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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SAN LORENZO VILLAGE HOMES ASSOCIATION March 4, 1999
Meeting Called to Order: 7:07 by Committee Chair Travis Thoms.
In Attendance: Howard Beckman, Mary Ann McMillan, Harry Gin, Jim Spears, Pat Pebelier, Frank Peixoto, Mel Brookman, Travis Thoms, Mary Reynolds, Bruce Kern, Gail Steele, Ron Grows, Barry Weiss, Carol Davis, Jack Mackinnon, Cheryl Weldon, Lisa Gudjohnsen,, Nancy Van Huffel, Tina Cheung, and Kathleen Harrigan.
+County's fast food policy - At last month's Board of Director's meeting it was announced that the County's Fast Food Ordinance had been passed with few changes to the draft.
+Rite Aid application will be submitted to County - Chair Thoms noted that the Bohannon Organization was at the Association meeting and said that a lease had been signed with Rite Aid and the Organization is preparing an application to go to the county for approval.
+Chair Thoms noted that at the last Board of Director's meeting it was announced that Life Chiropractic would be moving out of San Lorenzo into the City of Hayward.
+Charter changes presented to the Board - Chair Thoms stated that there were three changes to the Charter that were presented before the Board. The Board verbally agreed that the following would be changed: Paragraph two, last sentence which states "committee members shall not undermine the work of the committee.. " The Board agreed to further clarify this clause of the Charter to reflect that "persons are not to represent themselves as Business Development members when participating in events, issues etc. which are outside the direction of the committee." In Paragraph 4 "members of the committee who have two unexcused absences..." would be as follows: "members of the committee who miss two consecutive meetings cannot vote at the following meeting and those members who miss four consecutive meetings will be dropped from the committee." The final recommendation which was approved by the Board was in the third Paragraph changing the clause "no more than two board members.." to "two board members..." Chair Thoms noted that the new absence procedure for the committee would start from the March meeting forward.
Correction to 2/4/99 Minutes: Barry Weiss stated that he was present last meeting, but was late and wanted this correction noted.
Barry Weiss questioned Mr. Spears as to why the Board sent out a survey on Rite Aid when it already voted in favor of the proposal. Mr. Spears stated that the Board wanted to get actual community opinion to see if what they were hearing via letters and phone calls reflected what they believed to be the majority of the resident's opinions about Rite Aid. Van Huffel stated that in October 1998, the Business Development Committee voted in favor of doing a survey on Gottschalks and the survey on Rite Aid was put on the opposite side in an attempt to get verification of the community's opinion. Howard Beckman stated that the fact stands that the survey was done after a vote from the Board where Rite Aid was approved. He stated that in the future he hoped that any major issue like this would have the Business Development Committee's input prior to any action being taken.
Discussion of a Square Plan and Board comments - Chair Thoms asked Van Huffel if the Board had looked at the plan outlined in the brochure that was prepared by Roberta Furger. Van Huffel stated that the Board had reviewed it and it was well received with a few minor changes. Chair Thoms took this time to introduce Supervisor Gail Steele and Bruce Kern from the Alameda County Economic Development Council.
Comments from County Participants and Public - Beckman stated that be thought the brochure was excellent as a promotional brochure, but weakens what the community demands as a general plan for the Square. He also stated that the group needs to arrive at a some accommodation with Bohannon prior to creating a promotional brochure to attract businesses. Also, Beckman stated that the group needs a document to submit to the County Planning Department stating what the community expects as a way of development for the future in this area.
