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MINUTES

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SAN LORENZO VILLAGE HOMES ASSOCIATION

March 2, 2000


Present: Members:, Harry Gin, Mel Brookman, David Sloan, Ron Groves, Kathie Ready, Jack MacKinnon, Tina Cheung, Mary Reynolds, Mary Ann McMillan, Ann Marie Mrak, Barry Weiss, Pat Pebelier.
Residents: Myra Palacios, Shirley Perea, Henry House, Betty Moose
Others: Eileen Dalton, Stacy Sorenson, (County Planning), Scott Bohannon (Bohannon Organization), Carol Robinson (Daily Review), Kathleen Harrigan and Nancy Van Huffel (Staff)

Chairperson, Kathy Ready opened the meeting at 7:07 p.m. There were no opening comments. There were no new nominations for new members.

Approval of Minutes A motion to approve the minutes from the February 3, 2000, meeting was made by MacKinnon and seconded by Sloan. The motion passed unanimously.

REPORTS FROM STANDING COMMITTEES

Redevelopment: Eileen Dalton from Alameda County Planning updated the group about the town meeting for San Lorenzo which dealt with redevelopment. She stated that one of the issues that came from this meeting was why San Lorenzo did not have residential areas included in its redevelopment area. She and other county staff had gone through San Lorenzo and identified areas that could be considered. Dalton displayed a map noting this residential area. She stated that the boundaries were between Channel and Bockman. The county will want to hold another town meeting to answer more questions regarding the expansion of the project area and it would be sending a letter to those residents who would be included in these boundaries for their input.

It was questioned as to how these residences would be affected by redevelopment and whether including the residential area in the process would take away from the businesses who are in the project area. Dalton stated that the inclusion of the residential units would enhance the redevelopment for the area and that with redevelopment, homeowners could take advantage of low income loans. A family of four who makes $45,000 to $72,000 per year could utilize this loan to either improve their home or as a first time home buyer.

Bohannon asked how the tax increment would be spread out. Dalton stated that 20% of the money generated from the project area needs to used for low income housing, with the rest of the money going back to the business district, the library, child care facilities, police and fire agencies. It was questioned as to whether Section 8 housing would be built with this money. Dalton stated that in San Lorenzo there is no room to build Section 8 housing. The moneys would most likely be used to refurbish or redevelop areas that are already in existence. She stated that redevelopment cannot change zoning and must abide by the specific and general plans for the area. It was questioned as to why these low income loans are needed for residents when the county already has a program for low income residents which provides this same type of assistance. Dalton stated that the county program is more restrictive, focusing on areas where over 51 % of the residents are low income. She said the Ashland community has benefitted and utilized this program the most.

A question arose as to whether redevelopment funds could be used for sidewalks and underground utilities. Dalton stated that sidewalks could be improved with the funds, however it would be difficult and very cost prohibitive to use the funds for underground utilities in a residential area. The cost for installation of this type is $600 per linear foot and has not been done using redevelopment funds.

Sloan asked whether the moneys could be spent outside the area. Dalton stated that it can be done but typically the money earned would-be spent in project area and that a redevelopment plan generally follows this pattern. Members asked whether the property owners are responsible for repayment of bonds and if there were any situations where homeowners taxes increased due to the need to repay the bonds. Dalton stated that no redevelopment agency has ever defaulted on a bond and that the homeowner would not be responsible for repayment of the bond or would have a tax increase due to failure of bond payment.

Gin asked what the value of the bond would be and the time line for disbursements. Dalton stated that the first check would be in December 2001 for approximately $50,000, by the fifth year the bond would increase to approximately $200,000. She stated that the current rates are high and very secure. Dalton stated that a project usually starts out conservatively for the first year the funds would be used for rehabilitation projects; abatement of graffiti and then would move on to larger projects.

Van Huffel stated that she had picked up some negative input about redevelopment from the Internet and stated that she was concerned how the program would affect public services such as the sheriff, fire and library. Would these services be cut and would the taxpayer have to pay if he/she wanted these services at the same rate they are currently? Dalton stated that 60% of the funds generated from the project go back into it, while 40% of the funds go to the local agencies such as fire, library and sheriff. She pointed out that when looking at this split residents of the area need to ask if property taxes would increase at the same rate without redevelopment. Dalton said that she knows of no agency that has cut services due to redevelopment, but that in lieu of the money, these agencies often work out an agreement to improve or expand the facility they are housed in. She stated that public and private partnerships can be developed with redevelopment.

Mrak stated that she would like to see if there has been a history of any agencies having services cut due to redevelopment , she asked that the fire chief, or sheriff be present at the next town hall meeting to address these issues.

It was pointed out that the tax increments received now would increase with redevelopment and that the amount public agencies receive may end up to be more than what they are currently receiving due to the revitalization of the area.

Ready questioned who would ultimately decide whether the area is slated for redevelopment or not. Dalton stated that the County Board of Supervisors has the final say in the proposal. Ready questioned whether the Association Board would carry any weight in the Supervisors' decision. Dalton was unclear as to how they would affect the Board's decision, she pointed out that all the calls she has received regarding redevelopment for the area have been positive.

