February 29, 2016
1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting of the City Council was called to order by Mayor John Marchand at 7:03 pm, in the City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore, California.
1.01 ROLL CALL - Present: Mayor John Marchand, Vice Mayor Stewart Gary, and Council Members Steven Spedowfski, and Bob Woerner. Council Member Laureen Turner was absent/excused.
1.02 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2. OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC TO ADDRESS CITY COUNCIL REGARDING SPECIAL MTG ITEM
Mayor Marchand reordered the agenda to receive public comment after the staff presentation of the special meeting item.
3. MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION
3.01 Discussion and direction regarding the Isabel Neighborhood Plan and update on BART to Livermore Extension Project.
Recommendation: The Planning Commission and staff recommended the City Council discuss alternative concepts for the Isabel Neighborhood Plan and provide direction for the development of one preferred land use plan.
Assistant City Engineer Bob Vinn, Associate Planner Lori Parks, and Principal Planner Steve Riley presented the staff report.
Mayor Marchand invited public comment.
David Best, Shea Homes, spoke in support of the development. He said there was a healthy demand for this type of housing in the area.
Elizabeth Cobb, Shea Properties, spoke in support of the development and the community engagement. She requested that Shea Properties be included in the preferred plan and key policy framework to provide input and helpful insight into the development.
Jeannie Haigh, Innovation Tri-Valley, spoke in support of the project and real BART, saying the City needed to continue to provide the necessary tools and support for the community.
Sblend Sblendorio, Innovation Tri-Valley, spoke in support of transit and housing to attract competitive jobs and to provide for the millennials.
Justin Peterson, Livermore, encouraged the City to include LEED neighborhood development and the WELL Program into the project.
David McGuigan, Livermore, spoke regarding the need for parking at the proposed BART station.
Jean King, Livermore, spoke in support of BART to Greenville, transit oriented development, mixed use, public transportation, protecting the Scenic Corridor and the Airport Protection Area. She supported Alternative #2 that had the most open space.
Esther Ann Waltz, Livermore, said the project needed to include a shelter for single men and veterans.
Don Meeker, Livermore, requested the project map include descriptive labels for the northwest sections.
Brenden Finley, Livermore Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of BART and the need for additional housing.
Doug Giffin, Chamberlin Associates, property owner of undeveloped parcel at the northwest corner of I-580 and Airway, spoke regarding rezoning of the parcel with minor land use changes as outlined in the letter attached to the staff report.
Mark Pleis, Cornerstone Fellowship, spoke in support of Alternative 1, and encouraged affordable housing for the workforce and students. He said there needed to be a larger footprint for the tech hub.
Robert Allen, Livermore, spoke in support of full BART to Livermore and the establishment of a bus link called ABLE (Allens BART Livermore Express) Commute.
John Steinbuch, Pleasanton, Colliers Properties, spoke in support of Alternative 1 and said the parking should be on both the north and south sides of the freeway.
Nancy Bankhead, Livermore, spoke regarding Alternative #1 and in support of the proposed zoning changes.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Principal Planner Steve Riley said the impact on the Citys development rate would be spread over a long time frame and would be based on market conditions. He said the development that did occur would need to be within the Citys adopted growth management rate. City Manager Marc Roberts said the City had the ability to set its growth rate. With regards to the scenic corridor, Mr. Riley said it was not expected to have a wall of development along the one mile stretch; there would be space between buildings, open space, and varying heights and design. As part of the development of the specific plan, staff would review housing policies for the area along with goals and objectives for rental housing versus market rate. Mr. Roberts said an increase in affordable housing could be included in the motion as an alternative to the planning process.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Community and Economic Development Director Stephan Kiefer and City Manager Marc Roberts gave a brief history and purpose of the Airport Protection Area.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Assistant City Engineer Bob Vinn said the Citys process was ahead of BARTs. He said BART would consider the plan adopted by Council in their evaluation so that the housing and jobs provided in the plan area would be modeled for ridership. Additionally, BART would review their system expansion policies in light of what the Council adopted. Council would consider the neighborhood plan early in 2017; BART was expected to take action on the project in late 2017.
Principal Planner Steve Riley said staff would include visual simulations and aides in the next phase - the development of the preferred plan.
CM Spedowfski said he liked Alternative #1 and felt it was critical to have the continuous pedestrian loop and additional I-580 pedestrian crossings that were shown in Alternatives #2 and #3.
In response to questions by CM Woerner, Mr. Roberts said staff was continuing to monitor the overall project of BART ultimately extending to Greenville and connecting to ACE. He said although each phase needed to be funded on its own, staff would continue to treat the project holistically. Mr. Vinn said the Dublin/Pleasanton station had 2,886 parking spaces. Mr. Vinn said there could be preferred parking for Livermore residents. Mr. Roberts said funding sources would need to be identified to purchase land for a parking lot for Livermore residents only. Mr. Roberts said the one-half mile reasonable distance to walk to BART was written into the regulations. Mr. Roberts also listed numerous factors that would make the one-half mile walk reasonable. Mr. Vinn said the actual design of the BART station would happen after this process; staff was working on concepts to cost the facility. He reminded CM Woerner that BART was a state agency and not subject to local regulations. Mr. Roberts said the Council would have strong influence in the design process but not absolute control. Mr. Kiefer said LEED and WELL practices would be included in the project.
