| ACTION NOTES
Brentwood Agricultural Advisory Committee
June 26, 2000
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers
Mayor Kidd, Councilman McPoland, Commissioner Lawrence, Peter Wolfe, Marty
Maggorie, Dick Vrmeer, John Chapman, Ronn Nunn, Mark Dwelley, Glen Stonebarger,
John Johnson, Jack Adams, John Kopchik and Ed Meyer.
There were no announcements.
REVIEW ACTION NOTES OF APRIL 27, 2000 AND MAY 15, 2000
The Committee approved the April 27, 2000 Action Notes unanimously.
The Committee requested that the May 15, 2000 Action Notes include that
additional information on the issue of lending needs to be brought before
the Committee. Also, that it be noted that the Consultants are beyond
the number of Advisory Committee meetings within their contract and that
it was decided to add more meetings and take additional time to review
the Draft Committee Report. With these corrections, the Action Notes were
REVIEW TONIGHT’S AGENDA
Jeff Loux, of MIG, indicated that the Committee start with the report
and the specifics. He suggested going over the items that had not yet
been reviewed and also going over the unresolved items, which Mayor Kidd
There were no public comments.
CONTINUED REVIEW OF THE DRAFT AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISE REPORT
Jeff Loux suggested taking five minutes to give the Committee time to
review a memo from Mayor Kidd to the Advisory Committee dated June 20,
2000. (Five minutes was taken for the Committee to review the memo.)
A Committee Member mentioned a concern with the Brown Act related to review
of the memo. A discussion ensued over whether or not an item can or cannot
be discussed. The Committee decided that the memo could be discussed because
it related directly to topics in the Draft Agricultural Enterprise Program
Report which was on the agenda.
A citizen in the audience commented on the Draft Advisory Committee Report.
He was concerned with the possibility of a parcel tax. He felt the citizens
did not have representation at the meeting. Mayor Kidd explained that
the Committee could not impose a parcel tax.
Councilperson McPoland indicated that a month ago he asked for a bond
measure to be put on the ballot. The Council took action in directing
Staff to hire a firm to do a survey for Fire, Police, and agricultural
land preservation within the City limits. He indicated to the citizen
that until this survey is done, as far as Council is concerned, there
would be no action.
Mayor Kidd indicated that citizens would be informed. The citizen stated
the people aren’t being informed what’s going on and they should be informed
now. Mayor Kidd explained that right now is the time for the Committee
to discuss this item. The citizen indicated that he was here to protest
this and he wanted it brought forth right now, in the newspapers and everywhere.
Mayor Kidd explained to the citizen that he was getting very close to
being out of order.
Mayor Kidd stated that some of the items talked about by the Committee
were not intended to impose the Agricultural Enterprise Program on a single
group of people. He stated that agricultural land preservation should
be endorsed by the existing residents of the City and not be solely the
responsibility of developers and future residents. He expressed concerns
about doing preservation through permanent easements and not having term
easements available. He also brought a question to the Committee regarding
how to promote agriculture to bring in some capital.
Mayor Kidd suggested putting into place a modest parcel tax ($50 to $75).
He also indicated that two-thirds of the voters would have to vote for
this in order for it to pass. It was explained that the fee could possibly
provide support for ongoing agricultural tourism and capital investment
in local farms. In return, the local farmer would provide an East County
agricultural land trust with a term easement. He indicated that this was
just a proposal.
Mayor Kidd discussed the land trust formation and who should be involved
in this. He spoke regarding the formation of 2.5 acre Agricultural Estates
south of the City and mentioned having a discussion with a group of farmers
regarding clustered home sites with small agricultural operations. He
also mentioned the methodology for calculation of the Agricultural Mitigation
Fee. He noted the amount to be paid for conservation easements would be
negotiable and vary and would not be the same amount as the mitigation
fee. He indicated this item was included within his memo for explanation
because there has been a great deal of confusion over this topic.
Jeff Loux explained how the Mayor’s memorandum came about. He explained
that there were approximately six or eight major items that have become
topics of disagreement. A few of these are term easements versus permanent,
where to concentrate purchase of easements, and how to get local residents
involved. He commented that the Committee really had not reached a decision
on these items. Jeff Loux stated that this memorandum was an attempt to
break the logjam. A few of the more vocal members were chosen to try to
reach a common ground and to address concerns that some of the farmers
Mayor Kidd indicated that if the people who live in Brentwood aren’t willing
to help fund an Agricultural Enterprise Program and it’s not a priority
to them, then the Program should not go forward.
A Committee member stated that the farmers have historically taken the
lead on building community amenities. He mentioned that it was the farmers
who built the first schools, City Hall, and local roads. He felt the citizens
should be asked if they want their view corridors and agricultural local
land preserved here and whether they are willing to pay for it. The farmers
see certain features of the Agricultural Enterprise Program as a potential
taking from a lifetime of work. It was discussed that the general public
should be included in these discussions. Another Committee member indicated
that if the public knows exactly what is happening with their money, they
would be supportive. There was discussion regarding a survey being done.
