in Oakley. It was explained that the council can approve as is, but they do not have to be locked into the school being built and can come back later to decide.
Romick explained “having lived through the “Oakley Orphans” already, I don’t want to be divided again”. He suggested they leave the 10 acre site there, but designate it something else such as a park.
Frazier says that based off recent issues with water maintenance, he requests a full plan be in place prior to anything being built with water. In terms of the school site, he said “we can do better” than to place it next to a canal… it bothers me”. He would rather see it as a park.
Owen Pohl (spelling?) started the project back in 1999. He estimates they are still 5 years away from any serious discussion, with another delay even before ground breaking. He understands loud and clear that the council wants the school in Oakley School District—not Knightsen School District. He suggests a change to a large park, but for now, they will leave it open space. He also informed the council that the drawing does show water, but the canal will actually be within a large pipe with no open water. He requested the council to be sensitive to “moving things around”.
Frazier requested that if a park is built, that it be turf for year around access and for soccer and youth clubs.
The Downtown Oakley Project consists of the following key components:
- Restaurant Development (Carpaccio and La Costa)
- Retail space adjacent to Carpaccio’s
- Downtown Civic Fountain and Plaza
- Main Street and Norcross Ave. roadway development (associated coordination with CaiTrans for relinquishment of Main St)
- Parking lot redevelopment and connection from the extension from Norcross Ave
- Fagade and related improvements to the Oakley Plaza strip mall and the Centromart buildings
A presentation was given highlighting the plans—they say the buildings will have a “Tuscan” and “Mission” style theme to them that will complement one another. The big discussion came from what to do with the open area whether it include a fire pit or a water fountain.
Romick: Against a fire pit claiming there would be not much use for it and CARB or other environmental groups would want it shut down for the smoke it lets out into the air.
Pope: He likes the idea of a fire pit. Responded to Romick’s statement saying they could use gas so no smoke would be released. He says many towns are doing this including Lake Tahoe.
Frazier: Opposed to a fire pit as he thinks the city should not take on the liability. He prefers a fountain that includes a pond for kids to throw pennies in. But cautioned it not be a deep pond.
Rios: She gave a description of what she envisions a fountain/pond where people can get ice cream or coffee on a hot day and mothers can take their children’s shoes off and let them walk around in the pond. It could be a central place for conversations. She is in favor of a pond and that they should “make it something special” and a central point in the area.
Romick: Echoed what Rios said and would prefer a fountain.
Pope: Suggested a hybrid of a fountain in the summer and fire pit in the winter.
Montgomery requested the council get some ideas and present what they like soon to staff as deadlines are approaching. This should be on the next council agenda so it can push the project forward. Montgomery continue to describe the project where Main street will be 1-lane in each direction with larger sidewalks and a center median that will have plants—it will also allow access for people to cross the street safely and traffic will be slowed down.
A discussion on parking spaces occurred.
Frazier: I like the angled parking – Montgomery explained in that model, it allows larger sidewalks.
Pope: Wants to “copy” downtown Livermore with angles spots, but every couple of spots there is a larger space for unloading and drop off.
Seger was given the floor and begged the council for community involvement. Claimed the planning was an “ad-hoc committee of two”. Claimed two people are designing the town.
Montgomery responded with these plans have been ongoing since before Oakley was a city (prior to 1999). There have been many opportunities for public comments.
The council was then presented with a PowerPoint (about 10 minutes) from a local citizen (didn’t catch his name) where talked about downtown and what should be considered and gave suggestions—essentially to mimic what Downtown Livermore has done. Upon completion of this presentation, Mayor Frazier requested Mr. Seger and the gentlemen touch base so he could assist in the group.
There was a discussion on the name of the area to brand it away from Centromart but rather something other than “Oakley Plaza”. Romick had names picked out, but Frazier had him old off until other councilmembers had a chance to come up with their own names—he joked about grandstanding. A discussion then occurred to see about getting community involvement in selecting the name for this plaza.
Pope: Attended the Iron House Sanitary District meeting. Reported an audit was done and they had a positive response. Only issue was the auditor requested a form update. He also attended East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy where they had grant funding and purchased acres of land that will soon allow for the community to enjoy many new areas in the future.
Frazier: Attended a Woman’s Suffrage event where he purchased books that will be donated to the Library. He then read off all his upcoming meetings he will be attending.