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JOINT WORKSHOP REGARDING POCKET PARKS
PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSION
&
PLANNING COMMISSION
May 24, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers
734 Third Street
Brentwood, CA 94513

CALL TO ORDER: Ray Shipley, Chairman of the Planning Commission called the Joint Workshop of the Planning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission to order in the Brentwood Community Center at 6:02 p.m. Motion to adjourn the meeting to the City Council Chambers by Commissioner Robert Brockman, seconded by Commissioner Chris Mosser. Motion carried. Workshop reconvened at City Council Chambers at 6:08 p.m. and was called to order by Park & Recreation Chairperson Karen Rarey.

ROLL CALL: Present were Chairperson Karen Rarey, Vice Chairperson Jan Melloni, Commissioners Lanny Brown, Jeff Cowling, Scott Shepherd, and Planning Commission Chairman Ray Shipley, Commissioners Robert Brockman, Steve Padgett, Mike Kerchner, and Chris Mosser. Others present included Ken DeSilva, Park Manager, Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation, Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director, Mike Leana, Chief of Planning, Jon Elam, City Manager, Janet Hansen, Park Planner and Tammy Homan, Administrative Secretary.

AGENDA REVIEW: No changes or additions.

CITIZEN COMMENTS: None

WORKSHOP: 
The first presentation was a video of the city of Paramount and pocket parks within that city. The city of Paramount has approached the owners of lots that were unsightly and although owners still own the property, the city has improved them with landscaping and benches and assumed all liability. The city also does all the maintenance of these properties. Owner still has ability to sell whenever they want. These parks have been maintained by the city of Paramount since 1996 and only two of these properties have sold. Director Bronzan also commented on the photos and the reason for showing these to the Planning Commission. These add attractive green space in otherwise blighted areas of the downtown area. Chairperson Rarey described various types of landscaping utilized in different types and sizes of lots and property. Altogether there were eight different views of pocket parks shown. She explained that these could be used to enhance otherwise unsightly areas and are a definite asset to the neighborhoods. She felt there is a lot of opportunity and different ways of doing the pocket parks. Costs were figured at between $5,000 and $10,000 per lot. She also mentioned that some of the lots were not only unsightly, but had various citations for other violations such as garbage and weeds growing prior to being taken over by the city for these parks. As the views were shown, Ms. Rarey described each area, and what was done at each park to make it attractive and useable as a park. 

Chairman Shipley of the Planning Commission then commented on a trip the Planning Commission went on to see some cities and look at different things. They were actually looking at housing and happened to come across a pocket park in Mountain View. It was not a blighted area, but just a small park in the middle of some housing. A nice place where mothers could take their kids to play in a sandbox, not fancy but had benches but simple, clean and neat and within walking distance. He felt it was a pleasant experience and could do that in areas being developed. He thinks a combination of these along with the other larger parks being planned, such as Sunset and other soccer fields, etc. He also mentioned they have spoken to developers on utilizing retention ponds as converted to some type of park for walking and jogging with water in center. Wanted to share all ideas and see everyone thought and make quality areas for the citizens of Brentwood. 

Ms. Rarey commented that this is part of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s master plan and she very much in favor of small neighborhood parks.

Mike Leana, Chief of Planning also had some pictures of Whisman Station in Mountain View, where there were pocket parks and all Commissioners were impressed with them. He showed map of area pocket parks and how people were using them. He felt they were good for bringing people together and interacting with each other in the neighborhood. 

Director Bronzan then discussed costs and how to pay developers for these as opposed to larger 5 to 6 acre parks. He showed map of master plan indicating where larger parks are located and where it might be more beneficial to have more small parks. Good time to ask questions regarding what is the best for the neighborhood. 

There was considerable discussion regarding cost of maintenance and of the various sizes and how then can be utilized. Director Bronzan discussed costs and upkeep, including lighting and landscape and taxes collected. He states they are getting a better handle now with new parks on costs and don’t have to rely only on park tax. He also mentioned that on sports fields they do have the capability of charging user’s fees on these to assist in costs. 

Discussion of usage of various city parks, one with more usage has the shade, which makes it more attractive during hot summer days. Six new parks coming on line, most have practice areas, will have a number of five acre parks for the leagues practice. 

Discussion of area near swimming pool. Commissioner Brockman wondered about purchasing this for a large park, possibly 80 acres. Director Bronzan responded that it was his understanding that this area is not for sale. Director Bronzan said that Sunset expansion will ultimately bring the park system 13 acres. At Sandcreek Road and Fairview, we are working with the Flood Control for the 18 acres and retention basin to make that about a 30 acre open space, and then on plans when third high school and middle school had hoped for the acreage between those for fields. This is in the master plan to continue to look for those opportunities as they arise.

Commissioner Melloni commented that Ms. Rarey’s presentation was for only those areas where owners do not want to sell and that blighted areas was her focus. Commissioner Brockman wondered if this philosophy could be used for the large area near swimming pool, if owner did not want to sell, approach him with idea of improving property and paying something like a dollar a year for rent. Chairperson Rarey commented on area by Brentwood Cafe. She would like to see more green spaces throughout the city. Comments by Commissioner Cowling regarding access and creating those access areas into small pocket parks. Dog parks also mentioned by Commissioner Brockman. There is an area near Sand Creek Road where the developer there wants to do something different on approximately 4.2 acres and this is being considered for a dog park. The Park and Recreation Commission recently had a presentation at one of their meetings by a person from Clayton who shared pictures of the dog park there. 

Commissioner Mosser thanked the Parks and Recreation Commission for their presentation. It was all very helpful, and he summarized his thoughts. The Planning Commission really like the pocket parks that they saw and think it would be an outstanding idea for housing high-density areas and also in fill areas. He felt two different areas to be considered. One area is pocket parks for new development, and the second area is pocket parks for blighted existing lots. He felt each area should have a different set of guidelines to be looked at in developing them. He felt that in new developments they should take into account the developers. He would want to give them some expectations. For example, with a 40 home map should have a pocket park, 80 homes a pocket park, for a 10-acre parcel a pocket park, some type of standards. So the developer would possibly know ahead of time. He also said it could be incorporated as part of the development standards for special areas. On blighted areas, first time he had seen this idea, thought that a great idea as well. Strong support on his part. Should come up with a vision as the City of Paramount did. Commissioners felt need to be clear and concise in requirements, need to know what target market is, for younger family type of homes, pocket or smaller parks close to home the best. Larger lots and larger houses, probably larger parks where they would probably drive to the bigger park areas. 

Chairman Shipley also talked of economy of scale, cost of maintenance for smaller parks maybe quite different than maintenance of larger parks.

City Manager Jon Elam said largest issue would be money, balancing needs with costs.

Commissioners generally agreed they should do some type of analysis of usage by park and amenity. Discussion of other parks in process and trail parks between developments. Safety concerns also addressed. 

ADJOURNMENT: Motion to adjourn the meeting by Commissioner Mosser. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Melloni and motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Betty Jo Whincup
Minutes Recorder

City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission
35 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
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