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Senior Planner, Jeff Zilm, presented a staff report explaining the Downtown Specific Plan, noting the intent was to keep the Downtown a viable place to live and work. Planning Commission had unanimously recommended approval of the project at their October 24, 2005 meeting. He asked that Council certify the EIR and the Mitigating Monitoring Plan, the General Plan Text Amendment and a Map Amendment; approve the Downtown Plan itself with the amendments proposed by staff and rezone amendment to the City’s Ordinance. He explained the proposed Plan, informing that each district was set up with its own development standards, which would regulate heights, setbacks, the relationship to single-family homes that might be adjacent, frontages, maximum building height and lengths, spaces between buildings open space in the areas around them, street standards and block sizes. Changes and refinements to the Plan were based on staff and public input and included changing parking calculations for existing structures when the use was changing, how to adapt the parking standards and make them consistent with the recommendation by the traffic consultant and Institute of Transportation Engineers recommendations. There was a change to the Downtown Specific vision plan statement to reflect cultural attributes desired by the community and revise the applicability section to address existing structures and uses that were in the Plan now and what changes would be allowed after the Plan took place. Signage and awning regulations were also added to the Plan.
Council Member Taylor requested that copies be made available to anyone needing them. Senior Planner Zilm said that copies were available on the website and in the Planning Department for review.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez opened the public hearing.
Phillip Chatham spoke about his property at Indiana Avenue and Planning Commission Resolution No. 86-12 adopted May 20, 1986, which he felt gave him permission to add on to the nine existing houses and to develop the land further. On August 26, 1986, Ordinance 397 was adopted regarding rezoning the area to high density. In 1986/87 there had been completion on the first unit and occupancy. The project was not continued and in 2001/02 he had spoken to the City Attorney and planners who said he could continue the project based on what had been done. Planners had asked him for higher density so he built townhouses. He had submitted plans and there had been approvals from the Fire Department on a tentative street improvement for turnaround and he did not want to be restricted with the proposed roads or traffic coming down from Oak Street and other areas. He asked that the Resolutions in effect remain and that his project not be severely impacted with the possibility of not being able to build.
Arnold Camba said he believed that the intersection off of Twain and Oak
Street was very poorly designed with the round-a-bout. Far too many cars
speed from Sellers through the intersection especially if there were games
or events in the downtown area and he asked that it be made a four-way stop.
He was in support of the Downtown Specific Plan.
Tom Gregory stated that he was also speaking on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Fred
Merritt. He asked if the there were plans to widen the area of the highway
at the corner of Brentwood Boulevard and First Street. The Merritt’s had a
rental home there and he asked if both of the properties would be involved
in the widening of the street. The Merritt’s had received a letter
pertaining to BART and he asked what type of time frame would they be
looking at regarding the possible widening of the road and if the property
located on First Street was still zoned commercial. He asked about his
properties on Walnut Boulevard and Dainty Avenue, noting that the Dainty
property was for commercial lease and he was wondering if he could rent it
as a professional office building since the change would be made in the
Leslie Servin stated that her back fence abutted the western corridor plan
and she was opposed to any multilevel homes that may be placed there. There
was a problem with the mobile home park behind her since the mobile homes
sat on a foundation which brought the view over her back fence and they
could look into her bedroom window. A single level dwelling would be
alright. She asked what would be done about the noise, lights, and traffic.
Barbara Guise said that Chestnut Street, between Brentwood Boulevard and First Street, was not considered commercial and they did not receive lights in the trees. She was in support of Pat Lindsay and she asked to see Chestnut Street, from Brentwood Boulevard to First Street, be considered part of downtown city commercial.
Louella Norton noted that she lived on Brentwood Boulevard and it was to be
rezoned from COR to DT and she did not know what that zoning consisted of to
make her residence in compliance. She would like to preserve the old in the
area. She said that there were citizens and Hispanic families that did not
understand the letters received. She was concerned that her family home
would be lost and that would not preserve or enhance the downtown area.
