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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SAN LORENZO VILLAGE HOMES ASSOCIATION April 22, 1999
Meeting called to Order: 7:09 by Committee Chair Travis Thoms.
Members: Howard Beckman, Board representative Jim Spears, Pat Pebelier, Mel Brookman, Travis Thoms, Barry Weiss, Carol Davis, Jack Mackinnon, Roberta Furger, Pat Piras, Lisa Gudjohnsen, Youth Representative Tina Cheung; Residents Attending: Sharon Foster, Ron Groves; County Representative: Bruce Kern, Staff: Kathleen Harrigan, Guests: Carol Robinson, Daily Review
Chair Thoms stated that he was going to Change "Opening Comments" to "Changes in Procedures". He requested that he get a copy of the Business Development Minutes prior to the Board Meeting. Staff member Harrigan stated that she would try her best to do this.
Beckman stated that the Administrator had received some incorrect information regarding the hearings on the storage facility proposed for Grant and Washington streets in San Lorenzo. He informed the group that there was in fact one hearing-not two as the Administrator had announced. The hearing involved a application for a conditional use permit and a variance. There would be no site review as was announced.
Furger requested that in the future, the group defer to staff any procedural questions or problems related to motions or Roberts Rules of Order. She would suggested this so that the members would not waste time discussing it amongst themselves. This procedure would make the meetings run more smoothly and professionally. She also requested that prior to any committee or subcommittee meeting materials presented at that meeting be available prior to the date so they can be reviewed. It was suggested that if staff received the material in a timely fashion they could prepare the documentation for the members. Tina Cheung reported that the Youth Advisory had discussed the self storage proposal for Grant and Washington and took a vote. The vote was unanimous against the proposed development. Other ideas suggested by the youth for the area were a community center or a bowling alley.
Beckman stated that there needs to be a procedure for adding people to the committee. Chair Thoms thought that an announcement was in order when the committee was in the process of accepting new members, then nominations would be taken a scheduled committee meeting, voted upon and referred to the Board for final approval. Weiss had stated that he did not think that there were 20 active members on the committee, and thus an official announcement was not needed. He believed that the committee could vote on a new member/s and forward the name/s to the Board for approval. Piras pointed out that the rules regarding attendance need to be reviewed. Members had been told that meetings would occur on the first Thursday of the month. What is the protocol for special meetings such as this meeting tonight with respect to attendance? If a member is not present this evening is he or she considered an absent for the purposes of attendance? Weiss stated that the committee's charter states that "members shall be deemed active as long as they attend 'pertinent' meetings". Chair Thoms pointed out that the membership parameters had been changed with respect to missed meetings. Members who miss two consecutive meetings are removed from voting, and those missing four (4) consecutive meetings are no longer part of the committee. Weiss suggested that committee members get a copy of the charter and that clarification with respect to membership and meetings be discussed further. He also requested that staff do the following: That the Administrator give guidance to the Chair as to how to proceed when an item is passed by the committee onto the Board of Director's agenda. Weiss also stated that the committee should approve the minutes every meeting and handed staff corrections to the 4/l/99 minutes. Harrigan suggested that any corrections be addressed prior to the meeting so that the minutes can be approved quickly and not take up additional meeting time.
Correction to April 1. 1999 Minutes:
Weiss made the following corrections to the Minutes: First he requested that the attendance note whether persons are guests, members, county representatives or staff. Secondly he asked if guests who speak at meetings can identify themselves so that they can be recorded in the minutes and contacted by the committee in the future if necessary.
The following are the corrections to the minutes: Page 4 under Presentation and passage of Final Vision Plan.... second sentence "to include everyone's (ideas) in the brochure.." Under the same heading, Page 4, 5th paragraph, under Discussion, Change "Weiss questioned" to "Weiss suggested." Page 5, first paragraph, fourth sentence change "some the committee" to "at some point the committee". Also same page under Comments from County ... Supervisor Steele's e-mail address should be corrected from co. alameda ca. us to email@example.com.
Beckman stated he needed clarification in two areas of the minutes where Gail Steele was stated as saying that she would invite members from the Bohannon Organization to the next Business Development Meeting as well as another area of the minutes that stated that she would contact the new owner of the manor shopping center for the committee. Beckman stated that he did not think that Steele had actually said she would contact these people for the committee and that any contacts or invitations to the committee be made by the committee. Chair Thoms stated that his understanding was that Steele had suggested that she would make first contact with these people, prior to the committee inviting them to a meeting.
