Scanned and reposted by San Lorenzo Express



April 5, 2001

Present: Members: AnnMarie Mrak, Kathie Ready, Mary Reynolds, Keith Barros, Ron Groves, Mary Ann McMillan, Betty Moose, Pat Pebelier, Travis Thoms
Residents: William Lewis, Enrique Barboza, Howard Beckman, Karyn McNicholas
Businesses: Greg Luey from Albertson's, Rogelio Alvarado representing La Roca
Staff: Nancy Van Huffel

Opening Comments: Chair Mrak called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. Minutes for the March 1, 2001 meeting were accepted and approved. No new members were nominated.

Lorenzo Manor Shopping Center Update: Van Huffel reported that Supervisor Steele has notified the Association that at this time, the old KFC building will not be torn down do to legal maneuverings. Rogelio Alvarado the owner of La Roca Restaurant, the new business occupying the old KFC, came to the committee to introduce himself. He had questions regarding the beer and wine ordinance for his new restaurant. There was discussion whether licenses or regulations for restaurants are different than those for markets.

Questions from the committee included, whether or not the exposed wiring in the ceiling has been taken care of or not. The owner says it will be taken care of shortly. Owner wanted to know about drive-thru window. Committee would like to see window stuccoed over. Owner says that would be a large expense. Committee asked to visit the new business and bring back any comments to the next meeting.

Lorenzo Theater Association Update: There was a report on the meeting held with the Lorenzo Theater Foundation and Dr. Salwan on April 4, 2001. McNicholas reported that Dr. Salwan says he bought the Theater because he wants to do something nice for the community and doesn't need to make a profit. He is open to ideas, within financial reason. Theater Foundation says it will be a long process. Committee had questions about the condition of the roof. When repair to that will commence. There are concerns over opening the Theater for fundraisers and that, that is as much as will ever be done.

Concerns about Redevelopment monies being used to help Salwan if it remains a private enterprise. It will not be able to function as a "for profit" business. What the community wants. It was also pointed out that Salwan has owned the Theater since December 22, 2000, and the For Sale sign, the garbage and the graffiti remain.

It may now be necessary to have a community meeting, or at the very least, to ask the opinion of the community, via a survey in the Village Briefs, about what they would like to see happen next. It was pointed out that the Foundation has had the last three years to come up with a workable plan, donations and grants. Consensus of the committee is to invite someone that represents the Theater Foundation Board to speak on the plan for the Theater at the next BCDC meeting.

C.C.&R. Committee: The C.C.& R. Committee will meet with the Board and Homes Association attorney on April 11th to discuss the new policies and procedures to improve the appearance of San Lorenzo. Nancy presented the committee with a written summary of priorities and proposed change of policies. A Draft of the policies and the N.P.O. that will go to homeowners that will be enforceable and be able to hold up in court. There will also be a monthly summary of violations to the Board and county referrals. Beckman pointed out that the C.C.& R.'s do not have a provision to "grandfather" in things that are against the rules. That question will be specifically asked of the Association attorney.

Homes Recognition Award Program: Mrak passed out the plan for the Homes Recognition Award Program. Items discussed: should residents be awarded for "just maintaining" their homes. Should they be recognized for restoring, completely changing, before and after appearances. Consensus of the committee: the larger committee will bring in nominations to each BCDC meeting. The smaller committee will then decide on the winner. The basis at this time will be "appearance" only. The recognition will be limited to once per home, per owner.

The home does not have to be owner-occupied. There will be one award per month. The award will be presented to the owners of the home at the Homes Association Board monthly meeting. Nancy will provide members of the BCDC with maps of San Lorenzo, sectioned off, so that all areas are looked at. The consensus of the committee was to accept the proposal and present it to the Board for approval.

Zoning Board of Adjustments: Beckman presented an explanation of how zoning and planning work. According to State law, the county can have a Board of Zoning Adjustments or Zoning Administrator to decide Conditional Use Permits and variances, or if the area has neither of these two entities, then decisions can be made by a Planning Commission. He explained that residents from the different unincorporated areas got together to see if it would be possible to change from a Zoning Administrator to Z.B.A. Participants from the San Lorenzo area in these meetings were Howard Beckman, Keith Barros and Kathie Ready.

The proposed Board would be comprised of more than 1 person. It would be 5 people chosen by the Board of Supervisors for each of the unincorporated areas, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, and the Pleasanton/Sunol area. Reasons for the proposed change include: decisions for approval of C.U.P. 's and variances, over time, have the most powerful impact on communities in how they look and their quality of life. Planning staff participates in the plan and then has the authority to make the subsequent decision. Staff reports are edited without the planners approval.

Staff reports on conditional use permits have failed all four criteria and yet have been approved, even with input from the community that asked that there be no approval given. There is too much chance for conflict of interest. The current single person system allows for too much personal interpretation of the rules and regulations, opens the door to favoritism, personal agenda, and even corruption to take priority over the public good.

Conclusions of discussions: Cost was not an issue. Martinelli and Sorensen had discussed this at previous meetings. The current system is overdue for a change. It would be much more difficult for anyone to manipulate or have control of a panel of 3 to 5 people than with only 1 person having control. People making the decisions on Conditional Use Permits and Variances cannot be intimately involved with the applicants by giving them advice, telling them how to get around things, and then deciding the issues.

The people making the decision have to be separated from the applicant. The applications have to be looked at on their merits alone. The decisions being made, set a precedent, and a precedent that is incorrectly set is used in future decisions. This issue will be addressed at the May unincorporated meeting. It has been put on the Agenda by Supervisor Miley. The issue will also go to Board of Supervisors for their approval.

Question whether the Homes Association Board has had enough time for thought on this matter. A letter was sent to the Homes Association in October of 2000 regarding this, and asking for their opinion and participation.

Van Huffel suggested to the group that she believed there were other options for the County to consider besides the two that had been discussed. She believes there are several variations of both the current system and the one that Beckman has recommended. She thought we all had the same objectives, which would be to assure a fair and impartial hearing for applicants. However, she stated when you appoint a political body, there are often times when you get political decisions instead of consistent, professional, and objective decisions.

She further advised the Committee that it was premature to take a vote without hearing all the facts from everyone involved and recommended that no action be taken until public hearings on the matter took place.

Several of the committee members commented they had enough facts.

A motion is made by Barros to recommend to the Homes Association Board that they endorse a change to a Zoning Board of Adjustments from the present single person Zoning Administrator system, and that each of the unincorporated communities be represented on that Board by a resident of that unincorporated area. Moose seconds the motion. The motion passes unanimously.

Agenda items for next month: Review the BCDC charter and suggest any necessary changes. Theater Foundation. Conclusions of C.C.& R. committee. SLZ Homes Recognition. Zoning Board of Adjustment (any further discussion).

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathie Ready
Acting Recording Secretary