In response to questions posed by Vice Mayor Gutierrez regarding public comments, Senior Planner Zilm stated that Mr. Chatham had seven to eight buildings that were leased out to people and was currently working with staff to make his plan work. There were no current project submittals from Mr. Chatham, who had brought forth plans to discuss with Planners and to create a plan on how to move forward. He proceeded to explain proposed changes to the area should the area develop the way the Plan said it could.
Council Member Taylor noted that Indiana Avenue was extremely narrow and asked how the routing of emergency vehicles would impact what could be built there.
Senior Planner Zilm said when development occurred, the road would not be same as it was today and would need to be based upon the development and there would need to be some other access out of that area and a potential access point had been shown on the map.
Senior Planner Zilm addressed the traffic issue spoken about by Mr. Camba, noting that the Specific Plan and the EIR had been done as a whole. He said he could not point out where development would or would not occur and he would need to wait until a development occurred before it could be analyzed.
Director of Community Development, Howard Sword, explained that when an application came in, it would be processed and an environmental document would be done on it and hearings held. This was a program EIR, not a project EIR.
Council Member Beckstrand explained that with a project such as the Downtown Specific Plan, Council wanted to mold and shape the Downtown and overlay a vision to transition the area into. She said what was overlaid did not mean that the City would come in and change all of it in the next year but the overlay was the vision for what it would probably look like in 20 to 30-years from now. If someone wanted to stay in a home for 40-years that had a different overlay, it could be done since that property would be considered grandfathered in. If the family no longer wanted the property, it could be purchased by someone with a vision who could work together with the City pertaining to the new overlay.
Senior Planner Zilm stated that the City was not forcing anyone to do anything and the Quik Stop could remain there. The City wanted to continue to work with people in order to continue economic development.
Senior Planner Zilm spoke regarding the wall requested by Mr. Gambel, noting that the Code said whenever a commercial project abutted a residential project, there must be a sound wall there. If a sound wall was needed, it would be installed. He said he was not aware of arsenic contamination in the area described, and the EIR did not go into that detail but if a project went onto that site, a project EIR with specific environmental work would be done. The soil would be analyzed and if arsenic was in the soil, it would need to be mitigated before anything could be built on it.
Senior Planner Zilm responded to Mr. Gregory’s questions about specific properties, noting that the City Engineer would be able to assist regarding the widening of Brentwood Boulevard and that the homes would remain there until the widening happened.
Council Member Beckstrand commented that as long as Caltrans owned Brentwood Boulevard, and operated it as Highway 4, there would not be any widening due to funding. Once the Bypass opened, tentatively scheduled for December 2007, the finalization of the relinquishment process, involving the California highway system, would convey that road back to the City. The City could then look at what could be done to make the road fit the standard of City roads. It would be a minimum of three years before the widening could begin.
Senior Planner Zilm continued with regard to Mr. Gregory’s questions by stating that the only office allowed was along Central Boulevard and it was proposed to allow for three clusters, where only one cluster was allowed before at the termination of Oak Street. If one of the sites turned into a BART station site, it would place three clusters close together and did not allow for office space since office could occur along Central Boulevard. As long as the use was a commercial use and the intensity use was not any greater than what was there now, Mr. Gregory would be allowed to lease the property as commercial but he could not change it into a use that was not allowed in the area.
Council Member Beckstrand stated that any contracts or conditional use permits entered into or undergone by Mr. Gregory prior to the Ordinance taking effect would be under the current zoning.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez and Council Member Taylor asked about the Lindsey and Guise properties.
Senior Planner Zilm said that one of the recommendations from staff and Planning Commission was that the properties be changed to the Downtown core. Since two of the three parcels were entrenched in a retail business and the likelihood of them changing to residential was minimal. There were residents on all four corners close by so staff felt that there was no need to change and it would be left residential.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez asked about Mrs. Servant’s comments, noting that she had opposed multi-level homes next to her home and she spoke about noise and traffic.