Reynolds stated that a letter she received from the Bohannon Organization stated that if Rite Aid did not go into the area, nothing else would. Beckman had a point of clarification - stating that he had spoken with the County Planning Director, Jim Sorenson, who made it clear to the Bohannon Organization that he would expect from them and comprehensive development plan before they would give any permits or approvals for Rite Aid. The Bohannon Organization had said that they will not come forth with a comprehensive plan for development unless the County accedes to the Rite Aid proposal. Van Huffel stated that she received a copy of the letter and had copied the attachment to the letter for the committee which outlined the businesses the Bohannon Organization had approached with respect to the Square. Weiss stated that he believes the brochure outlines what the plan is for the Square and that the committee is running the risk of getting nothing done if it doesn't move forward with the this document and prove to Bohannon that the committee is ready to negotiate. Davis stated that she feels that there has been a lot of divisiveness within the committee and that the committee needs to move forward, this document would help the group move in a positive direction to approach businesses.
Chair Thoms felt that the brochure should be worded more aggressively in terms of what the community wants. Lisa Gudjohnsen pointed out that the back of the brochure clarifies that the Homes Association conducted a detailed survey and lists what the "must haves" for the community were based upon this survey. She questioned why the committee couldn't use this brochure to approach businesses with a cover letter to the Bohannon Group stating that this is what the Businesses Development Committee is doing and would like input from them.
Supervisor Steele said the committee needs to keep in mind that the Bohannon Organization stated they had approached businesses and were unable to get stores interested until Rite Aid. The Bohannon Organization needs to be convinced that there are other stores who will come into the area. Gudjohnsen pointed out that the Bohannon Organization is attempting to reach out to the community in some areas. It recently donated the marquee to the Bohannon Middle School. If the group approaches the Organization in a user friendly way, then perhaps the Organization will be more responsive.
Bruce Kern stated that the only thing he sees that is needed in the brochure is an entertainment component. Entertainment, restaurants and retail are key to revitalization of a community. Kern stated that his department would be willing to work with the Supervisor's office in doing some outreach to attract businesses to the area. Gudjohnsen stated that the youth had voiced their concerns over a center for young people in the area - this could be the entertainment component needed. Supervisor Steele stated that the county has talked about making the Square a redevelopment area-and that this would provide the tax incentives for businesses to come into the area. Steele stated that even if people want to have businesses like Starbucks in the area, the reality is whether these businesses believe there is an economic base to thrive in San Lorenzo. McKinnon stated that the size of the area needs to be considered when considering development for the area.
Steele asked if Bohannon would accept the area as a redevelopment area and how long would it take the group to come up with a plan for the area. She further stated that she will see what the county can do to make the plan for the square a high priority. The bottom line is how to attract businesses the that the community wants? Van Huffel stated that a majority of the people in the community want a department store. She stated that she has drafted a letter to approach Gottschalks that she hoped the committee as well as other political figures would sign off on.
Weiss stated that perhaps the group should add the entertainment component as well as creating separate brochures that highlight different demographics (i.e.: senior population, families with children etc.) depending on the business the'brochure is trying to attract. He also felt that it was important to recruit existing businesses to get their input.
Supercuts owner, Ron Groves stated he wanted to have a Supercuts in the Square and found that when approaching the Bohannon representative, Jim Fletcher, he was informed that the Organization had no other plans to attract other businesses besides Rite Aid at the moment. He didn't seem concerned about small businesses and whether or not they would survive in the area next to Rite Aid. Mr. Groves pointed out that the current demographics do not support a Supercuts. He suggested that the demographics be brought up to date or skewed differently - to reflect the increase in population of young children and families in the area - the income level also needs to re-looked at. He stated that Mr. Fletcher is a "big box " player and that if the community wants to attract the smaller businesses then there may need to be a different broker representing Bohannon. Beckman stated it is important to find some accommodation with Bohannon. The group needs to work with them and not just defer to what their current plans are. Gudjohnsen stated that the group needs to talk with them and invite them to meetings and send the current brochure with a cover letter stating that this is what the committee is doing and ask for the Organization's input.
Weiss made a motion that the committee accept the brochure in concept, referring it back to Roberta Furger to finalize it, based on the additional recommendations from tonight's meeting, and secondly that a subcommittee is formed to organize the approach to businesses and then use the finalized brochure to approach these businesses. Davis seconded the motion.
