Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2.4.20 Meeting Summary

Last night there was only one significant item on the agenda and that was the appeals related to the Olivia Project on Marsh Creek and High St.  Ultimately the Council took no action as there were a number of questions raised of staff and prior to any discussion by Council we felt it prudent to wait until staff has a chance to respond to those questions.

I am glad that the community was able to be present in significant numbers to make their voices heard.  Ultimately as an elected official my role is to represent the people and hearing from folks at the meetings, and through any other channel is the best way to ensure I can represent their interests.

Both Councilmember Catalano and Mayor Pierce offered ideas that for the applicant to consider and if these come to fruition could increase available parking at the project significantly.  I thought both of these ideas had potential and I hope they are given serious consideration.

Staff will take the questions from Council and address them.  The meeting was continued until our regularly scheduled meeting on March 3.  Below are the questions I posed:

Independent of any potential questions I may have after hearing back from staff, I asked the following:

  • Contiguous parcels - why was the application for three separate parcels submitted together?  The parcels are located in a PD zone, which indicates a project can consist of multiple contiguous parcels.  The parcels in question however are not contiguous.
  • Why was the criteria to meet the exemption for Class 32 Infill changed from statute? Item C in the CEQA statute says that for a project to qualify, among other things, it must "occur[s] within city limits on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses." However, in the staff report this requirement is described as, "occurs within the city limits on a project site of no more than five acres, surrounded by developed areas". "Developed areas" is different than "urban uses". I asked for clarification on the definition of these terms, as well as whether the surrounding zoning of "rural estate" is consistent with urban uses. By my read being urban seems to be mutually exclusive from being rural.
  • What was the onus for the city to engage Raney as a third party?  Is a third party required?
  • Can the report include actual reports and work papers from the consultants engaged, rather than just the summaries.  I asked for a table of the various consultants and who engaged them.
  • Staff report indicated that parking could not occur on Marsh Creek Rd and wanted to verify if that was accurate?
  • What are reasonable nexus and proportionality in terms of conditions of approval?  Applicant attorney's opinion conflicts with staff report about the existence of nexus.
  • I inquired about property tax calculation methodology for both special assessments and ad valorem taxes.
  • What is the delineation between concessions and waivers, in what ways are they the same, and how are they treated differently under density bonus law?
  • I asked if it was appropriate to have a CEQA exemption without an attached project?  It seems like the Planning Commission determined that something was exempt from CEQA, but it wasn't the project in question since that was not approved.
  • How is the project to be consistent with the General Plan, specifically the items called out by Mr. Hummer in his appeal?
  • How have we addressed certain things identified in the letter from Michael Baker International? For example, using Concord rental rates, the assumption that contingencies and developer's fees were included in the ROI analysis, that the parking study data was based on only three sites located in Pennsylvania from data collected in 2008, for an age group that skewed higher than the proposed development, and the local setting that is rural with limited shopping and employment opportunities and transit options all of which would influence upward the rate of auto ownership. This report also indicated that residents would likely seek nearby on street parking in Stranahan and that this was not discussed or addressed..  It was the opinion of Michael Baker International that the parking analysis did not demonstrate that the parking provided is consistent with the CA parking experience, nor did the study provide sufficient evidence that the proposed parking supply will not cause parking impacts in adjacent residential neighborhoods.  I asked for staff to address these items.
  • I asked about the Fair argument standard and how it applies to CEQA analysis?

I also intended to ask about the applicability of fire risk as it pertains to CEQA review, in pulling from one of the appellants but I didn't get to during the meeting.  I will be asking about this directly from staff to include in their responses.

If anyone has further questions, please reach out and I'll see what I can find out.