Senior Planner Zilm said a project EIR and analysis would be done if and when a project would occur and if it needed to be mitigated for noise or traffic, the project would be tagged with those as conditions of approval.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez asked about Mr. Bonnickson’s comments and questions. When the City had first started the community involvement plans, transmitters were purchased for access by translators. It was an option and was available upon request.
Senior Planner Zilm stated that the plans were not available in Spanish; however, there were Spanish speaking people available in the office to translate and that service could be provided.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez said that Mrs. Norton spoke about the rezone for her Brentwood Boulevard property.
Senior Planner Zilm stated that there were about eight or nine zones in her area, and it was proposed to eliminate all of those zones and create one zone for the entire area and call it the Downtown Zone. There would be six districts created within the downtown area and it would be a transition from the current to the new Downtown Code.
Vice Mayor Gutierrez asked what the long term mitigation plan was and Senior Planner Zilm responded that it boiled down to what uses would go there. If a certain use generated a lot of parking, the use would be analyzed and if it called for a downtown parking structure, that would be part of the condition of approval. If it was a small business with parking for one or two, it would be analyzed to see if the parking was adequate.
It was moved/seconded by Taylor/Beckstrand to waive full reading and adopt Resolution No. 2005-275 certifying the Environmental Impact Report and approving the Mitigation Monitoring Plan for the development of the Downtown Specific Plan. Motion carried. Mayor Swisher absent.
It was moved/seconded by Beckstrand/Taylor to waive full reading and adopt Resolution No. 2005-276 approving a General Plan Text and Map Amendment (GPA 05-05) of the Land Use Element to change the Medium Density (M), Schools (S) and Public Facility (PF) Land Use designations within the Specific Plan area to the Downtown (DT) Land Use designation. Motion carried. Mayor Swisher absent.
It was moved/seconded by Beckstrand/Gutierrez to waive first reading and introduce Ordinance No. 817 approving the Downtown Specific Plan (SP 05-01), the Addendum to the Specific Plan and the development standards for all the properties located within the Downtown Specific Plan area. Motion carried. Mayor Swisher absent.
It was moved/seconded by Taylor/Brockman to waive first reading and
introduce Ordinance No. 818 approving a Rezone Amendment (RZ 05-18) to the
City’s Zoning Ordinance changing the Central Business (CB), Thoroughfare
Commercial (C-3), Commercial/Office/ Business (COB),
Commercial/Office/Residential (COR), Single Family Residential (R-1-6),
Moderate Density Residential (R-2), High Density Residential (R-3), Open
Space (OS), Planned Development (PD) 37, Industrial Commercial (IC) and
Public Facility (PF) zoning designations to a new Downtown (DT) zoning
designation for the Downtown Specific Plan area and remove the Central
Business District (CB), PD-37, and Industrial Commercial (IC) zoning
designations from the Brentwood Municipal Code and adopt a new zoning
designation for the Downtown (DT) Zoning District and all relevant
development regulations, standards and uses regulations contained within.
Motion carried. Mayor Swisher absent.
Senior Planner, Winston Rhodes, introduced Trent Leftco and Ellen Smith,
Trent Leftco, BART, spoke about station site options: Site No. 1 was O’Hara Avenue, which had room for substantial surface parking or parking structure, its shape and size allowed for design flexibility and it had relatively low land acquisition costs. Some of the constraints were that it was the furthest location from Downtown core, would require a long walk to Downtown on pedestrian unfriendly streets and had potential conflicts with existing bus service. Site No. 2 was Central Avenue/Walnut Boulevard, which was located adjacent to Downtown, had a moderate amount of surface parking available and sufficient land for structure if necessary and had the lowest land acquisition costs. Some constraints were that the parcel shape moved the platform away from parking lots and there was less available area for surface parking, compared to O’Hara. Site No. 3 was Maple/Walnut Boulevard/Oak Street, which used the existing Park ‘n Ride lot, would direct pedestrian access to Downtown via Oak Street and was convenient by automobile and bicycle access. Some constraints were that there was limited area for surface parking; insufficient space for parking structure, two parcels were required and tenant relocations needed and the land acquisition costs were high. Site No. 4, Oak Street/Brentwood Boulevard, was located adjacent to Downtown, had direct pedestrian access via Oak Street and was convenient for automobile and bicycle access. Some constraints were that there was the least amount of area available for parking, two parcels would be required and tenant relocations needed and it was the highest land acquisition cost.