Howard Beckman made a motion that resident Sharon Foster and Ron Groves be admitted as members to the Business Development Committee - Weiss seconded. Discussion - It was discussed as to what qualifications these residents had to be on the committee. Beckman stated that Foster was one of the first individuals on the initial committee, but due to other obligations had to stop coming to meetings. Weiss stated that Groves owns many Supercuts stores in the area and as a resident of San Lorenzo can bring a business perspective to the committee. Chair Thoms stated that he felt that an announcement should be made in the Association Newsletter. Furger stated that her understanding was that an announcement would need to be made only if the membership dipped below the minimum or was to raise above the maximum with the nominations or resignations of members. Chair Thoms referred to the Board members present to see if their understanding was. Spears and Arieta stated that they agreed with Furger's interpretation of membership. It was pointed out that new membership was not on this agenda, and thus could not be an action item at this time. Beckman withdrew his motion and Chair Thoms stated it would be on the May 6, 1999 agenda, and would include Tina Cheung as a voting member for the youth commission in place of former youth representative Sharon Stout.
Report from Business Attraction subcommittee - Carol Davis reported that the subcommittee met on April 12, 1999 with the Bohannon Organization. Those in attendance felt that the meeting was very productive. Frances Nelson, Scott Bohannon, and Bob Webster were present representing the Bohannon Organization and reported their difficulties and frustrations regarding trying to get an anchor tenant to come into the Village Square. The Organization had asked what businesses the committee wanted and Davis passed around a list the committee had prepared of businesses that members and the community had said they were interested in (via surveys etc.) (See attached list) Davis stated that what the subcommittee plans to do at the next meeting is speak with a gentleman from the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Kern from the County, and Scott Bohannon to give a mini session of how to approach perspective businesses. At that point the subcommittee will have the tools it needs to report to the whole Business Development Committee as to how it might go about attracting businesses. Davis stated that the meeting was very positive and that Bohannon welcomed the assistance in approaching businesses.
Chair Thoms asked where the comments from the businesses that are presently doing business in the area. Davis stated that those comments have been turned into staff and will be handed out at the next meeting.
Sending Vision Plan to the Board - Chair Thoms stated that at the last Board meeting the Directors requested a copy of the committee's vision plan with a cover letter so that it could vote on the item. Furger said she would prepare the brochure and work with staff to see what the final components of the brochure would be. It was discussed and reiterated that what the Board is approving is the text of the document, specifically with respect to the committee's outline of its 'vision plan' for development of the Square area. Beckman stated that he would like to see this announced in the next newsletter. Weiss pointed out that the Mar/April newsletter did announce this item was coming before the Board, but due to a snafu it was not discussed. He questioned whether the Association received any phone calls on the plan in the last newsletter. Staff reported that none were received and agreed that a reminder could be placed in the next newsletter announcing the vision plan being considered by the Board. It was also suggested that the Association office have copies of the brochure for residents to look at.
Discussion concerning the upcoming meeting with Bohannon - Chair Thoms opened the floor of discussion. Beckman questioned the purpose of the last business attraction subcommittee meeting. His understanding was that this meeting would lay the groundwork for the full committees's meeting with the Organization. Davis stated that the tone of the subcommittee meeting was that everyone wants to work with each other. Davis said that only Scott Bohannon would be meeting with the larger group due to conflicts in schedules for Frances Nelson and Bob Webster. Beckman asked whether the subcommittee clarified with the Organization as to whether it had told the county it would not agree on a plan for the area until Rite Aid was approved. Davis stated that no, the subcommittee had tried to leave Rite Aid out of this meeting. Weiss stated that the purpose of this meeting was to educate the organization with respect to what the subcommittee is doing and what the larger group is working on. He said they asked Bohannon whether the assistant of the Business Development Committee would be helpful to the Organization and they responded that it would.
Weiss stated that it is important for the whole committee to decide what it wants to the final outcome of the meeting with Bohannon to be. In this way the group can form a strategy as to achieve that outcome. Furger stated that it was clear at the subcommittee meeting, that the Bohannon Organization had no vision for the area. The subcommittee asked the organization to take a look at the committee's vision and to make comments on it. Furger stated that the outcome of the full committees meeting with Bohannon is to get a formal response on record to the committee's vision. The response should discuss areas of the plan they agree with, question or need more details on. Weiss agreed that this needs to be stated at the beginning of the meeting with Bohannon so that the meeting will stay on target. Beckman requested that Chair Thoms write a letter in his own words to the Bohannon Organization outlining what the intent of the meeting is and by doing so the group will be able to concentrate on the purpose of the meeting without straying. Davis stated that she agrees that a letter is appropriate due to the fact that there will be one of three representatives at this meeting, and in this way it can give the Organization a heads up of what the meeting will be about and they can prepare there representative appropriately. Chair Thoms agreed to write the letter prior to the meeting and to forward it both to the Organization as well as Frances Bohannon.
