Scanned and reposted by San Lorenzo Express



June 3, 1999

Meeting Called to Order: 7:00 by Committee Chair Travis Thoms.

In Attendance: Committee Members: Mary Ann McMillan, Harry Gin, Jim Spears, Millie Arieta, Pat Pebelier, Frank Peixoto, Mel Brookman, Travis Thoms, Mary Reynolds, Barry Weiss, Jack Mackinnon, Tina Cheung, Lisa Gudjohnsen, Special Guest: Francis Nelson, Bohannon Organization, Robert Webster, Bohannon Organization; County Representatives: Gail Steele, Eileen Dalton. Guests: Ron Groves, Kathie Ready, Eleanor Nanii, Gary Marshall

Opening Comments: Chair Thoms stated that he would now entertain motions for new members to the Business Development Committee.
Weiss nominated Ron Groves, with a second. The vote was unanimous, and this person would be suggested to the Board for nomination to the committee.
Reynolds nominated Kathy Ready, with a second. The vote was unanimous, and this person would be suggested to the Board for nomination to the committee.
Weiss nominated Sharon Foster, with a second. The vote was unanimous and this person would be suggested to the Board for nomination to the committee.

Chair Thoms also announced that the youth representative he has on the roster is different from the current membership and should be changed and approved by the committee. Sharon Stout is the member who withdrew from the youth commission and Tina Cheung is the new representative to the committee from that commission.

Van Huffel questioned the process of nomination. She thought the committee would be discussing the process and not actually nominating members. Van Huffel stated that in the Association's last newsletter it was announced that member applications could be picked up at the office and she had at least three responses. She stated that she thought the process was that the committee recommend someone for the committee and that the Board would then choose the membership from the recommendations. Thoms stated that he felt the process was similar, and that the committee should have a say in who it nominates to the Board. Van Huffel stated that there are at least four vacant seats. Roberta Furger had also handed her resignation to Van Huffel and Thoms, which would leave another vacancy on the committee. Weiss noted a point of clarification, reading from the committee's charter. "Replacement members will be appointed by the Board upon recommendation of the existing committee. Committee shall ask the Association to advertise for volunteers, from this pool, individuals shall be nominated by committee members and approved by the committee as a whole before recommendation to the Board." Van Huffel states that there are two or three applications on her desk and that she would like to include these with the group's nominations. Chair Thoms stated that the committee should review the applications prior to considering them for nomination.

Chair Thoms stated that Mr. Stedham did not show to the meeting so the committee will move on to the next item on the agenda.

Minutes from 6/3/99 meeting. The following corrections to the May 6,1999 minutes were pointed out by Weiss:

Page 2, under Discussion of Village Square vision with the Bohannon Organization, second paragraph, last sentence: change "do " to "due.

Page 3, fifth paragraph, tenth sentence, change the word 'average' to 'median', making the sentence read: "He said that the median income of San Lorenzo is approximately $45,000 within a 3-mile radius vrsus the median income which is $54,000.

Page 3, fifth paragraph, tenth sentence, change the end of the sentence from "the average income to read "San Lorenzo residents " Page 4, third paragraph, second sentence change the end of the sentence to read "Bohannon stated that Gottschalks said that their corporation does not go into developed urban areas but of areas that are not already developed.

McMillan made a motion to accept the May 6, 1999 minutes with the corrections, McKinnon seconds the motion. The motion carries unanimously.

Discussion of Protocol - Chair Thoms asked the Board members on the committee what the protocol is when a new business has a proposal for the area? What role does the committee have in making recommendations for or against the proposal? Arieta stated that any recommendations from the committee should come before the Board for its consideration. Chair Thoms questioned whether the group should make two presentations - one to the committee and then another to the full Board? Or whether one presentation to the committee was adequate. Gudjohnsen stated if the protocol is to make two identical presentations, then the developer should be made aware of the protocol and what it would entail.

