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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SAN LORENZO VILLAGE HOMES ASSOCIATION July 1, 1999
Meeting Called to Order: 7:18 by Barry Weiss for Committee Chair Travis Thoms.
In Attendance: Committee Members: Mary Ann McMillan, David Sloan, Millie Arieta, Pat Pebelier, Me] Brookman, Travis Thoms, Mary Reynolds, Barry Weiss, Pat Piras,
Guests: Francis Nelson, Robert Webster & Scott Bohannon of Bohannon Organization, Anne Brichacek, Elizabeth Thayer, residents.
County Representatives: Supv Gail Steele, Daryl Gray, Zoning Admin, Jim Sorenson, Plan Dir. Opening Comments: Weiss, stated that Chair Thoms is running late so he would start the meeting for him.
Minutes from 6/3/99 meeting: Weiss announced that the Minutes would be skipped at this time and that the group could would read them and approve by the next meeting with any corrections.
Review of the "new business protocol" Weiss stated that he was unclear as to what the Chair wanted to review with respect to the protocol but stated that Thoms had suggested on the agenda that comments to be no more than three (3) minutes by members and no more that one (1) minute by guests. Weiss asked for any objections and asked the committee if it would approve this protocol by acclamation. There were no objections.
The "new business protocol" was approved by acclamation.
New applicants to the Business Development Committee - New applications were handed out to the members from Anne Brichacek and Denise Chadwick. Chair Thoms stated that he felt that applicants to the committee should attend at least two(2) meetings. There were no objections to this suggestion.
The consensus of the members present was that any interested applicants attend at least two (2) meetings of the Business Development Committee prior to being considered by the committee.
Chair Thoms asked if there were any objections to having Jim Sorenson from the County speak to the group about a proposed plan for the Village Square. Pat Piras noted that this item was not on the agenda and thus not in accordance with policies in the Brown Act, and could not be voted upon. Thoms stated that he understood the Brown Act, but said that the committee was not a government agency and that he would prefer some flexibility. He stated that this was last minute, something Van Huffel had let him know about at the beginning of this past week. Piras stated that in the future, items should be clearly listed, even if they are last minute items.
Presentation by Jim Sorenson from Alameda Counly regarding the Village Square - Sorenson stated that Supervisor Steele had asked both he and Darryl Gray to come and speak before the committee. Sorenson stated that the planning department wants to work with the property owner, the community and county planning staff to develop a realistic plan for the Village Square area. Sorenson stated his department has come up with a preliminary proposal to develop a plan for the Square. He said the County currently has developed two area plans, one for Castro Valley and one for the Eden Area, which includes San Lorenzo, Cherryland and Ashland. Specific Plans have been developed for commercial districts in Castro Valley and on East 14th Street in San Leandro/San Lorenzo areas. The focus for the specific plan for the Village Square would be the for the west side of Hesperian where the old Mervyn's resided.
Sorenson stated that the county envisioned a planning process as follows:
A panel would be put together that would direct and generate ideas for a realistic plan for the property. The property owner would have to be involved and part of this process. Community residents should also be involved, Sorenson stated that the panel preliminarily has two slots for this, but if the community feels there should be more representation, the numbers could be increased. The panel would also include some experts to help with the creation of the plan. An economist/broker and an architectural firm would be involved to take the ideas/uses that come up by the panel and to display them for the community and the panel. County planning staff would also be part of this process. Sorenson stated that the public will be involved with this project in each of the panel discussions/meetings.
Gray asked the committee if it thought the community would be amenable to this proposal. McMillan stated that she thought this was a good start. Gray emphasized that all groups/interested parties will be involved with this process and it will encourage public comment and attendance at each of the panel meetings so that the community can voice its suggestions for the plan. Piras was concerned with when public comment would be heard during these meetings and she pointed out that there was nothing mentioned about traffic/transportation issues with respect to the plan. Gray stated that public comment would be throughout the panel agendas and not just at the end of a particular meeting. It was asked as to how the Business Development Committee would participate in the development of this plan. Sorenson stated that he thought that the group should be a part of each of these panel meetings. Resident Biracheck stated that she did not feel that two community members was enough. Sorenson stated that the number of community members could be reevaluated.