Dalton announced that the next town hall meeting would be at the end of March, most likely the 27th.

Subcommittee targeting other problem-commercial areas: It was reported that Stacy Sorenson, from county zoning would be at the meeting at 8:45 p.m. to update the group on the businesses it sent to her.

Van Huffel stated that she had received plans from the new business owner of the Lorenzo Shopping Center this past week. The owner is proposing facade improvements, with a new metal canopy and new signs for the stores. The proposal would relocate the storage facility for the center as well as repaint the roof of the shopping center red. Van Huffel displayed the proposal to the group along with a picture the owner had brought in of a shopping center with an example of the color "red" she was proposing for the roof at her site.

Van Huffel stated that the purpose the owner gave for changing the color was that the red would be easier to clean than other colors. Ready questioned the color due to the fact that there were not other buildings of a similar color in the area. She also questioned whether the red wouldn't fade quicker than other colors. McKinnon pointed out that if the roof is a baked on finish-the red would not fade and is actually guaranteed for several years.

Business owner Shirley Perea stated that she is concerned about the removal of the existing canvass awnings. She stated that she did not feel the metal awnings would extend down far enough to prevent the afternoon sun from over heating the stores in the center, which do not have any air conditioning. It was questioned as to whether the architect had met with any of the business owners. Perea stated that she had not met with him, and had only spoken with the owner about the proposed changes. Mrak stated that she did not feel the color of red would blend in with the surrounding businesses.

Motion was made by Sloan to suggest to the Association Board that it forward a letter to the owner in opposition of the color red being used for the shopping center, and to request the owner consider colors that would compliment those used in the existing shopping areas surrounding this center. Mrak seconded the motion. Of the members present ten (10) were in favor of the motion and one (Weiss) was opposed. The motion carries.

Gin and Van Huffel stated that they would go out and look at the shopping center with the red roof and report back to the committee.

Stacy Sorenson from Alameda County Zoning was introduced and updated the committee on the problem properties they had concerns with. She stated that the owner of old realty building at 15601 Washington Ave has been difficult to reach, however she did receive some new information from the owners relatives and will be sending out a letter to the owner inquiring as to what they are going to do with this building. Sorenson stated that she did forward a letter to the owner and tenant at 1233 Bockman regarding the large cargo containers that are stored there. All the businesses which had been forwarded to her had been sent letters.

It was questioned as to what type of process the county must go through when a business owner is in violation of the preservation ordinance. Sorenson stated that the county initially contacts the property owner by mail, making the third contact certified and then it can'issue citations to the property owner. This however, does not ensure that the owner will clean up the problem but Sorenson stated that the county now has funding that will allow them to go in and clean up the property, billing the cost to the owner on their property tax bill.

Subcommittee spotlighting neighborhood businesses: Members Ready and Weiss presented their policy for business promotion in the Village Briefs - see attached.

A motion was made by McMillan to accept this policy, and seconded by Mrak. The motion passed unanimously.

Van Huffel stated that the Homes Association would hand out this policy to any businesses who were inquiring as to how the places were being chosen to highlight.

REPORTS FROM SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Report on the San Lorenzo Village Specific Plan Process: Van Huffel distributed the various plans that are available on the Task Force Website. She stated that the plans are the same as were discussed at the last BDC meeting. Weiss said the drawings are not what the group wants or does not want, but more of a plans as to what types of businesses it would want or not want for the area.

Report from Harry Gin/Ann Marie Mrak regarding neighborhood clean-up proposal: Gin reported that he, Mrak, Cheung and James Pacheco had met with Arroyo High School clubs on the 22nd of February and there was a lot of enthusiasm to participate in the project, however there is a problem with liability. Any group that participates must have a teacher who is willing to participate with them or they do not get school credits. Mrak stated that she has spoken with school personnel and they are looking into seeing how they can get credits if not enough teachers can participate. She stated that they will be meeting with the Youth Commission on March 6 th to solicite the groups participation. Mrak noted that any high school student can participate on his or her own, the difficulty arises when a group wants to receive school credits for the project.

Mrak reported that the group has chosen three (3) houses in San Lorenzo and will not be considering any others for this year. Two (2) of the houses were on Paseo del Rio, the third, she was unsure of its location. Gin stated that the work would take place on 4/29/00 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The weekend prior and the weekend after this date, the group would need assistance prepping and finishing the jobs.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None

NEW BUSINESS

Report from the Chair regarding San Lorenzo Business Council Meeting - Ready stated that she had called the San Leandro Chamber president many times in the last week, but had no response to her calls. Van Huffel produced an e-mail she received, which did not address the issues, she and Ready had wanted information on. Perea stated that she had not received any of the information the Chamber was supposedly sending to all San Lorenzo businesses.

Reynolds announced that Arroyo High School will be hosting its first talent show on March 8th at 5:30 p.m., she had tickets to the event for all who were interested.

Adjournment 9:04 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by


Kathleen Harrigan