Arieta stated that not all Board members attend the Business Development Committee and to be fair to Board members as well as the potential developer/business, two presentations are necessary. Gudjohnsen suggested that a protocol form be drafted for business/developers so that there is a clear understanding of the process. Van Huffel stated that there will be some developments that are proposed for the San Lorenzo area that are under heavy time constraints, and may not be able to come before both committees, prior to the county considering the proposals. She said she just got another proposal on her desk today regarding yet another proposal for a storage facility at the end of Grant Avenue in San Lorenzo that will go before the Planning Commission within the next few weeks and will not have time to go before both the committee and the Board. It was pointed out that even if the committee and the Association Board approve or disapprove of the project that the Board of Supervisors has the final say as to whether a project will go through or not. Weiss suggested that the committee get out of this process all together at this point. He stated that the committee was put together to develop and economic plan for the village, and that it should get out of the business of attempting to be a planning board, which may evolve later. Weiss stated that the committee should focus on developing this economic plan and allow developers to go straight to the Board. Kathy Ready stated that the only reason the committee should stay involved with potential development is to prevent what happened with the proposal for a storage facility at the corner of Grant and Washington. She said that the developers had not clearly conveyed to the Board what changes were being made to the facility, and it was only by members from the Business Development committee going back and forth to the zoning hearings that accurate information was acquired about the proposal. She stated that the group should stay informed/involved with development in the area. Gin agreed pointing out that San Lorenzo is small enough that the group should be aware of any development that might impact the area. He stated that the committee should consider not only the development of the square but the total area of San Lorenzo. Weiss stated that he would agree that the group should look at the total area as far as economic development, but he believed that it was not appropriate for the group to be approving developments; this was not its charge, but the Board's. Chair Thoms disagreed, stating that it is important for the group to see what businesses are coming into the area as it is developing a plan. If a development doesn't fit the committee's plan, then it should be looked at.

McKinnon stated that if a small business is coming into the area, using an existing business, it should not have to come before the committee, however if a new development is being constructed, the group should look at the proposal. Reynolds agreed that any kind of new construction or major remodeling of commercial space should be considered. Chair Thoms stated that the committee may want to put more thought into it. He will write up a step by step plan on what a proposed developer should do when considering property in San Lorenzo. Van Huffel stated that she would be willing to write the document. She felt it was important to consider what charge the Board wants the committee to do. Van Huffel stated that she feel frustrated that the group has not begun to do what it was meant to do. She stated that it was important for the group to review new developments but said that at some point the group needs to consider the original charge of how to bring new businesses into the area. And also how to get a plan for San Lorenzo. McMillan suggested that protocol that the process would be for the Chair to appoint a committee of two or three committee members to meet with Van Huffel to come up with a process for potential businesses to go through when they wanted to come into the area. It was discussed and decided that Van Huffel could draft up a process and present in front of the Committee. Weiss added that once a recommendation is made by the committee, that the committee forward a memo in writing to the Board about what occurred at the meeting and give an explanation of the recommendation. Van Huffel added that if the committee is going to deal with planning issues, it is critical that the group get training from the County on planning do's and don'ts. Chair Thoms stated that he didn't feel this was necessary given the fact that the group is an advisory body. Van Huffel stated that it is important for the group to understand from a planning point of view what can be accepted or rejected on a particular proposal.

Steele stated that it is complicated thing that is going on in San Lorenzo. The complications are related to the reasons many residents don't want a particular development for the area. The reasons are often not related to planning, but are for aesthetic reasons. Steele suggested that what the committee may really want to focus on is design standards for the area and get out of the planning process. Dalton stated that the signage requirements and the height requirements are different from County standards in the Ashland/Cherryland corridor on East 14th Street. Gin stated that he felt that training is necessary for the group to know what the legal parameters are for development in terms of the planning and the county requirements. Arieta stated that it is important for the group prevent the county from approving developments without the community's involvement. McMillan said that the committee needs to develop many things for the group, the committee has no idea of how to approach a business to get them to come into the area. She stated that the committee needs a lot of education.

Gin made a motion to have Van Huffel invite county staff to the committee to train the members. Gudjohnson made a second to the motion.

Weiss stated that it is important that before the committee go through training that it have a clear view of where the committee is going. The committee's charge is to come up with a vision for the community and a strategic plan to implement that vision. Long and short term goals need to be defined as well as a time frame for these goals. The committee needs to crystalize what it wants to accomplish so that it knows what training is needed. Gudjohnsen stated that the project of the committee has become so immense, that it has become overwhelming. The committee needs to regroup and decide what it wants to accomplish, what it needs to be trained in and try to accomplish that.

A guest resident, Eleanor Nann, stated that she came to the committee tonight to find out what is being done about the Village Square. She thinks it looks horrible and she stated that the committee seems to have good ideas, but no focus. Supervisor Steele stated that county staff needs to come in and help develop a plan with the group. She stated that she will get a couple of staff people assigned to the committee who can come back to the group on a regular basis and field questions related to planning, development etc.. Ready stated that it seems that the committee is trying to develop a plan and a way to bring businesses in but it is hard to attract potential businesses with the area looking as it does now.

Arieta suggested that the motion be withdrawn and the committee work together on to focus on where it wants to go. Van Huffel stated that it is important for a few members to get together with county staff to bring a work plan that the committee agrees upon.

Gin withdraws his motion.

Motion made by McMillan that a written recommendation be passed onto the Board whenever a business presents a proposal before the committee. Thoms seconds. Motion passes unanimously.

Motion made by Arieta to adopt Gail Steele's proposal that the group bring county staff on to guide it with the planning of the San Lorenzo Village. McMillan seconded. Motion passes unanimously.