Jeff Loux indicated that the Committee had, for the most part, agreed
that a funding mechanism was needed which includes existing residents.
He indicated that the parcel tax is one possibility.
A Committee Member indicated that the press needed to be included in the
Agricultural Enterprise Program process and it may be a good idea to include
the public before the survey is done.
There was discussion regarding dollar figures on parcels. Senior Planner
Rhodes explained there was a point in the deliberation of the Committee
at which two different approaches were reviewed. The first was a fee based
on how much land the Committee desired to protect. The other approach
was a mitigation fee based on how much land is being converted. The Committee
had previously decided that the fee would be based on how much agricultural
land is in the City that would be converted. He further stated that the
memo is saying the mitigation fee would be calculated based on land values
in the County Agricultural Core area.
Mayor Kidd indicated the memorandum was written to help reach possible
compromise. He said that the Committee also needs to recognize that there
are other undecided issues here from an environmental impact standpoint.
In particular are the agricultural estates, which are located in certain
A Member felt a possible reason why the general public was not attending
these meetings was because the General Plan process is happening at the
same time and most of the public believes that the decisions about land
use are being made at the General Plan meetings.
Mayor Kidd indicated there should definitely be a community-wide meeting.
A discussion ensued regarding where agricultural estate clustering could
possible be located.
Potential Existing Residential Support Mechanisms
· Monetary support
· Water surcharge
· Parcel tax
· Bond Measure
· Method to fund enterprise activities
The group agreed that residential support was needed. A discussion ensued
regarding how the public would react to these possible ideas. The Committee
also discussed that they felt that if these ideas are presented to the
public in a complicated manner, then support would be unlikely. A Member
indicated that the public must feel that they are going to get something
for their money.
A Member mentioned the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento
which is a group that does very careful studies of what appeals to the
public in terms of open space and what people are really interested in.
Another Member felt that staff should get in contact with this group and
gather more information from them regarding what questions should be asked
to the public. After this information is gathered, it should be presented
to the Committee.
A discussion ensued over how the residential support should be asked for.
Should it be a separate issue or should it be rolled into the entire program?
Jeff Loux indicated that this could be asked in a manner of, “Do you support
Ag preservation, and would you be willing to pay for this? He mentioned
that the two-thirds vote could be a problem if the formal parcel tax vote
is included. He also stated that it’s required under the California Environmental
Quality Act to address adverse impact of lost agricultural land. It is
not just a question of whether or not it is a popular program.
A Member mentioned recommending to the Council two separate questions.
The first would be a method to fund enterprise activities and the second
would be a question to fund the overall program.
The group did not reach a consensus and decided to move on to the next
LAND TRUST FORMATION
· City and local agricultural industry needs to be represented
· Balanced representation and high level of farming expertise needed
· Nine-member board; 3 City appointed representatives; 3 ECCID appointed
representatives; 3 others selected by the other six members.
A discussion ensued amongst the Committee on who should sit on this Board.
There was a Committee Member that was not fully comfortable with ECCID
being a representative on this board.
The Committee voted 12-1-1 that the East County Agricultural Land Trust
Board should have nine members. Three will be appointed by the City Council,
three will be appointed by the ECCID, and those six board members will
select the last three. All board members would need to reside in East
Contra Costa County. Additionally, non-voting members could also be selected
to provide additional expertise.
· 2.5 acre minimum parcels
· Located within the County
· Permanent easements
· Plan carefully
· Limited use of cluster development
· City Council Agricultural Subcommittee to meet with representatives
from the County Board of Supervisors to discuss viability.
Discussion ensued over minimum acreage sizes and buffer zones. A Committee
Member stated that the Committee needed to convince the County to support
this idea. He indicated there are a lot of policy hurdles in the way.
A citizen from the audience asked if Walnut Boulevard was going to be
four lanes. Mayor Kidd responded that it would not be widened at this
point, but the intersections may be improved. The citizen also wanted
to know where his stop light on Concord Avenue and Walnut was? Mayor Kidd
responded that he would check into the stop light issue.
A Member suggested having a subcommittee meet with the County. Another
Member suggested having a general community meeting to get feedback from
Jeff Loux indicated that a detailed policy will have to be drafted to
describe this issue, in general terms, and bring it back to the Committee.
The majority of the Committee agreed that they wanted to have further
discussions on the Ag estate issue. A Committee member suggested not using
the word “Ranchette” when discussing this topic.
Another Member suggested having reports from lenders available for the
Jeff Loux stated that staff and consultants would attempt to have people
with lending expertise available for that meeting.
This item was continued to the next meeting.
· How do we plan this?
· Enterprise enhancement funds
· Funding to be provided by existing residents
Jeff Loux indicated that he felt the Committee is looking for a role for
term easements. He also stated it could be looked at part of an enterprise
enhancement fund. A discussion ensued over this suggestion and the Committee
decided term easements needed to be part of the Agriculture Enterprise
Jeff Loux discussed the “target area,” which is the Ag core portion of
the Brentwood Planning Area and secondarily the agricultural core area
outside the City’s Planning Area within the County. The Committee was
in agreement with this suggested “target area.”