Sorenson stated that the time line for the panel would be as follows: In September there would be a kickoff meeting, where the broker/economist would look at existing conditions in the area. By the end of the month the same direction would be given to the architectural firm. The goal at this point would be to come up with a realistic, practical outline. Community input would be a big part of this process as well as input from the property owner. The object at this point would be to get some realistic input from independent professionals (ie: broker and architect) but still to include the public and the property owner in the process. Gray stated that it is understood that all parties may not be happy with the initial outline, and thus it will be hashed out again through multiple community meetings as well as Association Board of Director's meetings.
Sorenson stated that ultimately the panel would like to develop a "preferred design." He stated that there will be elements of the design that all parties will agree upon and these elements can be pulled out and incorporated and developed into a specific plan. Staff would be working with the community, the broker/economist, the property owner and the architectural firm to develop a realistic plan. The plan will have a fair amount of flexibility and must respond to the fair market for the property owner. Gray pointed out that county planning staff will assist with the regulations required for parking, land use, signs etc.
Sorenson stated that the proposal for Rite Aid is coming before the Board of Supervisors. He said county staff believes the plan would be more credible and provide more freedom for the plan if it did not have to process the Rite Aid proposal at the same time it is developing the plan. Sorenson stated that neither himself nor his staff had a bias against Rite Aid. He clarified that what they want to do is establish an overall design for the Square that the community and the property owner can agree on and that will attract businesses. The County will be going before the Board of Supervisors on July 13, 1999 to ask for a time limited moratorium on processing any plans for the Square until March 2000, when the plan would be complete. If a plan is complete prior to that time, the moratorium could be lifted.
Sorenson suggested that the Board of Directors meet to discuss the plan and moratorium prior to the 13th. Arieta pointed out that the Administrator would not be back from vacation until the 13th of July and she was unsure if the Board could meet before them. Sorenson stated that the process for a moratorium is as follows: the staff must go to the Board of Supervisors twice. First they must request an initial 45 day moratorium, and then they would have to go back before the Board to extend the moratorium through March 2000. Sorenson stated that he would not go before the Board if the consensus from Association Directors was against the initial moratorium. Once the initial moratorium is instituted, there would still be time to put the item on the Board of Directors agenda to discuss and vote upon it. Arieta said that all Board members are in town and she would try to contact them to coordinate a meeting. It was questioned as to why this issue had to be discussed so quickly. Steele stated that the Board of Supervisors does not meet each week in August and that it is important to get the proposal for the moratorium and the plan in place prior to September. She stated that if staff could have a consensus from the Association Board of Directors, it could start the process moving, and additional questions, concerns could be voiced at the Association's July meeting when Sorenson could make a formal presentation to Board members and the public. She stated that she did not want to lose the momentum of the process due to the County Board of Supervisors summer schedule.
Weiss stated that he was impressed with the county's proposal. He said that with resources and some specifications lie felt it could move forward. Sorenson stated that prior to the first meeting of the panel, it would be important to have a public meeting to help assist the panel discussion.
Bohannon was asked how they felt about the plan. Scott Bohannon stated that the moratorium is something they have to think about and discuss with the organization. He felt the idea that the county, the organization and the community discuss this plan was a good one. Thoms questioned how this plan fits in with redevelopment. Sorenson stated that the county is moving forward with redevelopment in the Cherryland, San Lorenzo and parts of Castro Valley and Livermore areas. He said that the plan can run independently of redevelopment or it can work very well with redevelopment helping to guide the process in terms of a plan for the area.
Steele suggested that Mark Lewis come to the committee or the Association to explain how well redevelopment has worked in and for Union City. A question was asked as to why the whole square area was not included in the moratorium. Sorenson stated that most of the east side of the Square is developed and staff did not feel it needed to blanket the whole area from development. Weiss questioned whether it would make sense to have county staff and the public meet several times prior to the panel being constructed. He also suggested that the proposal to develop the plan be put in writing for all who are interested and that the county include the adjacent businesses who will be affected directiv by the development of the Square. He also questioned whether types of businesses would be considered in developing the plan for the square. Weiss stated that the committee had adopted a "vision" ror the Square and had outlined the "types" of businesses it would prefer for the area and he would like this plan to continue along those lines. Sorenson stated that the architectural firm the county is considering has a lot of experience working with developers and they will bring their own understanding of what will work in the current market. McMillan stated that she is very excited about this plan. She stated that although the committee has had ideas about how to develop the square it does not have the expertise that an independent broker or architect has.
Barry Weiss made a motion to have three members of the committee meet with Sorenson and Gray to begin fleshing the proposal out. And that written copies of the plan be distributed to a list of people given to the county by the committee. Reynolds seconded flie motion. The motion passed.