Gudjohnsen made a motion that the a subcommittee be formed consisting of two (2) to three (3) members of the committee along with county staff and Van Huffel to come up with a plan for the group to bring to the next meeting. Motion dies for lack of second.

Steele stated that there must be some understanding about what the county can and cannot do with respect to businesses.

Gin suggested that the Board consider a sunset date for the committee - this will force the committee to take some action before it expires. Chair Thoms stated the problem with a sunset is that the group is currently dealing with several entities who have different time tables: the Board, the committee and the County. The group cannot say it will be done by a certain time because there is a possibility one of these groups will not be ready.

Reynolds asked Steele whether or not a site plan was needed for the Square prior to any business going into the area. Steele stated that it is getting very complicated because the Bohannon organization is going through with the Rite Aid proposal. Steele stated that she understands the group wants continuity to the area and not piece-meal development. She stated that it is important to get someone to the area to give a complete vision of what the square would look like and what how the buildings would fit together and she is unsure how to do this.

Weiss proposed that the committee have two long term goals: The first is to attract desired businesses, second is to create a design of what the community desires. Short term goals: Finish the brochure, develop a potential business list that matches the vision; develop a schematic drawings that matches the vision; update demographics; enumerate a way to assist the developer to attract businesses; to contact potential businesses; our evaluation criteria with respect to contacting businesses would be to contact 15 businesses in conjunction with the Bohannon Organization and the County; we have a personal meeting with ten (10) of them, five (5) businesses enter in negotiations with the Bohannon Organization, 3 (three) businesses sign a lease. Weiss stated that the criteria set out would determine if the group has been a success or not. If the group took the time to do some of these things then it would have focus and feel like it is moving forward.

5. Report from the Business Attraction subcommittee:

Staff person Kathleen Harrigan, read a memo from subcommittee chair, Carol Davis, who could not be at the meeting. The meeting stated that the subcommittee did not meet in May, however the committee will meet for the purpose of training as soon as the Board directs the committee to begin contacting perspective businesses. The Bohannon Organization, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and the County have all agreed to meet and all members of the Business Development committee are invited to attend. She stated that she had given a memo to Chair Thoms dated 4/15/99 to present to the Board requesting a time-line to approach perspective businesses, which she believes has not been conveyed to the Board thus far. She respectfully requested the memo be given to the Board in the very near future.

Reynolds stated that she did not feel that committee members should not be contacting businesses unless they are trained to do so. Arieta stated said that the homeowners would carry some weight in the process. Chair Thoms stated that as a members from the committee could go with the developer and/or county, however he did not feel members should make the first contact. Brookman stated that no one can get trained in a week or a month, it takes years. The committee needs to have an idea of what the area is going to look like otherwise it will look like fools. If plans, or pictures can be shown to potential businesses, it will sell the square much better. Arieta stated that Weiss' last comments are very appropriate to move forward, however, she felt that the Bohannon Organization needs to be behind the committee.

Mackinnon stated that the site looks like a very hard site to develop due to its size. Nelson agreed that it is hard to develop this site, most tenants want frontage on Hesperian and there is only one place that a potential business could be put, leaving businesses behind, at a disadvantage. Gudjohnsen stated that she would suggest using much of the land as a park and making the square a pretty "center". Nelson stated that it would be difficult to get potential businesses to buy into that idea because they would have to pay for the upkeep.

Chair Thoms asked what the first step is in fixing the problems with attracting businesses. Steele suggested that professional people come to the area to help look at a vision for the area to get past the problems. A proposed plan could be drawn up to attract businesses to the site. Steele stated that she would ask county staff what it would cost to work with the Bohannon's on how to pay or put out an RFP for professional designers to come down and look at the area and create visual designs for the square, she would bring this information back to the next Business Development Committee meeting.

Weiss questioned where the committee was going, he stated he was concerned with long and short term goals and a comprehensive plan for the committee.

McMillan made a motion to set up a committee to develop long/short term goals for the group. Gudjohnsen seconded the motion with a friendly amendment which would be "a subcommittee" to develop long/short term goals. McMillan accepted the friendly amendment. Motion passes with a unanimous vote.

The subcommittee members would include: Gin, Weiss, Groves, and Reynolds.

Announcements: Van Huffel announced that there would be another zoning hearing for the Washington/Grant proposal which would include a visual simulation. This would occur June 9. 1999.

June 8, 1999 there would be a special Board meeting to discuss the options of how to appoint a new Board member.

There would be a joint meeting between the Board and the Business Development Committee discussing redevelopment, June 15, 1999 at 7:30 p.m. in the San Lorenzo Community Hall.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned by Chair Thoms at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

by Kathleen Harrigan