Beckman made a substitute motion that before the brochure is approved by the Board, that members of the community have an opportunity to comment on it. Secondly that the comniittee proceed with the brochure but that it not be approved and released to the public until the committee has some sign from the County that it supports the Committee's plan for the Square.-- This motion was tabled due to the fact that there was no second to the motion.
Vote on Weiss's motion: Motion carries 9 in favor to 1 against.
Thoms stated that he felt that it is important that the public look at the brochure and have the opportunity for comments/changes to be made. Gudjohnson stated that by 4/18 the final draft should be presented to the Board. Van Huffel stated that the Board already gave its changes to Roberta Furger which have been incorporated in the draft presented. Gudjohnson suggested that the Association print the pamphlet in its Village Briefs Newsletter. It was discussed and the consensus of the committee was to put an outline of the plan in the Village Briefs for residents to comment on via e-mail, telephone calls , letters to the Association office or come to the. next Business Development meeting where the brochure/plan will be voted upon. Thoms suggested that the wording in the pamphlet be stronger in terms of what the plan is. It was discussed whether the group wanted to send out another survey to residents regarding the brochure for input. The consensus of the group was to hold off on another survey regarding the brochure.
Van Huffel stated that the group should show Bohannon what they are doing-but not necessarily ask for the Organizations approval. She stated that she intended to approach Gottschalks with a letter and wanted the committee's support. If the committee did not support this she would look to the Board for how they wanted to proceed with the Gottschalks Corporation.
A vote was taken by the committee as whether it was infat,or of Vail Huffel approaching Gottschalks asking this corporation to consider coming into the Village Square.
Ayes: 4, Noes: 5, Vote is against Van Hiiffel approaching Gottschalks at this time.
Van Huffel stated that she would relay the committee's vote to the Board and let them decide how they wanted her to proceed.
Chair Thoms noted that he feels the committee should get its plan finalized prior to approaching any businesses. McMillan questioned when the final plan would be developed by the committee. Thoms stated that the plan should be developed by the next month's meeting.
Formation of sub-committees - Chair Thoms suggested that Roberta Furger be a member of the subcommittee for the brochure. Lisa Gudjohnsen stated that she would help Roberta on this committee.
Chair Thoms announced volunteers and/or suggestions for members to the subcommittee which would discuss businesses to approachfor the Village Square. Thefollowing persons were nominated or volunteered. Carol Davis, MaryAnn McMillan, Bruce Kern, Pat Pebelier, Barry Weiss, and Mary Reynolds. The Committee voted unanimously to accept this membership to the subcommittee. Carol Davis volunteered to Chair the subcommittee.
Howard Beckman stated that he understands that time is of the essence, but that the committee needs to proceed carefully. He questioned how the committee could adequately monitor the business environment. in the area and how it could then use this information and store it. Beckman stated that perhaps this could be discussed at a future meeting.
Chair Thoms stated that a discussion of the General Community Plan for the area would be on the next agenda.
Beckman stated that at some point he would like the group to look into the pros and cons of establishing a Merchant's Association for San Lorenzo.
Steele suggested that the group get a clear plan for the Square and develop an architectural vision for the area. Beckman stated that the group might want to sponsor a competition with architecture firms giving their input/ideas for the area. Van Huffel stated that it is important for the group to determine what the community wants and that the group needs to seriously look at how they go about doing this.
Beckman stated that once the plan or vision is established, the group cannot just bring in businesses on the basis of the plan, but must explore what it means and this may take more time. Davis stated that it is important to approach businesses to find out who would be amenable to come into the area.
Chair Thoms stated that the final draft for the brochure will be discussed at next months meeting as well as a report from the subcommittee who is in charge of approaching businesses.
Meeting Adjourned. at 9:04 PM.
Respectively submitted by: Kathleen Harrigan