Weiss stated that it is important to walk out with an agreement from the Bohannon Organization as to how to proceed attracting businesses. Beckman stated that it is important to get the county, the Bohannon Organization and the Association to work together. These three components are needed for success. The importance of the County's involvement in critiquing the plan is so that the Bohannon Organization can note what to expect in the future for the area. He pointed out that if the committee can get an agreement of cooperation from these three parties, (County, Association and Bohannon) to work from a general plan for the area, then the group will be light years from where it was six months ago. Weiss stated that he would like a specific agreement from the Bohannon organization as to what they will bring to the table. He would like to have the committee meet with the broker for the organization to discuss specifics about how to go out and meet with businesses and to discuss how this has been done in the past. Weiss pointed out that as the organization commits resources then it will be showing its commitment to the process the committee has started. Furger stated that part of this commitment could be in identifying a point person for the Organization, who the committee could be contact and receive information from and who might accompany the committee members as they approach businesses. She also agreed that the County is an important part of the process and should be included in the next meeting to see what details they have about redevelopment for the area. Furger stated that she would like to see a strategy/time line as to what the next step for the committee is after meeting with Bohannon etc. Weiss noted that these steps must be solid action steps to follow.
Chair Thoms asked whether the committee would want to discuss rents for the area with the Organization. The consensus of the members was not deal with this subject at this time. Foster stated that a point person is important not only for the Bohannon Organization but that the Business Development Committee. Furger stated that information sharing is important for both the committee, the county and the organization so that everyone can act in unison. Weiss stated that if the organization can copy letters to the committee that are forwarded to perspective businesses, this would keep it informed and aware of what was going on. The committee may also want to ask the Organization as to whether it could provide a sample of a cover letter that it sends to a perspective business so that it can approach businesses in a similar fashion.
Beckman stated that there may be an opportunity in the very near future after the county finishes with the Castro Valley area, that they will be concentrating on development in the Cherryland District and may also include the San Lorenzo area. Decisions will be made by the Board of Supervisors that could effect the whole area. He stressed the importance of getting the county involved with the committee's process due to this fact.
Chair Thoms summarized what had been said:
Groves stated that questions need to be asked to the Organization as to what it perceives as the problems for the attraction of business to the area. The county would be an important component to answering thbse types of questions. Money will be generated for the organization by the square footage it can rent, parking, pedestrian areas need to be looked at. If a park is proposed in the area, the square footage may need to be increased to generate economic feasibility. Groves stated that the group needs to ask the Organization what it perceives as the problem for the area and how can we help to overcome your problems. Chair Thoms stated that maybe the committee should restate the question as to what does the Organization need to make development possible for the area. Bruce Kern stated that other county representatives should be present at the next meeting. Specifically someone from the planning department. He agreed that his department would help with the promotion, but that planning department is needed to address some of the questions for development of the area. In this way the county will be more effective in collaborating its resources and making appropriate suggestions for the area.
Chair Thoms Outlined the discussion for the next meeting as follows:
The consensus of the committee was for Thoms, Beckman and Kern to wordsmith the ideas discussed and to present them to members and participants at the next meeting with Bohannon on May 6, 1999.
Other Topics: Field Trip to tour Shopping Centers May 1, 1999, 9 am to 1 PM. Pat Piras announced that she will be securing transportation for this event and passed around a sign-up sheet for all interested. She stated that the interested persons should meet in the parking lot of the Homes Association Office at 377 Paseo Grande.
Piras said the actual route will be mapped out by Daryl Gray and herself and thus far they have had recommendations to tour the Orinda downtown area, the Sequoia Station in Redwood City and the south part of Alameda County. The Rosewood Shopping Center was suggested in Pleasanton and Beckman suggested the parking area in front of Centennial Hall in Hayward as a good example of a "pedestrian friendly" area that the group may want to look at. Piras suggested that anyone who has further suggestions contact the Association office by next week.
Chair Thoms stated that he feels it is important for the committee to keep abreast with the economic pulse of the community and invited members to suggest how the committee could do this more effectively, prior to finding these things out in the newspaper or at an Association meeting. He stated that it was important to find out about these potential developments prior to them going to the County for approval. Beckman stated that the only way to learn about many of these projects is to open up the networking in the community and that it is important to meet with new property owners regarding development.
Chair Thoms asked the committee what topics it would suggest for future agendas. Beckman stated that he would like to talk about the San Leandro Chamber and its involvement in forming partnership with businesses in San Lorenzo.
Adjourn: Chair Thoms adjourned the meeting at 9:00 a.m.
Respectfully Submitted: Kathleen Harrigan