Arieta made a motion to nominate McMillan to this subcommittee to meet with the county, Weiss seconded, The motion carries.
McMillan made a motion to nominate Weiss to the subcommittee, Reynolds seconded, The motion carries.
Thoms made a motion to nominate Brookman to this subcommitee, McMillan seconded. The motion carries.
Piras stated that this is one of the lesser attended meetings, and this item was not on the agenda. She stated at the minimum there should be an opportunity for other members to participate in these discussions about the plan for the square. Gray stated that it would be nice to be able to discuss the plan informally with these individuals in the next several weeks to make sure that the county is still on track before it puts the proposal together and sends it out. Steele stated that the county should put the proposal together and have the three subcommittee members make notations and suggestions on the proposal for changes. She stated that the proposal should show the changes/suggestions as they arise and how they differ from the original.
Comments and Questions by Guests: There were no more comments.
Thoms announced that Beckman resigned from the Committee.
Reynolds made a motion that Beckman's resignation be attached to the minutes of the meeting. Pebelier seconded. Roll call vote taken:
Ayes: Brookman, Pebelier, Piras, Reynolds, Thoms
Noes: Arieta, Weiss Abstain: McMillan The motion carries.
Arieta stated that she did not feel it was appropriate to attach the resignation to the minutes. The minutes are a record of the meeting, the resignation letter is personal and any member who wants a copy can receive one. Thoms stated that the motion has already passed and this is something to keep in mind for future resignations.
Report and discussion of proposed plan/timetable - Chair Thoms stated that Van Huffel was going to draft a plan/timetable for new businesses coming into the area, however he had not received the draft as of yet.
Arieta commented that the sole purpose of the committee was to develop the Village Square. She stated that she did not feel that the committee was a planning committee. She did not feel any business should come before the committee. If any body would have a business come before it, that body would be the Association's Board of Directors meeting and not the Business Development Committee. She stated that the committee needs to focus on the Village Square area as was its original charge. Sloan agreed with Arieta and stated that any business should come before the Board of Directors, and that the committee should maintain its focus on the Square area. Reynolds stated that she did not feel that the committees charge was only the Square area. Thoms stated that the committee was to first work on the square area and then branch out to other areas in San Lorenzo. He stated that the panel the county will be forming will be doing much of what the committee was charged to do with the Square, and thus the committee can look into other business areas of San Lorenzo. Weiss stated that he agrees the committee is not a planning commission and should not act as thus. The committee should get back to the Square and forget about planning. He stated that the committee should be very involved with the county and its proposal for a plan for the Square.
Steele questioned whether the committee could get involved through the redevelopment process if the community wants to go ahead Avith redevelopment. Arieta read the committee's Charter for the members and guests. Thoms stated that it states in the charter that the initial charge is the Square and then to move onto other areas. He felt the committee should be involved with businesses that are coming into the area. He stated that many times the Board gets notice of a proposal at the last minute and has to make a decision at a Board meeting prior to many residents having an opportunity to hear about the project. He said that when he began to participate on the committee he had felt that the group could be a forum for businesses so that the public has more of an opportunity to bear about and participate in the discussions of a specific development proposal. Arieta stated that the county normally informs the Board and not the committee.
Gray stated that various Boards/Commissions are the first point of contact for development proposals and each of their respective subcommittees are informed as that Board/Commission sees fit. Weiss stated that the issue is a mute point, the committee is not a planning committee and it is not in the Charter that they be one. He stated that the group should focus on getting one thing accomplished and now it has an opportunity to do that with the county's proposal for a plan for the Square.
Gray pointed out that the proposal for a plan for the Square area is one step in a long process and should not be looked at as a complete project after the plan is in place. The plan will hopefully initiate development of the Square and impact other areas in San Lorenzo. There will be much to participate with respect to the Square for some time.
Formation of a sub-committee to contact commercial properly owners in San Lorenzo -
Weiss withdrew his plans in light of the county's proposal for a plan.
Other Business - Chair Thoms asked if there were any suggestions for topics for the next agenda. Steele stated that the committee may want to concentrate the rest of its next meeting on the county's proposal for a plan for the square since there are time constraints for developing the plan and it is important that the plan get as much public input as possible. Weiss stated that the whole meeting in August should be dedicated to the county's proposal.
Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned by Chair Thoms at 9:15 p.m.
by Kathleen Harrigan