· Development mitigation funding
· Existing Community buy-in needed
· Outside money sources needed
· Ongoing local funding sources needed
· Clustered housing in portions of Ag core south of City
(A few of these items were discussed intermittently throughout the meeting.)
AG MITIGATION FEE
Jeff Loux explained that the calculation was $5,000 per acre of development.
He stated that this has nothing to do with what a farmer may receive for
an easement. This is an average based on looking at land sales that have
happened in a three to four year period and calculating easement value.
This “fee” is what would be charged per acre of development, not what
a land owner/farmer might receive in an easement purchase situation. That
price would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with willing sellers.
Jeff Loux asked the Committee if anyone had an alternative suggestion
for where the Group should go. A Member suggested that the Committee should
not set a fee until this is brought to the citizens of Brentwood. Jeff
Loux reminded the group that establishment of the fee was a fundamental
target early on in this process. He explained that the group had said,
if you develop an acre, the program should include mechanisms to protect
one acre through conservation easements. Five thousand dollars was where
the midpoint of the calculations fell. Jeff Loux mentioned that this cost
was primarily passed on to future homeowners. A Member stated that it
is the landowner that pays this cost, not the homeowner. He further stated
the basic components are the fees the City charges, cost of land itself
and the cost of development. Another member stated the fees are based
on the market. Senior Planner Rhodes mentioned there was another option
in that the developer could buy easements elsewhere rather than pay the
fee. Jeff Loux further stated that in order to satisfy the law, multiple
options must be available.
Jeff Loux asked the Committee if they wanted to go ahead with the current
recommendation. A suggestion was made to put it in a range, possibly $4000-$6,000.
A vote was taken and there were ten Committee members in favor and two
Committee Members that voted “no” with two members abstaining. One Member
wanted the public to be heard from first before voting. A comment was
made that overall support from the public was needed.
The Committee voted on two separate propositions. The first would say,
literally as written in the report; we think this is a good idea, we think
this range is reasonable, Council, please proceed. The second proposition
is I will be supportive of this notion if community support were demonstrated
through a vote and financial participation.
A vote was taken on proposition one and three members supported it and
ten opposed it. A vote was next taken on proposition two, which was only
if there was community support and financial participation; ten members
voted “yes” and three voted “no.”
A Member stated that the public needs to be informed. Another Member reiterated
the need for lender information about the effect easements have on borrowing
potential. There was a request to have several responses from lenders.
· Idea was to work with the Harvest Time people
· Compatible with the u-pick
· Leave the idea open
The Committee discussed the possibility of working with Harvest Time to
promote retail sales of farm products. A suggestion was made to have a
representative from Harvest Time participate at the next meeting.
Speaker 1 was disturbed with mitigation fees on an acre-by-acre basis
because the fees are unknown. He indicated a concern that if land is downzoned,
property owners may lose money. He said they’re discouraging lower density
and making impacts on values relative to densities. His second item of
concern was that appointed land trust board members, years down the road,
may have different objectives from what is originally wanted.
Speaker 2, Frank Souza, stated that there needs to be enforcement provisions.
He indicated that there are currently people in the agricultural core
who have more houses per acre than is permitted, even three and four houses,
and that the County is not enforcing anything. His next item was that
there is property that can’t be farmed because it’s too close to the City,
so then what is to be done with the parcels? Mr. Souza then stated that
he was upset because earlier he was told he was out of order when he wanted
to comment further.
Jeff Loux asked if the Committee was interested in hearing from expert
persons from other areas? The Committee was interested and suggested possibly
a person from Livermore or Yolo County.
Jeff Loux stated that July 27th could be a possible date for the next
meeting. He mentioned preparing another draft that incorporates as many
of the ideas and agreements as he can after the Committee completes review
of the current draft. He further stated that he was not quite sure, in
many of these cases, exactly how to frame the Committee’s agreements,
but he would do his best. He asked the Committee not to attack this next
draft but rather to constructively work with it and give specific comments
and changes to specific items.
A Committee Member requested that there be no further meetings until we
have results of the survey. Senior Planner Rhodes indicated that there
was a survey input done for the General Plan Update process and there
is information available from that. Community Development Director Oshinsky
indicated that this survey asked, “Do people support the preservation
of ag?” This response was overwhelmingly “yes,” but it did not ask the
financial question. A discussion ensued over the different surveys that
are being worked on and when they may be completed. Another suggestion
was made to have a meeting between the County people and our City Council
Mayor Kidd indicated that the Committee wouldn’t be able to make the November
Jeff Loux indicated that there needs to be a cleanup meeting and then
come back in August. That would be two more meetings. The next meeting
would be in late July. He stated to the Committee to bring comments on
item numbers 2.1 or 2.15 or 2.17, since these items were discussed for
only a short time.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.