Senior Planner, Winston Rhodes, stated that many different agencies were working together to obtain funding to bring mass transit to East Contra Costa County. Staff requested that Council provide direction on a preferred site that would be analyzed further. He said staff recommended Station Site No. 2 as the preferred Brentwood eBart station location for further study and environmental review.
Bob Bach stated he was the owner of the Quik Stop and Brentwood Laundromat located on Walnut Boulevard, which was Site Location No. 3. He said he did not wish to sell and wanted to continue with the business. He asked Council to consider Site No. 2 as the preferred location.
Sam Baranbo said he worked for Quik Stop and asked that a site be selected
other than the site close to the business. He asked Council to consider the
impacts of their decision.
Allen Payton, Vice President of ETRANS USA, said he was working to bring a private electric transit system to the East Bay, which was much lest costly than the preferred alternative system known as eBart. It was an elevated system that did not have a problem with cross traffic and was much quieter. He asked that Council be aware of the system in their selection of sites since this alternative could offer more than just one site or station because of cost and the amount of space needed for a station location.
Neil Garcia-Sinclair, President of Cybertram International, spoke about the Cybertram system he was developing, which had been originally developed at the U.S. Department of Energy and was privately commercialized in 1998. The system was automated and consisted of approximately 20-passenger vehicles that ran autonomously, which meant that the structure required to carry the vehicles was much less extensive than it would be to carry a 100,000-pound vehicle and was more like a 10,000-pound vehicle so a lot of the infrastructure costs would be dropped since it ran automated. Stations were off of the main line and were more like a freeway off-ramp/on-ramp and if no one was waiting for transportation, it would keep moving. It was more energy efficient and could be operated on demand and direct the destination. The system was not currently in passenger service and a demo was planned with agencies in the East Bay. It would be three years before a system with passengers would be running. He was not in opposition to BART and he intended to continue along the development path and to reach passenger usage within three years. He added that there may be a point in time where Council would have the additional option of his system.
Council Member Brockman said Site No. 2 seemed most logical since BART owned part of the property and the City owned part of the property and acquisition costs would be nominal. It was a higher density area and would be perfect. He encouraged the Cybertram system to work with BART. He asked which location the County was considering for a BART station in Byron/Discovery Bay area.
Mr. Leftco said that one location was at Marsh Creek Road, where it intersected with the right-of-way and the other site under consideration was downtown Byron.
Council Member Brockman said the County was looking at placing a station at
Marsh Creek Road in the middle of the agricultural core where there was no
It was moved/seconded by Beckstrand/Taylor to approve the selection of Station Site No. 2 in Downtown Brentwood as the preferred Brentwood eBart station location for further study and environmental review. Motion carried. Mayor Swisher absent.
6. Selection of a preferred Empire Avenue/Neroly Road eBart station site. (H. Sword/W. Rhodes)
Trent Leftco said that the site was well served by the arterial network and
Neroly Road would be realigned and the Oakley portion would sit between
Empire/Neroly and the right-of-way. Slatten Ranch Road would be extended in
Antioch and the station would sit between Slatten Ranch Road and the
right-of-way. The parking count at the site would be 1,100 spaces and
surface parking could be taken, converted to mixed use and have the parking
be structured or within the development project itself. If the City of
Antioch endorsed the Empire Avenue/Neroly Road location, there would be a
ridership development plan processed for that station and the process would
be collaboration between the cities of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch.
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