CM Woerner requested staff provide information developing preferred parking for Livermore residents, in addition to concepts on how to solve the need for impromptu parking for non-commuters.
In response to questions by VM Gary, Mr. Vinn said staff had not yet determined how many additional parking spaces there would be for a Livermore only parking lot. With regards to the scenic corridor, Mr. Roberts said Shea Sage was already part of the quarter mile distance and Council already knew what that looked like. He said the Isabel interchange and the actual BART station with bridges across the freeway would blow out a fairly big chunk of the scenic corridor view. He said staff needed to do visual simulations to show the variations. He said in the tech hub area, a noticeable amount of the view would be gone.
Mayor Marchand requested staff identify the parcels questioned earlier during public comment. In response to providing more homeless shelters, he said Livermore currently had six shelters in Livermore and there were none in the other Tri-Valley cities. He said he was still having conversations with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to repurpose the VA hospital for housing for returning homeless veterans.
VM Gary said he preferred Alternative #1 with some of the walkability aspects of Alternative #2. He expressed concern for the scenic corridor and said the project was better suited for Greenville. He said there was no guarantee that BART would come through even if the City built the project. He said the planning needed more effort and the visual simulations needed to be presented to the community and the Council.
CM Woerner said the ultimate destination for BART needed to be considered. He agreed with VM Garys comments and said the biggest compromises were the scenic views. He said unless there were big gaps between the buildings, the scenic corridor views would be lost. He said there needed to be a practical solution because when the project was completed, all views would be lost.
CM Spedowfski said he was very concerned about the scenic corridor and he needed more interaction. He said the visual simulations provided for the Shea-Sage project were very helpful to make the exemption for that project. He said many things, including site design and architecture, needed to be considered to avoid looking like the other end of the valley. He requested more information regarding parking and the public-private partnership for the West Dublin parking structure. He said BART to Isabel was the first step to ultimately going out to Greenville. He agreed with the Planning Commission and staff recommendation and requested the affordable housing be increased in the next phase of the project.
Mayor Marchand supported Alternative #1 with the additional pedestrian bridge, the parks, and the single retail center. He said many of the champions of the scenic corridor had passed on and the scenic corridor was a large part of Livermores identity; Livermore was not building housing for ten thousand for bus service instead of full BART. He said the visual simulations would be very important to the process. He said BART to ACE was critical, but Measure BB specified funds for a BART to Isabel station. He said Livermore controlled its land use, not BART or the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
IT WAS MOVED BY VM GARY TO DIRECT STAFF TO PROCEED WITH THE
DESIGN WORK FOR ALTERNATIVE #1 INCLUDING THE PEDESTRIAN FEATURES AND PARKS OF ALTERNATIVE #2, PREPARE SCENIC CORRIDOR VISUAL SIMULATIONS FOR COUNCIL REVIEW AND DISCUSSION PRIOR TO THE PROJECT GOING TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION, AND TO INCREASE THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS.
City Manager Marc Roberts said staff would incorporate all recommendations into a single plan and prepare full visual simulation for both north and south of the freeway. He suggested the Planning Commission view the visual simulation first and make recommendations to the Council before the adoption of a preferred alternative.
In response to VM Garys questions of taking the final plan to a vote of the residents, Mr. Roberts said the detail work for the scenic corridor was not fodder for an initiative. He suggested the Council wait and see what the final product looked like after the environmental work. In addition to concerns for the scenic corridor, the community was also concerned about traffic, parking and circulation. He said the preliminary work would not be completed until 2017. After the preferred plan had been completed, BART would then be asked to take their actions which would take an additional six to nine months. He said the final EIR completed plan could go to regional funding entities before the June 2018 primary election.
In response to CM Woerner, Mr. Roberts said staff needed to review the locations of the tall buildings right next to the freeway. He said this was an area of focus for the visual simulations.
CM Woerner said he preferred not to put a building right next to the freeway without a landscaping buffer similar to the Outlets.
In response to questions by CM Spedowfski, Mr. Roberts said to achieve the landscaping buffer, the specific plan would have design standards and set-backs. He said staff would return to Council with updated models and options to those impacts.
VM GARYS RESTATED MOTION, SECONDED BY CM WOERNER, CARRIED ON A 4-0 VOTE, THE CITY COUNCIL DIRECTED STAFF TO PROCEED WITH THE PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PREFERRED PLAN, AS WELL AS TO EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL FOR INCREASING THE INCLUSIONARY REQUIREMENT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING ABOVE THE CITYWIDE STANDARD OF 15% AND TO INCLUDE A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF SCENIC CORRIDOR IMPACTS, INCLUDING VISUAL SIMULATIONS, TO PROVIDE A THREE-DIMENSIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE PREFERRED PLAN.
4. ADJOURNMENT - at 9:42 pm to a regular City Council meeting on Monday, March 14, 2016, at 7:00 pm, Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore.
JOHN P. MARCHAND, MAYOR
SUSAN NEER, CITY CLERK